Inluence of the Writers'
The WWB was so effective and their influence was so
widespread, they were often recruited by different groups such as government
agencies and various branches of the military. These groups asked the WWB
to use their propaganda to influence the American public into supporting
a certain cause or to recruite Americans into certain areas of military
or civilian service that needed more workers in order to be productive.
One government agency that recruited the WWB to help them during the war
was the Office of Price Administration, or the OPA. (4) In 1943 the United
States faced a serious inflation problem due to "the advent of higher taxes
and public restraint in purchasing consumer goods necessary to control
inflation." (4) To deal with the situation the Writers' War Board employed
their usual methods of media influence to head the anti-inflation campaign.
One specific way they went about this campaign was through radio shows
with well known celebrities.
Singer Frank Sinatra and comedian Jack Benny made comments on the radio
aimed at the American public regarding the reasons for inflation. (4) Using
these celebrities to convey their message was a common tactic used by the
WWB. Americans are more likely to be influenced by a celebrity telling
them what is right or wrong and how they should act in a situation, for
example how to spend their money, than by just another politician telling
them what to do. For the younger teenage audience and readers of romantic
pulp magazines the issue of inflation was addressed in the magazines thrilling,
Love and High Boards. (5) The Superman comic strip also ran two issues
about inflation and a "Believe It or Not" cartoon was prepared by Robert
Ripley about inflation. (5)
Frank Sinatra lending his voice to a radio broadcast.
By using all these different forms of media, the
WWB's campaign against inflation reached pretty much every level of society
from comic strips, to the different magazines, to the radio. This was another
effective method used by the WWB in their propaganda. They did not restrict
themselves to just one form of media or just one level of society in their
influential campaigns. Instead they spread themselves out, not only throughout
the media, but throughout society. They concentrated equally on the lower,
middle, and upper classes. This strategy was extremely effective because
to truly solve the problem of inflation the cooperation of all levels of
society was essential. The Writers' War Board was also employed by divisions
of the armed forces such as the Army Auxiliary Force, and the Army Ground
Forces. The WWB was asked by the War Department in 1942 to focus on the
less popular but none the less important jobs of the Army Air Force.
These jobs included navigators, bombardiers, tail gunners, and ground crew
members. (6) To recruit people for these positions the WWB once again focused
their propaganda on all ages and social classes. A short story written
by Paul Gallico called "Bombardier" was featured in the Saturday Evening
Post. The hero of the story was described as "hunting blood", and his job
as being "the most wonderful...in the war." (6)
Example of propaganda used to recruit men into
Another example of propaganda used to recruit
civilians into armed forces.
A similar story about a tail gunner was printed in American Magazine.
It described the tail gunners job as "the most important job in this man's
war." (6) Another article that was distributed to newspapers across the
country was written by Franklin P. Adams titled "The Gunner's the Man."
(6) These articles were read by men across the country and instilled into
their minds the belief that these jobs were in fact glamorous and more
desirable than before. A popular song was even written for this campaign
entitled, "I Want to Marry a Bombardier." (6) By using the media in this
campaign, as in others, the WWB successfully recruited hundreds of men
into the jobs that were previously thought to be boring or unglamorous.
This campaign effectively shows how powerful a tool propaganda and the
media can be. Before the campaign for the Air Force, the need for men to
fill these jobs was desperately needed, but after six months, 52 articles,
24 syndicated columns, 3 broadcasts, 1 handbook, 2 popular songs, 12 stories,
and 1 novel later, the Air Force had to request that the WWB limit their
campaign. (6) Now, more men were signing up to be gunners and bombardiers
than they could possibly use.