Poster, You Bet I'm Going Back to Sea

During World War II, the United States government recognized that full public support and dedication to the war effort was essential to victory. To bolster support, the government hired artists to create propaganda posters, designed to promote patriotism with simple, catchy slogans and colorful images. Toiling factory workers, thrifty home front mothers, and fearless soldiers were among the most popular images used by artists to communicate the message.
This 1942 poster commissioned by the War Shipping Administration encouraged a specific mission, designed to attract former seamen back into the Merchant Marine. At the time, American shipyards were producing cargo ships faster than crews could be assembled, forcing recruiters to rely not only on new volunteers, but also to persuade experienced mariners to leave retirement and go back to sea.
The creation of incentive posters mainly fell under the watch of the Office of War Information, a government agency created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in June 1942 to consolidate public information services and coordinate the sanctioned release of war news. The OWI reviewed and approved the content of newsreels, radio broadcasts, and billboards, in addition to producing hundreds of posters. Initially, the most pressing message to be communicated through posters was a warning to Americans about the dangers of discussing sensitive information like production schedules and troop movements that could be overheard by enemy spies. Over the course of the war, posters covered a variety of topics, such as encouraging the purchase of war bonds and galvanizing the work force at shipyards to keep production going on the assembly line.
Object Name
date made
commissioned poster
War Shipping Administration
directed poster program
United States. Office of War Information
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 20 in x 14 1/2 in; 50.8 cm x 36.83 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
On the Water exhibit
World War II
The Great Depression and World War II
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water exhibit
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Frank O. Braynard, Sea Cliff, New York
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL

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