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Duty Calls! Posters of World War II

‘The Air Force Needs Men!’ poster, about 1940, by Claude Oscar William Wade (1891-1956).
Click for larger version

Monday 15 August 2005


Duty Calls! Posters of World War II - opening at Te Papa

An exhibition of dramatic wartime posters opens at Te Papa on Friday 19 August, to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II.

Duty Calls! reflects on the powerful images and emotional messages that had both an immediate and long term impact on our national identity.

When New Zealand declared war on Germany in September 1939, Kiwis were eager to pitch in. The government made the most of that mood, appealing to people’s sense of loyalty and sacrifice, urging them to give their all for the war effort.

The language of the posters is commanding and moralising. Strong, capable men and women look you in the eye and urge you to action.

Recruitment posters for the Army, Navy, and Air Force called on citizens’ loyalty and patriotism. And New Zealanders rose to the challenge in their tens of thousands – more than 40,000 men and women served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force alone.

Other posters urged all civilians – men and women – to volunteer at home in support of the war effort overseas. New Zealanders gave thousands of unpaid hours to National Service from the Home Guard to the Red Cross.

Those at home were also asked to offer their money, not just their ‘manpower’. Government calls for public subscriptions to ‘Liberty’ or ‘Victory’ loans and savings bonds raised large amounts annually. Through such efforts New Zealand had no outstanding overseas debt as a result of World War II.

Duty Calls! Posters of World War II
Opening Friday 19 August 2005
The Ilott Room, Level 4
Free entry


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