Monday, July 24, 2023

Clues in Patriotic Needlework


Happy Monday!

There was an interesting tidbit in the Los Angeles Times in the 1940s.  "Your Needlecraft" appeared frequently in the newspaper in the early 40s.  However it wasn't a column, it was an ad created to look like a column.  People tended to believe what they read in the newspaper (back then) and I'm sure it gave the advertisement more credibility.  It was a ploy (albeit a good one) used by Needlecraft:

"Warm Knitted Socks for Servicemen."  

Now you are thinking, why is this so interesting to ol' Michele? Well it isn't the ad layout.  Instead I'm interested that there was a call for knitted socks for servicemen.  Women knitted socks for servicemen during the Civil War, World War 1 and all the skirmishes and smaller wars in between.

I was interested in this ad because it was published in October of  1941...before Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War 2.  I know the historical summary: "Americans wanted to remain our of World War 2 and it wasn't until the bombing of Pearl Harbor that we declared war."  

Ads like this, provide insight on what folks thought and prepared for during this time.

On the very day this ad was published, the headlines of the paper discussed the torpedoing of the U.S. destroyer Kearney off the coast of Iceland.  The attack was perpetuated by a German submarine and 11 servicemen lost their lives.  It was the second attack of an American destroyer.  The Greer had been shot at in September of that year.  The attack of the Greer prompted Roosevelt to declare a "shoot-on-sight" policy to the navy:

Any German or Italian vessel that appeared "in any waters which America deems vital to its defense constitutes an attack. In the waters which we deem necessary for our defense, American naval vessels and American planes will no longer wait until Axis submarines lurking under the water, or Axis raiders on the surface of the sea, strike their deadly blow—first."

There were other clues in the needlework advertising that signaled what people thought and foreshadowed our entrance to the war:

October 13, 1941

Yes this could be considered support of the British and the Allies, but note the USA and eagle as part of the motifs.

October 6, 1941 and republished in 1942. 
Although many "God Bless America" needlework patterns were made before and after the war, this one has a definite menacing eagle (warning) to it.

Studying popular culture is important because it provides a broader look at history and the thoughts of folks at the time.

Have a safe and happy day!

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