How did children contribute to WWI?
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One of the first contributions of children during World War I was as newspaper distributors. The war brought a demand for news and newspapers were the media for many people. Children as young as four and five could be seen on street corners calling for people to buy their papers. As men entered the service to fight, there was a large gap left in the workforce. Factories that had once been forced to change child labor laws were suddenly having to bring women and children back into the workforce. Children, like women, worked in the ammunition factories. Man of the daughters babysat younger siblings while mothers went to work.
Teens and adolescents lied about their ages and went into the military. Many young boys served in the military and fought alongside men. Their dedication helped to change the tide of the war in the direction of the American Allies along with the support of the men.
Another significant way children helped was in the development of victory gardens. Children would help on family farms and locally to grow produce for communities. Their labor replaced their father's and uncle's labor in the fields on farms.
Children were sent to work in factories, especially arms, ammunition, production and manufacturing workplaces, to boost the struggling economy and help the fight against other politcal rivals. When older man were elisted to join the army to fight during the war, there was a huge significant gap in the workforce, and many companies and factories had to go against the child labor laws, and hired young children to work for them, bringing them to the labor market. Young woman, who are the first time, being sent outside to work alongside man in jobs.
Also, some young children have falsified their age, especially teens and adolescents to get enrolled into the millitary army, to help fight the global war, to do something for their homeland. Children were involved in "liberty" or "victory" gardens to grow enough food to supplement and feed the entire family, who are suffering greatly during the war, due to the lack of food and basic neccessities, and high cost of living, and also allow more food supply to be directed to the soldiers fighting the war, to boost war effort.
Quite a number of the very young also became at least weekly involved in domestic clubs of many varieties that prepared, repaired old clothing and socks and gloves as well as hats and the needed comforts to dry the feet and extremities in the trenches, possibly some chocolate and tobacco , box them all and send away to the war lines in Europe. Certainly there were those that even daily would put in effort to helping the patriotic aids as well as family considerations that the children would just happily join in with some sort of duty. There was a large new industry of making small American flags and pin-back buttons & many of the tasks could be done in a living room or domestic parlor and many families proudly joined in the effort.
One must recall the ever-present mood of patriotism that engulfed the world and America as well and understand that often menial tasks could gain a new vitality because of the task's final outcome and benefit in the life of a soldier, whether Doughboy, Poilu or War casualty in hospital while recuperating.
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