Though it’s only made a brief appearance in Max’s bedroom so far, war propaganda will be an important element of The Specialists. In the real war, propaganda served many purposes, and some of them were not entirely admirable. Many posters featured dehumanizing and, frankly, racist depictions of the Japanese, Germans, and Italians. (To be fair, the Nazis had some truly horrible propaganda.) But there was another side to propaganda that was more constructive.

The slogans that you will eventually see on the propaganda posters in The Specialists (and that you may have seen on the ad that led you here) all come from real World War II-era posters. “Have you done your part for victory?” “Keep him flying!” “We can do it!” “Back the attack!” “Buy war bonds.” All of these slogans encourage people to pitch in and do their part for the war effort. There was a sense that we were all in it together, and everyone needed to contribute for the U.S. and our allies to be victorious.

People paid higher taxes to help fund the war, and they were encouraged to buy war bonds (which were actually a pretty decent investment). Women started to work outside the home in greater numbers than ever before, and in many cases doing jobs that were traditionally held by men. Many goods and foodstuffs were rationed, in order to conserve resources. And of course, the draft ensured that the military was sufficiently manned. In short, even though the war was being fought on the other side of the world, no American was unaffected by it. It was a part of daily life for everyone.

This is why those that lived during WWII have been called “The Greatest Generation”. Some may say that we should have joined the war sooner, but no one can argue that once we were committed, we rolled up our sleeves and got the job done. When we are united in purpose, the U.S. is a force to be reckoned with.

For a variety of reasons, and for good or ill, modern wars are a lot easier on us here at home. That’s a good thing, on the surface. No one wants a draft, or rationing of basic staples. But maybe we have it too easy. The war in Afghanistan has lasted longer than any other American war. Would we still be fighting it, if we were all as invested as our grandparents and great-grandparents had been in WWII? Might we have already been victorious if we had brought the full capabilities of our country to bear? Or, if the war had a tangible effect on our daily lives, would we feel that it was worth the effort after all this time?

It’s impossible to know, obviously. But in any case, I think we could learn a thing or two from our forebears about waging war. Our technological advances may have improved our ability to blow things up, but when it comes to uniting the country and mobilizing the citizenry, they are still the masters.