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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

George Creel's statement "To the Four Minute Men," published November 1917. George Creel Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (075.00.00)
H. Devitt Welsh. 4 Minute Men, A Message from the Government at Washington Committee on Public Information, 1917. Lithograph. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (074.00.00)

Four Minute Men

In order to convince the public of the war's importance, the Committee on Public Information (CPI) engaged patriotic local residents around the nation to urge Americans in movie houses (where it took four minutes to change reels) and, later, many other venues to support war measures, including the Liberty Loan drives. More than 75,000 citizens—men, women, and children—took part in the Four Minute program, and it is estimated that up to 400 million listeners at movie houses, union halls, churches, parks, and other public forums heard their short, carefully vetted speeches. With a blank space for messaging, Four Minute posters served as another important tool in this propaganda campaign.