Before the United States entered World War I, President Wilson and Congress, established the Council of National Defense on August 29, 1916. This Council was constructed and responsible for “coordination of industries and resources for the national security and welfare” of the United States.
The National Council of Defense oversaw investigations and made recommendations about infrastructure needs that would allow for the ease of troop and supply mobilization, to produce propaganda and organize the civilian population, analyze the nation’s capability to produce materials, and to conserve those resources in order to support the war efforts. In order to accomplish its overall objective, the National Council needed to establish state and local councils that could mobilize the civilian population effectively.
The Arkansas Council was formed by Governor Charles Brough on May 22, 1917. Brough had a late start with the formation and organization of the State Council of Defense and yet that organization would become a powerful force within Arkansas’ civilian life leaving little untouched by its influence.
The Arkansas State Council of Defense was responsible for the overall structure and organization of seventy-five different County Councils, almost five thousand Community Councils, the Women’s Council, and the Colored Auxiliary Council.
This organizational structure helped the State and National leaders distribute communication effectively throughout the whole of America and reach smaller communities successfully.