1914 - 1918

THE POSTER 

National WWI Museum and Memorial

Visual Persuasion in World War I

Back Our Girls Over There - Poster, Clarence F. Underwood, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
The Power of Images
In World War I, the poster, previously the successful medium of commercial advertising, was recognized as a means of spreading national propaganda with near unlimited possibilities. Its value was increasingly appreciated; the poster could impress an idea quickly, vividly and lastingly.
"I Want You For the U.S. Army", James Montgomery Flagg, 1917/1917, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Duty
Some posters during the war relied on the viewers' sense of duty to convey a message, appealing to a person's desire to take direct action in the conflict. In 1917, James Montgomery Flagg created one of the most recognizable American poster from the war, a painting of Uncle Sam in his own likeness. Posters like this encouraged men and women on all sides of the war to serve their countries.
"I Want You For the U.S. Army", James Montgomery Flagg, 1917/1917, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Join the Air Service and Serve in France, J. Paul Verrees, 1917, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Back Our Girls Over There - Poster, Clarence F. Underwood, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"Clear to Fire" - German WWI Poster, Ludwig Hohlwein, 1915, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Which? Soldier or Mechanic, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Military poster promoting work of stevedores, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"I Want You for the Navy", 20th Century, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Vaterlandspende - German WWI Poster, Louis Oppenheim, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Sentimentality
Other posters appealed to the viewers' emotions: their national pride, honor or sentimentality, speaking to their desire to help their fellow citizens and families. 
Vaterlandspende - German WWI Poster, Louis Oppenheim, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
If Ye Break Faith - Canadian WWI Poster, 1914/1919, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Lest They Perish, Poster, W.B. King, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Kriegsanleihe Austrian War Loan - Poster, Oswald Hengst, 1917, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
If Ye Break Faith With Them Who Die, N.P. Nikolocki, 1919, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Don't Worry, He is Alright - Poster, L. Foshko, Jewish Welfare Board, 1918-11-11, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"On Behalf of the National Charity and Food Committee" WWI Poster, 1916, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Algerian Company, French WWI Poster, 1914/1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"Our Soldiers in Siberia!" Poster, War Savings Stamps, Petrty, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
The Fatherless Children of France, 1914/1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Enlist - Poster, Fred Spear, Boston Public Safety Committee, Sackett and Wilhelms Corp., NY, 1915-06, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Fear
Other posters capitalized on more violent emotions, especially fear and anger at the enemy. In the United States, posters began to make their appeals to the “American sense of right and wrong” long before the country officially entered the war in April 1917. Posters urged the country to prepare and, after the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, to enlist.
Enlist - Poster, Fred Spear, Boston Public Safety Committee, Sackett and Wilhelms Corp., NY, 1915-06, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Keep These off the U.S.A., John Norton, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
? [Question Mark] Australian WWI Poster, Norman Lindsay, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"Tuberculosis must be defeated like the most vile reptile" - French WWI Poster, Dorival, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"5 1/2% Military Loan" Russian WWI Poster, 1916, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
“Posters literally deluged the country,” said one American observer. 
“On every city street, along the rural highways, the posters were to be found repeating their insistent messages day and night.” British historian Martin Hardie also wrote in 1920 that “it was inevitable that posters should be among the first munitions of war.” 
U-Boot Spende [Submarine Appeal] - Poster, P. Dienst, 1914/1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
"5 1/2% Military Loan" Russian WWI Poster, 1916, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
The Unprotected Hour - Poster, Henri Montassier, 1917, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
Per La Liberta e la Civilta' del Mondo - Italian War Loan Poster, Dudovich Marcello, 1918, From the collection of: National WWI Museum and Memorial
National WWI Museum and Memorial
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Curator of Education: Lora Vogt
Digital Content Manager: Liesl Christman
Senior Curator: Doran Cart
Registrar: Stacie Petersen
Director, Archives and Edward Jones Research Center: Jonathan Casey

Made possible in part by the generous support of the William T. Kemper Foundation, the Regnier Family Foundation and the David T. Beals, III Charitable Trust.

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