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Avenge December 7

Date: c 1941
Overall: 1058 x 759 mm
Medium: Ink on paper with linen and cardboard backing
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00005605
Place Manufactured:Washington

User Terms

    This powerful poster shows a clenched fist sailor standing above the silhouette of a sinking American Navy vessel. It was issued by the Office of War Information to build support for the war campaign. The theme of vengeance dominates the poster and reflects America's outrage over the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii in December 1941.
    SignificanceThis is characteristic of propaganda posters using emotive scenes to unite people behind the war. The attack on Pearl Harbour generated many similar posters.
    HistoryAmerica officially entered the arena of World War II on 7 December 1941 after the Japanese attacked the Hawaiian base of Pearl Harbour. The 8am morning raid left American forces significantly weakened, with 2403 American casualties and the loss of large amounts of military equipment and hardware.

    Twenty-one ships of the United States Pacific Fleet were sunk or damaged, consisting of the battleships USS ARIZONA, USS CALIFORNIA, USS MARYLAND, USS NEVADA, USS OKLAHOMA, USS PENNSYLVANIA, USS TENNESSEE and USS WEST VIRGINIA; cruisers USS HELENA, USS HONOLULU and USS RALEIGH; the destroyers USS CASSIN, USS DOWNES, USS HELM and USS SHAW; seaplane tender USS CURTISS; target ship USS UTAH; repair ship USS VESTAL; minelayer USS OGLALA; tug USS SOTOYOMO; and a Floating Drydock. I88 Aircraft were also destroyed and 159 damaged.

    Americans were left in outrage over the surprise attack and large numbers of men enlisted in the armed forces as a result. Posters were the vehicle to unite the American public and promote the war cause. They were often displayed in libraries, post offices, schools, streets and factories. Some addressed home front efforts, others exhorted workers to greater productivity. Many warned of the dangers of leaking defence information. Some posters were targeted directly at school children. They were all part of a national and international campaign to support the war effort during WWII.
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