One hundred years ago the United States—a young country with a small army—entered a global conflict the magnitude of which the world had never seen. Although President Woodrow Wilson assured the American population that “the war to end all wars” would be a victory for all mankind, many citizens failed to see the urgency in fighting a war abroad that was sure to be costly in terms of both money and lives.
Weapon on the Wall: American Posters of World War I marks America’s entry into the First World War by exploring one of the most powerful tools the country used to persuade its public to support and sustain the war effort: the poster. Drawing from the Hoover Institution’s world-renowned archive of more than 130,000 posters, the exhibition showcases the boldly graphic environment of 1917–18 and traces the pictorial treatment of the country’s most dire concerns, including enlistment, fear of the enemy, food conservation, morale on the home front, women in the workforce, and fund-raising for victory. Weapon on the Wall explores the lasting impact of poster images and slogans on American art and culture and also highlights the First World War as a landmark media war—an event that ushered in a new era of words as weapons and images as ideas.
Weapon on the Wall: American Posters of World War I opens Wednesday, April 5, and runs through September 2, 2017. The exhibition is open to the public, free of charge, Tuesday–Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm in the Herbert Hoover Memorial Exhibit Pavilion (next to Hoover Tower) on the Stanford University campus. Parking on campus is free on Saturdays. For directions and parking, click here.