William within communities. Most propaganda that was printed included

William Perry

Ms. Huff-Oelberg

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English 1030

31 January 2017

“Don’t
Let the Shadow Touch Them”: Protect Our Children from The Nazis

            The World War II propaganda poster, “Don’t Let the Shadow
Touch Them”, was published in 1942 by the Government Printing Office for the U.S
Treasury NARA Still Picture Branch. This advertisement was created by Lawrence
Beall Smith. Smith often used children in his flyers to promote propaganda and influence
the audience (Don`t Let That Shadow Touch Them). Smith’s flyer was used to garner
support from American citizens by encouraging them to buy war bonds, promote
work efficiency and plant victory gardens within their communities. Unlike many
European propaganda posters that depicted the opposing enemy in a negative
manner, Smith used patriotism to gain support from American citizens. The
poster utilized big, bolded words at the bottom of the artwork to attract the
attention of the reader. Smith used yellow to empathize “War Bonds”.  By observing “Don’t Let the Shadow Touch
Them”, we can see pathos, doxa and Kairos being used which audiences do not
normally see; this is important because the visual text provided an effective
persuasive claim to the audience.

            In times of war, the United States government used
propaganda to promote certain beliefs that were common within communities. Most
propaganda that was printed included beliefs and opinions that the American
society strongly agreed with. Doxa was used in the advertisement to empathize those
beliefs. With World War happening, many American citizens believed that
patriotism for your country was important to your country’s success. In “Don’t
Let the Shadow Touch Them”, one child is pictured with the American Flag in his
hand to show his support for America. With the swastika looming behind the children,
they are standing strong despite the dangers that are approaching behind.  The patriotism of Americans was needed to
continue to war efforts. Since children and women couldn’t join the military,
they had other ways to contribute to the war efforts. Smith’s poster
specifically wanted American citizens to support the war effort by buying war
bonds (Smith).  The use of doxa in
Smith’s flyer was an effective rhetorical strategy to persuade American
citizens to buy war bonds.

During
World War II, the United States Government printed many posters that inspired and
encouraged many citizens to support the United States’ war efforts. The rise to
power and the conquering of Europe by the Nazi regime in the 1940s, the United States
retaliated with a strong disdain towards Germany within the American society. The
harsh treatment towards the Jewish population in Germany caused The United
States to intervene with force, to free the imprisoned Jewish prisoners.
Lawrence Smith used Kairos to invoke a sense of urgent-ness to combat the Nazi
aggression in Europe. For instance, Smith used a shadow with the outline of a
swastika approaching innocent, unaware children. The innocent children represent
the vulnerability of people that are directly affected by the Nazi’s
aggression. During the time frame, the United States’ government desperately
needed the citizens to buy war bonds and this was the most opportune time to do
so. The poster used the context of World War II to strengthen the use of
Kairos. With context of World War II, people viewed this poster believed that
they had an obligation to contribute to the war. The war affected every single
person in the United States for various reasons, such as family members that
died in war. Every citizen could relate to this artwork. If the context of war
was removed, the poster could lose its significant meaning because the poster
could have left a negative impact on American citizens. The propaganda poster
would have been viewed as a way for the United States government to earn money
for the military without benefiting the citizens.

            Lawrence Smith appealed to the audience emotions to get his
message across. Smith used Pathos to appeal to one’s emotions thus led to a
greater persuasive influence on the audience. The best use of pathos in the
poster was that Smith used a color scheme. For example, Smith used a bright
yellow lettering to emphasize the importance of war bonds. He used yellow for
the phrase “War Bonds” to catch people’s attention. In Smith’s poster, he also used
bright, vivid colors that were slowly taken over by dark, gloomy colors. Bright
colors represented the happiness and freedom of Americans, but dark colors meant
sadness and depression of the oppressed. The shadow of the swastika took over
the background of the painting which led the audience’s emotions to influence
them (Smith). The children are unaware of the swastika behind them. In the
poster, one child is holding the American flag while another child is holding a
U.S airplane.  Smith used the children to
speak to the audience on a personal level (Don’t Let the Shadow Touch Them). This
poster differs from many European propaganda because this flyer invoked a sense
of patriotism. “Don’t Let the Shadow Touch Them” is the phrase that Smith used
to personify the shadow. Smith used personification to show that Nazis will
take over the free nation if citizens did not buy war bonds. The shadow could
be considered as a thief that take things without any remorse. Thus, Smith used
personification to appeal to the audience emotions which made the audience feel
obligated to buy war bonds. Although Smith played to the audience emotions, his
advertisement had fallacies that distort the message.

            The fallacies within Smith’s poster distorted the message
while he created hysteria among the audience. Within the flyer, Smith used
scare tactics to capitalize on the audience fears. The shadow of a swastika
slowly approaching the children from the background, highlighted the fear of
Americans of Nazi Germany taking control of America. As the war progressed, the
United States needed more money for supplies. The advertisement capitalized on
American fears by exploiting the fear in exchange for Americans to buy war
bonds. Smith’s scare tactics can easily lead to a slippery slope fallacy based
on the American fears. Use of American fears led to the belief that citizens
that did not buy war bonds would lead to the Nazi conquer of the United States
(Don`t Let That Shadow Touch Them). The flyer promoted events that did not have
evidence to support the unforeseen events. It was solely based on the fears of
American citizens. Fallacies in this poster does not affect the persuasion
influence but only exploited the uneasiness of Americans. The fallacies helped
influence the audience by exploiting their fears.

            The use of Doxa, Kairos and Pathos in “Don’t Let the
Shadow Touch Them” made Lawrence Smith’s propaganda poster extremely effective
towards the audience in World War II. Smith’s use of doxa to emphasize the
American society’s beliefs to support the American war effort by using
patriotism to influence. With Nazi Germany imprisonment of Jews and conquering
of Europe, Smith’s usage of Kairos invoked the United States with urgent-ness
to confront Germany’s aggression in Europe before Germany conquers America. The
propaganda advertisement appeals to the emotions of the audience so that the
audience can buy war bonds. However, the fallacies within the advertisement
exploited the fears of Americans and created unforeseen events that would not
happen. With the fallacies, Lawrence Smith’s poster had an effective influence
on the audience.

             

 

 

Works
Cited

“”Don`t
Let That Shadow Touch Them”.” “Don`t Let That Shadow Touch
Them” | Grinnell College, 12 May 2015, www.grinnell.edu/news/%E2%80%9Cdont-let-shadow-touch-them%E2%80%9D.

 

Smith,
Lawrence Beall 1909-, et al. “Don’t let that shadow touch them : buy war
bonds.” Digital Library, United States. Government Printing
Office., 13 June 2006, digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc205/.