World War I and Propaganda Poster Art: Comparing the United States and German Cases

Joseph Jon Kaminski


      This paper looks at some similarities and differences between propaganda art used by Germany and the United States during World War I.  The first section briefly looks at aesthetic theory and addresses the philosophical question of whether war propaganda posters are, in fact, ‘art’ at all.  Then images of various posters that were popular and widely published by both nations are shown and discussed.  This paper concludes that while there are many thematic similarities between the posters used by both sides, there are also some important differences.  The most obvious difference between the German and American propaganda art was in regard to the overall tone of the posters and the colors used in the presentation. The images used have been downloaded from a reputable website that depicts reproductions of the posters that were used during WW1. Understanding the nature of the propaganda used by each side can help shed light on the attitudes and sentiments towards the war held by political elites and citizens alike.


Propaganda Art; Uncle Sam; social mobilization; United States; Germany; World War I; Aesthetic Theory; Theodor Adorno; Immanuel Kant

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