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[Slideshow] Propaganda Art of Vietnam

“All Art Is Propaganda” – George Orwell

Propaganda art serves as a rallying call for the defense of both ideas and nations; a colorful and static reminder of the things we should strive to cherish and protect. Or that’s the idea anyway. The hyper-nationalist art has been used for hundreds of years but perhaps no more so than during the Cold War when it was used extensively by the Russians, Chinese, Cubans and Vietnamese.

Propaganda as a concept traces its roots to 1622 when Pope Gregory XV created the ‘Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith,’ a commission of cardinals tasked with “spreading the faith and regulating church affairs in heathen lands.”

The art form took off in earnest during WWI and, by the outbreak of WWII, was being created en masse by both the Allied and Axis powers.

Adopted by Vietnam when socialist realism was all the rage, the Ministry of Information established the “national art force” in 1957 to reinforce the ideals of North Vietnam. Vietnamese propaganda art is most associated with the American War, though it was also used during the later conflicts with Pol Pot’s Cambodia and China.

The art form persists to this day in Vietnam, though it now deals mainly with civilian matters such as anti-smoking campaigns, holiday celebrations and economic mantras.

Here are some of our favorite pieces of Vietnamese propaganda art:

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