Sunday, October 22, 2017

War Rationing: "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without."

     World War II brought sweeping changes to communities throughout America. Thousands of men enlisted or were drafted into the military. Large numbers of women, many of whom had never before worked outside the home, took full time jobs to help meet labor shortages. Unlike subsequent wars in which America engaged, World War II was a "total war" in which sacrifices were required on the home front.  Americans were told to "Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without."
     Many foods and war-related items were rationed.  Rationing began in January 1942.  Tires were the first item to be rationed because the Japanese had cut supplies of natural rubber. By November 1943, automobiles, sugar, gasoline, bicycles, footwear, fuel oil, coffee, stoves, shoes, meat, lard, shortening and oils, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk, firewood and coal, jams, jellies and fruit butter, were being rationed.  Each person received a ration book, including small children and babies who qualified for canned milk not available to others. 

     In the beginning of the war gasoline shortages were acute on the East Coast .  Most petroleum was shipped by sea, and German submarines prowled off the East Coast.  German submarine "wolf packs" sank eight ships off the Virginia-North Carolina coast in January 1942, eight more in February, and one a day in March 1942. An A sticker on a car was the lowest priority of gas rationing and entitled owner to four gallons of gas per week. B stickers were issued to defense industry workers, entitling them up to eight gallons of gas per week. C stickers went to workers essential to the war effort, such as doctors. T rations were for truckers. X stickers, the highest priority in the system, entitling the holder to unlimited gallons of gasoline were reserved for police, firemen and the clergy.

     Young and old were exhorted to conserve, share and recycle to help win the war. In Home Demonstration Clubs, women learned about growing victory gardens, preserving food, and caring for clothing. Buying government bonds helped pay for the war effort, and children contributed by buying war stamps at school. Schools conducted drives to collect scrap metal, rubber, waste paper, cooking fats, and tin cans.

A first person account of the Normandy campaign from D-Day + 1 to the liberation of Paris. 

War from the perspective of the average citizen soldier.

General George S. Patton once said, “Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.” Here are four stories about the history of the world IF wars we know about happened differently or IF wars that never happened actually took place.

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