HS – Enlist Now! Selling Sacrifice to the People of Connecticut, 1917


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
World War I
Theme
The Role of the United States in World Affairs
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
World War One, WWI, Great War, Soldiers, Doughboys, Enlistment, Propaganda, Music, Blue Star, Service, Slackers, How Connecticut Fought the War, Draft
Social Studies Frameworks
High School – United States History

Historical Background
After more than two years of neutrality, the United States formally entered World War I on April 6, 1917. At the time, the federal army and National Guard only numbered about 300,000 together. Enlistment quotas were established and volunteers were recruited, but to build up the military force, Congress passed the Selective Service Act on May 18, 1917. Registration for the draft began on June 5, 1917, and the first draftees were selected by lottery on July 20. Through July, men of draft age were still able to enlist voluntarily, if their draft number had not yet been called. Of the 4.8 million Americans who eventually served in the war, approximately 2 million enlisted as volunteers; 2.8 million were drafted.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Why do people enlist in the military?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What official and unofficial tools were used to encourage/pressure men into voluntary military service in 1917?
  • What messages did men receive in 1917 about participating voluntarily in military service—or not?
  • In what ways were families of soldiers encouraged to show public support for sons or husbands in the service?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Set 1

Enlistment banner
An enlistment banner hangs across Hartford’s Main Street, just before Pearl Street, urging men to enlist in the Connecticut National Guard or the regular army – Connecticut State Library, Dudley Photograph Collection
World War One poster Enlist Now!
A broadside or poster “Enlist now!” which calls for the enlistment of 64 men from Tolland County, Connecticut – Connecticut Historical Society

Set 2

US Navy Recruiting Station Poster, 1917
Poster “The Navy Needs You! Don’t Read American History – Make It!,” by James Montgomery Flagg for the U.S. Navy Recruiting Station, 1917 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
WWI recruitment poster "I Want YOU"
Poster “I Want You For The Navy: Promotion For Any One Enlisting, Apply Any Recruiting Station Or Postmaster,” by Howard Chandler Christy, 1917 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
World War One poster First Call!
Poster “First Call: I Need You in the Navy this Minute! Our Country will always be proudest of those who answered the FIRST CALL,” by James Montgomery Flagg, ca. 1917 – Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Set 3

World War One sheet music I Did Give My Boy To Uncle Sammy
Sheet music “I Did Give My Boy To Uncle Sammy,” published in Bloomfield, CT, by Robert H. Brennen and W. Speck, ca. 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress
WWI Sheet music My Son, Your Country is Calling
Sheet music “My Son, Your Country is Calling,” by Milton Charles Bennett, Hartford, CT, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Music Division, World War I Sheet Music Collection

Set 4

“To Arms!” a full page ad in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, 1917
“To Arms!” a full page ad in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Bridgeport, CT, June 29, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Detail from the article Connecticut Men Flock to Army
Detail from the article “Connecticut Men Flock to Army.” Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, CT, June 5, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Set 5

Handmade Service Flag, 1917
Handmade Service Flag, 1917 – Connecticut State Library, 1850-2016, Department of War Records, Remembering World War One
Advertisement for Howland’s, 1917
Detail of an advertisement for Howland’s, The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Bridgeport, CT, November 17, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Have Service Flags for Norwich Women
“Have Service Flags for Norwich Women,” Norwich Bulletin, Norwich, CT, October 25, 1917. Click on the image above to download the entire document-pdf – Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  1. Discuss the compelling and supporting questions that will guide the inquiry and add any additional student-generated questions to the list.
  2. Divide the class into five working groups, each with one primary source set from the toolkit.
  3. Start the observation and analysis process by asking students to identify what type of sources they have in their set: Photograph? Poster? Newspaper article? Advertisement? Sheet music? Artifact? Something else?
  4. Next, students will make a list of observations for each of their sources, indicating what they know by looking at or reading the source. Find helpful guiding questions for analyzing all different types of primary sources on the Library of Congress’s “Teacher Guides and Analysis Tools” page.
  5. After making detailed observations, students will move on to reflecting and posing hypotheses and ideas based on the clues available to them in the source. These may include who the intended audience was, what the purpose of the item was, what the historical context might have been, or whether such an item would be produced today—and why or why not.
  6. Finally, students will generate additional questions they have about their sources and ideas for where or how they could find out more.
  7. Each group will share the primary sources in their set with the class and together the students will revisit the compelling and supporting questions and discuss additional questions for inquiry.
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Students will create a word cloud representing the most common key words or phrases used in the primary sources examined by the class (e.g. man, flag, service, America, enlist, pride, etc.) To find free online tools to help with this activity, search for “free word cloud generator.”
  • Students will examine the official recruitment website for one branch of the U.S. Armed Forces and identify the main messages communicated through the site. Students will then create a written piece or graphic organizer comparing this communication tool with one or more of the World War I primary sources examined in the inquiry activity.
  • Students will investigate the Blue Star Families organization and write a letter or make a short video addressed to a local museum or theater informing them about Blue Star Museums or Blue Star Theatres. Students may choose to make a persuasive argument for why the museum or theater should participate in the program (make sure to check that they are not already involved!)
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Articles & Books to READ

This TeachITCT.org activity is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.