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'Become a Nurse Your Country Needs You'

Date: c 1941
Overall: 759 x 616 mm
Medium: Ink on paper mounted on linen.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00005602
Place Manufactured:Washington

User Terms

    A poster titled 'Become a Nurse Your Country Needs You'. This World War II poster shows a young woman receiving her nursing hat from Uncle Sam, the national personification of the United States. This poster was one of many issued by the United States Public Health Service to recruit nurses and build support for the war. It presents a positive idealistic view of nursing, which in reality often saw women working close to the front line.
    SignificanceThis poster represents the typical portrayal of women in propaganda posters and was part of the national campaign to build support for the war.
    HistoryThe demand put on American industries by World War II was immense. Over ten million men were away at war and it was clear that the United States needed to replace them in the work force. Women's admission to the workplace was motivated solely by political and economic realities of the time, with little regard for the long-term effects on women.

    As a result of government propaganda, American women whether motivated by patriotism, independence or necessity, joined the American work force as nurses, factory workers or members of Women's Army Auxiliary Corp. In July 1944, when the war was at its peak, over 19 million women were employed in jobs traditionally done by men.

    Nursing was a respectable employment for women and the mass entrance of women into Nursing Corps allowed more doctors to work on the front line. In the early stages of the war, recruitment posters presented women in passive and supporting roles like nursing. By the final stages of the conflict women were being depicted in more traditionally masculine roles such as the Women's Army Corp.

    Although millions of American women stepped in to serve their country, their jobs were not made easier by their male colleagues or husbands. Women faced discrimination in hiring practices, job placement and pay rates. One-third of women had children living at home. They were expected to maintain their house keeping and family duties, as well as working for the war effort.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: 'Become a Nurse Your Country Needs You'

    Web title: Become a Nurse your country needs you

    Related People
    Photographer: William Ritter

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