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Propaganda poster reporting United States Navy fleet losses to Japan

Object | Accession Number: 1998.136.5

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    Propaganda poster reporting United States Navy fleet losses to Japan


    Brief Narrative
    Propaganda poster in French with a chart showing the number of warships that the United States had lost between October 27 and December 5, 1943, in the war with Japan. The poster was meant to show that the Pacific War was going badly for the Americans. It references two battles specifically, Bougainville and Gilbert and Marshall Islands, which were two campaigns that resulted in American victories over Japan. The poster claims that 50% of the US war fleet had been destroyed in a period of 39 days. The chart shows that 56 ships had been sunk and a further 41 had been damaged. The poster uses the 1939 ship force levels to inflate the percentage of US losses. In reality, the US navy in 1943 was 9 times larger than in 1939. Additionally, the information provided on the chart is inaccurate when compared with US reported losses, showing the poster to be disingenuous.
    Artwork Title
    American Pacific Fleet Losses in late 1943
    publication:  after 1943 December 05
    distribution: France
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, center, printed, black ink : 50% de la flotte de guerre américaine de 1939 / envoyés par le fond en 39 jours! / Le japon retient dans le Pacifique toutes la flottea de guerre des USA et ne cesse de lui porter des coups / mortels. Du 27 octobre au 5 décembre 1943, au cours de deux combats navals et de dix importantes / batailles aériennes (à Bougainville et aux iles Gilbert et Marshall), les Japonais ont coulé les unités / américaines suivantes: [50% of the American 1939 war fleet sent to the bottom in 39 days! / Japan retains the Pacific and keeps dealing the US war flotilla deadly blows. / From October 27 to December 5, 1943, during two / naval battles and ten major air battles (at Bougainville and / Gilbert and Marshall Islands), the Japanese sank the following American units:]
    front, chart top row, printed, black ink : Cuirassés, Grands porte-avions, Porte-avions moyen, Croiseurs lourds, Croiseurs légers, Destructeurs,Transports [battleships, large aircraft carriers, medium aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers, light cruisers, destroyers, transports]
    front, chart 3rd row, column totals, printed, black ink : (number obscured by flag) 4, 5, 8, 13, 8, 13
    front, chart 4th row, printed, black ink : Navires gravement endommagés: [Heavily damaged ships]
    front, chart 5th row, column totals, printed, black ink : 3, 3, 1, 13, 1, 13, 7
    front, bottom, center, printed, black ink : Au total: 56 unités détruites, soit 620.000 BRT, tonnage correspondant à / 50% de la flotte de guerre américaine de 1939! Et 41 unités, soit 370.000 BRT si se- / vèrement endommagées qu'elles no pourront reprendre la mer avant de longs mois. [In total: 56 units destroyed, or 620,000 BRT (brut registré tonnage [gross register tonnage]), tonnage corresponding to 50% of the American war fleet of 1939! And 41 units, or 370,000 BRT so badly damaged that they cannot go back to the sea before long months.]

    Physical Details

    War propaganda
    Physical Description
    Propaganda poster on off white, lightweight paper showing American naval fleet loses against Japan in the late fall of 1943. Across the top is the Rising Sun of Japan: a red semicircle centered at the bottom of a white field with 9 red rays extending outward. Below this in the center is a yellow square with a black outline. Imposed on top of the square is a white, narrow, rectangular banner with black text running the length of the poster. Inside the square at the top and bottom is black text. In the center is a chart with 7 columns and 5 rows. The top row bears the label of a different class of ship for each column. The second row shows black ships, representing how many of each class were lost, and the third row shows the quantity lost. The fourth and fifth rows label the number of ships damaged in each class and their quantity. The chart is depicted to be under water surrounded by sunken warships piled on top of each other. On top of each pile is an American Flag and there are schools of red and blue fish swimming above. The poster has several small vertical tears and small pinholes along the bottom edge.
    overall: Height: 23.750 inches (60.325 cm) | Width: 33.000 inches (83.82 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, pencil
    front, bottom right, pencil : 500

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The poster was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1998.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 18:23:35
    This page:

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