During World War I, the U.S. government, contractors, and advertisers alike printed large quantities of posters in order to deliver a variety of propaganda messages to the general public. Because they were printed in large numbers, vintage war posters can be more affordable than you might expect.
Even though the United States would not enter World War I until 1917, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915 prompted artist Fred Spear to create one of the most famous posters of that era. Titled "Enlist," the color lithograph features a mother cradling her child as both sink into the briny deeps—the call to action, ENLIST, is rendered on the poster in large, blocky letters.
Two years later, with the nation fully engaged in the European conflict, artist James Montgomery Flagg riffed on a famous British war-recruitment poster of the day to create his "I Want You For U.S. Army" poster. More than four million copies of the iconic image were reproduced during World War I alone, ensuring Flagg’s place in history as the creator of, and model for, the most famous likeness of Uncle Sam.
Another type of vintage World War I recruiting poster featured appeals to women, such as Edward Penfield’s "Yes sir, I am here!" which shows an earnest young woman standing at attention, saluting, and reporting for duty in the Motor Corps of America. The Christy Girl posters, named for their illustrator, Howard Chandler Christy, used smiling, mildly provocative women clad in men’s uniforms to encourage men to enlist in the Navy and Marines.
The vintage war posters of World War II expanded the appeals of patriotism and service to country. Posters encouraged Americans to plant Victory Gardens, to conserve fuel by walking to the store, and to buy war bonds ("Give War Bonds for Christmas" instructs a simple green-and-red, holly-leaf-decorated poster from the U.S. Government Printing Office).
J. Howard Miller’s "We Can Do It!" is perhaps the most famous vintage poster from that period. Published by Westinghouse, it features an illustration of a young female factory worker wearing a red-and-white polka dot headscarf and rolling up the sleeve of her blue work shirt. The woman in the poster is often referred as Rosie the Riveter, but the image was actually taken from a wire-service photograph of a 17-year-old named Geraldine Hoff.
Another category of World War II poster was unabashedly ideological and unapologetically tough in its depiction of the enemy. Karl Koehler and Victor Ancona won an award for thei...
If the Germans were depicted as evil madmen, the Japanese were portrayed as bucktoothed and inhuman drones. Flagg updated his World War I recruitment poster to create a hatless, muscular Uncle Sam, wrench in hand, with the words "JAP… You’re Next!" above his head. And Douglas Aircraft Company produced numerous unflattering caricatures of the Japanese to encourage its employees to conserve materials, lest they play into the hands of the enemy.
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Photos: Major milestone as steel sections added to arena siteEdmonton Journal, September 30th
Images: American propaganda posters from the First World War. During the First World War, posters were commonly used by all sides of the conflict to rally support... Visit Site ». Most Popular News. Most Read; E-mailed. 'We missed it': Edmonton Oilers...Read more
Air Canada cracks down on oversized carry-on baggage – would you pass the ...Saskatoon StarPhoenix, September 30th
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful...Read more
Photos: Firefighters battle basement fireRegina Leader-Post, September 30th
No one was injured after fire broke out in the basement of a house in North Central Regina this morning. The fire department was called to the bungalow at 1431 Robinson St. at 9:33 a.m.. September 30, 2014. Tweet. Previous. Next ...Read more
Images: American propaganda posters from the First World WarCanada.com, September 26th
During the First World War, posters were commonly used by all sides of the conflict to rally support for the government. The posters would typically appeal to citizens' sense of loyalty and patriotism. The United States didn't enter the war until April...Read more
World War I revisited in posters and mapsBoston Globe, September 25th
A selection of war posters from different countries are part of the “Over There! Posters from different countries are presented in “Over Here” at the Boston Athenaeum. The war to end all wars, didn't. What it did do, eventually, was inspire many...Read more
Vintage posters add pop of color, sliver of history to a roomLA Daily News, September 18th
And although the war posters pack powerful messages, many sport humorous and to-the-point messages that Shapiro and those who venture into his office appreciate. “I am attracted to the patriotic and industrial themes and imagery, appreciating them in...Read more
Posters of the First World War on display at Huntington LibraryGlendale News Press, September 15th
The era's war posters appeared on public transportation, store windows, magazines and walls. The artifacts in the show are linked to the Huntington's history. Charles Leonard Heartwell (1869-1941) was a financial and civic leader in Long Beach, and he ...Read more
WW I Posters Shine at Davison Art Center ExhibitWesleyan Connection (blog), September 10th
of the rival powers adopted extensive advertising campaigns to recruit for the military, encourage domestic war work (including encouraging women to be factory workers) and raise money essential for this new “total” war. Posters soon covered train...Read more