Those Who are God’s Warriors. The Czechoslovak Army in France


This World War I poster is one of a series by Czech artist Vojtěch Preissig (1873–1944) urging Czech and Slovak volunteers living in the United States to join the Czechoslovak Legion to fight against Germany and Austria-Hungary. It shows a soldier on horseback carrying the flag of the Hussites, followers of the Czech religious reformer Jan Hus (circa 1369–1415). The Czech lands and Slovakia were 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. In December 1917, the government of France approved the organization of an autonomous Czech army on French soil. A Czechoslovak rifle regiment, established with volunteers from Russia, Romania, the United States, Italy, and Serbia, went on to fight with the 53rd French Infantry Division. 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. 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 institute and distributed by the Czechoslovak Recruiting Office in New York.

Last updated: January 27, 2014