Recruitment Posters Through Time

If you’ve been to the movies recently, you may have noticed ads among the previews for the Marines or the Navy SEALS.  The U.S. military has always used mass media to recruit.

Starting in the Revolutionary War:

Photobucket(Courtesy of

The Civil War:

Click Here for an article from the Atlantic on Civil War recruitment posters and more detail about the one shown above

World War I:

(Courtesy of North Carolina state archives)

And of course in World War II:

(Courtesy of University of North Texas)

Posters played a significant role in World War II, not only to recruit, but to encourage involvement and support from civilians. WAVES recruitment posters were sending specific messages to women. Many who joined the service discovered the WAVES because of their placement in papers, on billboards, etc.

Our Website features an exhibit all about recruitment posters. See quotes from women interviewed and learn more about wartime propaganda.