War is dependent on human bodies, but convincing people to voluntarily risk their freedom and safety is extraordinarily difficult. Trench warfare and technological advances in machinery and chemical weapons made WWI remarkably traumatic. With most Americans favoring the policy of neutrality, sophisticated justifications for war were needed to recruit soldiers, nurses, and military personnel, especially after Congress declared war on April 6, 1917. In response, WWI propaganda posters generally relied on patriotic themes, emotional appeals to pride and shame, and sanitized representations of conflict in which specific enemies and blood are largely absent. Indeed, what is missing in the posters is oftentimes as significant as the material shown. For instance, despite making significant sacrifices, the service of African Americans is entirely omitted in the posters of this collection, a clear sign of prevailing racist sentiments from the period. All told, the United States contributed over 4 million men and women to WWI, with 110,000 Americans dying as a result.

The U.S. Marines Want You
U.S. Marines
First in the Fight
U.S. Marines First to Fight in France
Rally ‘Round the Flag
First to Fight
Spirit of 1917
The Navy Needs You!
Over There
Gee I wish I Were a Man
Enlist in the Navy
Your Country Needs You
A Wonderful Opportunity
All Together!
He is Getting Our Country’s Signal
Columbia Calls
The Call to Duty
The Father of Our Country
Pro Patria!
U.S. Army Signal Corps
Uphold our Honor
Join the Air Service
Don’t Wait for the Draft
Make the World Safe
The Camp Library is Yours
The Spirit of America
Wanted 25,000 Student Nurses
We Need You
The Late Lord Roberts’ Stirring Words
Be a Sportsman
British Subjects It is Your Duty to Enlist
Britishers Enlist Today