Almost certainly one way that Kansas communities can observe the centennial is by marking how they contributed to the war effort by producing wheat.  Almost immediately after the declaration of war  there was a demand to increase production of wheat.  The State Agricultural Council of Defense announced a goal of two hundred million bushels of wheat in 1918, and the importance of wheat in the war effort was promoted everywhere.  On July 19, 1917, the Topeka Daily Capital reported (as repeated in Robert W. Richmond’s Kansas:  A Land of Contrasts):

“‘Win the War with Wheat’

That is the Kansas slogan.  It is a battle cry that is heard in every home of the state.  From Baxter Springs to St. Francis; from White Cloud to Elkhart, a determined and patriotic people have enlisted in a great industrial army to fight the battle for bread as truly and as bravely as our soldiers will fight for liberty and humanity on the battle fields of Europe.

Kansas stands at the head of the class of forty-eight states in the great battle for bread.  It was the first to respond to the call of the federal government to conserve and produce . . .

Will Kansas help to ‘Win the War with Wheat?’ The answer is the wonderful page written into Kansas history during the past four months.  The state council of defense movement was the initial call to the fields and gardens for greater food production and with it an appeal for saving and economy . . . . The children, too, formed a battalion in the great industrial army.  In more than 12,000 schools of the state a stirring appeal from Governor Capper was read by the teachers to 400,000 boys and girls.  These children went home from their studies with a broader vision of life and duty, and their industry and help will add to the state’s storehouse of food this year.”

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.