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20 Interesting Vintage Army Recruitment Posters

Ian Smith

Since the early 1900s,  the army has been asking every young  American to join and defend it’s country, plying  citizens with offers of both money and the promise to “make you a man.”

Prior to the outbreak of World War I, military recruitment in the US was conducted primarily by individual states.Upon entering the war, however, the federal government took on an increased role.

The increased emphasis on a national effort was reflected in World War I recruitment methods. Peter A. Padilla and Mary Riege Laner define six basic appeals to these recruitment campaigns:patriotism, job/career/education, adventure/challenge, social status, travel, and miscellaneous. Between 1915 and 1918, 42% of all army recruitment posters were themed primarily by patriotism. And though other themes – such as adventure and greater social status – would play an increased role during World War II recruitment, appeals to serve one’s country remained the dominant selling point.


The effort they had put in these propaganda posters can be clearly noticed by the posters below.

Check out these 20 Vintage army recruiting posters.

Adventure and Action



All right, let’s go

all right let's go


Cavalry life in the US ARMY

cavalry life in the US ARMY


Come and join us brothers

come and join us brothers


Dig in to a generous benefits package

dig in to a generous benefits package


Don’t gamble with your future

dont gamble with your future! pick a sure thing now! U.S ARMY






Guard our shore at home and abroad

guard our shore at home and abroad


I want you for U.S army

i want you for us army


In the face of obstacles – courage

in the face of obstacles - courage

In the aftermath of World War II military recruitment shifted significantly. With no war calling men and women to duty, the United States refocused its recruitment efforts to present the military as a career option, and as a means of achieving a higher education. A majority – 55% – of all recruitment posters would serve this end. And though peacetime would not last, factors such as the move to an all-volunteer military would ultimately keep career-oriented recruitment efforts in place.The Defense Department turned to television syndication as a recruiting aid from 1957-1960 with a filmed show,Country Style, USA.


Join army for period of war

join army for period of war


Keep ’em flying

keep 'em flying is our battle cry DO YOUR PART for DUTY honor COUNTRY



Now you can choose

men of 18 and 19 now you can choose your branch of service

On February 20, 1970, the President’s Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force unanimously agreed that the United States would be best served by an all-volunteer military. In supporting this recommendation, the committee noted that recruitment efforts would have to be intensified, as new enlistees would need to be convinced rather than conscripted. Much like the post-World War II era, these new campaigns put a stronger emphasis on job opportunity. As such, the committee recommended “improved basic compensation and conditions of service, proficiency pay, and accelerated promotions for the highly skilled to make military career opportunities more attractive.” These new directives were to be combined with “an intensive recruiting effort.” Finalized in mid-1973, the recruitment of a “professional” military was met with success. In 1975 and 1976, military enlistments exceeded expectations, with over 365,000 men and women entering the military. Though this may, in part, have been the result of a lack of civilian jobs during the recession, it nevertheless stands to underline the ways in which recruiting efforts responded to the circumstances of the time.

Indeed, recommendations made by the President’s Commission continue to work in present-day recruitment efforts. Understanding the need for greater individual incentive, the US military has re-packaged the benefits of the GI Bill. Though originally intended as compensation for service, the bill is now seen as a recruiting tool. Today, the GI Bill is “no longer a reward for service rendered, but an inducement to serve and has become a significant part of recruiter’s pitches.

Men wanted for the army

men wanted for the army
Be Ready

the army must finish the job!
They’ve got go the GUTS

they've got go the GUTS
Three fine futures for you

three fine futures for you
Treat’em rouch!

treat'em rouch!
Vacancies exist! enlist now

vacancies exist! enlist now
Where SKILL and courage count

where SKILL and courage count
You are wanted for U.S. army
you are wanted for us army

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News