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stamp issue of the Czech Republic
date of issue: October 28, 1998
to the 80th anniversary of Czechoslovakia's founding
graphical arrangement: Zdeněk Ziegler
engraved by Miloš Ondráček
Recruiting poster for volunteers of the Czechoslovak legion
from the year 1915
Another Preissig stamp in English on this website:
Modráček * Join our free colors!
for more information about the artist click here!
born on July 31, 1873 in Světec u Bíliny
died on June 11, 1944 in the concentration camp of Dachau
During the time before WWI, Vojtěch Preissig lived in the USA. Also Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the leader of the Czechoslovak independence movement and later first president of the new state, lived there and led the diplomatic and military efforts to reach an independent state. Preissig supported these efforts and put his art at the service of this movement. He designed a range of posters inviting volunteers to join the Czechoslovak legion fighting alongside the Entente in Europe. The sample depicted here is the best known of these posters.
On the poster you can see various Czech and Slovak flags with the symbols of the coat of arms of the four main parts of the coming Czechoslovakia: Bohemia with the Czech Lion, Moravia with red and white checkered Moravian Eagle, Silesia with the black eagle on yellow background and Slovakia with the Slovak double-cross. Besides them you can also see two examples of the Resistance flag of the Czechoslovak independence movement abroad, a flag with five horizontal stripes in the colors red-white-blue-white-red and stars on the twice as strong blue middle stripe. It is obvious that Preissig tried to interprete here the US stars and stripes banner. This flag was designed by Preissig for Milan Rastislav Štefanik, the Slovak leader in the National Council which the Allies had recognized as the Czechoslovak government in exile. It was intended to be later the national flag of Czechoslovakia. It is not known, why this flag was not adopted as the national flag when the National Commitee declared the independence of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918 in Prague. The other flags on the poster are hard to indentify. It seems, that there is a red flag in the background with a cup, maybe the cup which is a symbol for the Bohemian Hussittes (Czech: husitský kalich), the first Czech national movement in the Middle Age.
On the stamp, Preissig's typographical work also is honored by using the so-called Preissig-Roman-Typography which he created in 1914, supposed with hand-made wooden characters.