Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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World War I Posters

The hostilities of World War I began in July 1914 drawing in the great powers of the era – France, Great Britain and Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary.  The United States tried to remain neutral, but was not immune to the outcomes of fighting, such as the sinking of Lusitania, the Zimmerman telegraph or unrestricted submarine warfare.  These events began to hold sway over public opinion as did the call for recruitment and support through posters.

 

Posters either as propaganda, advertising or illustrative art brought forth the ideas and values of a nation.  Artist Joseph Pernell put it best: “When the United States wished to make public its wants, whether of men or money, it found that art – as the European countries have found – was the best medium.”

 

This exhibit highlights these tools of mass communication before radio, television or the internet.