Anti-Axis Images

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Anti-axis images of Hitler, Mussolini and the Japanese appeared on a variety of items during the war.  Sometimes the Japanese image was of Emperor Hirohito or General Tojo, but often a generic Japanese figure was employed, denigrating Japanese ethnicity as a whole.  The image could be the center point of the item or it could be just a part of it.  Here is an advertisement for Interwoven Socks using Santa pounding the axis trio to help sell their product.  Patriotic appeal in advertising using the axis was common.


This set of ashtrays features the axis trio.  They were made by the Bassons Company from New York, NY, during the war.


Sometimes the axis leaders were made into animals such as pigs, dogs, snakes and rats.  Here is a set of carved skunks with the heads of the three axis leaders. 


While some propaganda allowed us to laugh at the enemy by putting out cigarettes in his mouth or placing a cartoon-like version of his head on animals like pigs and skunks, other propganda was designed to remind us how deadly the enemy and this war was for America.  This poster reminds Americans to work hard for victory, invoking an image from the Bataan Death March.

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Not all of the anti-axis propaganda relied on images.  Words were powerful as well in the propaganda effort as seen in this collection of WW II pinback buttons with anti-axis slogans.  There were pinback buttons made with images as well, and anti-axis buttons were so popular that they were even featured in a story in Newsweek magazine in 1942.  The popularity of pinback buttons of all types at the time was high, and pinback buttons not only from the war but of all types are a very popular type of collectible today.

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Popular slogans included in the above picture include "Let's Set the Rising Sun", "The JIG is Up", " Axe the Axis" and "To Hell with Hitler." Other "To Hell with..." variations included Hirohito, Mussolini, the Axis and "the Japs."  This common phrase also appeared on a wide range of other items from the era, and it can even be seen on items from other eras, such as "To Hell with Spain" in 1898 and "To Hell with Khruschev" in the 1950s.  Below is a penant that features the same pharse.

While Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini served as the focal point of America's anger toward our European enemies,  the Japanese people in general were often portrayed in Anti-axis propaganda.  There are several reasons for this. The key reasons are the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, as well as the racial and cultural differences.  Below is a woman's large broach that features Uncle Sam crushing an image of a Japanese person, typical of the view Americans held during the war. Both the Japanese and Americans viewed their opponents as racially inferior, and battlefield brutality was excessive even by standards of war.


The varieties and imagery of anti-axis items produced in the United States as well as by our allies is nearly limitless.  Examples of various types of propganda have become highly collectible today and can be viewed by selecting type names from the menu.