John Falter's 1942 enlistment poster, "Remember last December! : --'that free peoples may not perish from this earth' : Enlist in your Navy today," serves as a poignant reminder of the naval service's pivotal role during World War II. The depiction of a sailor set against the backdrop of the U.S. flag conveys the power and significance of the individual's contribution to the larger national mission.
In the historical context of 1942, Falter's poster emerged just a year after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. "Remember last December!" thus strikes a chord, evoking the nation's collective memory and resolve in the face of adversity. This poignant phrase, along with the stirring quote, "--'that free peoples may not perish from this earth'," effectively encapsulates the sentiment of that era, urging individuals towards a greater, shared cause.
The central figure in this poster is a sailor, his head and shoulders captured in a portrait-style depiction. Dressed in the enlisted service uniform, his representation is symbolic, embodying the thousands of young men who would answer their nation's call. The uniform, with its navy blue hue, indicates his readiness and commitment to protect his nation's interests, reinforcing the notion of the military as a force of resilience and steadfastness.
The waving U.S. flag that forms the backdrop amplifies the patriotic undertone of the piece. In this context, the flag represents the ideals for which the war was fought — liberty, democracy, and the preservation of a free world. Falter's poster, through its symbolic imagery and compelling message, serves as a lasting homage to the resolve of the American Navy during a time of great global unrest.