Gardening to Victory

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.”

Uncle Sam Says, Garden to Cut Food Costs, 1917. From the Publications of the U.S. Government. National Archives Identifier: 5711623

Uncle Sam Says, Garden to Cut Food Costs, 1917. From the Publications of the U.S. Government.
National Archives Identifier: 5711623

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.

Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting, 1941-1945. From the Records of the Office of Government Reports. National Archives Identifier: 513818

Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting, 1941-1945. From the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 513818

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.

You can find WWI and WWII posters, as well as WWI and WWII teaching activities, on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents.

 

Today’s post came from Holly Chisholm, former social media intern in the Education and Public Programs division.

This entry was posted in Document Spotlights and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gardening to Victory

  1. Jamie Draper says:

    A variation of the Victory Gardens popped up during the Whip Inflation Now (WIN) campaign of 1974 – https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/museum/ArtifactCollectionSamples/Catagories/WIN/SeedPackets.html

    Like

  2. KRLemmons says:

    Reblogged this on Lifelong Quest.

    Like

Let us know your thoughts or questions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s