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Lest Liberty Perish from the Face of the Earth - Buy Bonds
In 1917 the United States entered the Great War, as World War I was known at the time. A national propaganda campaign was started to convince Americans to support the war effort. Some of the images used in this campaign have become a permanent part of American cultural iconography, notably J.M. Flagg’s famed 1917 poster of Uncle Sam declaring, “I want YOU.” In addition to recruiting troops to fight, the U.S. government issued “Liberty Bonds” to help finance the war effort. Artists helped the cause by making ...
7th War Loan. Now--All Together
C.C. Beall (1892-1967) was a commercial illustrator who drew comics and book covers. He based the image on this World War II war loan poster on the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of the second American flag to be raised on Iwo Jima. The photo made a huge impact after being published as part of news reports on the battle. This poster was part of the campaign for a 7th War Loan subscription, which took place in May 1945, just days after victory in Europe. Officials were concerned that the ...
Australia has Promised Britain 50,000 More Men; Will You Help Us Keep that Promise
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. Australia fought on the side of its “mother country,” Great Britain. Australian soldiers suffered heavy casualties in the Gallipoli campaign and in the trenches on the Western front. Casualties led to recruiting drives intended to attract new enlistments. This poster by an unidentified artist appeals to the strong sense of loyalty to Britain felt by the Australian people. It shows a kangaroo in front of number 50,000 and in the background ...
National War Relief Exhibition
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. This poster, published in Pozsony (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia) in 1917, shows a disabled veteran with a prosthetic arm using a scythe to harvest wheat. The text announces the National War Relief Exhibition in Pozsony. The poster was created by Pal Sujan, a popular artist whose portraits and other paintings were widely shown in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Sujan was born in Budapest in 1880, studied art, and worked as an art teacher in ...
French-Canadians: Enlist!: Re-form the Salaberry Riflery Regiments
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. This recruitment poster from Canada was directed at French-speaking Canadians, with the warning that “England, bulwark of our liberties, is threatened.” The call to re-form the Salaberry rifle regiments refers back to the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States, when Major Charles de Salaberry, a member of a distinguished Quebec family, was given command of a new regiment, recruited from among French Canadians, to defend against a possible American ...
Bushmen and Sawmill Hands Wanted. Join the 224th Canadian Forestry Battalion
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. This poster by an unknown artist appeals to men with logging and sawmill experience to join a new military unit being formed in Canada. In 1916, the British government asked the government of Canada to recruit a specialized forestry battalion for service in Britain and France, where forestry skills were in short supply. In a period of six weeks, over 1,600 men were recruited for the unit, which was assigned such ...
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 ...
Subscribe to the War Loan! The Army and Navy Expect it from You!
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. This 1917 poster, created by the influential German designer and graphic artist Lucian Bernhard, appeals to German citizens to help finance the war with their savings. Bernhard was born in 1883, and his original name was Emil Kahn. After studying at the Munich Art Academy, he moved to Berlin where he worked as a commercial artist. He was best known for his innovative advertising posters for German companies. Bernhard emphasized simplicity as ...
"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 ...
"The Child at Your Door." 400,000 Orphans Starving, No State Aid Available. Campaign for $30,000,000
The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief was established in 1915 with the cooperation of the United States Department of State, for the purpose of providing humanitarian relief to Armenians forcibly deported from Anatolia to other parts of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Ottoman parliament passed a law by which privately collected funds from the United States could be distributed to displaced Armenians via the U.S. Embassy in Constantinople. The committee, which raised millions of dollars at public rallies and churches, issued this poster as ...
"Times Are Hard Your Majesty - You Leave Us Nothing to Do"
This U.S. World War I propaganda poster shows a devil, accompanied by two smaller devils, telling Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany that he was leaving them with no work to do. On the left is shown the home of the devils, a cave with its opening covered with cobwebs, over which hangs a sign, “To Let.” Using a word from the Hebrew Bible identified with Hell, the cave is called the “Gehenna Apartments.” The Kaiser has a bloody sword extending from beneath his cape. Also shown is the Kaiser ...
Kościuszko, Pułaski—They Fought for Liberty in America
This Polish-language poster, produced in Brooklyn, New York, in 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I, was aimed at the many Polish-speaking immigrants living in the United States at that time. The message— “Kościuszko, Pułaski fought for liberty in America. Can you help America fight for freedom in Poland? Eat less sugar, wheat, meat, fats so that we can support our brothers fighting in the allied armies”—invokes the names of two Poles. Tadeusz Kosciusko and Kazimierz Pulaski fought on the American side in the Revolutionary War ...
4 Reasons for Buying Victory Bonds
This poster, produced in Canada in 1917, depicts “4 reasons for buying Victory Bonds”—images of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary, Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, and Sultan Mehmed VI of the Ottoman Empire. They were the leaders of the four Central Powers, the main enemies of the Allied powers of Britain, France, and Russia in World War I. Canada, a dominion within the British Empire, was a major combatant on the Allied side. To raise money to prosecute the war, the Allied nations ...
A Woman Stands Disconsolate, as Another Bends over a Dead Soldier; A House Burns in the Background
This 1915 poster by Welsh artist Gerald Spencer Pryse (1882–1956) depicts a disconsolate woman, a second woman bending over a dead soldier, and a house burning in the background, all before a colorless, empty sky. Pryse created many lithographic posters based on his experiences in the British army in France and Belgium during World War I, where he served as a dispatch rider and became a decorated British officer. He later gained an official appointment as a war artist, although he had been producing lithographs all along. Pryse witnessed ...
Help Us Win! The Commercial Bank of Italy
Published in Milan, Italy, sometime between 1915 and 1918, this poster shows an Italian soldier holding his bayoneted rifle in one hand and pointing off to the viewer’s right with the other. Behind him a fire rages. The text urges citizens to “Help us win!” and advertises the latest subscription for war bonds sold through the Commercial Bank of Italy. Like most belligerents in World War I, Italy had to raise funds by issuing war bonds, which were essentially interest-bearing loans that citizens made to the government. Campaigns supported ...
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 ...
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 ...
India Restores Her War Cripples to Self-Support
This 1919 poster, created for an exhibit of the Red Cross Institute for Crippled and Disabled Men and the Red Cross Institute for the Blind in India, features scenes of disabled Indian Army veterans of World War I, who had learned to support themselves by becoming automobile mechanics and carpenters. Queen Mary’s Technical School, shown here, was established in 1917 by Lady Marie Willingdon, the wife of governor of Bombay (present-day Mumbai) province, Lord Willingdon, to assist Indian soldiers wounded in the war. The Indian Army was a major ...
Irishmen - Avenge the Lusitania. Join an Irish Regiment To-Day
Until 1922, when the southern counties seceded to form the Irish Free State, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. When World War I broke out, many Irish nationalists seeking independence for Ireland urged their compatriots to shun the British war effort. Some went so far as to conspire with German agents in various anti-British activities, but other Irishmen rallied to the British cause. Between 1914 and 1916, approximately 180,000 Irishmen volunteered to serve in the British armed forces. This poster, published in 1915 by the Central Council for ...
Is Schleswig Danish? Schleswig is German!
This 1919 poster shows a map of the province of Schleswig and indicates the numbers of German and Danish speaking voters in 1912, the time of the last elections to the German Reichstag (parliament). Also shown are four views of the province: a farmhouse, a church in a town, a river or canal, and a coastal view. The text argues that the south of the province is “pure German,” and that the “majority of the population is German and feels German.” Schleswig had been an object of rivalry between Germany ...
Remember Scarborough! Enlist Now
On December 16, 1914, a German naval force of battle cruisers under the command of Admiral Franz von Hipper bombarded the English North Sea coastal towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby, killing 122 civilians and wounding 443. The attack was made as part of a German plan to draw the numerically superior British fleet out into the North Sea, where it would be vulnerable to German minefields and submarine attack. Scarborough was undefended, lacking any gun emplacements, and the British government and public opinion strongly condemned the attack on a ...