Original U.S. WWII “Careless Talk” Poster - “Convoy Sails - Puzzle Piece Poster”- By Stevan Dohanos

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. During WWII, the government commissioned propaganda posters to teach American citizens and soldiers that careless speech could endanger national security. Any American with knowledge of troop movements, military equipment, or any other information that might prove useful to the enemy was encouraged to keep quiet. To remind all Americans of their duty, the Office of War Information (OWI) commissioned artists to create propaganda posters. The posters were hung in public places and widely reprinted. They used imagery that tugged at heartstrings, invoked fear, and appealed to a sense of patriotism.

Stevan Dohanos created several “Don’t Talk” posters for the OWI. He is best known for his Saturday Evening Post covers and created a sinking ship poster and this example of his puzzle piece poster to warn against unguarded speech. He worked for the Section of Painting and Sculpture of the U.S. Treasury Department and painted murals in several post offices.

This example measures 27 ½” x 20” and is offered in good condition. The poster unfortunately has some staining and minor damage and tearing on the corners and bottom, due to many years of storage while being folded. The poster is still folded along the original fold marks that were made for distribution in 1943.

The poster features a hand wearing a large ring with a Swas on it, reaching over an incomplete puzzle while placing the last piece.

The Top of The Poster Reads:


The Puzzle Section of The Poster Reads:

Convoy Sails for *England*
*Is The Last Piece of the Puzzle*

Printed at bottom "U.S. Government Printing Office: 1943-O-563414 Distributed by OWI for the issuing agencies."

This is a wonderful poster with a very clear message that comes ready to display in your WWII propaganda collections!

Guns, tanks, and bombs were the principal weapons of World War II, but there were other, more subtle forms of warfare as well. Words, posters, and films waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of the American citizenry just as surely as military weapons engaged the enemy. Persuading the American public became a wartime industry, almost as important as the manufacturing of bullets and planes. The Government launched an aggressive propaganda campaign with clearly articulated goals and strategies to galvanize public support, and it recruited some of the nation's foremost intellectuals, artists, and filmmakers to wage the war on that front.

Concerns about national security intensify in wartime. During World War II, the Government alerted citizens to the presence of enemy spies and saboteurs lurking just below the surface of American society. "Careless talk" posters warned people that small snippets of information regarding troop movements or other logistical details would be useful to the enemy. Well-meaning citizens could easily compromise national security and soldiers' safety with careless talk.

“Words are ammunition. Each word an American utters either helps or hurts the war effort. He must stop rumors. He must challenge the cynic and the appeaser. He must not speak recklessly. He must remember that the enemy is listening.”

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