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Follow your Mates, Enlist

Date: 1917-1918
Overall: 743 x 500 mm
Medium: Lithograph on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00036446

User Terms

    WWI recruitment poster titled "Follow your mates, enlist", issued by the NSW Recruiting Committee.
    SignificanceThese posters are visual embodiment of the feelings and needs of the nation at a time of war.
    HistoryOnce war was declared, Australia had no problems in fulfilling the initial 20 000 troop commitment made to Britain. Despite strict physical requirements, men across the country were eager to join the first wave of the war effort. However, as time went on and the reality of the war began to hit home, it was harder to keep the recruits up and a propaganda campaign was enacted.
    "Propaganda in World War I was particularly influential in the years 1915 and 1916 when it was at its peak, serving to recruit volunteers in the hundreds of thousands each year. The recruitment propaganda of the time achieved its aim in a number of ways. Firstly, it influenced men through means of persuasion, fear, guilt, confrontation and accusation. Secondly, it appealed to the emotions of the women, friends and family of those who were eligible to go to war but had not, to feel strongly enough to press them on the matter.

    It was particularly the propaganda posters that were popular at the time. The reasons could be that they were cheap and easy to create, able to be displayed just about anywhere and, as with most visual forms, were immediately able to convey meaning to a wide audience. Their popularity and significance is confirmed even today by how frequently propaganda posters are referred to in books about the war.

    Recruitment propaganda perhaps achieved success because it amplified the original reasons for Australians wanting to be involved in the war." []

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