Uncle Sam Wants YOU!

Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam

June 13, 1942
The Office of War Information was Created

“Uncle Sam wants you!” That’s what Americans read on posters during World War II. To attract U.S. citizens to jobs in support of the war effort, the government created the Office of War Information (OWI) on June 13, 1942, seven months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. OWI photographers documented American life and culture by showing aircraft factories, members of the armed forces, and women in the workforce. Using propaganda (photographs and captions with emotional content), the OWI aimed to inspire patriotic fervor in the American public.

Pearl Harbor Widows have gone into war work to carry on the fight with a personal vengeance. Mrs. Virginia Young (right) whose husband was one of the first casualties of World War II, is a supervisor in the Assembly and Repairs Department of the Naval Air Base. Her job is to find convenient and comfortable living quarters for women workers from out of the state, like Ethel Mann, who operates an electric drill.

This is the original caption for this Office of War Information (OWI) photograph. Can you see how it would attract people to the war effort?

In addition to waving the flag and promoting a vision of apple-pie America, OWI photographers covered less happy occasions. The OWI also documented social change, including the massive movement of women into the workforce and the advancement of African Americans in the military. Talk to someone who was alive during World War II and ask him or her if he or she remembers the Office of War Information.