Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

During World War II, in the Allies’ countries Hitler and Stalin were often portrayed as the devil or demons working for evil. Using propaganda and political cartoons during wartime is not an unusual way to rally support or recruit potential soldiers; however it is interesting to see how these representations spread to popular culture and advertising. This poster is part propaganda and part advertisement. The advertisement is a blend of stereotypical images of the devil a red, horned figure and the typical characteristics of a Hitler caricature with parted dark hair and a toothbrush mustache.  This advertisement for bonds, suggests buying victory bonds will essentially defeat Hitler or the devil. The blending of two publicly despised figures is a clear use of a pathos driven persuasion. The message of the ad is very straight forward and direct: Hitler is Satan, Satan is the embodiment of all evil, and therefore Hitler is evil. But not only is Hitler evil, he is a powerful and building force that must be stopped. The ad also provides a simple way to stop this wicked figure, buy bonds. This Canadian ad exemplifies the extremes Canada went to sell bonds. Victory bonds would end up covering about half of the government’s wartime cost during World War II, but when it became apparent the war wasn’t going to come to a quick conclusion the government and agencies selling bonds had to take more drastic measures. For example the Canadian government staged fake but realistic military invasions “to raise awareness and shock citizens into purchasing bonds.” In addition, to avoid competition during bond drives which took place every six months “no other organization was permitted to solicit the public for money.” This poster is an example of the more aggressive form of advertising that came later in the war when the government was considered about maintaining funds for wartime expenses.

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4 responses

  1. I have never seen this before, but I really enjoyed the parallels you drew. Your explanation seems completely spot on and was completely clear. The fact that Hitler embodies evil and Satan brings up religious fervor among people to fight against a tyrant, and as you mentioned, the poster gives a way to defeat him: buy bonds. Very effective in my opinion. Good old propaganda.

    May 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm

  2. nickmehendale

    I think the fact that Satan is used in propaganda is interesting because of the fact that the artist is attempting to bring good out of a depiction of evil. It’s odd to think about the image of the Devil bringing about good in the world.

    May 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  3. zet66

    This is really interesting! I hadn’t heard before of the extremes that the government went to to have people buy bonds, and the staged invasions were certainly extreme. I like your analysis on this piece and your discussion of how it is both a propaganda piece and an advertisement. It’s a smart strategy to have people think that they are playing an active part in defeating evil by buying bonds.

    May 8, 2011 at 8:17 pm

  4. The concept of victory bonds are very intriguing, especially with the Hitler-Satan mascot persuading the audience. This really brings to my attention the tactics used by the advertising world, and how effective a devil figure can really be.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:13 am

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