During World War II, the U.S. government, through the Writers’ War Board (WWB), co-opted comic books as an essential means of disseminating race-based propaganda to adult Americans, including members of the armed forces. Working with comic creators, the WWB crafted narratives supporting two seemingly incompatible wartime policies: racializing America’s enemies as a justification for total war and simultaneously emphasizing the need for racial tolerance within American society. Initially, anti-German and anti-Japanese narratives depicted those enemies as racially defective but eminently beatable opponents. By late 1944, however, WWB members demanded increasingly vicious comic-book depictions of America’s opponents, portraying them as irredeemably violent. Still, the Board embraced racial and ethnic unity at home as essential to victory, promoting the contributions of Chinese, Jewish, and African Americans.
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Research Article| August 01 2014
“This Is Our Enemy”: The Writers’ War Board and Representations of Race in Comic Books, 1942–1945
Pacific Historical Review (2014) 83 (3): 448–486.
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Paul Hirsch; “This Is Our Enemy”: The Writers’ War Board and Representations of Race in Comic Books, 1942–1945. Pacific Historical Review 1 August 2014; 83 (3): 448–486. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2014.83.3.448
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