Clean Up and Paint Up the Modern Crusader

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Text on Button CLEAN UP & PAINT UP The Modern Crusader IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE
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Illustration of a person behind a red banner with white text over a white banner with red text

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PAT FEB 13 1817

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The National Clean-Up, Paint-Up, Fix-Up Campaign was created in the 1920s by the National Paint, Varnish, and Lacquer Association to simply sell paint. Cities throughout the United States held “Clean Up, Paint Up, Fix Up” weeks. During these weeks, citizens were enlisted to improve their neighborhoods by picking up litter, painting houses and fences, planting flowers, and performing any other tasks that would improve the aesthetic of the communities. 

However, the campaign took a fascinating turn during the Cold War. In the 1950s, the unincorporated organization known as The National Clean-Up, Paint-Up, Fix-Up Bureau, in cooperation with the Federal Civil Defense Administration, made a short propaganda film titled The House in the Middle. The film implores U.S. citizens to keep their homes tidy, freshly painted, and free of litter. The film’s narrator explains that keeping a tidy home and community will protect them from an atomic bomb. Here is a link to the film:



Bloomfield Township Public Library. (n.d.-a). Birmingham eccentric-Thursday, January 5, 1928. Eccentric Newspaper/1928/January 1928/Jan 5, 1928 part1 7.pdf 

Byrnes, M. (2013, May 8). In 1954, Americans were told to paint their houses to increase their chances of surviving an atomic bomb.…; (2022, January 19). Home. National Clean-Up Paint-Up Fix-Up Bureau. 

Professional Case Management . (2020, May 11). Discussions with deb: Cold war films. Cold War Patriots.…;

Catalog ID CA0196