FHF: Merry Christmas … Or else

Today’s post comes from National Archives Office of Strategy and Communications staff writer Rob Crotty.

new-years-safety

While the holiday season is a time for togetherness and reflection, some holiday posters leave you wondering, “did Santa just threaten me?”

Yes, even bearded Old St Nick was recruited during World War II to keep the war factories churning, but what was intended as a rallying cry for safety instead appears like a masked threat: If you don’t celebrate Christmas the way Santa intended, then (wink, wink) “you’d better watch out.”

And what exactly is intended anyway? Are we to spend Christmas and New Years schmoozing with young metaphoric years and footless St. Nicks passing out safety flyers?

Then again, the War Production Board was never one to pull punches when it came to encouraging people to work. They would threaten, cajole, guilt, or resort to arming Santa Claus to ensure war production stayed top priority. Below are just a few of the thousand-plus war posters that prove war production—cartoons, facial hair or no—was no laughing matter.

collage

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