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It is Nice in the Surf but What about the Men in the Trenches? Go and Help
This 1917 Australian poster is representative of many used to recruit volunteers to serve with the British forces in World War I. Australian recruitment drives were highly successful and resulted in more than 400,000 men enlisting from a population of fewer than five million. Posters such as this one appealed to the Australian value of “mateship” or comradeship, while others appealed to patriotism. In addition to the young man swimming in the surf, the poster features the emblem of the Win the War League, an organization founded in 1917 ...
Manifesto to the Czechoslovak People in America
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. “'Manifest k Ceskoslovenskému lidu v Americe!" (Manifesto to the Czechoslovak people in America) is one of a series of posters created by Vojtech Preissig (1873-1944) that encouraged Czech and Slovak volunteers to fight with the Czechoslovak Legion against Austria-Hungary and Germany to further the cause of an independent Czechoslovakia. Preissig was a Czech artist living in the United States. The poster was designed and printed at the Wentworth Institute in Boston and ...
Fight for Her. Come with the Irish Canadian Rangers Overseas Battalion, Montreal
In World War I, many Irish immigrants to Canada volunteered to serve in the Canadian armed forces. To assist with recruitment, the Canadian government established a purely Irish battalion, the Irish Canadian Rangers 199th Overseas Battalion. Based in Montreal, the unit began signing up volunteers in the winter of 1915–16. Also known as the Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Rangers, after their royal patron, wife of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and the governor-general of Canada, the rangers sailed for Europe in December 1916, and made a triumphal ...
Get Out! The Indies Must be Liberated
This 1945 recruiting poster by the Dutch artist Nico Broekman shows a Japanese soldier being booted from the island of Bali, and the caption, “Get Out! The Indies Must Be Liberated.” During World War II, Japan occupied the Dutch East Indies in early 1942. After the surrender, a large number of Dutch submarines and some aircraft escaped to Australia and continued to fight as part of Australian units. In the course of the war, Indonesian nationalists supported by the Japanese took over parts of the country. Allied troops invaded Borneo ...
"A Happy New Year to Our Gallant Soldiers!" You Can Make It Certain If You Join Now
This poster created in early 1915, designed and printed by Johnson, Riddle & Company for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in the United Kingdom, shows British soldiers marching toward victory in World War I. After Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, posters such as this were used to encourage men to enlist in the armed forces. The optimistic visual imagery promised victory in the new year, provided enough men joined the fight. In the early months of the conflict, many people in Britain believed that the war would be ...
All in One with the Irish Canadian Rangers 199th Overseas Battalion
In World War I, many Irish immigrants to Canada volunteered to serve in the Canadian armed forces. To assist with recruitment, the Canadian government established a purely Irish battalion, the Irish Canadian Rangers 199th Overseas Battalion. Based in Montreal, the unit began signing up volunteers in the winter of 1915–16. Also known as the Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Rangers, after their royal patron, wife of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Governor-General of Canada, the rangers sailed for Europe in December 1916 and made a triumphal tour ...
Are YOU in This?
This 1915 poster, published in London for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, shows soldiers and other citizens busy with war work, as a well-dressed man looks on pensively. The man is clearly being urged to enlist. Until March 2, 1916, when the Military Service Act introduced conscription, Great Britain’s World War I army was comprised entirely of volunteers, and many of the most famous wartime posters were recruitment appeals. The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee was set up following the outbreak of war in August 1914. A cross-party organization chaired by the ...
At the Front! Every Fit Briton Should Join Our Brave Men at the Front. Enlist Now
Until March 2, 1916, when the Military Service Act introduced conscription, Great Britain’s World War I army was comprised entirely of volunteers. Many of the most famous wartime posters were recruitment appeals. This 1915 poster, published in London for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, shows cavalry in battle, with horses reacting to an explosion in the foreground. It calls upon every physically and mentally fit Briton to enlist. The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee was set up following the outbreak of war in August 1914. A cross-party organization chaired by the prime ...
The Boys are Doing Splendidly in Egypt, Mesopotamia, France. Another Bahamas Contingent Will be Sailing Soon. Roll Up Men. Make it the Best. God Save the King!
This World War I poster, published in Kingston, Jamaica in 1915, was used to recruit volunteers for the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR), which was established late that year by the British War Office. The regiment ultimately was composed of 12 battalions, which served in different theaters of the war, including Egypt and Palestine, Mesopotamia, France and Flanders, and Italy. The poster appeals to imperial patriotism by showing a small portrait of King George V, who supported formation of the regiment. A total of 397 officers and 15,204 men ...
Battles Give Way to Sports in A.E.F.
This World War I recruiting poster shows scenes of military life in France, featuring sporting and recreational events with soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). The text states: “How would you like to be with Uncle Sam's privileged tourists? Why worry about the hot weather or a job? Take a cool and comfortable ocean voyage. See Hawaii, Panama, or the Philippines, and better yourself by attending the Vocational Schools. Earn - Learn - Travel. Enlist in the U.S. Army.” The photographs show pole vaulting, boxing, swimming, a mule race ...
God Strikes at an Injustice with a Thunderbolt, and a Young Man with Bullets
This World War I poster showing a man with an axe and a rifle joining a battle is one of a series by the Czech artist Vojtěch Preissig (1873–1944) that encouraged Czech and Slovak volunteers living in the United States to join the Czechoslovak Legion to fight against Austria-Hungary and Germany. The Czech lands and Slovakia were at that time part of Austria-Hungary and leaders of the national independence movement believed that the cause of an independent Czechoslovak state could be furthered by fighting on the Allied side. Preissig ...
Boys to the Farm. Bring Your Chum and Do Your Bit
In World War I, Canada established a Soldiers of the Soil corps under which boys aged 15 to 19 were asked to volunteer their summers to work on farms, replacing farmhands who had enlisted for military service. In all, 22,385 boys signed up as farm “soldiers.” This poster, issued by the Canada Food Board, is an appeal for farm labor. It shows a boy wearing a Soldiers of the Soil uniform blowing a bugle to summon others to the corps. In the background, other boys wearing the uniform of ...
Britain Expects Every Son of Israel to do His Duty
This 1918 World War I recruiting poster was designed to encourage Jewish immigrants to Canada to enlist in the Canadian armed forces to help the Allied war effort against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Underlining British sympathy for the oppressed Jewish populations of central and eastern Europe, the poster shows a soldier cutting the bonds from a Jewish man, who strains to join a group of soldiers running in the distance and says, "You have cut my bonds and set me free—now let me help you set others free!" The message ...
Britishers, Enlist To-day
This World War I poster showing the British flag was published in New York in 1917 and was aimed at encouraging British citizens living in the United States to enlist in the armed forces. The poster lists 280 Broadway in lower Manhattan as the location of a recruitment office. In January 1916, the British Parliament passed the Military Service Act, which went into effect on March 2, 1916. The act specified that men between the ages of 18 and 41 could be called up for service in the army. Men ...
Can You Drive a Car? Will You Drive One in France? Immediate Service at the Front!
This World War I poster shows the proud figure of Liberty strongly fending off Death as she protects a wounded soldier, who rests on the back of a vehicle. It was used to recruit American ambulance drivers for service at the front in France. The American Field Service (AFS) originated in 1914, shortly after the outbreak of war, when young Americans living in Paris began volunteering to drive ambulances at the American Hospital of Paris. Members of the AFS were present at every major battle in France and carried more ...
Columbia Calls. Enlist Now for U.S. Army
This World War I recruiting poster shows the symbolic figure of Columbia, a poetic name for and female personification of the United States, holding a U.S. flag and a sword while standing on top of a globe. In the lower right of the poster is the text of a patriotic poem, “Columbia Calls.” According to a story in the New York Times published on June 3, 1917, the design of the poster and the poem, both by Frances Adams Halsted (Mrs. E. Bayard Halsted), dated from 1916, when Halsted ...
Daddy, What Did You Do in the Great War?
Until the entry into force, on March 2, 1916, of the Military Service Act introducing conscription, Great Britain’s World War I army was comprised entirely of volunteers. Many of the most famous wartime posters were recruitment appeals. This 1915 poster, designed and printed by Johnson, Riddle & Company of London for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, shows a father in the comfort of his postwar home, being asked by his children, “Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?” Commercial advertising in mass-circulation newspapers and magazines was a well-developed industry ...
Your Fatherland is in Danger, Register!
This poster, produced in Germany shortly after the end of World War I, was used to recruit volunteers to the Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division (Horse Guards Rifle Division), one of the German Freikorps units formed after the national defeat of November 1918. It depicts a German infantryman holding a grenade in one hand and a rifle in the other. He stares at the viewer; in the background are a barbed wire fence and flames rising into the sky. The text urges men to enlist, and explains the benefits of serving, including field pay ...
This 1919 poster shows education and training being conducted at the ordnance operations, maintenance, and repair schools at the Raritan Arsenal in Metuchen, New Jersey. Photographs show classes receiving instruction in ten different skills or trades necessary to the U.S. Army at that time: machinist, blacksmith, welding, automobile mechanic, tractor mechanic, small arms and machine guns, explosives, artillery mechanic, saddler, and woodworking. The arsenal was part of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, which traced its origins to the Board of War and Ordnance established in 1776 to supply ...
English Village Scene
This World War I poster, commissioned by the London subway authority, features an idyllic English village scene and the text of the poem “A Wish” by Samuel Rogers that paint an idealized picture of English country life. The caption reads: “The Underground Railways of London, knowing how many of their passengers are now engaged on important business in France and other parts of the world, send out this reminder of home. Thanks are due to George Clausen, R.A. for the drawing.” The contrast between the English idyll and the ...
The British-owned passenger liner Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine off the southern coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915, while en route from New York to Liverpool. Of 1,959 people on board, only 764 survived. Among those drowned were 128 Americans. The incident caused outrage in the United States and nearly led to a break in relations between the United States and Germany, which was only averted when the German government pledged to limit future submarine attacks on civilian and neutral ships. This poster, issued by the ...