The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was a government agency created during World War II to consolidate government information services. Besides coordinating the release of war news for domestic use, the office established an overseas branch which launched a huge information and propaganda campaign abroad.
The OWI was established in 1942 to consolidate the functions of the Office of Facts and Figures, the Office of Government Reports, the division of information of the Office for Emergency Management, and the foreign information service of the Coordinator of Information. Elmer Davis was named director. Congressional opposition to the domestic operations of the OWI resulted in increasingly curtailed funds, and by 1944 the OWI operated mostly in the foreign field, contributing to undermining enemy morale. The agency was abolished in 1945, and its foreign functions were transferred to the Department of State.
Among its wide-ranging responsibilities, OWI sought to review and approve the design and content of government posters. OWI officials felt that the most urgent problem on the home front was the careless leaking of sensitive information that could be picked up by spies and saboteurs.
During 1942 and 1943, the OWI contained two photographic units whose photographers documented the country's mobilization during the early years of the war, concentrating on such topics as aircraft factories and women in the workforce.
Among the many people who worked for the OWI were Milton S. Eisenhower, Howard Fast, Jane Jacobs Lewis Wade Jones Murray Leinster, Archibald MacLeish, Charles Olson, Arthur Schlesinger, William Stephenson, and James Reston.