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Keep mum: Loose talk costs lives (1941-1945)

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“Keep mum, chum” is Army’s advice

Lowell Sun (Lowell, Massachusetts) January 31, 1942

Hold your tongue.

While the toiling hands and fighting hearts of America are laboring to end the war with a victorious peace, the “voice of the people” may delay the day — may even frustrate many well-planned blows at the enemy… may cost lives.

Even as this message is being written, trains and ships are being loaded. Troops are moving. Civilians are turning over rumors in public places, and enemy ears are attuned to pick up the slightest “tip.”

These are times to hold information or news from soldier sons or bothers close to your heart. It means their welfare and safety.

Keep mum!

Keep mum, chum

Poster suggesting careless communication may be harmful to the war effort, showing an army cap and a hand sinking in water.

War don't talk posters - quiet (4)

 

Let me do the talking

Serve in silence. (Poster encouraging citizens to be mindful of careless talk and to let the military speak for the nation, showing a large cannon.)

War don't talk posters - quiet (5)

 

Careless talk costs lives

(Poster suggesting careless communication may be harmful to the war effort, showing lips with tape over them.)

wwii-Careless talk costs lives

 

Don’t tell him what you know

About… troop concentrations, departures… arrivals…

Dont tell him what you know about .... troop concentrations, departures .... arrivals

 

Let’s censor our conversation about the war

(Poster suggesting careless communication may be harmful to the war effort, showing a letter from a soldier stamped “examined by 42.”)

Let's censor our conversation about the war

 

Keep mum: The world has ears

Poster for Thirteenth Naval District, United States Navy, showing a woman talking on the telephone and a globe with ears eavesdropping.

War don't talk posters - quiet (1)

 

Keep mum: Loose talk costs lives

(Poster suggesting careless communication may be harmful to the war effort, showing a train blowing up.)

War don't talk posters - quiet (3)

 

Keep it to yourself, buddy

Poster suggesting careless communication may be harmful to the war effort, showing a soldier with a finger to his lips.

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War don't talk posters - quiet (2)

 

All images courtesy the US Library of Congress / WPA Art Project

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