Black and white photograph of a family civil defense drill, 1953.

Family civil defense drill

Family civil defense drill, 1953.

Civil Defense in Minnesota, 1950–1974

During the extended Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, many Minnesotans prepared for the terrifying possibility of nuclear war by participating in a variety of civil defense efforts. The civil defense strategies employed in Minnesota changed significantly as the perceived military threat evolved.

Black and white photograph of Alice Ames Winter, c.1923.

Alice Ames Winter

Alice Ames Winter, c.1923. Winter was chair of the Woman’s Committee of the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety and the Minnesota Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense.

Color image of a poster encouraging women to replace wheat products with corn, c.1917.

The Food of the Nation

Poster encouraging women to replace wheat products with corn, c.1917.

Color image of World War I-era poster encouraging the conservation of sugar, c.1917.

Sugar Means Ships

World War I-era poster encouraging the conservation of sugar, c.1917.

Black and white photograph of Evelyn Lightner (at left) and Red Cross workers distributing food, c.1918.

Red Cross workers

Evelyn Lightner (at left) and Red Cross workers distributing food, c.1918.

Color image of a World War I-era poster, 1917.

Women! Help America’s Sons Win the War

World War I-era poster, 1917.

Black and white photograph of Red Cross workers making bandages, c.1916.

Red Cross workers

Red Cross workers making bandages, c.1916.

Color image of a World War I-era Red Cross poster, c.1917.

Join (the Red Cross)

World War I-era Red Cross poster, c.1917.

Women on the World War I Home Front

After the United States entered World War I in 1917, Minnesota women, like Americans across the nation, were called to contribute to the war effort. Though some went to Europe and served as nurses, drivers, and aid workers on the battlefields, many more participated on the home front. They took on new jobs, conserved vital resources, and joined volunteer organizations. At the same time, they struggled to come to terms with conflicting ideals of patriotism, loyalty, and what it meant to be an American.

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