Women in War and Post War Propaganda 

Prior to World War I, propaganda images had yet to exert a broad mobilizing force internationally. At the dawn of the era of modern media, however, propaganda posters emerged as one of the most powerful tools for rallying the masses. In contrast to the current view of such posters as instruments of nefarious manipulation, primarily associated with Nazism and Stalinist Russia, early propaganda posters were seen in their time as playing a democratizing role. They offered a sounding board for the “voice of the people, giving everyone an opportunity to present their point of view.” 

  

During the First World War, propaganda images of women—the nurturing mother and wife waiting on the home front, or the tearful but proud mother waving goodbye to her sons as they left to join the army—appeared alongside an allegorical Germania in the form of a strong victorious woman in armor leading the masses. The power of propaganda became evident during WWI, when the role of the family became tantamount to a successful war campaign, even though at this point in time women were still relegated to the background. 

 

 

 

Images TOP to BOTTOM: Unknown, WWI postcard (1914/15) with poem: A farewell to the soldiers—The Fatherland calls us to fight. For wife and child, for home and hearth we are ready to fight. | Franz Stassen, 1869_1949 German propaganda poster (WWI).