I’ve been sifting through the Psychogourmet Archive and once again I saw this image which has been in the flies for a good few years.
It raises a lot of questions and I don’t have many of the answers, but it is, apparently, an image from a German propaganda leaflet titled Lightning News, dropped on Allied troops on the western front in 1944 – the leaflet is dated October 31st.
My source for this information is the website psywarrior.com and an article titled “Sex and Psychological Operations” by Herbert A Friedman.
But the questions I have relate to the original source of the image. First, I wonder where it's an extant photograph or one taken specially for this purpose. And I wonder if it's German or American. It would be good if we could read the labels on the bottles but the online image isn’t high enough res. In either case, if it was extant, where did it come from? Who was the photographer? Who was the model? Was it perhaps a “dirty postcard” – the nudity is explicit, but certainly not obscene, the model looks very cheerful and that message “Gee, it would be swell to be back home and mix a few cocktails with her,” seems quite mild by propaganda standards.
So many wartime propaganda images show the decent girls back home being corrupted and ravished by various kind of scoundrel; and of course anxieties of class, nationality, and race often come into it. This kind of thing:
The lady on the couch has been besmirched, and willingly at that, if the message on the rear is to be believed, although the barman is still shaking merrily in the background. He may of course be in the woman's fantasy.
Poking around the internet, doing various word and image searches, has left me no wiser about that Lightning News photograph, but I did find this image, one of a number, of Bettie Page behind a bar - no cocktail shaker in use. It's obviously post-war, the hostilities are over, and what model has ever looked more cheerful, and less corrupted, behind a bar or anywhere else, than Bettie Page?