World War I Propaganda 100 Years On

100 years ago this month, hostilities broke out in the most hellish war the world had seen at the time.  Naively, we thought that this was the “War to End All Wars,” as though the memory of atrocity and suffering were the best safeguard against it!  Here is some World War I propaganda various nations used to incite people to participate in throwing away lives for no reason. What will the propaganda inciting people to participate in throwing away lives for no reason look like in our next war?

See more propaganda on a previous post here.

Head over to WW1 for the entire collection.

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Kowality Jesus

Kowality Jesus

One of the coolest people within a radius of 100 yards.A recent Catholic convert, but longtime witness and believer.
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15 Comments on "World War I Propaganda 100 Years On"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Jul 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm |

    without question
    the Wilson presidency marks the complete takeover
    of the gruberment of the US
    and the implimentation of Bernays’ media manipulation techniques
    by the oligarchs
    it also marks the beginnings of electric media for the masses

  2. Echar Lailoken | Jul 16, 2014 at 10:48 pm |

    Even though those are propaganda, they sure look fantastic. The middle two are stunning.

  3. Number1Framer | Jul 17, 2014 at 12:19 am |

    Stuff like this occasionally comes through the gallery for framing (along with Ronald Reagan cigarette ads from magazines). The old styles of visual manipulation had a certain flare you don’t see these days. Nowadays it’s all about inciting a feeling of technological awe (LOOKIT THE BIG BOAT YOU CAN BE ON AND COOL HELICOPTERS YOU CAN FLY IF YOU SIGN UP!!!) or idealizing the military as a rite of passage into manhood (photo of single soldier walking away silhouetted by setting desert sun). Not to mention the WW1 examples above were all hand drawn multi-plate/stone lithographs that required artistry rather than a marketing degree. I love the nostalgic National Forest graphic style that hasn’t changed in forever despite technology:

    • I know just what you mean about the graphics. I sell art prints, including a lot of posters from around the turn of the 20th century, but I tend to steer away from the military stuff. I favorite are the art nouveau.

      Propaganda posters always make me a little sad. They present these idyllic images of people coming together for a greater good. You can’t help but identify with them, and yet you know that the real purpose of the image is something much darker than what you’re being shown.

      Here are a couple from my shop that I like. The first is a 1918 advertisement for a war loan published in Austria-Hungary which bears the slogan “Peace Through Victory”—the empire would cease to exist only months later. The guy who designed the Soviet one was “disappeared” by Stalin, leaving his wife to wonder for years what became of him.

      • kowalityjesus | Jul 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm |

        I think Austria has the best propaganda of WWI. I’m falling for their propaganda (and women) right now.

      • Number1Framer | Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm |

        I’ve always liked the harsh shapes and austere color schemes of the Soviet and Asian Communist ones. They’re much more adept at promoting a feeling of “LET’S GO!” excitement in the viewer whereas the European ones are softer-edged and tend to tug at your pity strings a bit with scenes of tragedy and devastation.

  4. ‘What will the propaganda inciting people to participate in throwing away lives for no reason look like in our next war?’

    • Number1Framer | Jul 17, 2014 at 2:03 am |

      Genius. Perhaps People ‘magazine’ will do a listicle of the world’s 20 sexiest jihadists at some point (for ladies who like the “bad boys”).

  5. swabby429 | Jul 17, 2014 at 7:46 am |

    Niche propaganda is incredibly interesting and visually absorbing. Propaganda from the 19th Century, the World Wars, and Soviet posters are fascinating.

  6. erte4wt4etrg | Jul 17, 2014 at 11:37 am |


  7. Liam_McGonagle | Jul 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

    Lord Kitchener:

    “More men and still more until the enemy is crushed!”

    The vaguely Freddie-Mercury-esque ring of that catch phrase is enhanced when you remember Kitchener’s reputation for buggery–and the ‘stache.!/image/1558888184.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/1558888184.jpg

    But besides that, WTF was he really trying to say? “We will drown the enemy in the blood of our martyrs!!!”?

    Kind of makes you wonder what side this fellow was working for. I mean, in the war.

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