Suggested Activities

1. Oral interviews

The theme of this interview will be World War II reminiscences. Like Theo Finley, many Americans experienced scarcity during and after World War II.

Interview your grandparents or older members of your community about World War II and their memories of life at that time. You might ask them the following kinds of questions:

You can submit your interview to the website "World War II Stories" at:
Remote Link under New War Stories.

"World War II Stories" is part of a larger website "World War II -- Keeping the Memory Alive" at:
Remote Link Refer to this site for primary-source material about World War II.

2. Psychology in Advertising

As production of goods increased dramatically during the 1920s, the advertising business took on the problem of convincing consumers to buy the commercial goods and services now available. Advertisers turned to psychology to learn about their customers' desires and fears. With this information they created ads to promote the item they were trying to sell, for example a radio, as the solution to consumer fears or as the key to consumer dreams.

Look at the advertisement for the Atwater Kent Radio in Clues to the Past Maps Follow up: Do advertisers today use psychology to sell their products?

Find an advertisement that you like:

3. World War I and World War II Posters

During World War I and World War II, the government published posters to motivate American citizens to participate in the war effort. Some of the posters encouraged men and women to join the army, the navy, and even the workforce. Other posters cautioned Americans to conserve needed resources, such as gasoline, to grow their own food, and even to be careful about what was said in public or written in letters to their loved ones that the enemy might intercept.

Like advertisements in the 1920s that used psychology to sell commercial goods, the posters of World War I and World War II used psychology to motivate Americans to behave in a certain way.

Poster View six examples of posters created during World War I and World War II from the Illinois State Museum Collection.

Analyze one of the posters from World War I and one of the posters from World War II by looking at each element. Make a chart to organize your findings. Your chart might look like this:

Subject Words Colors Pictures Feelings
World War I Poster - - - -
World War II Poster - - - -

You will find more examples of World War II posters at the site "World War II Propaganda Posters" at:
Remote Link

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© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96