Title: Loose talk can cost lives
Creator: Holmgren, R. John, born 1897 – died 1963 (designer)
British and American Ambulance Corps. (issued by)
Where it was published: Distributed in order to obtain funds for ambulances by the British and American Ambulance Corps, 420 Lexington Avenue, New York City
Where it is now: Victoria and Albert Museum
This poster, like other American propaganda posters from World War 2, provides a warning to the American people through cartoon. It depicts two attractive, unsuspecting Americans having a conversation that is of interest to a devious looking Hitler. The text at the bottom reads, “Loose talk can cost lives,” which reminds me of another phrase found on posters around this time—“Loose lips might sink ships.” This type of war propaganda is interesting, as it seems to have been carefully crafted to do its job (instill a sense of vigilance in the citizenry) without creating extreme paranoia and fear. I think the use of cartoon images and bright colors, as well as the “put together” and healthy look of the Americans, softens the serious message of the poster by making it appear familiar to average citizens. The ideals and values of the 1940s are made known through this poster, including the ideal of heterosexuality and those regarding gender roles, masculinity, and femininity. Hitler’s enlarged ear presents the idea that the enemy is lurking, ready to gather information in order to complete its task at hand (shown by a war newspaper literally in Hitler’s hands): defeating America and winning the war.