The “Silence – Do not talk” propaganda poster was used during World War 1 in the United States to encourage soldiers to be discreet and not divulge secrets regarding the movements of their units.
Following the sinking of the Lusitania as well as numerous other passenger ships that crossed the Atlantic to Europe it was widely known that the Germans had spies on the ground both in the U.S.A and the U.K. This network of spies reported back to the German navy who were able to plan submarine attacks based on these reports.
The “Silence – Do not talk” poster explicitly encourages the soldiers who are about to be deployed to not speak about where they are going and the movement of their units. The poster has detailed text that explains “The success of your operations and the lives of your comrades depend upon your SILENCE”.
The main protagonist in the poster is a woman wearing a golden helmet and is draped in a British flag. This protagonist is most likely a personification of the statue of liberty, who featured in a lot of poster during this period and represented the liberty offered by the U.S.A. The British flag represents the partnership with the British Empire at the time. Other posters featuring the statue of liberty include the “You buy a liberty bond lest I perish” poster.
This poster is part of series of poster that encouraged silence among soldiers during World War 1 and World War 2. Other famous poster include the “Loose lips might sink ships” poster and the “Because somebody talked” poster.