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US careless talk poster with a dead US sailor on a beach

Object | Accession Number: 1988.42.52

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    US careless talk poster with a dead US sailor on a beach

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    Brief Narrative
    US careless talk poster depicting a dead US sailor washed near shore warning the public to guard what they say in public because it could lead to battlefield deaths. The careless talk series of US propaganda posters was an Army Services project, distributed by the Office of War Information. The need to manage the war on the Home Front led to the establishment of the OWI in June 1942. This office controlled the design and distribution of war information to the American public in posters, photographs, radio shows, and films. They commissioned work from leading artists of the period, including Anton Otto Fischer, who painted this image. Fischer was a German born artist who immigrated to the United States and painted patriotic posters for the government during both World Wars. The careless talk series originated in 1940 in Great Britain. It highlighted the many ways that careless talk could leak sensitive information that our enemies would use to kill soldiers, sink ships, and undermine the war effort.
    Artwork Title
    A Careless Word... A Needless Loss
    Series Title
    Avoid Careless Talk, OWI Poster no. 36
    publication/distribution:  1943
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of David and Zelda Silberman
    front, left, below image, white ink : ANTON OTTO FISCHER
    front, bottom, white ink : a careless word... / A NEEDLESS LOSS
    front, bottom, black ink : OWI Poster No. 36. Additional copies may be obtained upon request from the Division of Public Inquiries, Office of War Information, Washington, D.C.
    front, bottom right corner, black ink : U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1943-O-506018
    Artist: Anton O. Fischer
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Issuer: Adjutant-General's Office, United States, Army Service Forces
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was created on June 13, 1942, to centralize and control the content and production of government information and propaganda about the war. It coordinated the release of war news for domestic use, and using posters along with radio broadcasts, worked to promote patriotism, warn about foreign spies, and recruit women into war work. The office also established an overseas branch, which launched a large-scale information and propaganda campaign abroad. The government appealed to the public through popular culture and more than a quarter of a billion dollars' worth of advertising was donated during the first three years of the National Defense Savings Program. Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945, and in Japan on September 2, 1945. The OWI ceased operation in September.

    Physical Details

    War propaganda
    Physical Description
    Offset color lithographic poster reproducing a painting of a dead sailor lying on his back in shallow water on a beach with white topped ocean waves in the background. He wears a torn blue sailor’s uniform with white striped cuffs and collar, with blood dripping from holes in the cloth. In the far background is a gray sky streaked with pink.
    overall: Height: 27.875 inches (70.803 cm) | Width: 22.000 inches (55.88 cm)
    overall : paper, ink

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The poster was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1988 by David and Zelda Silberman.
    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 18:11:43
    This page:

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