"We Caught Hell! - Someone Must Have Talked" Poster

Physical Description
Four-color print on paper.
Specific History
The national dread of spies and saboteurs in the early days of the war prompted many informant programs. In March 1942, J. Edgar Hoover reported that the FBI had 17,000 informants in the United States; 2,400 were in industrial plants. An extreme result of this fear was the forced internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans from the West Coast of the United States.
Guarding against information leaks was something that the folks at home could do, and at least with the posters, they did it with vigor. This poster is part of the "loose lips" series and depicts anger and accusation in its message.
General History
Posters during World War II were designed to instill in people a positive outlook, a sense of patriotism, and confidence. They linked the war in trenches with the war at home. From a practical point, they were used to encourage all Americans to help with the war effort. The posters called on every man, woman, and child to endure personal sacrifice and domestic adjustments to further the national agenda. They encouraged rationing, conservation, and sacrifice. In addition, the posters were used for recruitment, productivity, and motivation as well as for financing the war effort. The stark, colorful graphic designs elicited strong emotions. The posters played to the fears, frustrations, and faith in freedoms that lingered in people's minds during the war.
Date made
U.S. Government Printing Office
Place Made
United States
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
green (overall color)
yellow (overall color)
orange (overall color)
black (overall color)
average spatial: 102 cm x 74 cm; 40 3/16 in x 29 1/8 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Paul Fry
related event
World War II
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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