Join the Army Air Service - Be an American Eagle

Accession Number

Join the Army Air Service - Be an American Eagle

Charles Livingston Bull

Object Creation Date
circa 1917

Medium & Support
color lithograph on paper

27 3/16 x 20 1/2 in. (69 x 52 cm)

Credit Line
Transfer from the William L. Clements Library

Label copy
The designer of this poster, Charles Livingston Bull, was a bird and animal artist of some repute. This is one of two posters he was chosen to execute during the war, both of which use the eagle as a triumphant national symbol. The purpose of the poster was to raise recruits for the Army Air Service, and the image Bull chose is not, as in so many other recruiting posters, intended to embarrass one to join up or to serve as an appeal to the super national emotion of "making the world safe for democracy" or helping the allies. Rather, bull's poster is a direct appeal to American patriotism. It is a warning that America and Germany are involved in a death struggle which is symbolized here by the combat between the two national birds, both of which are eagles. At a second level, the two birds stand for the air services of their respective countries. It is clear that American eagle, shown as a beautiful majestic bird, is superior to its hateful German counter-part which looks like an ugly sick chicken.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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modern and contemporary art

2 Related Resources

World War I Posters from the U.S.
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
World War I and Society
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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