Still in use today in United States Army recruiting materials, the iconic ‘Uncle Sam’ image by James Montgomery Flagg image was first published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (1852-1922) a year before America entered WWI. It is consistent with a shift that can be observed cross-culturally at that time towards greater personalization in wartime propaganda. Patriotism, self-sacrifice and “making due”, doing your part at home or at the front, the purchase of war bonds… These were among the themes that were commonly articulated through mass media in both Allied and Axis nations.
WWI and WWII offered Japan a vehicle for imperial expansion to other parts of Asia through military conquest. Critical to these pursuits were conquering the minds and hearts of Japanese citizens, including children who represented the future of the empire, and undermining enemy morale (Aoki, 2016; Kennedy, 2007; Manga, 2016). Early manga used in propaganda was an effective medium.
Within the worldwide context of growing Western imperialism, China’s 1899-1901 Boxer Rebellion represents a critical nationalist action protesting foreign control and Christian missionary infiltration and co-optation (Boxer Rebellion, 2016; Sebring, 2014). Foreign media provided important channels for influencing critical interpretation of the conflict, primarily aimed at motivating public support within the eight nations that cooperated to subdue the uprising and afterwards carve up China amongst themselves (Boxer Rebellion, 2016; Eight-Nation Alliance, 2016; Sebring, 2014).