This photograph appeared in the Oregon Journal on October 11, 1942, along with other photographs celebrating the efforts of local schools and organizations taking part in the nation’s first full-scale scrap metal drive of World War II. The scrap drive was orchestrated by the U.S. War Productions Board and the U.S. Office of Education and was promoted heavily by radio, newspaper, and motion picture companies. Rhyming slogans using “slap the Jap” like the one in this photograph, were common during the early stages of the war effort against Japan, when Americans hoped for a quick victory against an enemy perceived by many as racially and militarily inferior to Allied forces.
Nationwide, approximately 30 million children collected 1.5 million tons of metal for the scrap drive, helping the War Production Board meet its quota. During the effort, a group of 33 students from Langlois, Oregon, won acclaim for gathering “an average of two and a half tons each”—a national record.