World War I

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“Why the German Army is Such a Fighting Machine”

This article was published in October of 1914 and explains the success of Germany and its impressive army. Germany’s use of compusory service makes it nearly impossible for the army to be a formidable opponent regardless of the level of training or skill each soldier boasts. Within the debate over the draft, this op-ed piece shows the fear that some Americans felt toward Germany and thus, why they felt the draft was necessary.

Temple, Herbert. “Why the Germany Army is Such a Fighting Machine: Practically Every Man in the Empire is a Soldier; Military Organization Greatest on the Continent.” Colorado Springs Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), Oct. 7, 1914: 8.

Competing Visual Propaganda

This poster targeted the white farmer who was disproportionately drafted during World War I due to the regulations imposed by the draft board. The poster is meant to incite pride in the farmer’s work at home as well as inspire him to take that pride overseas in the fight for freedom. This advertisement contrasts greatly with the poster below as it displays how different racial groups were treated at this time and their worth to the American government. While white Southern farmers are pushed toward combat, African-Americans are held back and reserved to labor.

Beneker, Gerrit A. (fl. 1918). Work As You Would Fight. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945.


This image shows a war poster created toward the end World War I and specifically targets African-Americans and their role in the war effort. Rather than fight in combat, many African-Americans found forced labor to be their only contribution. African-Americans did not receive the same benefits or respect for their work and were instead, degraded to faceless laborers whose only purpose was to support the freedom of others while accepting no freedom for themselves.

Beneker, Gerrit A. (fl. 1918). Concrete Ammunition / Second Line Defense. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, American History, 1493-1945.