French Propaganda Poster 1918

French Propaganda Poster from World War 1aThis French propaganda poster from 1918 shows a massive French tank literally crushing German soldiers under its tracks. The caption reads: “Subscribe and We Shall Have Victory!” The goal of the poster is to get people to subscribe to the National Loan of 1918.

Campaigns such as this were essential to raise money to fight the extremely costly war. Citizens were encouraged to buy war bonds as a patriotic duty, and were promised that is they contributed money, victory would come at last.

I find this poster interesting for the blunt way in which it makes the connection between your contribution of money and the death of German soldiers. There is absolutely nothing subtle about the message, and the fact that it would be socially acceptable to “sell” the bonds in this way, says much about public sentiment about the war and their adversaries after 4 long years of slaughter.

The poster is also noteworthy for its depiction of the latest tank as a symbol of coming victory. During world war 1, the British and the French both fielded large tank formations which succeeded in doing a great deal of damage to the German front lines by breaking through German trenches. The tanks promised to end the stalemate of trench warfare and restore mobility to the battlefield.

The Germans also attempted to develop a tank force of their own but their designs were not as successful and very few machines were produced. For the most part the Germans relied on captured allied tanks that they restored and put back into service.

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