Original U.S. WWII Red Cross Blood Donation Propaganda Poster - “For Defense, Blood Means Life” - 16” x 22”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. During WWII the Government tried to identify the most effective poster style. One government-commissioned study concluded that the best posters were those that made a direct, emotional appeal and presented realistic pictures in photographic detail. The study found that symbolic or humorous posters attracted less attention, made a less favorable impression, and did not inspire enthusiasm. Nevertheless, many symbolic and humorous posters were judged to be outstanding in national poster competitions during the war.

While many posters touted positive patriotic messages, some tapped into fear to rally support for the Allied side, much like this example here.

Today, the posters offer a glimpse into the nation's climate during World War II and how propaganda was used to link the home front to the front lines.

This 16” x 22” poster truly tugged on the heartstrings of the American people during the war. This poster features an M1 wearing medic holding up a bottle of blood as he administers it to a wounded soldier wrapped in a blanket on the ground. The whole poster is dark and eerie looking, except for the donated blood and the following message:


This poster was meant to encourage people to donate blood for the War Relief effort for wounded Americans fighting overseas.

The American Red Cross involvement in World War II preceded the entrance of the United States into the conflict. When hostilities began in Europe in 1939, the Red Cross became the chief provider of relief supplies for the civilian victims of conflict distributed by the Geneva-based International Red Cross Committee. In February 1941, the Red Cross responded to a request by the U.S. government to begin a Blood Donor Service to produce lifesaving plasma for the armed forces in anticipation of America’s entry into the war. After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Red Cross quickly mobilized a volunteer and staff force to fulfill the mandates of its 1905 congressional charter requiring that the organization “furnish volunteer aid to the sick and wounded of armies in time of war” and to “act in matters of voluntary relief and in accord with the military and naval authorities as a medium of communication between the people of the United States of America and their Army and Navy.

This poster is in excellent, unissued condition and comes ready to be displayed in your WWII propaganda collections!

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