During the time ofthe first world war in 1914, tattoos were formerly perceived as a sign offreedom and often used for patriotic symbolism.
Outside of religious or ancientceremonial trends the connection of the body with patriotic sentiments has, forcenturies, been a motivating factor in maintaining the art of tattoo amongwarriors. Tattoos had connotation of adventure, excitement and courage as throughoutthe on and off again popularity they were consistently worn by military men andsailors. “When the world’s major powers were locked in combat, tattoos werework as a mark of patriotism, as a talisman to bring good luck and to payhomage to the loved ones many servicemen would never see again.” Throughout historyyou can see patterns forming surrounding body art. Much like the ancienttraditions, the art has been utilized mostly among warriors and had continuedto gain a considerable following amongst the Western culture.
But, alsosimilarly to the discovery of tattoos to the Roman Empire, after the events ofWorld War II attitudes shifted in an extremely negative way. During the period afterthe war when Nazi Leaders were put on trial for War crimes in Germany, there werereports of concentration camp prisoners being forcibly inked with crude markingand identification numbers which had a negative impact on the perception of theartform. Tattoos and hate suddenly became intrinsically linked among the massesand resulted in the cruel treatment of soldiers who had been released as prisonersof war, found it difficult to rejoin society as they could not find work. Post-war,the Pacific Ocean became less fueled with military activity and fewer men were goingto sea and spending their income on tattoos and many tattoo parlours in the westwere forced to close due to a lack of custom. There seemed to be a small spike inthe numbers in the number of sailors and soldiers getting patriotic ink during thetime of the Korean war in 1950 to 1953 though overall as numbers dwindled in thearmy the demand for ink descended considerably.