Canadian Wartime Propaganda


Propaganda is the organized dissemination of information to influence thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and actions. The posters and photographs in this exhibition demonstrate how words and images were used in Canada in the service of war between 1914 and 1945.

The War Posters Room, Public Archives of Canada, Sussex Drive, Ottawa,  PA-066638
The War Posters Room

All combatant nations use propaganda in wartime to encourage citizens to make sacrifices and contributions to hasten victory or endure defeat. Governments and private organizations produce or commission posters and other items to support recruitment, promote military production, inform citizens about proper conduct, and assure people that their governments are taking appropriate action.

The creators of this material exploit the power of words and images to construct persuasive visual messages that evoke feelings of fear and anger, pride and patriotism. In proposing or privileging one point of view to the exclusion of others, propagandists during the two world wars were neither the first nor the last to manage information in this fashion. It is as much a part of our contemporary world, in commercial advertising or political campaigning, for example, as it was a part of the Roman Empire over 2000 years ago, when emperors and generals manipulated their images and accomplishments in order to secure or attain power.

Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M8
Tel. (819) 776-8652
toll-free 1-800-555-5621