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Designing for Victory 1914-1945

November 15, 2007 - February 3, 2008


The stirring image of an airplane flying through a red sky over a pair of "doughboys" is one glimpse into the past from the exhibition "Designing for Victory 1914-1945: Posters from the U.S Army Heritage and Education Center," which will be on display in the Bowman and Kerstein Galleries from November 15, 2007 to February 3, 2008. (right: Elmo White, "Invent for Victory", c.1944, offset photomechanical poster, 28 x 20 inches)

"[W]arring nations enlisted the commercial poster as a primary means to communicate their needs to the public. ... Mass produced and widely disseminated, the war poster emerged during the first half of the [20th] century as a powerful communications tool," according to the program written for this comprehensive exhibition of vintage posters from World War I and II.

All of the posters are on loan from U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) and the Carlisle Barracks. This exhibition explores how artists and government agencies used these posters to justify wars, bolster morale and persuade citizens to enlist for combat, buy war bonds, conserve vital resources, and accept sacrifices and losses.

The posters demonstrate how artists "did their part" during the wars and reveal the transformation of graphic design from the Beaux-Arts tradition of the early 20th century to the comic-book and movie-poster style of the 1940s. The artists whose work appears on the posters include some familiar names like Howard Chandler Christy and Norman Rockwell. The pieces chosen for "Designing for Victory" were produced all over the world with examples from the United States, Germany, Great Britain, France, Canada, China and Russia.

Roger Durham, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center museum director, says "We are fortunate that so many posters survive because they are objects of history that open a small window into another time," adding that these works of art were designed to inspire the citizenry, but not necessarily designed to last. (left: Albert Sterner, "We Need You", 1918, offset lithographic poster, 37 x 24 1/2 inches)

The Army Heritage and Education Center (AHEC) is the nation's center for preserving and interpreting the American Soldiers' stories and "Telling the Army story, one Soldier at a time." AHEC offers historical archives, exhibits and educational programs. The AHEC Military History Institute is a publicly available research center for soldiers' photos, personal papers, plans and reports. The AHEC will expand exhibition and education opportunities in the Visitors and Education Center in 2007, and expects to open the AHEC Museum in 2010. For more information, visit www.carlisle.army.mil/ahec.

This exhibition is organized by The U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center and The Trout Gallery


Object labels from the exhibition

1. Artist unknown
Gov. Stephens Proclaims Squirrel Week Apr. 29 - May 4 . . .
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, c. 1918
During World War I, the United States government was concerned that the abundance of squirrels would destroy the grain crop that was needed to feed American and Allied soldiers. The need for wheat was so great that the government recommended that each family do without it for at least one day a week. The Rodent Control Division produced this poster to ask California citizens to assist in the population control of squirrels. As part of the effort, children were given poisoned barley to feed to the squirrels.
2. Artist unknown
Fats are Fuel for Fighters . . .
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, c. 1917
The War Production Board asked housewives to save house fats for the war effort because 10% of those fats were glycerin, which was a vital component in the production of explosives. The scene included in this poster shows troops in a World War I trench using a trench scope to scan the battlefield.
3. L. N. Britton
Eat More Fish, Eggs, Cheese, Poultry: Save the Meat for the Boys at the Front
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, c. 1917
The United States Food Administration encouraged Americans to eat more fish and poultry products so that red meat could be sent overseas to the troops. This poster depicts a setting of turkey, eggs, fish, and cheese with the meat noticeably absent. The wide rectangular shape of the poster indicates that it was designed for display in trolley cars.
4. Wallace Morgan
Feed a Fighter; Eat Only What You Need
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, c. 1917
This United States Food Administration poster urges Americans to conserve their food resources for the American troops fighting overseas.
5. Artist unknown
Are You Breaking the Law? Patriotic Canadians Will Not Hoard Food
Offset lithographic poster
Canada, c. 1917
Posters issued by the Canada Food Board encouraged citizens to conserve food products for export to Britain. Food stuffs such as flour and sugar were rationed, and anyone caught hoarding these items was subject to fine and/or imprisonment.
6. Elmo White
Invent for Victory . . .
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, c. 1942
During World War II, the National Inventors Council worked with the Department of Commerce in an effort to solicit useful ideas and inventions from the American public. The poster depicts tank blueprints on a drafting board, with various military vehicles and machines filling the background. Between 1941 and 1945, over 300,000 war planes and 124,000 ships were built, as were millions of trucks and other essential vehicles.
7. Norman Rockwell
Let's Give Him Enough and On Time
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, 1942
A ragged World War II G.I. crouches behind his machine gun, firing and running out of ammunition. Rockwell's image appeals to all Americans to support the war effort by producing more supplies and equipment for the United States Army. A massive effort was needed to meet the production goals announced by President Franklin Roosevelt in January 1942. Weapons, munitions, vehicles, uniforms, and thousands of other supplies were required to equip and maintain the soldiers. 600,000 contractors at a cost of 68 billion dollars worked to outfit the troops.
8. Maginel Wright Enright Barney
War Gardens Over the Top
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, c. 1917
Maginel Wright Enright Barney, sister of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, designed this poster to support the food conservation efforts during World War I. After men and munitions, food was the most important resource for an army. Twenty million Americans signed food pledges to help conserve food for the Allied forces in Europe.
9. Albert Sterner
We Need You
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1918
This Red Cross recruiting poster encouraged young professional women to care for wounded servicemen. When Germany invaded Belgium in 1914, the relief ship Red Cross left New York with surgeons, medical supplies, and 120 nurses. By October 1, 1918, over 14,000 nurses had been assigned to the United States Army.
10. Paul J. Veerees
Join the Air Service and Serve in France
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1917
This poster was designed by Paul J. Veerees, a Belgian soldier who was wounded early in the war and later emigrated to the United States. Working as an illustrator in New York, Veerees created this bold image of a Curtis Jenny aeroplane flying low while doughboys scan the horizon. In December 1917, there were fourteen volunteer American pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille for France. When this poster and others like it were exhibited, 38,000 men volunteered to join the newly formed United States Army Air Service.
11. McClelland Barclay, USNR
Sub Spotted; Let 'Em Have It
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, c. 1942
World War II artist and Naval Reservist McClelland Barclay created this U.S. Navy recruiting poster showing the Blue Jackets dropping depth charges. Barclay designed many of the recruitment posters for the U.S. Navy. On July 18, 1943, Barclay was aboard LST­342 sketching and taking photographs for posters when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Barclay and most of the crew perished.
12. Steele Savage
For Your Country's Sake Today . . .
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, c. 1944
This full color recruitment poster depicts four young women wearing the uniforms of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. On May 14, 1942, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was established to support the war effort. With the encouragement of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Navy authorized a Women's Naval Reserve and Women's Marine Corps Reserve. The Coast Guard followed shortly after with the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).
13. D. Charles Fouqueray
Journée de l'Armée d`Afrique et des Troupes Colonials
(African Army and Colonial Troops Day)
Offset lithographic poster
France, 1917
French Moroccan troops lead the charge in a World War I battle, while Moroccan Cavalry of an earlier time are symbolically pictured in the background. During World War I, the army that fought under General Leclerc in North Africa and Italy was made up largely of Africans, including Moroccans. Of the 212,000 French Africans recruited during World War I, 163,000 served on the Western Front. Approximately 30,000 of these soldiers died for France during the war. The Arabic text on the poster reads, "In the Path of Truth with France."
14. E. V. Kealey
Women of Britain Say ­ "Go!"
Offset lithographic poster
Great Britain, 1915
A mother and son look out the window with the family governess as soldiers march away. During the first world war, it was the duty of men to join the military to protect the country, while the women stayed behind to care for the home and children.
15. Fred Spear
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1915
When the Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland by German Submarine U­20, two of its victims, a mother with a three-month old child clasped tightly in her arms, washed ashore. The mother and child became a symbol of German brutality and a rallying cry for American involvement in the war.
16. Artist unknown
True Sons of Freedom, Colored Men; The First Americans Who Planted Our Flag on the Firing Line
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1918
This World War I poster shows a group of African- American doughboys fighting the German Army in the trenches of Europe. Abraham Lincoln appears in the clouds and looks upon the soldiers with admiration and approval. By the end of the war, 404,348 African-Americans served in the United States Army.
17. George M. Richards
Oh Boy That's the Girl! . . .
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1918
This poster represents an appeal by the United War Work Campaign for contributions to fund the Salvation Army in Europe. Even though the war was over by the time the poster was produced, the large occupation force that was still overseas required the support of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army was known for its compassion as well as its doughnuts, a treat that the charity made popular during World War I.
18. Jules Abel Faivre
3e. Emprunt de la Défense Nationale
(3rd National Defense Bond)
Offset lithographic poster
France, c. 1917
A French soldier, or poilu, plants the flag of Liberty into French soil as the blood of Europe flows off the world. The word poilu in French literally means "hairy one," an affectionate term applied to French soldiers.
19. G. Haale
Ausstellung van Plakanten für die 8. Kriegsanleihe (Poster Exhibition for the 8th War Bond)
Offset lithographic poster
Germany, c. 1917
This poster promotes an exhibition of war posters as part of a fundraising effort to sell war bonds. It features a uniformed German sketching the battlefield while stationed in his trench.
20. J. Carl Mueller
Hero Land; The Greatest Spectacle the World Has Ever Seen . . .
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1917
In order to raise money for the war effort, one hundred National War Relief Organizations came together to create Hero Land, a nineteen-day, multi-floor spectacle held at the Grand Central Palace in New York City. Hero Land included an exact reproduction of the Hindenburg trenches, a variety of government war exhibits, a complete floor redesigned to look like the streets of Baghdad, athletic contests, restaurants, three movies, ice skating, a host of celebrities performing music and dance shows, submarine divers demonstrating undersea mining, and an actual tank recreating a battle from the French front. Hero Land attracted more than 250,000 visitors and generated $400,000 for war relief.
21. Offelmeyer
9te Zeichnet Kriegsanleihe! Subscribe to the 9th War Bond!
Offset lithographic poster
Germany, 1918
A German aviator with goggles sits in the open cockpit of his Fokker aeroplane and points to an appeal for monetary contributions to help support the war effort.
22. Ellsworth Young
Remember Belgium; Buy Bonds
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1918
During World War I, Allied Nations relied on images and accounts of German atrocities to motivate their citizens to participate in the war effort. In this scene, the silhouetted German soldier with his thick Kaiser mustache drags a young girl away while the ruins of the city burn in the background.
23. Howard Chandler Christy
Americans All! Victory Liberty Loan
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, 1919
Lady Columbia places a laurel wreath above an Honor Roll of fallen American soldiers. The variety of names on the wall illustrates the ethnic diversity of the American forces. Over 400,000 first generation Americans served in the military during World War I. Although the war had been over for more than five months when the Victory Liberty Loan was established, the two million American soldiers still in Europe required support until they could return home.
24. H. R. Hopps
Destroy This Mad Brute
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, 1916
In this recruiting poster, a King Kong-type gorilla wears a German World War I helmet and holds a bloody club with the word "Kultur" inscribed on its shaft. The ape carries a fainting young maiden in its arms as it steps onto the American shore. The ruins of Europe in the background suggest that the same fate awaits the United States if no action is taken. This dehumanized figure left a lasting impression on the German public. The ape image would reappear later in a Nazi poster as a symbol of Allied intolerance.
25. Maurice Neumont
La Guerre est L'Industrie Nationale del al Prusse
(War is the National Industry of Prussia)
Offset lithographic poster
France, 1914
The German military, represented here as a gigantic octopus, ensnares all of Europe with its tentacles in this World War I French poster. The text on the poster highlights the rise of German militarism in Europe and Asia Minor from 1715 to 1914.
26. Artist unknown
Darf Belgien; Englands Aufmarschgebiet Werden?
(Should Belgium Be Allowed to Become England's Operational Base?)
Offset lithographic poster
Germany, n.d.
A large map of Western Europe shows possible paths for English and French forces to invade Germany. As part of this invasion, the poster suggests that England will use an under-Channel tunnel (then unbuilt) to move its troops into Calais. The German industrial centers are pictured in flames with estimates of how long it will take the invading troops to reach each area.
27. Artist unknown
The Delusion of Grandeur of Wilhelm II
Offset lithographic poster
Russia, 1914
This anti-Kaiser poster depicts a straight-jacketed
Wilhelm II drooling over the world. The poem reads:
The globe you covered with blood
Without even blinking a brow,
So many souls you have wasted,
So many families you have ravaged.
But the day of reckoning has arrived.
We will now teach you a lesson,
And warm you up with a jacket,
And shave off your mustache,
And put a cap on your dome,
And put you in chains.
28. Ben Shahn
This Is Nazi Brutality
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, 1942
In reprisal for the assassination of S.S. Leader Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazis shot all 172 men and boys over the age of sixteen in the town of Lidice, Czechoslovakia. The women and ninety-nine children were sent to concentration camps; the other more German-looking children were taken to Nazi orphanages. The town of Lidice was completely destroyed and removed from the map. In this poster, a hooded and chained civilian from Lidice awaits his execution.
29. Artist unknown
This Is the Enemy
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, 1943
Charged with educating the public about the beliefs and policies of the Axis powers, the Office of War Information created a series of posters that illustrated the evils of the Nazi regime. In this example, a Nazi soldier plunges his "dagger of honor" into the Bible. The swastika, seen on the soldier's sleeve, is an ancient symbol derived from the Sanskrit word, svastika, meaning good luck. Appearing throughout history with largely positive associations, the swastika was transformed in the twentieth century to a symbol of evil when it was associated with Nazi atrocities.
30. Artist unknown
Warning! Our Homes Are in Danger Now!
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, 1942
Emotional appeals, especially the fear of imminent attack, proved effective in poster design during World War I and World War II. The Oldsmobile Division of General Motors produced this poster of Hitler and Yamamoto poised to attack and divide the United States. The text calls on Americans to work to support their troops and implies that failure will produce dire results.
31. Glenn Ernest Grohe
He's Watching You
Offset photomechanical poster
United States of America, 1942
Recognizing the possibility that saboteurs and spies were present in American society, the government created a series of posters encouraging the public to remain vigilant and to watch what they said about the war effort. In this image, a sinister looking soldier wearing a German Stahlhelm M16 steel helmet surreptitiously peers over a wall at the viewer. Under the Nazi regime, the German helmet became an icon of military prowess and national pride, while for the Allies it functioned as a symbol of menacing evil.
32. E. McKnight Kauffer
Luchamos por la Libertad de Todos
(We Fight for the Freedom of All)
Offset lithographic poster
United States of America, c. 1942
A helmeted Lady Liberty, stylistically transformed into the American flag, conveys the message that the United States is fighting the war for the protection of all the Americas. While Latin America remained militarily neutral during World War II, most of its countries contributed to the Allied war effort and severed their diplomatic relations with the Axis powers.
33. Walter Ditz
Helden von der Front Seid Herzlich Willkommen!
(Heroes Back from the Front! Your Fatherland Greets You!)
Germany, 1918­1919
Offset lithographic poster
A small child, the symbol of Munich, welcomes veterans returning from World War I. By the autumn of 1918, the German Army was no longer able to continue fighting. Germany's political leadership petitioned the Allies for an armistice, which was granted only after a democratic German government was established.
34. Ludwig Hohlwein
Erster Nationalsozialistischer Reichsjugendtag
(First National Socialist Reich's Youth Day )
Offset lithographic poster
Germany, 1932
This pre-war poster depicts a bronzed male figure and the German eagle positioned in front of the Nazi flag . These symbols, which would reappear in numerous German posters during World War II, reflect Adolf Hitler's belief that a new Germania would restore the proud, and ethnically pure, Aryan past. Hitler once remarked, "He alone who owns the youth gains the Future!" In 1923, one thousand boys belonged to the Hitler Youth Movement. By 1939, when Hitler launched World War II, there were more than eight million members.
35. H. Feldtmann
Hift Auch de Bremen Beschützen! Triff Ein in die Stadtweher (Help Defend Bremen! Enlist in the City Defense Service)
Offset lithographic poster
Germany, n.d.
This poster calls on citizens to join the City Defense Service. The outstretched arm holds a shield over Bremen and protects the city from several bolts of lightning, which may symbolize aerial attacks.
36. Artist unknown
The Longer We Fight, the Stronger We Become. The Longer Our Enemy Fights, the Weaker They Become
Offset lithographic poster
China, 1938­1945
The image on this poster shows a Nationalist Chinese soldier standing over fleeing Japanese troops who are encompassed in flames. This poster was made in response to the Japanese invasion of mainland China.
37. Artist unknown
The Closer We Are to Victory, the Harder We Must Struggle
Offset lithographic poster
China, c. 1942
A Chinese soldier, standing in defense with the Nationalist Chinese Sun symbol in background, calls on citizens to remain strong to the finish. The Chinese Army battled the Japanese for fourteen years, beginning with the Mukden Incident on September 18, 1931 and ending with the Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945.

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