Selected by Janine Bancroft, Archivist (Records & Accessions)
Recruitment poster for World War One, January 1915. Designed and printed by Johnson, Riddle and Company for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee (PRC), set up following the outbreak of war in August 1914. Although initial enthusiasm and war spirit encouraged recruitment, by January 1915 a million men had enlisted and the government required 3.5 million by the year end. The PRC commissioned some 200 posters, created by skilled advertisers to encourage or shame men into enlisting. Most were published before the introduction of conscription in January 1916.
The World War One posters are a favourite collection of mine. They played a crucial role in maintaining and encouraging jingoism and the collection held at King’s contains many striking examples of military propaganda. My chosen image was selected partly as a piece of art – the yellow and red colouring is lovely – but mainly for the poignancy of the item as whole. The optimism of the text and imagery illustrates the misplaced belief in early 1915 that victory was surely imminent.
Ref: World War One posters ½