Washington, D.C. The National Industrial Information Committee, circa 1942. This original Second World War American propaganda poster features the image and words of British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill. In large white print, angled above an image of the gesticulating and bespectacled Prime Minister, is the title “till Death or Victory”. Below Churchill’s face, printed in black on a downward slanted white faux paper fragment, is an excerpt from Churchill’s 15 February 1942 broadcast, “When I survey and compute the power of the United States, and its vast resources, and feel that they are now in it with us, with the British Commonwealth of Nations, all together, however long it lasts, till death or victory, I cannot believe there is any other fact in the whole world which can compare with that.” The excerpt terminates with Churchill’s facsimile signature “Winston S. Churchill”. The lower left corner states “One of a series of posters sponsored by The National Industrial Information Committee”.
This poster is undated but likely produced in 1942, certainly during the war. The 20 x 16 inch poster (50.8 x 40.6 cm) is protected beneath UV filtering acrylic in a 23.375 x 18.875 inch (59.4 x 48 cm) substantial wood frame featuring an antiqued black finish. Condition is very good, the poster professionally linen-backed, creating a smooth and even surface to the paper. This large, framed item will be shipped at cost.
This poster was one of a series of six produced by the National Industrial Information Committee, under auspices of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). These posters, featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Chiang Kai-Shek, “Albert Vragel, an industrial worker”, and “The Sullivans, an American father and mother”, all exhorted hard work in the name of victory. NAM’s president released a message with these posters, “If these inspiring messages – from our war leaders, from one of our great army of workers, and from the honored parents of five young American boys who gave their lives that we might live – can help to make us all realize that every minute we spend at the job of producing for war will save countless lives and bring the final Victory closer to hand, I believe they should be displayed in every shop, in every plant, and in every office in the land.”
The role of American industry in the Allied victory is difficult to overstate. Less than one month after Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt told Congress “It is not enough to turn out just a few more planes, a few more tanks, a few more guns, a few more ships than can be turned out by our enemies. We must out-produce them overwhelmingly, so that there can be no question of our ability to provide a crushing superiority of equipment in any theatre of the world war.” By the end of the war, half of the world’s wartime industrial production was in the United States.
This poster of Churchill reproduced an excerpt from his 15 February 1942 broadcast report on his first Washington Conference with President Roosevelt. As evidenced by his words, few were more aware of the essential productive vitality of the American war effort. In early December 1941, the United States formally entered the Second World War, marking the end of Britain's solitary stand against Hitler's Germany, which it had sustained since the fall of France. Churchill immediately decided to travel to the United States, and made a perilous crossing of the U-Boat-plagued Atlantic on the battleship Duke of York. While in North America, Churchill addressed both the U.S. Congress and the Canadian Parliament and stayed at the White House, conferring extensively with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On 15 February 1942, a month after he returned to Britain and on the same disastrous and demoralizing day British troops surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore, Churchill addressed the British people from Chequers. Singapore’s loss explains why this poster’s speech so bluntly emphasizes that no “other fact in the whole world” compares to the importance of alliance with America. Item #005764