Tuesday, November 13, 2018

US military fought venereal disease through comics? A true story

I know what you're thinking. This blog post title must be a bait and switch. Surely the US military didn't create comics to wage "war" on venereal disease? Ah, but we did. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well these WWII cartoons cut straight to the chase in trying to keep soldiers free of disease and being smart about sexual activity.

"Going into WWII, troops were told what their main enemies would be: Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, and … gonorrhea. In order to prevent the type of rampant venereal disease that plagued the U.S. military during WWI, in the late 1930s, the government commissioned a series of colorful PSAs aimed at warning troops of the dangers that lurked with randy pleasures. From disease-riddled French prostitutes to Nazis dancing arm in arm with sexy skeletons, these ads were both fascinating and frightening. Initially drawing inspiration from ads created by the Works Progress Administration under FDR’s New Deal, artists used a wide range of techniques to get the message out, from dramatic comic book pamphlets to funny slogans like “Fool the Axis — use Prophylaxis!. 

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Launch slideshow


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