During the World Wars both one and two, civilians were relied upon to aid the war effort. I have studied Great Britain and the United States efforts to involve the public in the war effort most closely. However, in countries all over the world (including the Axis powers) people were asked to willingly give up for their military. As we are celebrating Independence Day here in the United States I thought it might be fun and a little sobering to share with you a little about what a BIG part knitting and crocheting played in the War effort. There were "propaganda" posters and celebrities doing their best to show American citizens (my focus for this blog) that everyone was in the effort together!
I'm not one for nostalgia for the most part. I have a degree in History education. However, I do think that the unity of purpose shown in the Knit Your Bit campaigns brought knitting to the foreground of the effort to keep military men and women... warm and dry. I want to keep this Blog post short and so I will really leave the story to pictures, pictures of people doing their part. On this Independence day lets remember that America still needs YOU to do your part to help our veterans. :)
The art of the war effort posters was not only in the beautiful pictures but the simplicity of the message. The "heart" of the Knit your Bit campaign was the American Red Cross though there were other types of posters encouraging people, including men, to knit. The posters speak for themselves and are of course very moving. Given the situation, they did a fantastic job getting men, women, boys, and girls to knit.
Along with the posters there were MANY dedicated celebrities who gave of their time to join the war effort by knitting or sewing to aid the troops. Various online collections like the National Portrait Gallery have some wonderful photos of actors and actresses knitting away to help the war effort. I found a book very much suited to this Blog post entitled "No Idle Hands: The Social History of American knitting" by Anne Macdonald (Google books $10.99) The book chronicled the history of each generation/period of knitter. Its very interesting from a reading stand point not just as a knitter/crocheter. Celebrities kept the inspiration to fight on going so lets take a look at a few famous faces, starting with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States!
Thank you for reading today's entry and HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.