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A Guide to Primary Resources for U.S. History
World War II Homefront Back to History Unit

(a) explaining how the United States mobilized its economic, human, and military resources;

Mobilizing the Work Force
National Archives and Records Administration: Pictures of World War II

Description: The photographs contained in this resource present the students with archival images of posters and photographs intended to mobilize the work force of American citizens in World War II. To access the photographs, follow the links to the individual jpg images #18-25. (Primary source material).

Teaching Tips:

"Do Now" Suggestions
  • Show the famous We Can Do It poster and ask students to describe its meaning in relation to World War II, and describe where they might have seen the poster during the war.
  • As a class, brainstorm the similarities and differences between women of today and those on the home front before and after World War II.
  • Ask students how industry might have changed in America after the start of the war. Give the example of Ford going from making cars to tanks.
Suggestions for Using this Resource as Part of a Lesson
  • Complete a lesson showing each image one by one and asking students to answer the following questions: What things to you see in the image? What is the purpose of the image? How do you think the image depicts a change in American society?
  • Have students create their own propaganda poster with the aim to get Americans on the home front to aid in the war effort. Planting victory gardens, working in factories, and rationing are just a few possibilities for topics.

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