NEW ORLEANS (September 21, 2011) — In a new exhibit, Roosevelt, Rockwell and the Four Freedoms, The National WWII Museum explores how America moved from isolation to action in the lead-up to World War II and how four iconic paintings by Norman Rockwell came to represent the ideals we fought for in the war that changed the world.
In his State of the Union address on January 6, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt first enunciated the Four Freedoms — the principles which came to symbolize what America stood for and fought to defend in World War II: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. Two years later, with the United States fully immersed in the war, Norman Rockwell turned Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms into four iconic paintings, which then became some of the best known American propaganda posters of World War II.
The 1,600 square-foot exhibit includes these four original wartime propaganda posters created from Rockwell’s work, as well as artifacts illustrating these principles and video displays showing how the Four Freedoms were relevant to Americans during WWII and what they mean today. The artifacts, including a Volksempfänger 301 “Peoples Radio,” commonly used for Nazi broadcasts; a child’s gas mask, a prisoner of war food package and a dog tag bearing the letter “H” for “Hebrew” powerfully interpret each of the Four Freedoms. These are just a few of the many compelling items presented for public viewing.
“The Four Freedoms exhibit explores a lesser-known side of WWII history — the time period before Pearl Harbor, when Americans debated what to do about the wars in Europe and Asia,” said Kenneth Hoffman, the Museum’s Director of Education. “As President Roosevelt became convinced that the United States must aid Great Britain in its solitary fight against Nazi Germany, he knew he needed to provide a moral justification to persuade his fellow Americans to go along.”
Roosevelt, Rockwell and the Four Freedoms: America’s Slow March from Isolation to Action is on view through November 13, 2011 in the Museum’s Joe W. and D.D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery. It will be followed by the special exhibition Infamy: December, 1941, focusing on the Pearl Harbor attack which propelled the nation into World War II. This December marks the 70th Anniversary of that cataclysmic event.
The Museum is offering a variety of free programming planned in support of this exhibit — from film screenings to family activities and lectures. Learn more about the public programming that accompanies this exhibit at www.nationalww2museum.org.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIItoday or visit our Facebook fan page.