Once Upon a War to End All Wars: The Home Front

During World War I, much of Fort Worth’s attention, of course, was focused on the most tangible—and nearest—aspect of the war effort: the new Camp Bowie.

Churches built meeting houses for local soldiers, residents entertained Camp Bowie troops with dances and ice cream socials. Farmers just outside the camp provided the soldiers with milk and eggs. The city’s war service board built a clubroom downtown for Camp Bowie soldiers. The Star-Telegram ran a daily “Under the Tents at Camp Bowie” column and a weekly notice of off-camp entertainment available to soldiers.

But Fort Worth also joined in the general war effort. Residents mailed “housewife kits” (containing sewing items such as needles and thread) to soldiers at the front, raised money for the Red Cross. They even raised money to buy tobacco for the boys.

wwi drills 4-22-17 stSixteen days after America joined the war, on April 22 the Star-Telegram reported that the new Chevrolet plant and the King candy factory had formed guard companies.

Fort Worth residents conserved energy with a lights-out policy at night. And they conserved food. Residents planted “war gardens.” President Woodrow Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover to head the wartime U.S. Food Administration. Hoover told Americans that “food will win the war.” “Clean your plate,” Americans were urged, and observe meatless days and wheatless days. “When in doubt, eat potatoes.” Such conservation on the home front was called “Hooverizing.”

Christmas of 1917 was especially meaningful because so many sons and fathers and husbands were in uniform.

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2 Responses to Once Upon a War to End All Wars: The Home Front

  1. Steve A says:

    Smoke tobacco to beat the Hun! Interesting in the light of hindsight…

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