World War One Recruitment Posters

I love looking at the material culture of the First World War as well as reading the rhetoric of the period. These recruitment posters are a good example of how men were convinced to enlist in the armed forces. Guilt and comraderie seem to have been used in equal measure.

This is an Australian poster–note the soldier’s “digger” hat and the ghostly figures of men dressed as athletes and ranchers in the background.

Here’s a Canadian poster. Kaiser is emphasized, as if at any moment the Kaiser planned to invade Canada, perhaps to increase the sense of threat to a country that had an ocean separating them from all Fronts of the war. The famous poem “In Flanders Fields” was written by Canadian surgeon John McCrae.

During World War One, Ireland was still ruled by England, and home rule had been delayed by the war. Many Irish served in the British army already, and more joined up in the hope that it would further the cause of independence from England. At the Somme, the 36th Ulster Division suffered 5,500 casualties, while being the only division to achieve their objective on the first day of battle.

A now-iconic symbol for American recruitment.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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4 Responses to World War One Recruitment Posters

  1. Louisa Edwards says:

    Those are fantastic! And effective, I feel kind of misty, moisty patriotic right now. Although I have to say, the American poster does the least for me. I think the lion one is the most effective. Ah, symbolism!

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    I like the style of the art from that period, especially.

  3. Kytaira says:

    I'll try to scan a couple that we have at work. I know one is a WWI, the others may actually be WWII.

  4. Victoria Janssen says:

    That would be most interesting, thank you!

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