I Want You for U.S. Army


This World War I poster was created in 1917 by the celebrated American illustrator, James Montgomery Flagg (1877–1960), shortly after the United States entered the war. Flagg most likely was inspired by a 1914 poster by the British illustrator Alfred Leete, which featured Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War, pointing at the viewer and declaring, "Your Country Needs YOU." Even before he made this poster, Flagg was responsible for reinterpreting the image of Uncle Sam, who previously had been portrayed as a sedentary old man. Flagg portrayed Uncle Sam as active and authoritative for the cover of the July 16, 1916, issue of Leslie's Weekly, accompanied by the title "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?" Flagg later used this image of Uncle Sam in his iconic poster, which was intended to encourage young men to enlist in the Army. The poster is the best known of some 46 works that Flagg created to support the war effort. Flagg himself called his creation "the most famous poster in the world."

Last updated: October 25, 2013