This article traces the rhetoric used by reformers in Vienna, Austria, to transform attitudes about single mothers and their children during the turn of the twentieth century. An emotional community of doctors, statisticians, feminists, Catholics, and charity organizers shamed city systems and sympathized with women who bore children out of wedlock. The practice of normalizing these women and their children was accelerated by the crisis of war and the creation of a new welfare policy in the 1920s by the Social Democratic Workers’ Party. The young nation of Austria experienced political instability, economic uncertainty, and a population imbalance, all of which contributed to changing mores regarding unmarried mothers and a new value for all children. Ultimately, a process and an event collided in Vienna: emotions mobilized by activists were transformed into new policies justified by the losses following World War I.