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Using a single drawing and a few sentences of text--the same raw material used to create Marmaduke--propaganda posters were supposed to influence the way people thought about their government and even their fellow man. As the below collection of posters demonstrates, no matter how unsuccessful the poster, propaganda is invaluable at teaching two timeless lessons: Your government thinks you're stupid, and when faced with unreasonable expectations, some people will lose their shit in hilarious ways.

17
The Korean War (China)

The Message:

"Long live the victory of the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers Army!"

The Problem:

First of all, those guys could not be using their guns more incorrectly.

But more importantly, who the fuck are we supposed to be rooting for in this picture? The wild-eyed robot giants? The sad little American cartoons? We don't care where you're from, the only discernible message you're getting from this poster is, "Don't take acid with the Chinese military."

16
Take a Bath (USSR)

The Message:

Hey, we couldn't help but notice that disgusting layer of filth currently coating your entire body, how about hitting a bath house after work, you nasty goon?

The Problem:

Is that guy going to be at the bath house? Because if so, we're not fucking going. Scientific studies indicate that bathing in the same room as a zombie in blackface clutching a freshly removed human heart can, in some instances, lead to being attacked by a zombie in black face clutching the human heart he's just removed from your chest. We'd rather go to Watts covered in our racially insensitive layer of soot than go anywhere close to this guy, who is either the most racist thing ever drawn, or works in the tailpipe of a diesel truck.

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15
Shame On You Chatterer! (Nazi Germany)

The Message:

Factory workers who can't keep secrets are hurting the Third Reich's war effort.

The Problem:

Is this supposed to be hilarious? Because it is. Damn adorable too. As far as the apparent irresponsible workforce problem, maybe don't hire such irrepressible water fowl to build your Nazi death drones. As Disney demonstrated, those adorable little bastards hate Nazis.

14
Save Up and Buy a Car! (USSR)

The Message:

How awesome is the Soviet Union? So awesome that anyone can afford to buy a brand new car. If that was a lie, would this man be sitting in a brand new car?

The Problem:

Has anyone ever looked less capable of driving a car? Rather than paying even a little bit of attention to the road he appears to be plowing down the exact center of, our driver is turned around, shooting us the unmistakable leer of the shitfaced. Like Nabokov's Lolita, the poster gives us a doomed point of view--the back seat of a car driven by a man who shows no signs of turning around until you quit shouting about lakes and come sit on his lap.

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13
Riding In a Car With Adolf Hitler (USA)

The Message:

If you don't carpool, you're a fascist dick.

The Problem:

If the ghost of chalk Hitler is so pleased by people driving alone, why does he look so terribly sad? Maybe because the stone cold pimp in the driver's seat just made him watch while his dick played hopscotch with the ghost of chalk Eva Braun. The exact opposite of Russia's self-loathing attempt at instilling driving pride, America tried to draw a cautionary tale, and ended up with a man whose only worry seems to be not getting his huge balls caught when he drops the top on his pimp ass Caddy.

If this were a smoking ad, you wouldn't be reading this right now because your dad would have died of lung cancer when he was 11.

12
Building a Better Tomorrow (USSR)

The Message:

The Soviet Union is building a better tomorrow. And we've got the modest, one-bedroom apartments to prove it!

The Problem:

Look, we get that it's probably hard to convey emotions like pride when you've never seen anyone smile without the assistance of vodka. But the star of this poster doesn't seem to be saying, "Welcome to your new apartment!" so much as, "Oh God, they took everything!" Propaganda 101: Never use a bereaved man whose left eye appears to have been beaten halfway shut to make you feel good about the future.

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11
Quiet! (USSR)

The Message:

"Don't use the telephone! The enemy may be listening!"

The Problem:

Throw a suit and tie on the seated youngster and his creepily looming superior, and this could easily work as a warning against sexual harassment in 1970s American offices. The boss has apparently just ended the phone call, so the gesture he's making with his left hand is either wholly unnecessary, or a reference to what's about to go down between the young man's hand, and the old man boner currently jabbing him in the ribs.

10
Eating Sensibly (USSR)

The Message:

If you overeat, you're a capitalist pig.

The Problem:

Unless there's something we're missing, it looks like this guy just threw down on half a fish. How fucking hungry is Russia that half a fish sends you spiraling into a food coma? Either that, or he's passed out from the booze, and since when have Russians passed out from just one bottle of anything?

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9
Wanted! (USA)

The Message:

Shut your dirty whore mouth, woman! If you spend your day blabbing about the war instead of making dinner and babies, the Communists win.

The Problem:

Of all the posters to use a real woman's photograph in, they chose the one that uses size 15 Brick Shit House font to accuse a woman of murder? What woman in her right mind would pose for this poster? You know how sometimes actors on America's Most Wanted are mistaken in public for the criminals they portray on the show? This poster is that minus the big television budget plus a society in which domestic violence was a spectator sport.

8
Horse Sense (USA)

The Message:

Safety. It's horse sense!

The Problem:

Fucking what? It seems like they're implying that safety is the USA Network censored version of "horse shit." According to dictionary.com, horse sense was once used to mean common sense. That goes a long way towards explaining the phrasing, but not their decision to depict the horse in question as the bastard love child of Dean Martin and a retarded horse.

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7
Fieldwork Does Not Wait! (USSR)

The Message:

Do your chores... and be happy about it!

The Problem:

Don't worry papa! I'll head out to the field. I just need to go to the window to check the temperatOH HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!!!!! Kill it! Fucking kill it now!

6
Oh, Yeah? (USA)

The Message:

To pull off the Herculean task of making Adolf Hitler look evil.

The Problem:

If you're going to turn the Nazis into a choir of fanged zombies, and reprint the lyrics of a song they wrote promising to take over the world, you might want to come with something a little stronger than "Oh, yeah?" It doesn't help that they've added an unnecessary comma after "Oh," making our response seem less hard-assed than surprised, and then after a moment of reflection, vaguely indifferent to the whole arrangement.

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5
The Soviet Muscle Men (USSR)

The Message:

Hey, Soviet kids! If you exercise and bathe regularly, maybe one day you can grow up to be proud Russian soldier!

The Problem:

Russian artists finally manage to conjure a Russian man who doesn't look like a down on his luck boxing trainer, and they do this? All pedophilia concerns aside, it looks like that kid is bracing for one devastating punch to the grill. But that's still better than what this kid probably just had to endure.

Come on Russia. We've seen Rocky IV. You guys were like the least gay country in the world. Your men ate steel and shit ice picks...

...And were apparently totally fabulous when nobody was watching.

4
Keep Calm and Carry On (UK)

The Message:

Those Nazis currently overtaking your country? Don't let them get to you.

The Problem:

This 1939 British poster commemorates the baffling period at the beginning of World War II, known as "the Phoney War" or "the Bore War," a hilarious play on the Boer War, but with the spelling changed to reference how the Allied Powers sat around scratching their balls for the first few months of World War II. Of course, it was less of a bore for Poland, and the other parts of Northern Europe that Hitler was invading at will during this period. Lots of action for those countries.

Anyways, as Hitler plotted to assassinate Winston Churchill and install the Nazi sympathizing Edward VIII as king, the British government planned the propaganda poster equivalent of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy." Cheerio then, old chap!

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3
Don't Trust Capitalism! (USSR)

The Message:

Fuck capitalism!

The Problem:

Was this really the big fear in the Soviet Union at the time? Americans showing up with eggs? Sure, trying to hide that bayonet in what we're assuming is a copy of The Constitution is shady, but it's not like they couldn't spot it. Besides, only the earliest drafts of The Constitution included a bayonet.

2
DEAR GOD, Keep Them Safe! (USA)

The Message:

Buy War Bonds, or the kids will fucking get it!

The Problem:

You know what kids really need to be protected from? The sadistic government employee who came up with this campaign. And not to burst your bubble, Sally, but that apple is going to be completely inedible if what you're preparing for actually comes to pass. You might as well just chuck it now.

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1
The Feeling of the Sisters of the Two Coasts (China)

The Message:

Hey, what's with all the hostility? There's no reason China and Taiwan can't be friends.

The Problem:

Problem? Who said there's a problem? This is the best damn thing we've ever seen.


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For more head-scratching insanity from around the world, check out The 25 Most Baffling Toys From Around the World and The 35 Most Insane Halloween Costumes from Around the World.

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