World War One Navy Recruiting Posters

A constant theme throughout the history of the United States is the need for manpower for the armed services. To this end, there have always been recruiting efforts and the most simple and straight forward of these has been the poster. No matter which era they are from, they repeat a common message – do your duty and serve your country because only through your help can we win. Over the next few weeks, I will be providing some examples of these recruiting posters as they pertain to the Navy.

The following posters are all from World War One and carry themes of Patriotism and Duty.

“BE READY!” World War I era Navy recruiting poster.

World War I Recruiting Poster Featuring President Woodrow Wilson’s Executive Order of 24 March 1917 that directed an increase in the Navy’s enlisted strength. The order preceded US entry into World War I, which took place on 6 April 1917. This photograph was apparently received from Captain Louis Sorcho, Submarine Engineer, as it is embossed with his name. In 1917, Captain Sorcho was operating a traveling “Submarine Show” to support Navy recruiting. He stated that this poster had appeared in every town since he started recruiting.

“Find the Range of Your Patriotism by Enlisting – In The Navy – ” World War I recruiting poster published by the Slav Press Bureau, Wentworth Institute Poster Number 3.

“America Advances” World War I era Navy recruiting poster, by artist Herbert Paus. This copy of the poster has the stamp of the Navy Recruiting Station at Wilmington, Delaware.

“Over There” World War I Navy recruiting poster, by artist Albert Sterner, 1917.

“The Sword is Drawn The Navy Upholds It!” World War I Navy recruiting poster, by artist Kenyon Cox. The artwork features the quotation from President Woodrow Wilson: We can do no otherwise”. This poster carries the address of the Navy Recruiting Station, Brooklyn, New York.

[Images courtesy of the Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website:

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