"UNCLE SAM WANTS YOU!"
World War I required a massive mobilization of American society, for everything from calling up troops to supervising munitions factories and shipping food overseas. The federal government put tremendous effort into generating public support for a war that many Americans had not wanted to enter. The government’s propaganda efforts used posters and advertisements, celebrity speakers, mass fundraising rallies, musical performances, and movies to persuade and inspire the country.
In addition to using all its powers of persuasion, government at all levels also invoked special wartime powers to suppress criticism of the war, which was seen as a form of disloyalty. New laws passed during the war made it easier to silence critical voices, close down newspapers, and even deport dissenters from the country.
Many residents of Fairfield and Bridgeport were inspired to respond to “Uncle Sam’s” call for patriotic service, whether on the home front or serving directly in the war effort. Some took advantage of new opportunities that the war opened up, while others were caught up in the hostility it unleashed. But all were affected by the way the war changed the world in which they lived, including the relationship between Americans and their government.