Shortly after entrance into armed conflict, the government recognized it lacked the crucial materiel needed to successfully carry out the war – airplanes, seaworthy vessels, munitions – and the facilities in which to produce them.  In addition, with approximately 4 million young men pulled out of the industrial labor force and farming for service in the Army and Navy, America faced a scarcity of labor. Over 7 million posters were crafted in order to draw both men and women into war production factories.


Given the nation’s desperate need for a merchant fleet for international trade, it is not surprising that the bulk of posters featuring messages about home front labor were commissioned by the U.S. Shipping Board and Emergency Fleet Corporation. Artists employed imagery and language that tied workers’ labor directly to success on European battlefields and on the high seas. Slogans such as “Your Work Means Victory!” and “Rivets are Bayonets, Drive them Home” on posters that greeted workers not only at local businesses, churches, libraries and on storefronts, but also throughout the factory, underscored the fact that labor at home was as important to winning the war as soldiers on the field.