Everyone recognizes the steely-eyed Uncle Sam in the swallow-tail jacket pointing his finger at the viewer. "I Want You for U.S. Army" (no "the" for some reason) was emblazoned on the poster that practically commanded men to sign up and fight in World War I.
And it worked. It was so successful that 4 million copies were printed in its first year. If you want to see the original lithograph, head to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts this summer where it will be on display with 50 other wartime posters to mark the 100th year since the outbreak of the Great War.
The posters are from the U.S. and Europe, and all carry a similar do-your-part tone.
"I Want You for U.S. Army" was created in 1917 by James Montgomery Flagg. The stern visage, according to the Library of Congress website, first appeared on a magazine cover in 1916 with a different message: "What Are you Doing for Preparedness?"
It was so popular that it was adapted and used for recruitment during World War II. When Flagg presented a copy to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Flagg told the president he used his own face -- adding the aged white whiskers -- as a likeness for Uncle Sam to save on model fees.
Other posters in the exhibition convey the urgency of buying war bonds, saving food and supporting the Red Cross during one of America and Europe's bloodiest wars.
"It is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bomb," shrieks a British poster featuring London's skyline. And an Air Service recruitment poster declares America needs skilled workers "Over there!"
The show provides an interesting window on how America made a call to action to its citizens, long before the era of Twitter and Facebook.
"Over There! Posters From World War I" opens July 26 and continues until June 14, 2015.
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times