Paper Bullets: The Visual Culture of American World War II Print Propaganda


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art and Architecture


This dissertation examines the dynamic evolution of American print propaganda seen on the home front during World War II. It argues that as the war intensified, the visual preferences of federal bureaucrats for propaganda became increasingly conservative, thus the forms and content used by many progressive American artists during the 1930s were deemed less appropriate than a more comforting “Saturday Evening Post” sensibility. By synthesizing interrelated forms of print propaganda, including posters, cartoons, and magazine advertisements, this project emphasizes how American World War II propaganda avoided the horrors of war by conforming to an idealized commercial realism that later dominated Cold War era advertising.