Faculty Seminar Advisor

Kimberly Jensen

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

2017

Abstract

In the immediate aftermath of World War I, many Americans were asking questions about what masculinity meant in the context of military service to the nation. American painter Herbert Andrew Paus’s poster “The United States Army Builds Men. Apply Nearest Recruiting Office,” (1919) published by the Niagara Lithograph Company, shows a golden-colored U.S. soldier with his eyes fixed on a globe, surrounded by three distinct figures labeled, and representing, character, crafts, and physique. These three virtues were necessary qualifications for being a soldier, and innate characteristics of American manhood. By applying these three virtues as models for American masculinity in World War I and its aftermath in America, this paper examines their application to subjects such as shell shock, venereal disease, race and eugenics, and post-war reconstruction.

Historians have analyzed these characteristics of masculinity in World War I, but have not articulated it by using these three categories, namely character, crafts, and physique. This paper will look not only at the use of this model of masculinity during the war itself, but will also look at where these ideas came from prior to the war, as well as how these ideas played out in the aftermath of the war. This paper will highlight some of the inconsistencies found among these characteristics, as well as the overall breakdown of the model as a whole through its application in WWI-era America.

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