The real story behind this war poster

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The real story behind this war poster 5

Rosie the riveter is iconic. But what’s the real story behind the poster?

In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the story behind the women riveters of World War II.

During World War II, millions of women entered manufacturing and the workforce in general. How did the labor pool change so dramatically, so quickly? And how does it connect to the familiar poster of Rosie the riveter that people still love today?

These riveters came from other industries and outside the workforce, guided with the help of private industry and some government agencies. The US Employment Service helped place men and women at wartime jobs, and the Women’s Bureau and War Manpower Commission helped find and train that labor.

The traditional Rosie the riveter story is not without its omissions: white women benefited most from labor changes, and many of the riveters were already in the labor force before World War II began. But in a significant way, World War II did change work for women around the United States.

Further Reading

FRASER, the Federal Reserve’s Library, is one of the easiest places to find Women’s Bureau records and papers (it’s where the ones in this video were downloaded from).

Creating Rosie the Riveter by Maureen Honey offers a peek into another aspect of wartime recruitment: propaganda distributed by the government to magazines and newspapers to promote the wartime agenda.

💬 Comments on the video

This is a nice break from the nonstop covid videos we've been getting 😌

All those videos have been great and informative, but sometimes it's just hard to hear about the same topic so much. Especially one as depressing as the pandemic

Author — Haydn Koeller


You can see both of the women's smiles' falter when asked about leaving their jobs for men. kinds sad.

Author — Allison Kniech


"Oh, that's swell..."
That woman had big, "bless your heart" energy.

Author — Avery Talks About Stuff


Hi Vox, lately you make videos about entertaintments, can you make video about this?

Why European countries like Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Czechia, Russia tend to dub foreign medias while Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, China, The Phillipines, South Korea, Taiwan tend to subtitle foreign medias? I heard in the past, during Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco's regime, dubbing was enforced since they believed that foreign languages & foreign culture references would be a national threat, and also i heard in France they dubbed foreign medias since they hated foreign languages and culture references therefore they dubbed foreign medias due to their phobias or hatred on foreign languages unlike many Asian countries that prefer or enjoy original performances from the casts. And can u make video about why Hollywood keeps making foreign remake movies? And why don't Americans and their Anglohone gang enjoy subtitled foreign movies while billions of people especially in Asian and Latin American (except Brazil) countries enjoy Hollywood and other foreign medias with subtitles?

Author — Evan Pangaribuan


The most antique thing in this video is seeing people less than 6 feet apart.

Author — amouse213


Its sad to see how they used them during the war, and make them give up the job once the war ended

Author — Harshit Bansal


I’m proud of my grandma, a Rosie the Riveter. She made torpedo propellers.

Author — Matthew Jay


Hurrah for all women who changed the world to become a better place!!

Author — Ulzii Badamdorj


It is amazing that there was a separate supervisor for "women employees" back then. I feel like that would be highly criticized and problematic today. I wish more people talked about these women who held political offices when discussing this period of history. Learned a lot from this video.

Author — My Nontraditional Life


And they didn’t expect the whole house to be clean and dinner served when they came home

Author — Brianna Barrera


1940's: "women can do the same work as men just as well"
Men: *pikachu face*

Author — Thomas Martin


My grandma was the DJ at an aircraft factory in Detroit. One of my favorire photos is of her inside the booth surrounded by records. She set the mood for the riveters

Author — Diana Pearl McNutt


What a riveting video! (I’ll see myself out)

Author — MnMsandOreos


"Organize, Agitate, Educate, must be our War cry." Susan B. Anthony.

Author — Asa Coe


The woman that posed for that image passed away Roseland Walter has an amazing background...she was nintey five...

Author — fire lioness


Such a sad thing they had to separately write they’re looking for women. I’m guessing this was because women didn’t feel included when there was job offers in the paper

Author — Reetuuw T


Why am I watching this at 6am
More importantly,


Author — Pure Weirdness


the number of times "women" was mentioned in this video... *chef's kiss*

Author — 우전


If you ever go to the Bay Area, there’s a Rosie the Riveter museum associated with the National Parks Service (it’s like a National Site or something) in Richmond, Ca near a shipyard. It’s really interesting

Author — Jacob K.


It's really amazing how back then we can band together really quickly when facing a common threat. Now we are stuck in meaningless debate.

Author — PoDH