Kilroy was here! The world’s first viral meme from World War II
According to IG News, a chalk or crayon image of a bald man with a large nose peeking through a wall with the caption “Kilroy was here” is actually the world’s first viral meme.
Although the meme was not started by American soldiers in World War II, it was definitely associated with them. The meme remained popular for some time after the end of the war.
This little drawing became a public joke. Citizens competed to make the meme, even on the American Statue of Liberty torch, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Marco Polo Bridge in China, the George Washington Bridge in New York, and on the bellies of pregnant women in hospitals.
The name is thought to be derived from JJ Kilroy, a welding inspector at Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding Company in Massachusetts, USA.
According to the New York Times, Kilroy’s co-workers were annoyed with him for not inspecting his work, so Kilroy was annoyed to write Kilroy was here on ship parts and instead of marking it as usual. And on top of that he started making a bald man with a long nose because Kilroy himself was bald and had a long nose. When these ships went to ports around the world, the warriors would find this drawing when they opened the sealed compartments.