Americans Will Always Fight for Liberty: A Legacy of Struggle and Sacrifice
Fine example of this Iconic WWII Poster Promoting America's history of military resolve against tyranny.
Amidst the tumultuous backdrop of World War II, nations and their leaders sought to inspire their populations through various means, and posters played an essential role in shaping the narrative of the time. The poster titled "Americans Will Always Fight for Liberty" is one such emblematic representation.
Designed by the United States Office of War Information (OWI) and crafted by artist Bernard Perlin, it serves as a potent reminder of America's enduring commitment to liberty, drawing parallels between two pivotal eras of conflict in the nation's history.
The visual imagery of the poster is both striking and deliberate. A juxtaposition of American GIs from the 1940s marching steadfastly beside the weary but resolute Continental Army soldiers at Valley Forge constructs a bridge spanning over 160 years of national history. Above them all, the General George Washington’s Headquarters Flag – a relic from the Revolutionary War, now safeguarded at the Museum of the American Revolution – unfurls in the wind. This juxtaposition is not just a connection of two armies but a deliberate reminder of shared values, struggles, and a relentless pursuit of liberty.
The setting of Valley Forge is significant. It was during the harsh winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge that the Continental Army, under General Washington, faced deprivation and extreme conditions. Yet, they emerged resilient, symbolizing America's unyielding spirit in the face of adversity. By juxtaposing this with the GIs of World War II, the poster underscores a message: the challenges may be different, but the spirit of sacrifice and the quest for liberty remain undiminished.
Bernard Perlin's personal history adds depth to the imagery. Born to Russian Jewish immigrants, his background made the themes of freedom and resistance against oppressive regimes deeply personal. By using American soldiers as models, Perlin not only captured the accurate attire and essence of the soldiers but also embedded the emotions, determination, and camaraderie that American forces carried with them to battlefields across Europe and the Pacific. It was a testament to the real faces and real stories of the time.
The large version of this poster at Union Station in Washington, DC, during WWII was strategically placed. Union Station, a hub of activity and a crossroads for countless soldiers heading to or returning from the frontlines, served as an ideal location for the poster's message. For many, it would have been a poignant reminder of the legacy they were upholding and the ideals they were fighting for.