This is a striking 1917-1918 WWI U.S. Marine's recruitment poster by the famed poster artist Charles Buckles Falls. The poster depicts a marine leading a charge, cheering as he raises his fixed bayonet rifle over his head. The poster is a bold orange field with strong black block text, which reads in three lines: “E-E-E-YAH-YIP/ GO OVER WITH/ U. S. MARINES”. At the bottom right is an appeal to the poster viewer to apply as a Marine at the postmaster.
Until the advent of the Cold War in the 1950s, America traditionally maintained a relatively small standing army and navy. Whenever war broke out, it was necessary for the country to mobilize for the fight—to recruit (and sometimes draft) troops, to train them, and to produce the arms, equipment, and supplies needed to fight. When Congress and President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany in April of 1917, this mobilization took on extreme urgency. The government’s overarching goal was to persuade a traditionally isolationist American populace to invest and support the European war effort. They needed support financially, through the purchase of war bonds and rationing, and emotionally, through volunteer service (men for the armed forces, women for the nurse corps), displays of patriotism, and shared sacrifice.
New government organizations, especially the Committee on Public Information, were tasked with putting out a singular patriotic message, achieved primarily through posters and printed pamphlets. The war ushered in the biggest advertising campaign to date, critical to the wartime communication needs of every combatant: from raising money, recruiting soldiers and boosting volunteer efforts, to spurring production and provoking outrage at enemy atrocities. The stark and colorful graphic designs, created by some of the nation’s leading artists, elicited strong emotions. The posters played to the fears, frustrations, and faith in freedoms that lingered in people's minds during the war. The United States alone produced about 2,500 poster designs and approximately 20 million posters, nearly 1 for every 4 citizens, in little more than 2 years.
Charles Buck Falls was an illustrious American artist, illustrator, and designer. He worked for several plays designing sets and costumes, was employed by lithographic companies as an etcher and master printer, and freelanced as a newspaper and poster illustrator. He is best known, however, for the posters he designed for the Victory book campaigns of WWI and WWII.
This poster has been framed according to the highest preservation standards.