Wikileaks and World War II Posters

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

by John Falter, 1943

by John Falter, 1943

Julian Assange has blown open more classified documents this year than anyone in history.

If you read some of the memos and telegrams, it seems that the US government is classifying too much.  But regardless of that, the question at hand is whether what wikileaks has done is responsible, and if it is for the greater good.

We have grappled with issues of privacy throughout history, and the government’s instinct to use a hammer rather than kid gloves when protectings information is nothing new.

Take a look at these graphic messages from WWI.

by Anton Fischer, 1942

by Anton Fischer, 1942

by John Atherton, 1945
by John Atherton, 1945
by Yesley, 1944

by Yesley, 1944

During  WWII, we had The Office of War Information.  Propaganda posters were published by the OWI, and the organization also developed short story topics designed to shape the opinion and behavior of citizens.  These stories were then written by fiction writers and published in magazines.

Probably the most memorable campaign in WWII was the “Loose Lips Sink Ships” campaign. These posters use scare tactics to suggest to the public that all war related information was top secret and not to be discussed.  There was even a series of posters published by Seagrams meant to hang in bars reminding people not to talk about the war.

by Norman Rockwell, 1943

by Norman Rockwell, 1943

Regardless of what you think about what wikileaks intentions and there execution of this intent, you have to agree that issues of freedom of speech and privacy have long been a topic of debate in the United States.

All of the above pictured original vintage posters are in stock today and available in our Berkeley showroom and through our website



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