A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Visuals as a Persuasive Tool for War

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Visuals as a Persuasive Tool for War

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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Visuals as a Persuasive Tool for War

Nations all over the world constantly utilize various forms of media to rally support amongst its own people. Manuscripts, newspapers and radios were and still are of the many mediums through which political figures connect and communicate with civilians. Especially during a time of war, the government sets as one of its highest priorities, the goal of keeping its people adequately informed and behind their nation’s cause. One of the most popular and persuasive forms of propaganda has been war posters.

The famous age-old saying, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words,” is the secret that lies behind why these posters were so powerful and successful in the first place. Even though we are looking at them many centuries later, we can still feel the impact and experience the intended effects of their depictions. As Americans, many have been exposed to a range of American war posters through various means such as a school history books.

There are few different war posters that are definitely worth taking a look at. Though at first glance they look extremely different, their main message is essentially the same: this war is necessary and we, as Americans, must do all that we can to help.

Here’s the first poster, entitled “Don’t Let That Shadow Them” courtesy of Lawrence B. Smith.

Lawrence B. Smith uses children’s innocence, helplessness and need for protection as the basis of his war poster. Through careful implementation of color and patriotic images, Smith is able to send a strong and convincing message to the American people in “Don’t Let That Shadow Touch Them.”

The setting of this picture is in an open field with the shadow of the sw...

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... has been used centuries upon centuries because of its effectiveness. While we can look at these political masterpieces and acknowledge the message that they are voicing, it is important that people remember to interpret with a critical eye. It’s rather funny to know that the same pictures that are convincing you that one side is the good side and the other the bad; is the same thing that people on the other side of the world, and on the other side of a war, are seeing too –but of course with the heroes and the villains reversed.

Media and propaganda in general are very interesting to follow. But we should remember not to believe it all so quickly. It is important to bear in mind that the photographer or artist has a specific job to do. They must support their government and its actions. We have to keep in mind the question: who actually controls the media?

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