Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sam Land

Uncle Sam was named after New York meatpacker Samuel Wilson who supplied beef to the US Army during the War of 1812. The beef barrels were labeled with the initials "U.S." which soldiers joked stood for Uncle Sam. During World War II, America was codenamed "Samland" by the German Intelligence Agency. This woodcut depicts the famous US Army Recruitment Poster which first appeared in 1916. It was used sparingly during WWI but became ubiquitous during WWII. The designer James Montgomery Flagg gave his subject a stern and threatening demeanor. No doubt the army was trying to "scare" citizens to enlist before mandatory conscription began in 1940. The slogan "I Want You" was a friendly euphemism. A more accurate slogan would have been "Your ass is mine!" (5" x 7", black ink print)

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