In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all over the world to fight in the trenches. This would include both Africa and India, I have found US propaganda posters and Canadian ones, but I was wondering where to find Indian propaganda posters. Surely there must be some on the web?

Canadian poster

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    Why don't you edit your post by uploading photos instead of links? Apr 22, 2013 at 19:22
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    An interesting question for sure. Early 20th century society (particularly literacy levels) in India was very different than in the USA and Canada, and that may have forced different recruiting approaches.
    – T.E.D.
    Apr 22, 2013 at 19:29
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    I didn't upload photos due to possible copyright restrictions.
    – clickonMe
    Apr 22, 2013 at 20:17
  • Considering the poverty and population levels, I suspect that no propaganda was required. Apr 23, 2013 at 3:56
  • I appreciate your concern about copyright, but wouldn't "including" the image by using an image link to it's original location be okay? The visual would appear with this question, but the file would remain on its original server. Any precedent or should I perhaps raise this on meta?
    – Drux
    Apr 23, 2013 at 6:54

3 Answers 3


Indian WWI-recruitment poster was very peculiar. Material benefits, instead of patriotism, were employed to encourage recruitment.

Indian recruitment poster

Indian recruitment poster. Urdu translation reads: 'Who will take this uniform, money and rifle? The one who will join the army.

Source: Imperial war museum.

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    That's not surprising given that it was Indians would not be fighting for their country but for who they perceived as an occupying power.
    – Opt
    Aug 7, 2014 at 4:46
  • It is also very amusing that the Poster was created in Urdu but not in Hindi. That was in accordance with British Martial Races theory which included majority of Muslim castes and they speak Urdu instead of Hindi. Of course the theory was absurd and throughly proven wrong at every test.
    – NSNoob
    Sep 2, 2016 at 8:43

The German Wikipedia article on Propaganda im Ersten Weltkrieg (apparently w/o English version) includes a few more examples, such as a U.S. poster from 1917 that may have preceded King Kong. Starting from there, one can find more British material e.g. here and here.

Unfortunately, it apparently does not reveal specific Indian propaganda posters either. I think @cleopterist's point about poverty and population levels deserves consideration as the (a) possible explanation: literacy rates in India climbed from approx. 40 to 65 percent between 1980 and 2005 (a bit higher for males alone): they must have been well below the 40 percent mark at the time of the Great War. (Though one might perhaps argue that posters target both literates and illiterates alike, as may still be true for Bollywood movie posters to some extent.)


There is a very substantial collection of Indian war posters in the Imperial War Museum collection in London. Illiteracy doesn't mean no equation at all with the world of print, and illustration.

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    An example and/or link where more information can be found would, I'm sure, be worth additional up-votes. Jul 7, 2016 at 21:20

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