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All-Out for Victory!

Magazine Advertising and the World War II Home Front

John Bush Jones

Publication Year: 2009

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II, many commercial advertisers and their Madison Avenue ad agencies instantly switched from selling products and services to selling the home front on ways to support the war. Ads by major manufacturers showcased how their factories had turned to war production, demonstrating their participation in the war and helping people understand, for instance, that they couldn't buy a new washing machine because the company was making munitions. Other ads helped civilians cope with wartime rationing and shortages by offering advice on how to make leftovers tasty, make shoes last, and keep a car in good working order. Ads also encouraged Victory Gardens, scrap collecting, giving blood, and (most important) buying War Bonds.
In this book, Jones examines hundreds of ads from ten large-circulation news and general-interest magazines of the period. He discusses motivational war ads, ads about industrial and agricultural support of the war, ads directed at uplifting the morale of civilians and GIs, and ads promoting home front efficiency, conservation, and volunteerism. Jones also includes ads praising women in war work and the armed forces and ads aimed at recruiting more women. Taken together, war ads in national magazines did their part to create the most efficient home front possible in order to support the war effort.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vi

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pp. viii-xi

What drew me to study wartime advertising—and wartime popular songs before that—are two personal passions of mine. First, as a child of the home front (I was born in 1940) I still carry with me vivid memories of those years...

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1. "All-Outs" and "Double-Barrelleds": How to Advertise a War

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pp. 1-37

It took just one day—December 7, 1941—for Americans’ perennial wrangling over isolationism versus interventionism to cease, and, in the words of New York Times columnist Arthur Krock, for national unity to “click into place...

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2. "This is Worth Fighting For": Motivational War Ads

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pp. 38-63

The best of the wartime admen were smart, as first-rate admen always have to be—smart, savvy, and canny mass psychologists, if only by instinct or intuition. As already discussed in Chapter 1, from Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender, home front...

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3. "The Arms Behind the Army": Industrial Support of the War

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pp. 64-85

Those Americans who worked in manufacturing and agriculture most materially supported the country’s fighting forces, so it stands to reason that the dominant category of war ads in magazines—a category not in the War Advertising Council’s five classes of ads...

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4. The Farm Front: Agricultural Support of the War

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pp. 86-104

There's no clear sense of who coined “farm front” or when it first came into use in the media and advertising, but whatever its origin it was an apt term to describe the role that America’s truck farms, orchards, dairy farms, ranches, citrus groves, vineyards...

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5. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without": Conservation, Scrap Drives, and Home Front Efficiency [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 105-149

"Priority" and "priorities" were in the vocabulary of virtually every American on the home front and in the military during World War II. Simply put, they meant that the armed forces and war production came first, everyone else on the civilian home front came second...

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6. Soda Pop, Letters, and Cigarettes: Morale Overseas and at Home

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pp. 150-184

Just as Napoleon said, “une armée marche à son estomac”—an army marches (or travels) on its stomach—it’s equally valid to say that armed forces fight effectively only in proportion to their level of morale, whether that of an entire fighting unit collectively or of each and every...

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7. "Produce, Conserve, Share, and Play Square": Coping with Shortages and Rationing

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pp. 185-216

The chapter is as much about morale as it is about meatloaf. When shortages and rationing became facts of life for the home front, the ad industry found itself with two roles to play. The easiest was simply keeping the public informed about which products...

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8. "The Hand that Rocked the Cradle Rules the World": Women in War Work

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pp. 217-241

Some gorgeous advertising art in July 1942 and an amusing cartoon ad in March 1945 define the changing roles of women over the course of the war. The two ads also reveal how perceptions of women changed from one end of the war to the other. The venerable fragrance...

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9. "Dig Down Deep": Giving Blood and Buying Bonds

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pp. 242-281

Of all the appeals by wartime advertising to achieve the home front’s universal support of the fighting front, none were more direct, personal, and persistent than those for buying War Bonds. Or, indeed, more numerous— about five hundred just in the ten leading national...

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Epilogue: The World of Tomorrow

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pp. 282-296

Throughout the war, creative civilians like songwriters and admen showed they had a better grasp of wartime psychology than did Washington bureaucrats. As early as July 1942 the OWI began a campaign to steer Tin Pan Alley away...


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pp. 297-298


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pp. 299-314

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781584658337
E-ISBN-10: 1584658339
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584657682

Page Count: 340
Publication Year: 2009