President Roosevelt’s radio broadcasts soon proved to be crucial in changing the general American attitude about entering World War II. He told the public that should Germany defeat Britain, America would “soon have to face the greatest danger in [its] history – the European continent united at last under the most bellicose power in the world.”1
"KEEP HIM FLYING!"
THE PROPAGANDA STORY OF WORLD WAR II
DAVIS ROSBOROUGH and ERIN WEINSTEIN
GROUP I, TEAM 7
“Keep Him Flying!” was issued in 1943 when it was becoming [quite clear] the collective effort of every individual citizen was crucial for success. Sixteen million Americans were in the Armed Forces between 1940 and 1945.2 This War was to be won on the battlefield, but also by those at home, and it undoubtedly was. The War cost the U. S. Government an estimated 330 billion dollars between 1940 and 1945; the contributions of Americans produced one-third of this amount. One group of donors was in Chicago where students raised $80,000 dollars, which was basically equal to the cost of building the P-38 fighter plane that was named for their school.3
Evocative Meaning / Interpretation
The artist, George Schreiber, shows an awareness of the reality of the world in which he lived, and an understanding of the characters he portrayed. His [image is] rich in symbolism. Schreiber paints the pilot with his face looking upward to the sky, as though he were eager to be in the air, flying for the United States.
Possibly the most influential symbols are the Japanese flags. American pilots painted these images on their aircraft to represent every Japanese fighter they had shot down. The placement of these flags is important because it shows that this pilot has been successful, but there is room on his plane for more flags. It is as if the pilot is waiting for the public to buy war bonds so he can fly again, a powerful statement to the average American.
1Michael Tsai, “WWII Posters Taught America Patriotism,” the Honolulu Advertiser, April 11, 2006, p. 148.
2Sylvia Whitman. V is for Victory: The American Home Front during World War II (Minneapolis: Learner Publications Company, 1993), 42.