Four Minute Men

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During World War I, the Four Minute Men program helped mobilize public opinion; it was a division of the Federal Committee on Public Information in June 1917. The Four Minute Men were local volunteers who spoke at public gatherings, fairs, vaudevilles and motion picture houses for four minutes. Speakers received material from which to prepare speeches. Speeches combated adverse publicity and German propaganda, supported fund drives, called for support of the Red Cross and the YMCA, and promoted Liberty Loans, food conservation, and victory gardens. The program ended a few weeks after the war ended in 1918. enrolled 75 thousand men in its program. In 18 months they gave 1,555,000 speeches to 134,000,000 people at a cost to the government of only $140,000.

Further reading

  • Jeanne Graham, "The Four Minute Men: Volunteers for Propaganda." Southern Speech Journal 1966 32(1): 49-57
  • Carol Oukrop, "The Four Minute Men Became National Network during World War I" Journalism Quarterly 1975 52(4): 632-637