Analysis Of The Selective Service Act

2333 Words10 Pages

The Selective Service Act was enacted by Congress six weeks after the declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917. At first, Congress and President Woodrow Wilson had hoped that the 1 million men that were required to make an impact in the war effort would enlist in the army. Yet only 73,000 males had signed up by May sending a clear message to the US Army that additional steps would need to be taken. This essay will examine the three methods employed by the US government to persuade people to enlist in the US army. These methods are posters, speeches, and the use of guilt shaming. Alongside these methods, further analysis will be conducted on the short-term and long-term effects of these tactics.

The first of the methods used …show more content…

The poster was used by the US army to invoke a feeling of sympathy towards the innocent lives that would be affected in the war like women and children. In this way, the poster led to the idea that you should enlist in the army to stop innocent lives from being taken. The "Mad Brute" poster was successful in raising the public's support for the war effort and evoking strong emotions among Americans in favour of the war. With the help of this poster, the US Army was successful in creating hate for the enemies which helped them increase their numbers. This propaganda poster used the enemy's fear as a military recruitment tool to enlist people into the army, which was the poster's purpose. However, the effects of this poster were not just positive. According to history.com, “the demonizing of all Germans played to low instincts. Thousands of self-appointed guardians of patriotism began to harass pacifists, socialists, and German immigrants who were not citizens.” Due to the poster, some of the more patriotic Americans turned on the people in their own country. This led to severe prosecution of German Americans who may have supported the US army. …show more content…

The most prominent examples of the use of speeches were the Four Minute Men and Woodrow Wilson’s speech to Congress. The Four Minute Men were a group of people who had volunteered and were authorized by United States President Woodrow Wilson to give these four-minute speeches regarding topics approved by the Committee on Public Information (CPI). The topics dealt with the American war effort in the First World War. These speeches were four minutes long because this was the time it took the theatre to switch between reels. Due to this length, the speeches could be given much more frequently at gatherings such as restaurants and town meetings where people were abundant. To address the current political context, this endeavour had to overcome numerous special hurdles. Wilson had to address the dispersed and disjointed American audience directly. To garner support for the war, he had to speak to how the nation saw itself. These difficulties were addressed by The Four Minute Men. The mission of these men was not just to get people to enlist in the army but people who were not eligible to fight were told to purchase liberty bonds and thrift stamps. In this way, these speeches had a larger audience and therefore could be more effective in amassing attention. According to wikipedia.org, “In 1917–1918, over 750,000 speeches were given in 5,200 communities by over 75,000 accomplished

Open Document