Shall We Be More Tender

Title Shall We Be More Tender
Creator Edwards & Deutsch Litho. Co.
Date 1917
Format 20 x 30 in
Description This poster printed by the Edwards & Deutsch Litho. Co. combines several culturally meaningful words and images to convince viewers to support the war effort by purchasing war bonds. “Shall we be more tender with our dollars than with the lives of our sons?” was a rhetorical question asked by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury W.G. McAdoo. In asking if people valued money over the lives of the nation’s children, McAdoo’s words confront audiences with a potent ethical obligation to support the war that was used in multiple posters. The text is complemented visually with the inclusion of two youthful white soldiers, one dressed in a naval uniform holding a knife and a flyer, the other in army attire holding an American flag and jubilantly raising a hat. The appeal to parental instinct may also be found in the unique facial features of the men which communicate both adult strength and childhood innocence. Their squared jaws and sharply defined brows are balanced with rosy cheeks and a porcelain finish. Despite their physical maturity and attractiveness, as the flyer makes clear, these soldiers still “depend on you,” as if children.
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