East meets West: The Spherical Proximity of two Opposing Political Ideologies in Propaganda Posters.

In countries where social control has a significant role in directing its people in tune with its ideals, propaganda has always had a special place in the arsenal of the leaders. Propaganda has always been used as a key way to communicate ideas and influence the attitudes  of a community. Consequently, propaganda is selective and one sided. Before TV and Radio, propaganda posters were fundamental in visually communicating and to an extent brainwashing the target public. In this blog entry, I am going to illustrate a specific interest in how propaganda was used to depict American and Soviet ideology both during World War II and the Cold War.

'Americans will always fight for liberty'

This poster released during WW2 aims to attract the people to fight in the war, with promises of glory similar to the Civil War.

Similarily, a Russian World War II propaganda poster does the same.

The poster represents the military glory of Tsarist Russia of the 18th Century and it draws parallels between the past russian military victories and the current struggle, in an attempt to show that the current military struggle will be seen as glorious in the future as the indicated conflicts were to the people at the time.

Both of these posters make links with the glory of past wars with the need to recruit soldiers for the current war. The East and the West shared common ideology with their war against Hitler and Nazi Germany. For the purpose of the war, the two future polar opposites came together as a matter of policy and this was reflected in their propaganda posters as a general theme though out the second World War.

Illustrates the alliance between East and West against Nazi Germany

In the light of this poster, their unity was short lived, as their unity was no longer in the political interest of any of the parties. Despite the belligerents of war, breaking their unity and returning to their old ways of attempting to be the polar opposites of each other, the propaganda war that the governments exerted on their people shared a very striking resemblance to each other.

 

 

An anti-espionage poster urging people to be careful with the information that they disclose to the public in order to prevent information from reaching the wrong (American) hands.

Similarly, this American poster promotes the same message as the Soviet one above.

Posters set standards on many aspects of life, presenting examples to follow on many aspects of life including family values.

 

A typical depiction of an idealistic 'all American' 50s family with Capitalism as the root of perfection. It portrays a typical white middle class family: the husband, in his suit as a business man, the son as a baseball player.

Television during the cold war became a more prominent way of influencing people, especally in America, much of propaganda of this nature moved to television screens. Popular animated shows such as  ‘The Jetsons’, ‘The Flintstones’ and TV sitcoms such as ‘Leave it to Beaver’ are all very good portrayals of American family ideals.

(Compare this to modern TV shows of dysfunctional families: eg- The Simpsons, or Modern Family, or Two and a Half Men).

Propaganda posters were still a weapon of choice for the soviets as the television only became a commodity in the late 70s.

'For joyful blooming childhood, For a happy strong family!'

It is apparent that both nations, despite being furtherest away as possible from each other on a political compass, they meet under the theory of the sphercity of political compass, where extreme opposites overlap in many aspects of their ideology. The picture below illustrates this point perfectly.

This poster illustrates the USSR and USA as Supermen who are mirror images of each other. It indicates that each nation is merely a reflection of the other and that they are both equally harmful, destructive and ridiculous in the ideals that they pursue.

 

Rosephine Fernandes

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