As part of our document spotlight series, today we bring you victory garden propaganda posters.
To keep a war going you need to keep the soldiers fighting fit, and for that, you need food. Agriculture Secretary Claude Wickard understood this when he told the press in 1943 that “Food will win the war and write the peace.”
During both World War I and II, food supplies on the home front and abroad were tight. To alleviate the rationing problem, the Office of Civil Defense and other government agencies released multiple propaganda pieces hoping to inspire non-farming Americans to do their part and produce their own vegetables, herbs, and fruit. These posters were displayed across the nation, and like these examples, showed hard work and patriotism; Uncle Sam, America, and whole families were depicted toiling in the dirt of victory gardens.
These war gardens, though, were advertised for more than just fighting the enemy from the home front. They were a way to grow food, and therefore, lessen the pressure on public food supply and make rations last longer for everyone—soldiers and citizens.
The importance and patriotic fervor of this homegrown initiative caused victory gardens to spring up around the country in both farmland and cities alike. In the end, the backyard food production of everyday Americans made up an estimated 40% of World War II’s fresh fruits and vegetables. Victory gardens made a real impact during wartime, and helped America and her allies achieve peace.
Today’s post came from Holly Chisholm, former social media intern in the Education and Public Programs division.