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 Recruitment Posters during WWI

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Wed 08 Jan 2014, 08:03

The First World War was by no means the first to harness the tools of advertising in the cause of enlisting men to join armies but the number of countries which became involved and the war's duration meant that the years 1914 to 1918 saw an unprecedented variety and development in the styles, techniques and psychologies mobilised.

In Britain this almost iconic overture to a nation's respect for its military heroes in the form of Lord Kitchener is probably the most famous recruitment poster of all time, the sheer volume of later imitations testament to its simple direct appeal (in both senses of the word).



However the direct approach was by no means the only tactic employed at the time. Another poster in Britain to achieve almost iconic status during the same conflict took the emotional blackmail line, yet another device that has since been utilised in various ways to great effect by warring governments over the years.



And then there's the just plain unadorned plea. In this case the Australian government simply states that it has promised Britain another 50,000 men and asks the reader to consider being one of them. No demand. No blackmail, simply the bald truth of it.



In Germany a direct approach was also favoured - appealing normally to the simple patriotism of a generation many of whose parents were actually older than the country now being referred to as "your fatherland".



Though the German government also went for the everyman approach. Like his British counterpart "Tommy Atkins", "Sturmbataillon Schmidt" was used to convince "the average man" that he too could become a hero simply by enlisting.



In Ireland the approach of the then British administration was understandably cagey in a country where appeals to support "king and country" would have enjoyed a similar trajectory to a lead balloon. However in appealing to Irishmen's patriotism and equating Ireland with the "small nations" like Belgium that Britain was obliged by treaty to defend there is a case to be made that this approach by the British government unintentionally confirmed and even fuelled the seperatist mentality that was to find such violent expression in 1916 and subsequent years.





Any others that have caught your eye?
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Wed 08 Jan 2014, 11:34

There's also the genre of poster that plays on the brutality of the enemy .... whether based on truth:




...... or fiction:



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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Wed 08 Jan 2014, 12:19

How attitudes change. Had this Australian poster appeared at the time of the Vietnam war, it would no doubt have been seen as a bit of satire.


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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Wed 08 Jan 2014, 12:38

Here's an interesting one. Showing a British/Canadian Tommy with a French Poilu, it's designed to appeal to French-Canadians and specifically invokes their own heroes. At the bottom it says: "... don't forget that you are descendants of the soldiers of Montcalm and Lévis ....", an interesting reference since they both fought against the British General James Wolfe who conquered French Quebec for Britain. But I guess in WW1 in order to get the recruits it was judged expedient to pander to Quebecois sympathies and worth taking the risk of stirring up separatist tendancies ... at least until the war was won.



Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 08 Jan 2014, 14:12; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Wed 08 Jan 2014, 13:34

One for the French Army;

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Wed 08 Jan 2014, 13:43

In contrast to the previous posters this one has no image at all, but is just a straightforward list of pay and conditions;

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 12:00

Whereas this one holds up one specific element as exemplars (not even Rugby League lads, though I doubt if one needs three guesses as to why). It is interesting to see that the player is wearing protective headgear, an issue which still divides Union enthusiasts ...

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 13:07

Then there's recruitment specifically directed at short chaps.

At outbreak of war the height requirement was 5ft 3in but this was raised in September to 5ft 6in to try and control the flood of recruits. But as the rate of joining slowed the height minimum was again lowered, first to 5ft 4in in October, and in November to 5ft 3in. The following July, with the Western Front stuck in bloody stalemate, the minimum dropped to 5ft 2in. Finally, recognising the need for even more troops, and lobbied by several MPs as well as men who had themselves been refused on the grounds of their stature, the government dropped the limited to 5ft. At the same time special 'Bantam Battalions' were created in which all the men were between 5ft and 5ft 3in, since it was thought to be more practical if the very shortest men were not in the same units as "normal" men. But in all other respects they were treated the same having the same equipment and serving in the same trenches alongside their taller colleagues ... which occasioned some minor problems, as for instance when the little guys had to cut an extra step up the wall of the trench just to be able to see over the top. 

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 13:32

Exactly who this one was targeted at is a very moot point indeed ...



And this one is even mooter. This lad must have enticed a fair few into the ranks ...

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 13:43

And some recruitment was just plain weird ...

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 13:52

But there was still something very dodgy about US naval recruitment, methinks ...

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:01

At least all those Americans had lovely teeth. Back in Blighty the composer of this recruitment poster tageting cyclists knew what he was up against ...

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:10

@nordmann wrote:


And this one is even mooter. This lad must have enticed a fair few into the ranks ...

.... there was still something very dodgy about US naval recruitment, methinks ...


RAOFL Smile    I quite agree!

And whilst I'm usually a sucker for any guy in uniform, those "chaps" aren't really my type, though as you say I'm sure they encouraged quite a few ....

Now this one is much more appealing:



..... although I really think he should have as the caption: "à l'eau c'est l'heure"!  ... ie, "to the water - now's the time!", 

or, in your best franglais: "'allo sailor!",  Wink .... who said the French can't do puns!


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:20; edited 1 time in total
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:18

He has a very strange neck, that homme. If the French had a submarine corps at the time they could have used him as a periscope.

In Wales the recruitment during WWI was tailored to each individual member of the population. This one apparently targeted a specific lad called Bob Dyn:



(My Google translator informs me that this actually reads "Require the value to every man, ymrestwrch until the end of the war", which must have had all the Bobs enlisting in droves for the duration alright)
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:40

Or 'Hide Diddy widdy's rifle' - I have often wondered about on line translations. I'll not bother, then.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:43

@nordmann wrote:
At least all those Americans had lovely teeth. Back in Blighty the composer of this recruitment poster tageting cyclists knew what he was up against ...


On the contrary I thought the statement: "Bad Teeth No Bar", meant that alcoholic beverages would not be served to those with dodgey dentures or loose fillings. But you're right there does seem to be some strange link between dental hygiene and naval service ... even my 1960s (?) French matelot seems to have such perfect teeth that his upper set meets imperceptively against his lower ... either that or he's hiding his cavities and gingivitis behind a gum-shield so he can still get his regulation tot of cognac.
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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 14:58

However the Australians were never going to allow the US Marines monopolise that market anyway - this poster from 1915 must have terrified the Turks ...

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PostSubject: Re: Recruitment Posters during WWI   Tue 24 Feb 2015, 15:16

Coo-ee, camp as it sounds, does seem to have been a sort of catch-word in Australia:

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