World War I was like no war before it in history. Country after country was drawn into the struggle through a complex web of alliances, and nations were quickly immersed in history’s first "total war"—a concept that called to service not only military, but the entire population of its participating nations.
Governments used propaganda posters as a means of engaging men, money and resources to sustain the military campaign and to justify their involvement in the war. Popular magazine illustrators were enlisted and organized into committees, like the US Committee of Public Information, to create and disseminate well-designed posters. These posters encouraged citizens to enlist, buy bonds, save food and organize within the community; for average citizens, these posters were a reminder of what was happening on the war front and a way to unify the country behind a visible, singular effort.
This collection of posters, selected from a gift by Murray and Nancy Ann Blum, includes examples from the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Greece and Italy, showing how different countries and opposing sides of the war used posters as weapons of mass communication in the first half of the 20th century.