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Today in World War II History—Apr. 7, 1942

Exclusion Order posted to direct Japanese-Americans living in the first San Francisco section to evacuate, 1 Apr 1942 (US National Archives)

Exclusion Order posted to direct Japanese-Americans living in the first San Francisco section to evacuate, 1 Apr 1942 (US National Archives)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 7, 1942: US Navy announces blacks can enlist for general service (Seabees, shore duty, stevedores), not just in the mess, as of 1 June 42, allowing time to build segregated facilities.

Representatives from 11 western states meet with War Relocation Authority to protest Japanese-Americans evacuating to their states; Colorado alone agrees to accept voluntary relocation of enemy aliens.

First group of Japanese-Americans are evacuated from San Francisco.

Today in World War II History—Apr. 6, 1942

Japanese-American WWI veteran at the Santa Anita Park Assembly Center, CA, 5 Apr 1942 (US National Archives: Dorothea Lange, photographer)

Japanese-American WWI veteran at the Santa Anita Park Assembly Center, CA, 5 Apr 1942 (US National Archives: Dorothea Lange, photographer)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 6, 1942: Japanese air raid on Vizagapatam and Cocanada, India helps tip India to support Allies.

Germany cuts ration of bread, meat, and fats.

Due to heavy Luftwaffe raids, British begin to withdraw surface ships from Malta to Gibraltar and Alexandria.

700 Japanese-Americans are assembled at Santa Anita Racetrack.

Today in World War II History—Apr. 5, 1942

British cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall burning during the raid on Ceylon, 5 Apr 1942; photo taken from Japanese aircraft (public domain via WW2 Database)

British cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall burning during the raid on Ceylon, 5 Apr 1942; photo taken from Japanese aircraft (public domain via WW2 Database)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 5, 1942: Japanese carrier planes sink British heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall off Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and bomb British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon.

First destroyer escorts, USS (future HMS) Bayntun and USS (future HMS) Bazely are laid down at Boston Navy Yard, MA.

Today in World War II History—Apr. 4, 1942

75 Years Ago—Apr. 4, 1942: Japanese bombing of Mandalay, Burma hits trainload of bombs, 2000 killed.

US War Production Board takes control of supply and distribution of quinine, necessary for prevention and treatment of malaria ; US pharmacies urged to turn in stock over 50 ounces.

Make It Do – Metal Shortages in World War II

US poster encouraging conservation of metal for military purposes. Read more: "Make It Do--Metal Shortages in World War II" on Sarah Sundin's blog.Imagine going to the store and not finding batteries, thumbtacks, alarm clocks, or paper clips on the shelves.

During World War II, metals were needed for military purposes. Ships and planes and jeeps and guns and ration tins and helmets took precedence over civilian products. After the United States entered the war, factories quickly shifted from manufacturing civilian goods to military material. The last automobile rolled off the assembly line on February 10, 1942, and cars wouldn’t be manufactured again until August 1945.

US poster encouraging tin can collection, WWII. Read more: "Make It Do--Metal Shortages in World War II" on Sarah Sundin's blog.On April 2, 1942, the US War Production Board ordered a reduction in the use of metals in packaging of civilian products. Anyone who wanted to purchase a tin tube of toothpaste, shaving cream, or medicated ointment had to turn in the old tube first. On March 1, 1943, these restrictions resulted in the rationing of canned foods (Make It Do—Rationing of Canned Goods in World War II).

Scrap drives and tin can drives reclaimed tons of metals, but not enough to prevent shortages. (Make It Do—Scrap Drives in World War II)

Shortages

Many everyday items became hard to find—can openers, kitchen utensils, steel wool, batteries, hair curlers, razor blades, wristwatches, thumbtacks, paper clips, pins, needles, zippers, garden tools, and bed springs. When ladies went to the beauty salon, they were even required to bring their own bobby pins due to the shortage. People learned to take care of what they had—or do without.

Appliances

Both large and small appliances were not manufactured during the war, so appliance stores shifted their business focus from sales to repairs. Often families or neighbors would share appliances. In July 1944, to encourage home canning but prevent botulism, 400,000 pressure cookers were released for sale, preferably for community use. In Antioch, California, the PTA purchased a pressure cooker to share within the community.

US poster, WWIIToys

Many popular children’s toys couldn’t be manufactured due to restrictions or shortages of rubber, tin, and steel. Manufacturers converted to wood and cardboard. (Learn more about toys in WWII here: A WWII Christmas—Teaching About Christmas Past to Reduce Christmas “Presents”)

US poster, WWIITypewriters

Not only did typewriters contain metal, but they were vital to a paperwork-dependent military. In July 1942, a call went out to the public to donate late-model, nonessential typewriters to the military. Typewriters were rationed in the US from March 6, 1942 to April 22, 1944, requiring a certificate from the local ration board for a purchase.

Failures

Some programs ended up as humorous failures. In July 1942, the US government proclaimed a stop to the manufacture of beauty products—but a great uproar led to the repeal four months later.

Sliced bread also briefly became unavailable. On January 18, 1943, the sale of sliced bread was banned in America to conserve the metal blades. This ban lasted only until March 8.

Alarm clock production stopped in the US on July 1, 1942. However, employers all over the nation lobbied to resume production to reduce absenteeism. In March 1943, alarm clocks were produced again.

Which of these shortages would have been most difficult for you?

Murder on the Moor – Giveaway Winner

Murder on the Moor by Julianna DeeringThank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for Julianna Deering’s fabulous Murder on the Moor. I picked a random number from among the comments, and the winner is…

Jeanne Bishop!

Jeanne, I’ll email you so I can send you the book.

Thanks again!

Today in World War II History—Apr. 3, 1942

Carrier USS Wasp and battleship USS Washington of TF 39 at Scapa Flow, Scotland, 4 April 1942 (US Naval History and Heritage Command)

Carrier USS Wasp and battleship USS Washington of TF 39 at Scapa Flow, Scotland, 4 April 1942 (US Naval History and Heritage Command)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 3, 1942: Japanese begin final push for Bataan Peninsula.

US Navy Task Force 39 arrives at Scapa Flow to cover the Murmansk and Mediterranean runs, the first unit of the US Atlantic Fleet in British waters.

Today in World War II History—Apr. 2, 1942

Aft flight deck of carrier USS Hornet en route to the Doolittle Raid, April 1942; destroyer USS Gwin and cruiser USS Nashville in background (US Naval History & Heritage Command)

Aft flight deck of carrier USS Hornet en route to the Doolittle Raid, April 1942; destroyer USS Gwin and cruiser USS Nashville in background (US Naval History & Heritage Command)

75 Years Ago—Apr. 2, 1942: In Burma, Japanese take Prome and Akyab, securing Arakan Peninsula.

Carrier USS Hornet departs Alameda, CA for Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, along with cruisers Nashville and Vincennes, and destroyers Grayson, Gwin, Meredith, and Monssen.

In US, tin tubes for toothpaste & shaving cream must be turned in to buy new tube; restrictions placed on use of tin in consumer packaging. (See: Make It Do – Metal Shortages in World War II)US poster, WWII

Today in World War II History—Apr. 1, 1942

US poster, WWII75 Years Ago—Apr. 1, 1942: Japanese land at Hollandia and Sorong in Dutch New Guinea.

US begins “bucket brigade” partial convoys on East Coast—cargo ships sail close to shore in daylight, stay in ports overnight, escorted by whatever warships are on hand.

Today in World War II History—Mar. 31, 1942

75 Years Ago—Mar. 31, 1942: Indian Congress Party demands immediate and complete independence from the United Kingdom.

Japanese take Toungoo, Burma, Christmas Island south of Java, and Bougainville in the Solomons.

In South Atlantic, Italian sub Pietro Calvi sinks US tanker T.C. McCobb, first US ship sunk by an Italian sub.