Blue Pencil no. 47—Hanging Hitler
I was looking for information on paper restrictions during World War II in the United States when I stumbled across this pamphlet entitled War Production Drive: Official Plan Book published by the War Production Board (WPB). The WPB was established January 9, 1942 in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entrance into the World War. The pamphlet doesn’t have what I was looking for, but it does have some fascinating suggestions for increasing the manufacturing production of military weapons, vehicles, and equipment. The three-page section on production charts is especially interesting.
The WPB urges plants to achieve their production quotas by creating a dramatic way of charting their progress. One method is with a “scoreboard” using images of leaders from the Axis powers:
Illustrated on the next page is a blackboard with Hitler, Mussolini, and [Admiral] Yamamoto drawn in chalk. Mark off the board in 1o’s, and as your production reaches each 10 percent nearer quota erase the chalk drawings along the appropriate strip. When 100 percent is reached, the three figures will be completely erased. 
Other usable visual “gags” are suggested, such as one that transforms “yelling-Hitler” into “hanging-Hitler”. Here is how the puzzle is made:
Have a large board made up with the yelling-Hitler drawn on it and mark it off into 100 squares. Each square represents 1 percent of your production quota. The hanging-Hitler should be drawn on a board of equal size and then cut into 100 squares. As each percent of the quota is reached, cover a square of the yelling-Hitler board with a corresponding square from the hanging-Hitler board. When 100 percent is reached the yelling-Hitler will be completely covered by the hanging-Hitler. The pieces of the puzzle should be numbered on back to allow the proper places on the yelling-Hitler board to be found easily.
The author of the pamphlet advises management and workers to make sure that bright contrasting colors, such as red and yellow, are used for the pieces. More importantly, “the 100th piece should be the one on which the rope is drawn so that it will be the last to appear.”
The pamphlet has other suggestions beyond how to hang Hitler as a quota incentive. There are ideas about posters, bulletin boards, information stands, slogan contests (e.g. “Time lost means lives lost”), stickers on machines (“e.g. Every time You Twist a Nut, Think of Hitler” or “I Put the Screws on the Axis”), awards, and even pay envelopes. The WPB respected the power of graphic design—even if done by amateurs—as an integral part of the war against the Axis. 
1. Most likely the WPB chose to vilify Admiral Yamamoto because he was the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor which was still fresh in the minds of Americans. However, as the war progressed Hideki Tojo, the Prime Minister of Japan, became the common face of the enemy.
2. For some examples of professional propaganda in support of the domestic effort—some of them very well-known—see rare-posters.com and scroll down to the “Production, Work Incentive” section.