To Make the World a Decent Place to Live In

To Make the World a Decent Place to Live In, 1918

Herbert Paus (American, 1880-1946)

Lithograph on paper

On loan from the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina

Herbert Paus became one of the most recognizable artists of World War I. This poster in particular embodies his bold, nationalistic style, and above all carries a weighty message. Paus depicts eight chiseled infantrymen literally “going over” into the living hell of war. The contrast of the bitingly bright red representation of fire and brimstone with the muted, almost silhouetted soldiers, visually symbolizes the American military going into the fray of chaos. The soldiers are making the world “a decent place to live in,” and the poster implores the viewer to do his or her part through buying bonds, or risk the red anarchy spreading to America.

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