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 was born in the Czech-speaking part of Austria-Hungary. From 1892 to 1896 he studied in Prague at the School of Applied Industrial Art. He then studied and worked in Paris and Prague before moving to the United States in 1910, where he gained a reputation as an innovator in the fields of printmaking, book design, typography, and illustration. From 1912 to 1916 he taught at both the Art Students’ League and at Columbia University in New York. From 1916 to 1926 he directed the School of Printing and Graphic Arts at the Wentworth Institute in Boston. This poster was one in a series designed and printed at the Wentworth Institute and distributed by the Czechoslovak Recruiting Office in New York.

Last updated: October 25, 2013