The Home Front & Wartime Propaganda

By: Lauren Wake

Thesis Statement

The US homefront effort helped the US and its allies win the war. Without the help of women, propaganda posters, victory gardens, boy scouts and rationing we might have never won.


Barbara's Dairy

September 1, 1914

Dear diary,


It has been a quiet day thus far. The weather outside has been quite gloomy which fits the moods of the sick. We have a smaller than normal group of wounded soldiers here in the hospital. Most of the injured have minimal wounds. We have seen scrapes on the men’s faces to broken bones in their body. It is actually quite nice to have a lighter workload today as I am sure it will only get worse. At this point it looks like the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Serbia are all fighting. I am sure that it will only be a matter of time that more countries become involved in the war. I will remain hopeful though.


Barbara


April 24, 1915

Dear diary,


It has been a little time since I have written to you. I hate to say but things have only gotten worse. Within just the past few days the Germans are fighting with poisonous gas (1). There are so many soldiers who were not aware of how dangerous this gas is. Our hospital is full with men who have been taken over by the gas. We have lost several good soldiers and are trying to treat the others who are here. I feel so bad for these men as they are not doing well. I have not slept in what feels like days as I feel I must keep going to provide care to the soldiers. I can only pray that the days ahead will be better.


Barbara


July 3, 1916

Dear diary,


Just when one thought that the war may be ceasing somewhat, things are only getting worse. The Battle of the Somme has begun and now soldiers are fighting with tanks (2). We have seen many more wounded brought to the hospital. These men have lost arms, legs, and other body parts. We have several men who have head injuries and have no idea where there are or what has happened to them. There are some men who are barely hanging in there. There are other soldiers who did not make it after being brought to the hospital. It is quite a catastrophe! I am trying to keep up so that I may remain strong to take care of the weak. Some of the other nurses have had to leave as they cannot handle seeing all the pain. Others have stayed and are like me working around the clock just to help the sick. I can only pray that there will be an end to the war soon!


Barbara


Billy's Diary

July 12, 1911

Dear diary,


It has been several months since the Boy Scouts were founded. The organization is very much taking off and more youth are joining. With the start of the war, young children are doing what they can to assist with the war. The ages of the boys that have joined range from 15 years old to 19 years old (8). Many are too young to join the war to help fight for their country so we feel that this is the closest thing that we can do. We are working hard to bring more young boys into our group to help. We want to support the war in whatever way we can.


Billy


June 8, 1914

Dear diary,


The war is still going on. The Boy Scouts has grown and we now have over three times as many involved than we did when we first started. In order to help our country with the war, we have been involved in agriculture labor. We have planted vegetable gardens all over many lands in order to help produce food (9). We call these our “war gardens” (10). We are trying to ration food in order to help everyone. We have also collected peach pits. These are used to help make charcoal for gas masks (11). The soldiers who are fighting will be able to use these and hopefully help them. We have adopted the slogan, “Every Scout to Feed a Soldier”. This includes the soldiers who are fighting in the war (12). It also includes the wounded soldiers in the hospitals. There is word that over 6,000 scout farms have been established (13). I hope that we are able to continue to grow food to help the soldiers and their families. Until I write again, please keep us in your thoughts.


Billy


June 30, 1918

Dear diary,


It is amazing how much the Boy Scouts have grown and how much we have done to help our soldiers! We have started a program selling Liberty Bonds and war stamps. We have raised a lot of money in bond subscriptions and war stamps (14). We have done this by going door to door in hopes of raising money. Once we sell a bond or stamp, we keep track of it and notify the National Scout Headquarters. Once we collect a certain number, we receive an “Achievement Button”. It is simply amazing of what the Boy Scouts organization has done! I hope this will continue in the future.


Billy


Attention! Attention!

The Start of Victory Gardens

Victory gardens have begun! It took just a few to start this amazing feat, but now millions have joined in! There is finally something that all people can do to help during the war.


With the war going on, much of the land where food was being grown was left isolated and never harvested. Also, much of the farming land has become war ground (18). This has had a major effect on the shipment of foods to other countries. During this war, North America has been left to provide food for millions of people in the Allied countries (19).


With people having to ration their food, prices increased dramatically all around. The only solution was for people to start community gardens all over. The production of food had to be drastically increased and this was the best answer (20).


The campaigning with posters and pamphlets helped to make people aware of the importance of community gardens. Those involved were taught how to grow a garden. They were also taught the rules on canning food. With so many people helping all over, the production of food grew. Food was still to be rationed as no one knew how long the war will continue (21).


This is such a victory for all! Please all continue to grow more victory gardens. Please continue to produce and can food. This is the best news that has happened in a long time. Everyone join in and do their part to help with the war.


Infographic

This infographic shows you how much sugar and butchers' meat went down when rationing began. You used to get about 1.49 lbs of sugar a week in 1914 before war. You were able to get 2.36 lbs of meat also. But the amount you got of each went down big time. In this infographic, you can see how much the amount went down in three years (25).

Biography of Alan Smith

Alan Smith was a young lad who was exposed to the propaganda of World War I. At the youthful age of only 15, he felt that he should show his patriotic side to his country. The rules were that you could be 18 years old to enlist, however, one had to be at least 19 years old to fight in the war. Many young boys lied about their age just so they could enlist (36).


Alan saw posters everywhere he went encouraging males to join the service. One particular sign that caught Alan’s attention said, “A Wonderful Opportunity for You, the United States Army” (37). At that very moment, Alan felt the need to do something for his country and saw this as a great opportunity.


As Alan was aware of the minimum age to enlist, he told the navy recruiters that he was 19 years old. At that time there were many boys and men that wanted to fight for their country (38). With the mass numbers enlisting at once, the recruiters did not have enough time to check everyone’s age with documentation. They felt that if the males wanted to enlist and looked physically fit, then why stop them.


Alan’s first few weeks were not too eventful. However, that time quickly changed when he was on the front line fighting for his country’s freedom. Alan saw many casualties all around him. He tried to not let this bother him, even though it very much frightened him as a young boy. He had never imagined anything ever like this. The sign that encouraged him to enlist did not at all prepare him for what he would encounter. He soon realized after that nothing could prepare a person for war.


Alan was very fortunate to have survived the war as many others did not. He was a bright young person who wished that he could have changed the way things happened and relive his life differently, however, he was very grateful for the experience.


Extra Credit

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup yellow cornmeal

3 teaspoons Royal Baking Powder

1 cup white flour

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons shortening

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Sift dry ingredients. Add beaten egg and milk enough to make a thick batter. Beat well; add melted shortening and blueberries which have been dusted with flour. Bake in greased muffin tins in hot even 20 to 30 minutes (54).




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