World War I was the first conflict in which the illustrated color lithographic poster was available, and combatants struggled to make this instrument of mass persuasion effective. Enlistment was one of the key early areas of experimentation, and recruiting yield was carefully monitored.
Howard Chandler Christy’s famous recruiting posters took the approach of appealing to male pride, as seen in this sexy poster classic. It was so effective it would be reused in WWII– although the role of women would generally be portrayed less stereotypically in the later war, focusing on women’s roles in factories, relief efforts, and the armed forces.
See a variety of recruiting posters in our current gallery exhibition: Paper Wars.