Lusitania Sinking - THE WAR EFFORT

THE WAR EFFORT (Illustration) American History Famous Historical Events Social Studies World History Disasters World War I

Harvey Dunn (1884-1952) created this poster in 1917 for the U.S. Food Administration. Printed in Brooklyn, by Latham Litho & Ptg. Co., it urges all Americans—even those at home and not fighting abroad—to participate in the war effort. “Victory,” after all, “Is A Question of Stamina: Send—the Wheat, Meat, Fats, Sugar: the Fuel for Fighters.” Online, courtesy Library of Congress. Click on the image for a better view.


By war's end, 65 million men had been mobilized in the Great War. More than 8 million died during the long conflict.

America sent nearly 5 million men and spent more money on the war than the country had spent in the hundreds of years since it first became a country. For the first time in its history, the United States imposed an income tax on its citizens.

Woodrow Wilson, who had campaigned for reelection on a peace platform, anguished about joining the hostilities. America was feeding the troops and the people in Europe and the country initially resisted committing its own troops. But Germany's invasion of neutral Belgium and the sinking of the Lusitania, among other reasons, hardened the hearts and minds of Americans against the German Empire.

Once the United States declared war on Germany, Americans had to make many sacrifices. To further that end, the federal government used an amazing array of propaganda posters to keep people supporting the war. The Library of Congress has digitized many of those posters. Here are links to some of the most interesting:

  • "While Germany dreams of dominating the world by force there can be no peace."

  • "Food is ammunition. Don't waste it."

  • "If you want to fight join the Marines." (A 1915 poster depicts a young woman in uniform.)

  • "Gee!! I wish I were a man. I'd join the Navy. Be a man and do it."

  • "An heroic sacrifice" - children give up ice cream, candy and cookies.

  • "You are lucky. The 'war' bread that you get would seem like cake to the children of Europe."

  • "Defeat the Kaiser and his U-Boats. Victory depends on which fails first, food or frightfulness. Eat less wheat."

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2004

Updated Last Revision: May 15, 2017

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