Humanitarians and He-Men: Recruitment Posters and the Masculine Ideal

TitleHumanitarians and He-Men: Recruitment Posters and the Masculine Ideal
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAlbrink, Meg
EditorJames, Pearl
Book TitlePicture This: World War I Posters and Visual Culture
PublisherUniversity of Nebraska Press
CityLincoln, NE

The First World War was waged through the participation not just of soldiers but of men, women, and children on the home front. Mass-produced, full-color, large-format war posters were both a sign and an instrument of this historic shift in warfare. War posters celebrated the modernity of the conflict. They also reached an enormous international audience through their prominent display and continual reproduction in pamphlets and magazines in every combatant nation. Most war posters were aimed particularly at civilian populations. Posters nationalized, mobilized, and modernized those populations, thereby influencing how they viewed themselves and their activities. The home-front life became, through the viewing of posters, emblematic of national identity and of each citizen's place within the collective effort to win the war. This chapter reveals the centrality of visual media, particularly the poster, within the specific national contexts of Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States during World War I.

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