Date of Award
Master of Arts
Joe A Austin
Christine E Evans, Lisa D Silverman
Home Front, Local history, Oconomowoc, Propaganda, Wisconsin, World War II
OCON AT WAR:THE OCONOMOWOC HOME FRONT DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR
This thesis will examine the local home front propaganda in and around Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (Waukesha County) during the Second World War and compare the Oconomowoc area propaganda to Wisconsin overall and to the national experience. Enlistments, war bond sales, USO events, parades, radio programs/speeches, films, music, popular books/comic books, and images, are the main types of “cultural locations” that I am using as propaganda. I have found solid examples of posters and advertisement images from local newspapers that provide a wealth of information about the way fear, love, guilt, and patriotism were used to persuade people to support the war in various ways. I believe this thesis will complement the existing body of work on the World War II home front and will also augment the present knowledge of Wisconsin history.To build on the scholarship of Wisconsin history, I have analyzed the local home front propaganda in and around Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (Waukesha County) during the Second World War and how it compared to Wisconsin overall and to the national experience. I chose to delve deeper into experiences of local communities rather than nation-wide themes to learn more about every day, mundane life during extraordinary times, and the types of propaganda to which the home front was exposed. The amount of self-sacrifice and teamwork demonstrated during the war seems unimaginable in our current politically polarized moment and leads to the question, “What did the daily lives of Oconomowoc citizens look like during the Second World War?” After careful study one can say that nothing radical happened in Oconomowoc during the war; the citizens encountered propaganda in much the same way people did in other towns across the nation. Yet their response was vastly different from that of people who lived in large cities during the war. Without the same level of smaller-town closeness and interconnection, residents of cities like Madison and Milwaukee would not have had the same types of experiences and interactions Oconomowocians did. Home front life in a big city would have afforded some level of anonymity that those who lived in Oconomowoc would never know.
Laabs, Erika L., "Ocon at War: the Oconomowoc Home Front During the Second World War" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 3027.