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Someone Talked!

Date: 1942
Overall: 1016 x 708 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: 00017807
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    This is one of many posters issued by the American Office of War Information to discourage people talking about military matters. The text 'Someone Talked!' is shown next to the image of a drowning sailor, who is pointing an accussing finger at the viewer. National security was a major issue in war and a large number of posters were dedicated to the theme of silence.
    SignificanceThis striking example typifies the way posters use tragic images of death to manipulate people’s emotions. It also indicates the fear and suspicion on the American homefront.
    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.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Someone Talked!

    Assigned title: Jemand hat gesprochen

    Assigned title: Iemand heeft gesproken

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