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Italian WW2 Propaganda Posters

by Jim H

What is Propaganda?

This article provides a variety of examples of Italian WW2 propaganda posters and postcards. But what was its purpose? Let’s look at a propaganda definition:

The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.

Merriam-Webster

For Italy, the purpose of their information campaign was to help Benito Mussolini achieve his goal of Italian success in the war, even if it only meant concessions by the Allies.

Mussolini was a journalist and editor in his youth, so he understood the power of words and images. He used the power of imagery and phrases to shape public opinion in Italy.

Gino Boccasile

Born in Bari, Italy on 14 July 1901, Gino Boccasile was the most prolific and well-known artist of Italian fascist propaganda.

Gino Boccasile is perhaps the best known artist behind Italian WW2 propaganda posters.

Gino Boccasile is perhaps the best-known artist behind Italian WW2 propaganda posters.

Prior to his fame as a fascist illustrator, Boccasile suffered an unfortunate accident as a child. He lost vision in his left eye when quicklime accidentally entered it while playing in a construction zone.

A talented artist from the start, Gino Boccasile moved to Milan, Italy in 1925 to study graphic design. He would later find work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Paris, France. But he eventually returned to Italy in the 1930s.

Boccasile was a strong supporter of Mussolini. When Italy joined the Second World War, he joined the War Department as a graphics illustrator. He created many of the most noteworthy posters and postcards pertaining to fascist propaganda.

Following the Italian armistice, Gino Boccasile sided with the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (RSI) and worked in their Propaganda Department. He also became a lieutenant of the Italian SS.

Following the war, Boccasile was arrested but later acquitted as a fascist collaborator. He found it extremely difficult to find work but eventually reinvented himself. He regained acclaim by creating various product ads out of his office in Milan. Boccasile passed away on 10 May 1952.

Other notable Italian WW2 propaganda illustrators were Dante Coscia (1912 – 1986) and Giulio Bertoletti (1919 – 1976).

Italian WW2 Propaganda Posters

The following represents a sample of various Italian WW2 propaganda posters. We have included additional selections from the Spanish Civil War as well as the United States which focuses on Italy.

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