Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2016

Department 1



Venereal disease was a major contributor to lost man days in World War I so the government attempted to implement an educational campaign beginning in 1918. After a loss of funding, venereal disease became unattended until 1936 when Thomas Parran was appointed as Surgeon General. He made prevention of venereal disease his top priority and began a new campaign, determined to make it more effective and better funding than its predecessor. The subsequent advent of World War II strengthened national interest. With the inspiration of Parran, the Public Health Service and other organizations made movies, posters, pamphlets, books, and school curriculums. Despite these efforts beginning before the war and only intensifying during the war years, venereal disease rates during World War II climbed through 1943. However, in contrast to the first campaign, Parran’s attempt to end venereal diseases was better funded and longer lasting than its predecessor.


Written for HIST 421: Seminar: The U.S. and World War II.

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