Military STD posters, WWI-II


32 Responses to “Military STD posters, WWI-II”

  1. rmch says:

    interesting  fun fact: prior to the end of WWI, American feminists had campaigned unsuccessfully for the right to access birth-control. After WWI, contraception and thus birth-control were made readily available as a means of stemming the tide of VDs from returning soldiers.

  2. Preston Sturges says:

    Syphilis of the skull from around WWI

    During the 1920′s, Hitler decided to make the fight against syphilis (through early marriage) the single issue that he wanted the public to associate with National Socialism to legitimize his party.  Contraceptives, not so much.

    • Dv Revolutionary says:

      Oh that person suffered. Their teeth are even deformed, do you think they were born with it? 

      Any other info on this image? 

      • Preston Sturges says:

        Syphilis attacks every tissue in the body.  The National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed had an extensive collection of military STD educational material and specimens, including eroded skulls like this.  I think one was from a character mentioned in the travel journals of some famous author as the cheerful village idiot, and the museum had the skull all eroded by syphilis.  A person is more or less insane at that point.  Another picture was of a fellow’s body before and after he’d had a topical treatment with mercury or something, and in the before picture the outline of his body was completely obscured.  He just looked like a pile of bath sponges. 

  3. semiotix says:

    It’s easy to laugh at kitschy stuff like this and think that everyone back then was simple-minded and repressed. 

    But in fairness, the use of bald eagles trained to attack couples engaged in illicit sexual activity was quite controversial at the time.

  4. Preston Sturges says:

    Sex, like war, can leave you with both STDs and PSTD. 

  5. Cheapfobs says:

    That ginger boy’ll probably never get laid anyway.  Even with that eagle on his shoulder.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Well, there’s the fact that he’s an eight year-old boy from the elbows up and a full-grown man from the elbows down. I guess that you could argue that the important bits are at the right stage of development, but it’s still freaky.

        • CH says:

          Well… they send boys to do a man’s work .

          I was thinking of a boy around 17 when I saw the picture… he sure doesn’t look 8 to me (my daughter is 8, and the boys in her class sure don’t look like that!). Although now that you mention it the arm is seriously drawn wrong… seems to be coming out of the sides. But Cheapfobs said “never”.

  6. Roy Trumbull says:

    An incidental part of Katherine Anne Porter’s story “Pale Horse Pale Rider” documents the heat put on workers to buy war bonds to defeat the Hun. The primary subject was the 1918 flu pandemic. 

  7. Jill Harness says:

     I hate to tell you guys this, but they just jacked all of their images from this much more comprehensive article I put up on Mental Floss two days before they posted theirs. Worse still, they didn’t even give me any credit for it.

  8. solid_ekans says:

    But how can you be a manly man without lots of sexual partners?

  9. Aron Briggs says:

     I told my doctor I think my wife has VD. He gave himself a shot of penicillin.

  10. Mister44 says:

    The last poster reminds me of KMFDM’s song Juke Joint Jezebel.

    I for one didn’t realize Carmen San Diego was a prostitute early in her career.

  11. pjcamp says:

    Jimmy Olson has VD?

  12. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    The citizens of Hungary wish you’d stop picking on the Huns.

  13. tw1515tw says:

    Keep clean and carry on

  14. HenryPootel says:

    The sailor one gets a bit different if you remove one of the people…

  15. Ipo says:

     Interesting to see a poster from so shortly after the allied forces defeated the Huns
    So rare to find such documents from the fifth century. 

  16. jheiss says:

    I have the “Fool the Axis, Use Prophylaxis” poster hanging in one of my bathrooms.  My grandfather, a WWII Air Force veteran, had it hanging in his bathroom when I was a kid.  It is a bit gross for the uninitiated so I won’t include an image, but it is the first poster shown on

  17. Atrum says:

    I just saw that exact poster in an episode of Boardwalk Empire last night.  Neat!
    (I’ve been watching the first season on DVD.)

  18. John Carter says:
    Ettie is remembered with great affection by many of the soldiers she met and helped yet her actions and her matter-of-fact response to venereal disease made her an object of infamy in New Zealand and overseas. She was called “the wickedest woman in England” by a bishop in the House of Lords and raised outrage in New Zealand among politicians, moralists and the press

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