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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lunchbox Lecture: Power of Persuassion

I apologize for my "radio silence" last week, but I'm back and ready to talk about, in my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects of WWII: propaganda.  I've always been fascinated with propaganda and its power to influence and motivate people in ways both good and bad. 

Next week the National D-Day Memorial will host a presentation on propaganda's influence on the American Home Front.  
The presentation will focus on how propaganda inspired the public and evoked powerful emotions on the war.  This is an appropriate study for the month of March, Women's History Month, since during WWII, images of women were frequently used in propaganda. Some displayed women as independent, strong, and patriotic, while others illustrated the idea that the enemy posed a direct threat to women and children on the homefront. A soldier only had to look at a poster to answer the question, “what are we fighting for?”  

For your enjoyment, I've included one of my favorite propaganda pieces from the war ...
One reason why I adore this poster is because of a personal encounter I had with a WWII veteran of the submarine service.  A few years ago, while working in the old military tent that we use for field trips at the Memorial, this particular veteran and his family wandered in to look around.  After surveying the contents of the tent, he noticed this poster hanging on the wall.  

He turned to me and said, "There's something wrong with that picture."
"What's that?" I asked, believing he had a very serious concern to bring to my attention.  
He replied, "When I joined the submarine service, no girl ever hugged my neck like that."  

We both had a good chuckle at his expense. 

What is so interesting and powerful about the familiar and iconic pieces of WWII propaganda, is that they strike an emotional chord with people.  Still today, people view these images and feel encouraged, guilty, outraged, hopeful, or inspired.

The lecture will take place at noon, Wednesday, March 7th, at the Bedford Area Welcome Center.  Admission is free, but donations are always happily accepted!

I hope you enjoy!
- Megan

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