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WW II Advertising: Get Your Red Hot Death Machines!

During World War Two Nazi and Anti-Nazi propaganda was rampant worldwide. Here's a photo journey into a world at odds with itself, and with the notion of peace in our time

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This post first appeared on Russia Insider

From the onset, the Second World War was as much about propaganda as it was about the idealisms behind the carnage. The greatest conflict in human history was a showcase for the horror of war, but no less a stage for some of the most cunning advertisements ever devised.

Nazi and anti-Nazi ads of the forties, including some from well known companies of the 21st century, we as common as TV soap opera commercials in the 60s, or mobile ads about iPhones or iPads today. Ford Motor Company, General Motors, even the Nazi aircraft makers that supplied killing machines got in on the game f selling war. Here’s some great examples of the kinds of brain washing brands did back when. 
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An ad promoting the dreaded Focke Wulf fighter and bomber aircraft
<figcaption>Hit harder my son - WW2 Soviet Poster</figcaption>
Hit harder my son - WW2 Soviet Poster

The Germans were not the only ones promoting their death dealing. The ad bragging on Cadillac craftsmanship below is no less nationalistic in its intent. Such ads appeared in magazines and newspapers, and in the theaters of America throughout World War II. 

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In this image a Messerschmitt crew probably dies from "Cadillac" quality

Car companies and airplane makers were not the only ones feeding ads to the people. In the advertisement below Shell Oil gets into the act revealing the preciseness that had become low level bombing. Of course "Finer Fuels for the Age of Flight" betrayed the fact women and children were probably underneath ever tank full of Shell aviation gas. 

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Being bombed, what a gas!!!

Today we don't see too many cigarette advertisements any more. Back in the 40s though, a pack of Lucky Strike or Camels without the filters was about as common as eggs for breakfast in America. The add below from Camel promises the smoker steel nerves and the guts to be a hero. Isn't it funny how we've always wanted products to make us better? 

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Light up a Camel, you'll kill with the best of them then

In these days of social media madness we worry about what the next NATO troll will come up with to try and fan the flames of war with Russia. Well, back in the days of imperialism past ethics were black and white. You either side with us, or you side with them. Talk about some peer pressure! Either you buy some more war bonds and make bombs, or we try you for treason perhaps! 

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Give us your money, or you are a Jap killer

Speaking on ethics, what would you say if you knew a company like IBM, for instance, helped the Nazis spy on everybody via some of the first computer tech? Guess what? 

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IBM poster "See everything with Hollerith punchcards" 1934

Virtually every nation was in one way or another involved in propaganda for or against the Axis or Allies. The poster below is telling, if you are in Spain during the Civil War there. 

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Republic propaganda poster | Spanish civil war 1936/39

In traditionally graphic and symbolic form,  Soviet creatives had a way of hamming out the message best it seems. The idea expressed below pretty much tells it for anyone seeing such a poster or ad. Kill Hitler with your work. 

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A World War 2 Soviet poster

Isn't it amazing how creative we can be, even in dealout out war? 

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