On Ne Passe Pas! 1914-1918
Translation: They Shall Not Pass! 1914-1918
Maurice Neumont, Paris, 1917 (distributed 1918)

As war lingered, artists relied upon more powerful imagery to maintain public support. These realistic portrayals of warfare reminded those at home of the hardships abroad. Here, artist Maurice Neumont’s work demonstrates the changing nature of poster advertising.

Compared to earlier depictions of soldiers, Neumont’s subject appears hardened and unaffected by his surroundings. The masked figure seems to emerge from the ground between trenches. He stands boldly, a faceless product of No Man’s Land.

The slogan “They Shall Not Pass!” was used by French General Robert Nivelle to rally troops at the Battle of Verdun (1916). Here, the famous quote appears in smoke to commemorate the 1914 and 1918 Allied victories on the Marne River.

Beneath the image, the soldier warns: “Twice I have held on and conquered on the Marne, Civilian, my brother, the sly offensive of the ‘mock peace’ is going to assault you in our turn, Like me, you must hold on and conquer, be strong and shrewd. Distrust Boche hypocrisy.”