This Man is Your Friend

This man is your friend He fights for freedom

Source: World War II Poster Collection at Northwestern University Library


This object is a poster that was printed by the United States government in 1942 during World War II. This poster displays the effort put forth by the U.S. government to sway the general consensus of the American people. The majority of Americans held unfavorable views of all people of Asian descent. These views were even stronger following the attack on Pearl Harbor, despite China being an ally of the United States. Few Americans could distinguish between what country people of Asian descent were from. This poster shows a smiling Chinese soldier, portraying the people in a positive light. The United States government was aware it needed all the help it could get during World War II, and did not want to lose an ally. The Chinese were allies of the U.S., and the United States made a great effort to stop the harassment and racial slurs Chinese-Americans were suffering from. From the time the first Chinese immigrants arrived in America, they were victims of oppression. The Chinese Exclusion Act and various other government decisions deprived them of basic rights other immigrant groups had overcome by this point. By 1942, the United States government was beginning to become aware of these injustices. The first step to correcting these mistakes was to first show the Chinese were just like every other American. They were willing to fight to keep American citizens safe and retain their freedom. Due to the effort put forth by the government, many Americans began to think of Chinese Americans in a much different way.

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