War posters were one of the most popular forms of propagandistic art during the two world wars. Since wartime propaganda tries to help people adjust to unfamiliar conditions and change their priorities, artists often use already established mass cultural visual codes to represent warfare. Recruitment posters resemble movie advertisements, films take on dramatic plots and famous personalities reinforce political messages. The effect of this hollywoodization "has been to make war seem familiar and at the same time to glamorize it by exploiting the habits of fantasy and desire generated by mass entertainment."
During wartime, the role of the traditional
arts, painting, sculpture and theater, diminishes, while art with easily
read messages, such as posters, flourish. Produced by the thousands, war
posters were an easy and cheap alternative for spreading political messages
and warnings. Instead of the rallying speech, which people can only remember
after the first hearing, posters constantly bombard viewers in their daily
travels. Since war posters targeted different audiences and deal with various
topics, historians often divide posters thematically into five general
categories: service recruitment, guilt tactics, demonizing the enemy, sexual
abuse, and recruiting women to the work force.