Canadian Wartime Propaganda
First World War Propaganda Poster
Victory Bonds will help stop this, Kultur vs Humanity
On the night of 27 June 1918, the German submarine U-86 torpedoed and sank the hospital ship the Llandovery Castle, resulting in the loss of 146 officers and other ranks, including 14 Canadian Nursing Sisters. The ship's clearly displayed Red Cross markings should have guaranteed safe passage, but the Germans sank it in the belief that it carried munitions and American military personnel. If torpedoing the ship was bad; German actions following its destruction were worse. According to survivor testimony, the lifeboat carrying the 14 nurses was sucked into the vortex created by the sinking ship, but the others were rammed and shelled by the submarine, the crew of which seemed intent on ensuring that there were no survivors.
The sinking of the Llandovery Castle which outraged Canadians, and seemingly emphasized the brutality of the German enemy, was a near-perfect propaganda opportunity. This poster uses the ship's destruction to promote the sale of Victory Bonds, harnessing and fostering public outrage with the central figure of the drowned nurse, already a useful wartime icon being portrayed elsewhere as a ministering angel. Only German beliefs and attitudes, implied here by the darkly ironic use of the word "Kultur," would sanction this inhumane act. Posters such as this, depicting the barbaric "Hun," featured prominently in Allied propaganda throughout the war.
Designer, printer, and publisher unknown
Commercial colour print, 1918 Canada