"How the War Came to America. [English, German, and Spanish]." Library of Congress, 15 Jun. 1917.

"How the War Came to America. [English, German, and Spanish]." Library of Congress, 15 Jun. 1917.

"How the War Came to America. [English, German, and Spanish]." Library of Congress, 15 Jun. 1917.

The CPI published and distributed 75 million copies of 30 propaganda pamphlets to convince Americans and undeclared countries abroad that they needed to go to war.

"Our principal controversy with the German Government, and the one which rendered the situation at once acute, rose out of their announcement of a sea zone where their submarines would operate in violation of all accepted principles of international law. Our indignation at such a threat was soon rendered passionate by the sinking of the Lusitania. This attack upon our rights was not only grossly illegal, it defied the fundamental concepts of humanity." - How the War Came To America, CPI Pamphlet (15 June 1917) [1]

The CPI also dropped pamphlets with Wilson's speeches, anti-German propaganda, and information for German deserters over Central Powers lines using planes and coal-gas balloons.

"Even when the Germans advanced into Russia they found the walls of the town plastered with the President's speech, printed in German for the information of the German soldiers…The first proof of effectiveness was an order issued by the German General Staff establishing death as a penalty for all those seen picking up our matter or found with it in their possession…Eight prisoners out of every ten captured by the Americans had our 'stuff' in their pockets, and reports united declaring the literature 'well thumbed.'" - George Creel, Chairman of the CPI (1920) [2]

"British Detachments with the 27th and the 30th American Divisions, Sending Propaganda Balloons to the Germans." U.S. Signal Corps, ca. 1917-18.

"Invitation to German Deserters." Words That Won the War, 1918.

"An American 'Paper Bullet'." Words That Won the War, 1918.

"What Can History Teachers Do Now?"  Words That Won the War, 1917.

To promote "Americanism" in the nation's children, the CPI sent patriotic pamphlets to schoolteachers.

"A biweekly magazine called National School Service…was sent free of charge to every one of the 600,000 public school teachers of the United States…for the first time in the history of America, the voice of the national government was carried directly and regularly into the schools of the whole country." [3]

- Guy Stanton Ford, Head of CPI Civic and Education Division (Feb. 1919)

Header image: "Four Minute Men Bulletin No. 11 July 23, 1917," Committee on Public Information, 23 July 1917. 
[1] Committee on Public Information. How the War Came to America. Government Printing Office, 15 June 1917.
[2] Creel, George. How We Advertised America. Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1920.
[3] Ford, Guy Stanton. “America’s Fight for Public Opinion.” Minnesota History Bulletin, Feb. 1919.