As the U.S. entered WWI in April 1917, it soon became clear that all aspects of life would change. Soldiers fighting abroad needed supplies and food and Americans were put to the test to see how far their loyalty would reach in aiding the war effort. In August 1917, Congress passed the Food and Fuel Control Act (Lever Act) to help save food. Soon after, President Woodrow Wilson created the U.S. Food Administration, a government administration that would be headed by future president, Herbert Hoover. This administration was directed to oversee food distribution and conservation, prevent hoarding by monopolies, and look for voluntary agreements to help save food. Food will win the war, Hoover claimed, and he was prepared to exercise his authority to save as much food as possible. Meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays,) Wheatless Wednesdays, and Porkless Saturdays encouraged Americans to save. Propaganda posters with a variety of food oriented slogans were created pushing for the average Americans to be the saviors of America by simply rationing their basic supplies. Homeowners were asked to sign pledge cards proving that they were doing what they could to ration food. School children were urged to be patriotic to the core when eating apples and were asked to not leave a scrap of food on their plates. Victory gardens were planted in people’s backyards. Because of the voluntary efforts made by the American people and the government requirements set, American exports of breadstuffs, meat, and sugar grew to three times of what they had been before the war.
How does military conflict impact a national economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the strategies used to counter the economic strains of the war and explain how these strategies would contribute to the war effort.