During the late 1960s and early 1970s, students across the nation protested against U.S. military involvement in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. These posters were produced around 1970 at the University of California, Berkeley. Political posters, such as these, use vivid imagery to attract attention. In addition to serving as visual examples of protest from the Vietnam War era, what can these posters communicate about the people who were a part of the antiwar movement? Read the background on these primary sources, then see if you can analyze and interpret what historical evidence ephemeral artwork may hold.
After the antiwar student demonstrations and killings at Kent State, Ohio and Jackson State, Mississippi there was a massive upswelling of resistance in the United States. Political poster workshops blossomed all over the country to express public outrage. At the University of California, Berkeley faculty at the College of Environmental Design encouraged the use of campus facilities for a short-lived workshop that created an estimated 50,000 copies of hundreds of works, including these three posters shown here.
Analyze and Interpret
What symbols were used to convey the artist’s message? How effective, or powerful do you think they were to the public during this time period?
Consider the material used to make these posters. What kind of financial resources do you think were available to the creators?
These political posters were created on a college campus. Why is that significant?VIEW NEXT GALLERY