Produce for Victory

October 30, 2003– August 13, 2004

The Kansas Humanities Council sponsored a special Kansas tour of the Smithsonian exhibition, Produce for Victory: Posters on the American Home Front, 1941-1945.

Colorful posters — a visual call-to-arms — helped to mobilize Americans to “Produce for Victory” during World War II. The exhibition examined how posters circulated by the government and private organizations used patriotism to urge factory workers to increase industrial production. Addressing every citizen as a combatant in a war of production, wartime posters united the power of art with the power of advertising to sell the idea that the factory and the home were also arenas for war.

Poster campaigns aimed not only to increase productivity in factories, but also to enlarge people’s views of their responsibilities in a time of total war. Family and home, the cornerstones of democracy, were depicted as being directly threatened by the armies of the Axis powers. Many of the posters proposed an idealized post-war America, where everyone would own a home, buy goods, and raise families in safe, secure neighborhoods—an image that is still potent today.

Hosts for the exhibition were:
The Lyon County Historical Museum in Emporia; the Morton County Historical Museum in Elkhart; the Lincoln Art Centerin Lincoln; the Carnegie Arts Center in Goodland; the Butler County Historical Museum in El Dorado; and the Miami County Swan River Museum in Paola.