This recruitment poster from World War I with Lord Kitchener pointing his big finger, exclaiming "Your country needs YOU", must have been imitated at least a thousand times.
Field Marshall Horatio Herbert Kitchener (1850-1916) , already noted for his ruthless and successful campaigns in Africa, had been appointed Secretary of War on 5 August 1914. His Call to Arms, demanding an additional 100,000 men, was soon published in The Times, and from September 1914 there was also a poster containing Kitchener's face and his imperative personal appeal. In the long run, the design would become immortalized, whereas the memory of Kitchener himself soon faded away. The quote, "A poor general, but a wonderful poster" (attributed to Lady Asquith, the prime minister's wife) eloquently illustrates this.
The design by Alfred Leete (1882-1933), a prolific graphic artist, first appeared as the front cover of the London Opinion magazine. The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee used the design for posters in various formats and spread the placards throughout the country.
The impact was enormous. During or shortly after the War, the poster was imitated in Hungary, Germany, the US (with Uncle Sam), and the Red Army (with Trotsky, 1920). Later on the image of Lord Kitchener inspired numerous imitations in advertising and membership recruitment for various organizations.
The poster collection of the IISH also holds many variants of the Kitchener poster. A selection is presented here.