Handbook for the U.S. Citizens Service Corps (1942)

22Aug09

The Handbook for the U.S. Citizens Service Corps (Office of Civil Defense, November 3, 1942, 38p.; SuDoc Pr 32.4406:C 49/2) isn’t exactly an atomic doc. The Handbook was issued by the Office of Civil Defense during WWII as a guide to volunteerism (p.4-7, 36), which includes assisting “in reference service at war information centers” (p.29).

The U.S. Citizens Service Corps, as the Handbook (p.4) describes the volunteer effort, “is charged with the responsibility of leading the fight against inefficiency, insecurity, and poor health within a community, and thus the total striking power of the nation.” I chose to post the Handbook to Atomic History for its persuasive drawings and slogans. I see The Handbook as a fascinating precursor to the When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Hitler! genre of World War II gov publications. The Handbook is also a template for atomic civil defense docs of the early 1950s through the 1970s.

There are several categories of drawings and captions:

Socially responsible-conscious:
War workers must have decent homes (p.22)

Gender specific:
Today’s Madonna works for victory (p.14)

Morale boosters:
A healthy nation is a strong nation; we must keep up our strength
(p.16)
Good neighbors unite to fight for victory (p.32)

Still other drawings and slogans reinforce the role of information but also the ideological differences between the U.S. and the Axis:

Never too old to learn (p.26)
America reads books; the Axis burns them (p. 28)
Facts are fists to smash the Axis (p.30)

The Handbook is here.

As an aside, the Department of Justice pamphlet Citizen Corps, sans the black, red, and gray drawings and slogans, is much the same message of the Handbook 60+ years later.

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