King's College London
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The Cartoon in Wartime Propaganda


Boer women and children as depicted by French propagandaBoer women and children as depicted by French propagandaInternational criticism of the Second Boer War, 1899-1901, was reflected in anti-British cartoon propaganda.

Cartoons depicted the Boers as noble underdogs confronting a bullying Empire or highlighted the suffering of Boer women and children in British concentration camps.

The Second World War witnessed German and Japanese attempts to undermine the morale of Allied soldiers with drops of leaflets and imitation newspapers.

German propaganda to undermine US moraleGerman propaganda to undermine US moraleOne method was to seek to exploit class divisions, with the ordinary US or British soldier depicted as working class cannon fodder for rich arms manufacturers: a 'rich man's war and the poor man's fight'.

German anti-Semitic leaflets also claimed to identify the Jewish ancestry of American supporters of President Roosevelt, implying that the common American soldier was fighting a war primarily on their behalf.

North Korean propaganda [1952]North Korean propaganda [1952]Another tactic exploited real stories of Soviet atrocities in Poland and Finland in order to warn that Stalin could not be trusted and to sow discord among the allies - a potentially highly effective tactic given the genuine conflicts of interest between the allies that emerged particularly towards the end of the war.

Propaganda campaigns against Britain and her allies continued after 1945. The Korean War, 1950-1953, for example, featured leaflet drops that warned British and American infantry to avoid engagement with their enemy and 'play safe' if they were to survive their tour of duty, thus hoping to undermine their willingness to fight.

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