WWII aviation safety poster issued by the U.S. Air Force

They Cheer When You Forget Your Maps. NP: Directorate of Air Traffic and Safety, and Directorate of Safety Education C—L—4, ca. 1943-45.
Color halftone print, 17”h x 22w at sheet edge. Minor scattered soiling and some wear along old folds, but about very good.
$1,500

A good-natured aviation safety poster issued by the U.S. Air Force during the Second World War.

The poster features a soldier in warm-weather gear standing in front of a fighter labeled “Desert Patrol.” Bemused and shivering, he stands calf-deep in snow, while Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo look on happily from behind an igloo. The caption reads “They cheer when you forget your maps.”

In January 1943 the Air Force established a Directorate of Air Traffic and Safety with the mission of overseeing domestic flight operations, with responsibilities including flight control, flying safety and safety education. During the War it issued a series of sixteen “They Cheer” educational posters aimed at aviators. All used caricatures of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo cheering as American pilots made careless errors. The posters included for example They Cheer When You Ignore the Red-Lined Speed!, They Cheer When You Don’t Maintain Flying Speed!, and They Cheer When You Try Foolhardy Stunts!

The style and tone of the poster are reminiscent of a series of posters issued in 1942 by the Army’s Map-Chart Division, the first of which is titled Maps Are Weapons.

References
Not in OCLC.