Propaganda Posters From the First World War
The years 1914-1918 mark the centenary of World War I, the most devastating global war in history. In the United States alone, over 4,000,000 military personnel were mobilized and more than 100,000 were killed. Virtually everyone was affected by the war in some way. In recognition of this important event in history, GRPM has selected posters from its permanent collection that demonstrate important issues at the heart of the war efforts.
Posters were a central way for the government to communicate with the public during World War I. The major themes of the posters were: patriotism and justifying the war, the recruitment of men and women for military and labor forces, raising money and resources as well as managing standards of behavior during a time when life was highly unpredictable. Through creative and symbolic graphics with bold messages, posters were considered a force in gaining support and uniting the public in the wartime efforts.
As you view these posters, reflect on the methods employed in creating them. How do the fonts, the word choice and images reinforce the intended message? Do these posters evoke a mood or emotion? Do any of the ideas in these posters conflict with the social and cultural norms of the time?