Teachers

Teaching With Documents:
Powers of Persuasion - Poster Art of World War II

Teaching Activities

Standards Correlations

This lesson correlates to the National Standards for United States History.

  • Era 8 - The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
    • Standard 3C: Demonstrate understanding of the effects of World War II at home.
    • Standards in Historical Thinking 3 and 5: Historical Analysis and Interpretation and Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-making.

This lesson correlates to the National Standards for Civics and Government.

  • Standard V. E. 1: Evaluate, take, and defend positions on the relationship between politics and the attainment of individual and public goals.

Procedures

  1. Make copies of each of the posters and the poster analysis worksheet.

  2. Divide the class into 11 groups. Give each group three posters to analyze and the poster analysis worksheet.

  3. Allow student groups 15 to 20 minutes to read and analyze their posters. Ask them to complete the poster analysis worksheet and then determine whether their poster sought to motivate the viewer by instilling patriotism, confidence, and a positive outlook, or whether it sought to ward off complacency with grim, unromantic visions of war.

  4. Ask a volunteer from each group to describe the content of the group's poster for the class and identify the issues mentioned or implied within.

  5. Lead a discussion using the analysis worksheet and the following questions as a guide:

    • What are the similarities and differences between the posters?
    • Where do you think these posters were hung?
    • What emotions do these posters prompt?

Follow up

Encourage students to create their own World War II poster intended to galvanize public support for the war effort.

Return to Lesson Main Page

Teachers >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.