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Security of War Information Campaign poster about safeguarding convoy movement information

Object | Accession Number: 2015.572.3

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    Brief Narrative
    Security of War Information Campaign poster warning people to guard what they say in public because it could lead to the death of military personnel. The poster was designed by Stevan Dohanos, an illustrator and painter known for his “American Realist” style and depictions of everyday life. The poster was part of the Security of War Information Campaign, also known as the “hush-hush campaign.” This cooperative project was undertaken by the Office of War Information (OWI) with the oversight of a Security Committee, which included representatives from the OWI, the Army, Navy, FBI, and other agencies. The campaign focused on educating the public about the need for discretion in their communication to prevent information from being leaked to the enemy. The need to manage information about 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 print, radio, and film media, and commissioned work from leading artists. The American campaign drew on themes from the British “careless talk series” of 1940. It highlighted the many ways that careless talk could leak sensitive information that enemies would use to kill soldiers, sink ships, and undermine the war effort.
    Artwork Title
    Bits of careless talk are pieced together by the enemy
    Series Title
    Security of War Information Campaign
    publication/distribution:  1943
    publication: Washington (D.C.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection. The acquisition of this collection was made possible by the Crown Family.
    front, top, within image, printed, white ink : BITS OF CARELESS TALK / ARE PIECED TOGETHER BY THE ENEMY
    front, center, within image, printed, black ink : Convoy sails for England / tonight
    front, bottom left corner, margin, printed, black ink : [star] U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1943—O–563414
    front, bottom right corner, margin, printed, black ink : Distributed by OWI for the issuing agencies
    front, lower left, within image, printed cursive, black ink: Stevan Dohanos
    Artist: Stevan Dohanos
    Subject: Stevan Dohanos
    Printer: United States Government Printing Office
    Distributor: United States Office of War Information
    Stevan Dohanos (1907-1994) was a Connecticut-based commercial artist well known for designing magazine covers, murals, posters, and stamps. He was born to Hungarian immigrants in the steel town of Lorain, Ohio. As a young man, Stevan took a correspondence course in art, and later received a scholarship to the Cleveland School of Art. In the mid-1930’s, Stevan moved to New York City to work for an advertising agency. He also worked for a U.S. Treasury Department art project to create murals on public buildings. In the early 1940’s, Stevan moved to an artist colony in Westport, Connecticut, and sold his first cover to the Saturday Evening Post. During World War II, he painted murals and recruitment and propaganda posters to support the war effort. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, he sold more than 125 covers to the Post. Stevan also designed more than forty stamps for the federal government, spending the latter part of his career focusing on stamp designs and film art.
    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
    War posters.
    Physical Description
    Large poster printed on off-white, mediumweight paper depicting a hand wearing a gold swastika signet ring, moving the final piece of a jigsaw puzzle into place to complete a message. The large, veined, and hairy hand extends from the end of an olive green uniform sleeve in the upper left corner, and holds an irregularly shaped, yellow puzzle piece bearing black text. The piece fits into the final gap in the yellow and orange puzzle, completing a message about Allied troop movements. Above and below this section, the remainder of the puzzle is blue. At the top, the pieces fade to black, and the title is printed over them in white, uppercase letters. The artist’s signature is printed in black in the lower left corner within the image. There is small, fine print in black ink on the left and right bottom margins. On the back, lower left corner, is a handwritten inscription in pencil. The poster is folded in eighths, and discolored along the creases.
    overall: Height: 28.000 inches (71.12 cm) | Width: 20.125 inches (51.118 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, pencil
    back, lower left corner, handwritten, pencil : M29294-7 / ,h

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    United States. England.

    Administrative Notes

    The poster was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015.
    Funding Note
    The acquisition of this artifact was made possible by the Crown Family.
    Record last modified:
    2023-08-28 07:50:47
    This page:

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