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.

Of particular note is beginning in World War One but getting major traction in World War Two, was the practice of opening US Navy recruiting offices in the states which were inland. Previously the navy had always been recruited from port cities and fishing villages where a life at sea was the norm. But the manpower needs of the navy were such that there weren’t enough men in those areas to fill the requirements of the fleet. So the US went inland and found great success in recruiting men who had never seen the ocean to be sailors.

The following posters are from World War One with themes of Travel and Opportunity.

“A Wonderful Opportunity For YOU” World War I era Navy recruiting poster, by artist Charles E. Ruttan.

“A Wonderful Opportunity For YOU” World War I era Navy recruiting poster, by artist Charles E. Ruttan.

“See the world! Save your money! Serve your Country! in the US NAVY” World War I era Navy recruiting poster.

“The Navy Put ‘Em Across” World War I Navy recruiting poster, by artist Henry Reuterdahl, advertising the Navy’s role in transporting American troops to the War Zone.

“The Service for Training and Travel” World War I era Navy recruiting poster, by artist James Montgomery Flagg.

[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: http://charlesmccain.com/

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