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The Fire of the Church of Our Lady
This vivid color print shows the burning of the Church of Our Lady, the cathedral of Copenhagen, on the night of September 4–5, 1807, during the Anglo-Danish war of 1807–14. Britain initiated the war in August 1807, after the Danes refused to surrender their fleet, which the British feared would fall into the hands of Napoleonic France. The British landed troops on Danish soil and on September 2 began a three-day bombardment of the city. On the third night of the attack, the steeple of the cathedral was ...
Bombed Copy of “Defensor pacis”
In September 1807, early in the Anglo-Danish War of 1807–14, the British fleet bombarded the city of Copenhagen. Among the buildings struck was the Church of the Holy Trinity, which housed in its attic the University Library of Copenhagen. Some grenades fell through the roof, and this book belonging to the library was among those that were hit. Shown here are the bombed book and the grenade. The book is the first printed edition of, ironically, Defensor pacis (The defender of peace), a major work of medieval political philosophy ...
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 ...
The Attack of Manilla, October 1762
The Seven Years' War (1756-63) was a world-wide conflict between Britain and France that also involved Spain as an ally of France. In 1762, the British sent Admiral William Draper, with an expeditionary force of some 2,000 European and Indian (Sepoy) soldiers, to attack Manila in the Spanish colony of the Philippines. The Spanish offered little opposition, and on October 2, 1762, the acting governor-general, Archbishop Manuel Antonio Rojo, surrendered the city. The British occupation lasted until 1764, when the Philippines reverted to Spanish control as part of 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 ...
Subscribe to the 8th War Loan
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. This poster, published in Vienna in 1918, shows a little girl reaching through a number "8" to deposit a coin into a pile below, an advertisement for the eighth war loan being raised by Austria-Hungary, Germany’s chief ally in the war. The artist who designed the poster was Alfred Offner. Born in Czernowitz in 1879, Offner was a painter and graphic artist who was associated with the Vienna Secession, a group ...
Union Bank, 8th War Loan; Peace Through Victory
In World War I, all sides used posters as tools to mobilize their populations for the war effort. This poster, published in Vienna in 1918, is an advertisement for the eighth war loan being raised by Austria-Hungary, Germany’s chief ally in the war. It shows a young woman offering a bowl of coins at an altar decorated with the Austrian coat of arms. The artist was Thomas Fasche, who created several other World War I posters, but about whom little is known.
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 ...
Into the Jaws of Death: United States Troops Wading Through Water and Nazi Gunfire
This photograph from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, New York, shows American soldiers landing in Normandy, France, on the morning of June 6, 1944, the beginning of the long-awaited invasion to liberate continental Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany. Most of the troops that came ashore were from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada, with smaller contingents from France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands. The invading forces confronted formidable obstacles. German defenses included thousands of soldiers dug into bunkers, artillery, mines, barbed wire ...
We Can Do It! [Rosie the Riveter]
This poster, produced by Westinghouse during World War II for the War Production Co-Ordinating Committee, was part of the national campaign in the United States to enlist women in the workforce. In the face of acute wartime labor shortages, women were needed in the defense industries, the civilian service, and even the armed forces. Publicity campaigns were aimed at encouraging those women who had never before held jobs to join the workforce. Poster and film images glorified and glamorized the roles of working women and suggested that a woman’s ...
Youngster, Clutching His Soldier Father, Gazes Upward While the Latter Lifts His Wife from the Ground to Wish Her a "Merry Christmas": The serviceman is one of those fortunate enough to be able to get home for the holidays
This photograph, from Christmas 1944, was produced by the Office of War Information, a wartime U.S. government agency established in June 1942 to coordinate the release of domestic and international news, with the aims of bolstering morale at home and undermining that of the enemy abroad. Images and captions such as these were intended to convey a positive, uplifting message in a time of war. Many well-known writers and photographers worked for the Office of War Information, including poet and former Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish, the photographer Gordon ...
Basic and Advanced Flying School for Negro Air Corps Cadets, Tuskegee, Alabama: In the center is Captain Roy F. Morse, Air Corps. He is teaching the Cadets how to send and receive code.
The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American soldiers who trained to become pilots at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. The first class of aviation cadets began their training in July 1941 and completed it in March 1942. Tuskegee Airmen went on to serve in combat in North Africa and Italy, and in escorting bombing missions over Germany. This photograph, taken in January 1942, shows cadets at Tuskegee learning how to send and receive code.
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 ...
Why M.C.A.?: German Prisoners of War, World War One, before Y.M.C.A. Hut
This original ink-and-wash cartoon from World War I by Bruce Bairnsfather (1888-1959) depicts German prisoners of war lounging before a hut with a YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) sign. The cartoon is on a grey board. The witty holograph caption is on the back. Bairnsfather was a British army officer who was trained as an artist; while serving on the Western front in 1914-15, he made drawings of war scenes that were published in British magazines. He is best known as the creator of “Old Bill,” a fictional character ...
Retreat of Napoleon from Leipzig, 1813
This original watercolor drawing by John Augustus Atkinson (1775-1833?) shows Napoleon seated in a tent shelter, surrounded by soldiers and members of his staff. Atkinson was an English painter and printmaker who specialized in military themes. He produced sets of engravings showing British military uniforms, and was also known for his watercolors of historical events. In 1815, Atkinson was commissioned to collaborate with the British artist Arthur William Devis (1762-1822) on a painting of the Battle of Waterloo. In 1819, John Burnet, the first engraver to specialize in the reproduction ...
European Cavalry Battle Scene
This is the first in a pair of original gouache paintings by F. Oetinger showing a violent cavalry battle during the Seven Years' War (1756-63), a conflict that involved all the major European powers and was fought on the European continent as well as in the colonies; it became known as the first global war. As a result of the conflict, France lost most of its North American colonies, Prussia reemerged as the dominant power in Europe, and Great Britain emerged as the world’s most powerful nation. The painting ...
The Fencing Lesson
This original ink-and-watercolor caricature shows a petite, prancing Napoleon dueling with a heavy, domineering Gerhard Leberecht von Blücher, while a British sailor judges the match. The participants in the duel are backed by supporters: Napoleon’s faction includes French generals, while von Blücher’s includes German peasants and a Russian cossack. The caricature parodies political conditions at the time. Following Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, the Germanic states, led by Prussia, reentered the wars against Napoleon. At the time the caricature was made, Prussian incursions were the primary threat to ...
Going to Work
This watercolor on heavy board, showing military personnel of the Women’s Army Corps in New Guinea in 1944, during World War II, is signed and dated by the artist, John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004). Murphy was an American cartoonist best known for drawing the Prince Valiant comic strip. Murphy joined the armed forces in 1940 and spent the war years in the Pacific, where he was an anti-aircraft officer, and drew illustrations for the Chicago Tribune. The battle for New Guinea was one of the major military campaigns in the ...
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 ...