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Silence means security

Date: 1943
Dimensions:
Overall: 713 x 507 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00017805
Place Manufactured:United States

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    Description
    Silence and security were major concerns during World War II and often featured in poster designs. This poster depicts a Captain standing on a ships bridge pondering possible enemies at sea and thanking those at home for their secrecy. This poster has a more thoughtful message than those produced in the later stages of the war, using graphic images of death.
    SignificanceThis represents propaganda posters concerned with security and silence on the home front. Unlike other designs that show tragic scenes this poster portrays a thoughtful message.
    HistoryConcerns about national security intensify during times of war. With German and Japanese submarines patrolling off US coasts, great emphasis was placed on educating military personnel and civilians about the need for secrecy concerning military matters, especially troop movements. Central to maintaining national security was the drive to limit talk about the war in both the public and private arenas of American life. Silence meant security.

    A World War II specialty was the poster to stop careless talk. Some posters exhibit notable graphic images of death, tragedy and loss. Others show vibrant, happy and healthy men heading off to war and warn it is up to those on the home front to keep them safe.

    Because of rapid electronic communication, the American government was especially sensitive to espionage activities that could endanger troop and material transport, and the secret development of new weapons.

    Whether the practical results of the careless words campaign were equal to the magnitude of the poster effort is an unanswered question. However, secrecy was a priority of the government at this time and the number of posters related to it indicate this.


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