We have all seen the images of “Rosie Riveter” encouraging women to join the war effort by working in shipyards and factories during WWII. The same imagery was true for WWI, although it is less popularized, with images of women ‘doing their part’ to help the war effort at home. The primary sources prominent in the Unit Plan World War I and War Garden Propaganda illustrate how propaganda promoted food saving as a way to defeat the German army. Slogans such as, “Are you a Victory Canner?” and “Land Army Enroll Now,” pointed toward the role of women at home while the men were on the battle field.
The primary sources in the lesson are excellent teaching tools when explaining the war effort at home during World War I. Students can see how propaganda played to a woman’s emotions as well as popular opinions of the time period. Cartoons, such as “The War Gardener's Ultimate Objective,” show a plethora of imagery and opinions in a very unsubtle way.
These visuals are also is a great example of how the American people came together and saved enough food to feed the soldiers and our allies without going into an official rationing program. It is estimated that in 1917 home gardens produced over 500,000,000 quarts of canned vegetables alone. To read more about this check out “The War Garden Victorious” by Charles Lathrop Pack found here at HSP or online.