Jenny Chavez

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Office of War Information
Jenny Chavez

The Office of War Information (OWI) was created June 13, 1942 in Washington, DC. This was six months after Japan attacked the naval fleet at Pearl Harbor. The United States was surprised by the attack. The government decided that we needed to fight back in order to stand up for our country. We had been minding our own business for too long. Once Japan attacked us, then it was time for us to do something. The United States joined the war.

The federal government wanted to inform people about what was going on during World War II. They also wanted people to know a particular message about the war. The Office of War Information created propaganda to persuade the men in the United States to join the war. They also used propaganda posters to persuade the women to go do the jobs that men left when they went off to war. In addition, some posters were supposed to tell the people of the United States not to share things about attack plans or things the government was planning to do with people in other countries because then the other countries would have something to attack them back with. Some of the propaganda posters were directed at other countries. The Office of War Information tried to send out messages to confuse others who were attacking the country.

The Office of War Information employed people as photographers to document American life during World War II. The photographers were taking pictures of aircraft factories and the women who worked in them. For example, the photo, “This girl in a glass house” shows a woman building a B-17 navy plane that will carry a bomb. Before World War II, men were assigned certain jobs and women were not allowed to have those jobs. But during the war, the men left the factories to fight in the war. Factory owners needed someone to make the bombs, planes, weapons, and other things they needed, so they asked women to do those jobs. The Office of War Information recorded it all in thousands of photographs to keep for the future, so that people would know what was going on. This is part of why we know about World War II.

Elmer Davis, who was a CBS newsman, was named director of the Office of War Information. The OWI helped America stay updated on daily news about World War II. It was a great information system to America and thanks to this we have evidence of how World War II was and how America reacted towards the war with Japan and other countries. The Office of War Information kept radio active and supported the troops through informational advertising. They also made sure that they were being helpful not only to America but to the soldiers that were fighting in this big attack. If it wasn’t for the creation of the Office of War Information, Americans would not have had actual documentation of the war. This not only changed the people in America but it impacted the world and it made a big difference for women because it was their time to shine and show men and the people around them that they could also be of help. The Office of War Information operated from June 1942 until September 1945.