For Home and Country

Title For Home and Country
Creator Alfred Everett Orr
Date 1918
Format 30 x 40 in
Description Artist Alfred Everitt Orr created this engaging poster for a Liberty Loan campaign in 1918. The U.S. government opted to finance the war primarily through voluntary bond purchases rather than taxation, making publicity posters such as Orr’s especially important. The striking red text at the top states the war’s aim simply: “For Home and Country.” The image emphasizes what the soldier is fighting for: his home and family; the wife he embraces and the small son he carries. The composition reinforces the family’s loving closeness. The pastel colors of the wife’s dress underline her femininity, as does the adoring upward gaze she offers her decorated husband. She fondles with her left hand a military medal featuring a cross, perhaps the Distinguished Service Cross, which certainly implies the soldier husband’s bravery. The battered helmet, suspended from a string around his neck, further reminds the viewer that this man is a soldier who has faced combat; indeed, the curvature of the helmet suggests that this is perhaps a war trophy taken from a German soldier. Both text and image offer viewers a compelling reason to support the liberty loan drive: for their home and country. The first four massive Liberty Loan campaigns raised an estimated two-thirds of the cost of the war.

By Dr. Lynn Dumenil, author of The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I.

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