Help on the Homefront

During the Great War, Americans on the hometown contributed to the war effort in a multitude of ways. With practically every able-bodied man fighting over seas, much of the war effort was left to be managed by women and African-Americans. Women took over Jobs on farms, loading docks, railway crews, and in armaments industries, machine shops, steel and lumber mills, and chemical plants. They worked in factories to provide supplies, ran hospitals to care for the sick and wounded, and recruited men. Liberty Bonds were purchased to support the war.

President Hoover directed a reprimand campaign encouraging “Meatless Mondays” and “Hatless Wednesdays” in an effort to “both unite the general public behind the war effort and furnish these essential resources to the allied nations” (Food). Other ways to help the war effort included donating blood, recycling at local collection centers, and taking part in war-bond and war-relief drives. Local food boards would hold canning demonstrations and distribute recipes that replaced wheat and sugar with other ingredients, allowing such important ingredients to be sent to the soldiers.

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Victory ardent, where Americans would grow their own vegetables as opposed to purchasing them from a store, became commonplace. Even children were involved in supporting the war effort from the hometown by creating spotter models to help pilots train to quickly discern what was an enemy aircraft and wasn’t to decrease the chance of friendly fire. Journalists, photographers, artists, and entertainers became useful in war propaganda, conveying the Allies’ war aims to the people as well as the enemy. The American hometown as a whole was remarkably united in supporting and assisting the war effort.

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