"Keeping 'em Down on the Farm After They've Seen Paree:
The Cult of the Homemaker After WW2"

Women pulled out of the home to assist in the war effort were expected to resume their role after World War II, quitting their jobs to make way for the returning war veterans. An all-out government propaganda campaign was necessary to lure women back into their traditional spaces. The steel and oil industries of Northwestern Pennsylvania provide the setting for this study. The presentation will focus on the propaganda techniques employed, and specifically the images used, to turn productive industrial workers earning their own money back to passive, contented homemakers.

© Suzanne Winterberger
for the
Social Science History Association
National Conference
Baltimore, Maryland
November 14-16, 2003

Women on the Home Front:
The Cult of the Homemaker During and After WW2

At the same time women were being pulled out of their homes to assist in the war effort, the government initiated massive, contradictory propaganda campaigns designed to return them home as soon as possible. The campaigns, promoted inside the U.S. as well as to the soldiers abroad, focused on images of women tending the home fires, on ideas of women nurturing the essence of democracy within the safety of the home, and on the ideology of the strength of a nation dependent on the support of women working within the home. Using oral interviews, secondary sources, and visual examples of published propaganda, Winterberger will explore these contradictions.

© Suzanne Winterberger
for the
Ohio Valley History Conference
Cookeville, Tennessee
October 2004