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World War II Propaganda

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Language Arts And English Age Level Middle School (13 to 15 years old)

These pictures will be used to introduce a brief history of World War II before exploring communism with the novel Animal Farm. Students can either do one of the visual thinking strategies See / Think / Wonder or a Perceive / Know / Care About using the piece We Can Do It. The class can then proceed into the background overview of World War II.

As students read Animal Farm and study techniques of propaganda, students can then explore the other posters listed in this learning lab. They can first do the sorting activity to differentiate between the Soviet and American posters followed by the discussion about whether the posters more alike or more similar to each other. Connections to the novel can be made throughout this lesson.

This lesson can also be extended by doing a See / Think / Wonder Activity with the photos of the Soviet Propaganda chess set.  Also the Chinese Cultural Revolution posters make a great connection if continuing your study with non-fiction memoir such as Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang. 

"We Can Do It!"

National Museum of American History

Poster for war bonds depicting Tuskegee Airman Robert W. Diez

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Poster, You Bet I'm Going Back to Sea

National Museum of American History

For Freedom's Sake/Buy War Bonds

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Soviet poster, Making Shells

National Museum of American History

Let's Go Milwaukee

National Air and Space Museum

Dwight David Eisenhower

National Portrait Gallery

40d Aniversario de la Revolucion Socialista

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Russian Youth Perspective

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

To the Heroes of the Sky!

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Whose Propaganda?

Sorting Activity

Checkmate for the State

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum


Yolanda Toni

Whites Close-up

Yolanda Toni


Yolanda Toni

Reds Close-up

Yolanda Toni