These Are The Powerful Posters That Got America Into WW1

WWI Poster

Photo: Library of Congress

Even after the Civil War, Americans retained an affinity for picking up arms to defend their beliefs, but World War I changed that.Trench warfare, poison gas, and new weapons turned the battlefields of WW I into a nightmare of dated tactics, and ordnance no one had ever seen before. It was particularly ugly, and the Americans who fought the war became known as the “Lost Generation“.

So, propoganda was needed to generate support of the conflict and these Library of Congress posters provide us with an insight into this struggle with their collection of over 1900 posters created between 1914 and 1920. 

We selected a few of the posters that show how the U.S. war effort not only attempted to convince males to enlist, but also how it seduced women into working for the Red Cross and those at home into buying ‘Liberty Bonds” to support “our boys.” 

The World War I posters were a call to duty

They lured boys and men with promises of adventure and action

Trying to seduce them to join various branches like the air services

Service members became heroes

While enemies were likened to the devil

Or even worse

And while they fought abroad

The posters targeted women

They too could help

Especially to save the lives of their men

Or to knit socks to keep them warm

Or join a sheep club

Or best of all, buy a liberty loan

Because it gives joy, so buy, buy, buy

And if the depictions of smiling soldiers did not work

The posters brought the big guns: Images of men risking lives

Making it a choice between money or lives

The World War II posters feature soldiers' real enemy

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