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Today in World War II History

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Posts Categorized: WWII Articles

Make It Do - Coffee Rationing in World War II - on Sarah Sundin's blog

Make It Do – Coffee Rationing in World War II

Eighty years ago, coffee rationing began in the United States. Although not necessary for survival—though that’s debatable—coffee has been a staple in the American diet since the Boston Tea Party, and coffee rationing was extremely unpopular. Why Coffee? During World War II, Latin America produced bumper crops of coffee beans, and those countries were Allies or neutral. However, all coffee came to America by se... Read Article
Lessons from the 1940s - No Complaints - on Sarah Sundin's blog

Lessons from the 1940s – No Complaints

They waded ashore in chest-deep water in Algeria and took shelter behind sand dunes. Snipers and strafing fighter planes aimed for them. They ate cold rations and dug slit trenches and dealt with fleas, mosquitoes, lice, and flies. And they were women. When I was researching nursing in the Mediterranean Theater (North Africa, Sicily, and Italy) in World War II, I was struck by the conditions these young women worked ... Read Article
Victory Gardens in World War II, on Sarah Sundin's blog

Victory Gardens in World War II

For the average American in World War II, the Victory Garden was a practical way to contribute to the war effort. Some 20 million Victory Gardens were planted (US population in 1940 was 132 million), and by 1943, these little plots produced 40 percent of all vegetables consumed in the US. It’s estimated that 9-10 million tons of vegetables were grown. The Need for Victory Gardens Wartime needs stretched agricul... Read Article
Gasoline Rationing in World War II. On Sarah Sundin's blog

Make It Do – Gasoline Rationing in World War II

Although rationing was an important part of life in America during World War II, the US government was apprehensive about gasoline rationing. As a symbol of freedom of movement, the automobile represented everything American, and politicians feared riots and rebellion if they curtailed that freedom. Gasoline Shortage In early 1942, German U-boats ravaged Allied shipping off the US East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico... Read Article
Of Terns & Planes: An Island, A Bird, and a Little-Known WWII "Battle," on Sarah Sundin's blog

Of Terns and Planes

In July 1942, the armies of democracy battled the armies of totalitarianism, but a smaller battle raged between US Army Engineers and a little bird called the sooty tern. While researching the Army engineers for my novel With Every Letter (Revell, 2012), I ran into an intriguing little story in Barry Fowle’s Builders and Fighters: US Army Engineers in World War II (Fort Belvoir VA: Office of History, US Army ... Read Article
Victory Mail in World War II, on Sarah Sundin's blog

Victory Mail in World War II

Letters in World War II During World War II, letters were essential to the health of relationships. Soldiers and sailors who shipped overseas couldn’t make phone calls, and of course, e-mails and text messages hadn’t been invented. That left letters. The average soldier wrote six letters a week. Those letters took anywhere from 1-4 weeks to cross the ocean to the United States. Each letter received at home assure... Read Article
Make It Do - Scrap Drives in World War II

Make It Do – Scrap Drives in World War II

  Perhaps nothing represents the community-minded patriotism of the US Home Front in World War II better than the scrap drive. Enemy conquests cut off supplies of crucial raw materials such as tin and rubber, and the need for products made from these materials skyrocketed due to the war. Since useful materials often ended up in the trash can or languished unused in homes and on farms, the War Production Board en... Read Article
Sugar Rationing in World War II

Make It Do – Sugar Rationing in World War II

What could be more American than Hershey bars, homemade cookies, and birthday cake? During World War II, these items were hard to come by in the United States. Short on Sugar When the Japanese conquered the Philippines in the early months of 1942, the United States lost a major source of sugar imports. Shipments from Hawaii and Central and South America had to be curtailed 50 percent as cargo vessels were diverted fo... Read Article
Make It Do - Metal Shortages in World War II

Make It Do – Metal Shortages in World War II

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 matériel. Preparation for Wa... Read Article
Make It Do - Clothing in World War II, on Sarah Sundin's blog

Make It Do – Clothing in World War II

During World War II, the United States didn’t ration clothing as the United Kingdom and many other nations did, but restrictions were applied, and fashions adapted to use less fabric. Why Clothing? Eleven million men and women served in the US military during the war, and they all needed uniforms. This strained the country’s supply of fabric, particularly wool, and the garment manufacturing system. Since Japan pr... Read Article