Even before the Blitz began in England in September 1940, city officials had feared German air attacks here in New York.
“Knowing that his city would be a prime target, [Mayor La Guardia] believed it was imperative that New York City begin taking steps to protect itself,” writes Lorraine B. Diehl in Over Here! New York City During World War II.
In June 1940, “In addition to 62,000 air-raid wardens, the mayor was asking for 28,000 specially trained volunteers to manually turn off the city lights in the event of a blackout. A fire auxiliary force was already being trained, and volunteer ‘spotters’—who would remain on rooftops should enemy planes attack—were being canvassed.”
This 1940 poster, by editorial cartoonist Rollin Kirby, pulls no punches letting New Yorkers know how devastating a similar attack here would be.
It and other vintage posters are on display starting Friday at Swann Galleries and will go up for auction August 4.