Skip to main content

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

The Preparedness Lobby

National Security League. Defense Not Offense, The Guard at the Door. Preparedness pamphlets, cover and open to relative size of armies (Russia, Germany, France, England, and U.S.), 1916. Amos Pinchot Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (005.01.00, 005.02.00)
Enlarge
National Security League. Defense Not Offense, The Guard at the Door. Preparedness pamphlets, cover and open to relative size of armies (Russia, Germany, France, England, and U.S.), 1916. Amos Pinchot Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (005.01.00, 005.02.00)
Enlarge
Military Preparedness Association. Are You Trained to Do Your Share? Plattsburg [sic]. Color lithograph poster. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (007.01.00)
Enlarge

The Preparedness Lobby

With war raging overseas, America's military ranked far behind other global powers. The U.S. Army comprised fewer than 130,000 officers and men when the major belligerents had forces numbering in the millions. Established in January 1915, the National Security League (NSL) was the most prominent U.S. preparedness lobby, promoting enlistment, universal military training, and an expanded army and navy. Similar efforts to help prepare civilians for military service had begun as early as 1913, but in late spring 1915, the NSL sponsored its own summertime officer training camps for college students and businessmen. Critics assailed aspects of preparedness as an attempt by reactionary, moneyed interests to spread their influence across the country. Others, including Teddy Roosevelt, believed that the NSL supported patriotism, civic responsibility, and the idea of service among all Americans.

 Back to top