Historians claimed that the imperialism, nationalism and alliances of countries were among the primary causes of the World War I (otherwise known as The Great World War, The First World War or simply WW1). Although its causes were diverse, it was foremost ignited by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, and his wife on June 28, 1914 at Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. The war was fought from 1914 to 1918 between the Allied Powers (France, the British Empire, Italy and the United States of America) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire).
Joining the First World War incited much disagreement among the constituents of participating countries. Oneness of the people’s minds to join a war was impossible to achieve. Aaron Delwiche wrote in his article, Of Fraud and Force Fast Woven: Domestic Propaganda During the First World War at www. propagandacritic. com website, “the absence of public unity was a primary concern when America entered the war on April 6, 1917”.
Thus, gaining public approval was one of the primary agenda in the planning tables of participating countries in order to get public support for their wartime efforts. And what was found to be a valuable tool is the use of propaganda posters. This paper seeks to analyze and understand the use of propaganda posters particularly that of the United States and Germany. Propaganda Posters of the Allied Powers The Greatest Mother In The World By Alonzo Earl Foringer, USA (Source: http://www. royalalbertamuseum. ca/vexhibit/warpost/english/post22. htm) This poster was one of the famous Red Cross posters during the war.
It is symbolic and reminiscent of Michaelagelo’s renaissance sculpture — Pieta (Mary holding the dead Christ in her arms) as it featured a Red Cross nurse holding an injured soldier. The poster which is both visual and verbal in context intends to recruit volunteers in the Red Cross during the war. First Call By James Montgomery Flagg, USA (Source: http://www. library. georgetown. edu/dept/speccoll/amposter. htm) This is another version of Flagg’s famous “I Want You” poster.
It shows Uncle Sam with his finger pointed at the poster’s viewer, stating ardently “I Need You in the Navy this Minute! Our Country will always be proudest of those who answered the FIRST CALL“. The illustrator of this poster transformed Uncle Sam’s characterization as an imposing and responsible being from what is commonly perceived as an adoring and flaccid old man. The poster was obviously aims to recruit men for enlistment in the US Navy. Propaganda Posters of the Central Powers Poster No. 2 By von Schauroth, Germany (Source: http://www. firstworldwar.com/posters/germany. htm)
The poster showed three soldiers vigilantly positioned in a trench of a battlefield. In this poster, German propagandist attempts to get the nation’s support and sympathy by providing a picture of a real-life situation of the German soldiers in the war fronts. German texts translate: Offering for the Army and Navy (Lower texts, To Donate Money: Theaterplace 14, Office 5). Unlike the United States of America’s strategy of seeking war funds from the public through subscription of liberty bonds, Germany did it as a way of ‘donation’.