"A Careless Word....A NEEDLESS LOSS"
JOSHUA GOODMAN and JACK SWAIN
GROUP I, TEAM 4
The dead naval serviceman washed up on the shore with tattered, bloody clothing portrays the desire of the government to stop civilians and military officials alike from talking “loosely” about naval positions and military strategy, thereby divulging information to possible spies. The poster illustrates the potential tragedy if silence was not upheld.
Anton Otto Fischer is generally considered to be a marine artist, as many of his works portray ships on the open seas. In addition to his war-time paintings, Fischer also illustrated Moby Dick, TwentyThousand Leagues under the Sea, and Treasure Island.1
Our own interpretation of this work: The audience is emotionally connected. The body of the sailor lies lifelessly on the beach, his hat and shoes are missing; his pale white face and blond hair convey youthful innocence. The dark borders around the image add to the solemn [atmosphere of the scene]. One can see . . . the steep costs of war, the “needless” tragedy caused by casual, thoughtless leaks … .2
The letters “C.D.V.O.,” and the inscription, “For Miss Chopin,” are [printed by hand] in the middle left, on the reverse side of the poster. This possibly could have stood for the “Civilian Defense Volunteer Organization” in Lewisburg, or at Bucknell.
1“Anton Otto Fischer,” 2006, http://www.askart.com (accessed October, 2006).
2“World War II Posters: Careless Talk Kills,” 2006, http://history1900s.about.com%20/library/photos/blyindexww2talk.htm (accessed October, 2006).