100 years ago, on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated by a Bosnian-Serb student. One month later Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia in retaliation, launching World War I. The fighting continued for four years and killed 10 million servicemen.
While industrialized weapons like machine guns, tanks and poison gas fought on the battlefields, the war back home for civilians’ hearts, minds and money was waged with dramatic propaganda posters appealing to patriotism and emotion.
UT’s Harry Ransom Center maintains an enormous collection of these iconic posters, some of which are on display in the exhibition The World at War, 1914-1918, which runs through Aug. 3. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Even more of the posters can be viewed on the Ransom Center’s digital collection website.
“The posters document geo-political events and the social and economic transformations set in motion by the war,” writes Ransom Center graduate research assistant Elizabeth Lovero in a blog post about the posters. “The role of women, new technologies, international aid, wartime economy, and food supply all feature prominently in the collection.”
Below, explore the posters and watch a Longhorn Network segment highlighting The World at War exhibit and why it was “the door-opener to all our woes in the 20th century.”