The imagery on this poster probably does not elicit from us the same responses it would have during World War I. Aside from the occasional accusations of the paramilitary aspects of the Boy Scouts of America, we cannot escape the poignancy of the children of 1918 who would be the men of 1941 when we would again fight Germany in a devastating world war. But for an American in 1914-18, the call to patriotism would have been strong: Liberty, looking much like the statue, takes from the Scout a sword with the motto of the Boy Scouts--"Be Prepared"--inscribed on its blade. This young boy, like all patriotic Americans, is four-square behind the appeal to buy U. S. bonds and to defend our country against the Germans.
Posters were an important part of the war effort in every country fighting in the Great War. The Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University has an exhibit of French posters printed between 1914 and 1920; this impressive exhibit and homepage are the work of Professor Jere L. Jackson.
The Vigil (from the New York Times)
Like some young squire who watched his armor bright,
Kneeling upon the chapel floor all night--
Where glimmering candles on the altar glowed,
And moonlight through the Gothic windows flowed--
And prayed, with folded hands, that God would bless
His sword, and keep him pure, and give success--
So, kneeling, Lord, beneath Thine altar light,
The nation asks for help before the fight.
Grant us the prayer of that boy Knight of old--
Faith to be steadfast, courage to be bold.
Such passionate love toward the dear flag we fly
That each who serves it holds its honor high--
Simple, large gifts that soldiers need, O Lord,
Grant the young nation for its unsheathed sword.
And for our captains in the perilous way,
A vision widened to an unknown day.
We keep our vigil; send tomorrow glorious;
Let not God's will go down; bring right victorious.
Kneeling in prayer before Thine altar light,
The nation asks Thy help to fight Thy fight.