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Karl Koehler and Victor Ancona
This Is the Enemy, 1942
offset lithograph
86.5 x 61 cm (34 x 24 in.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of Barry and Melissa Vilkin

At the start of the United States's involvement in World War II, the Roosevelt administration felt the need to counter the powerful antiwar messages of such media figures as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and radio personality Father Coughlin. Karl Koehler and Victor Ancona's portrayal of a sinister Nazi officer echoes Roosevelt's characterization of the Axis powers as gangsters, bandits, and criminals.

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Biography of Karl Koehler and Victor Ancona

Karl Koehler and Victor Ancona combined their efforts and submitted several entries, including their prize-winning poster This is the Enemy, to the National War Poster Competition held during 1942–43. Sponsored by the Artists for Victory, Inc., the Council for Democracy, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the goal of the competition was to assemble persuasive images for war propaganda. Artists were given a choice of eight themes and twenty slogans to use in their designs; over two thousand entries were submitted.

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