|sheet: 76 x 50 cm
|process letterpress blocks on paper
Director General of Recruiting
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
This item is in the Public Domain
recto: Our Reason for Entering the war, The cause of the war; Quick! verso: Why we must win the war
A fold out poster-pamphlet with text and illustrations on both sides. This poster was part of a recruitment kit compiled by the Australian government, and published by the Director-General of Recruiting, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne. The publicity campaign promoted the Voluntary Enlistment Ballot Scheme (VBES), which was the final recruiting campaign of the war.
The five pamphlets in this series were designed to be folded up for posting and easy distribution, and could be opened out by the recipient to reveal the full pamphlet. Lengthy essays accompanied Lindsay's vivid drawings. Because the war ended shortly after the VBES was launched, most of the pamphlets were never distributed. That is the case with this particular one.
The main purpose of the poster was to explain the historical impetus behind the war. An essay argues the war was mainly due to the belligerence of Germany. This argument was made in order to persuade the reader to enlist. The essays are accompanied by a number of different images generated to instill fear of the 'Hun' into the Australian heart. Recto: an obese German, with snarling simian features, is lurching across a number of bound victims who variously represent Poland, Belgium and Russia. He is holding a bayonet, and threatening a brave Australian soldier in a trench who prepares to meet him with his bayonet.
verso: The lower left corner contains an image which has been called 'The Ogre'; it is a figure which was used in another Lindsay poster earlier in the war, titled '?' It depicts the German as a slavering, vicious ape, with hairy arms dripping with blood, wrapped around a globe of the world. The second image in the upper left corner is a German helmet held in a gloved fist; the helmet is being thrust onto another globe of the world. Flames surround the globe. The third image depicts the same obese German, snarling and tearing up a list of 'Humanist' concerns, such as 'liberty', and grinding the neck of a young woman, who represents Belgium, under his leather boot.
The Director-General was Donald Mackinnon, a Victorian barrister and politician, appointed in December 1916 following the first rejection of conscription in October 1916. He was appointed to co-ordinate propaganda and events to encourage voluntary recruiting.
Norman Lindsay (1879-1969) was a painter, draughtsman, illustrator, cartoonist, printmaker, writer and sculptor. He joined the Sydney 'Bulletin' magazine as a staff artist, 1901-09, 1910-23 and 1932-58.