Following the Paths of Our Fathers in the Ranks of the Polish Army for Motherland and Freedom


This World War I poster shows a winged knight on a horse, heading into battle. The text, in English and Polish, encourages men of Polish origin living in the United States to enlist in the Polish army. Poland had been partitioned by Russia, Prussia, and the Austrian Empire in 1795, and its sovereignty was not restored until 1918. Thus, there was no independent Poland during World War I. But many Poles believed that the cause of national independence could be furthered by supporting Britain, France, and Russia against the Central Powers, especially after December 1916, when Tsar Nicholas II declared that one of Russia’s war aims was an independent Poland. An estimated 20,000 Poles living in the United States signed up to join a Polish army that was formed in 1917 to fight on French soil. This poster is by Wladyslaw Teodor Benda (1873–1948), who was born in Poznań, Poland. Benda studied at the Krakow School of Fine Arts and immigrated to the United States in 1911, where he worked as a painter, illustrator, and designer.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Sladami Ojcow Naszych w Szeregach Armii Polskiej za Ojczyzne i Wolnosc

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph ; 91 x 82 centimeters



  1. “Wladyslaw Teodor Benda (1873—1948),” The Kosciuszko Foundation,

Last updated: October 25, 2013