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Posts Categorized: WWII Articles

Make It Do - Metal Shortages in World War II

Make It Do – Metal Shortages During 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

Sheep in Chutes

Conducting research for historical fiction is usually interesting, sometimes dull, but occasionally yields an odd or funny story. I found this little story while reading The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume 1: Plans and Early Operations: September 1939 to August 1942 by Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate (Washington DC: Office of Air Force History, 1948). When the Italian army invaded Ethiopia in 1935, they fa... Read Article
B-17G Aluminum Overcast of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Buchanan Field, Concord, CA, 2 May 2011 (Photo: Sarah Sundin)

Flying in a Fortress

On Monday, May 2, I had the privilege of flying in a B-17 Flying Fortress. The Experimental Aircraft Association visited Buchanan Field in Concord, California with their beautifully restored B-17G, Aluminum Overcast. I’ve enjoyed walking through this plane for years and always dreamed of taking a flight. This year one of my readers, who volunteers with EAA, arranged for me to participate in the media flight. W... Read Article
Cutaway diagram of a B-17G Flying Fortress (Sarah Sundin)

The B-17 Flying Fortress, Part 2 – Crew

    Few World War II airplanes have captured the imagination like the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Today I have the privilege in taking a flight in Aluminum Overcast, the restored B-17 owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association. This is the second of a three-part series on the legendary Flying Fortress – a starring side character in my novels. Last week I talked about the plane (Part 1), today a... Read Article
B-17G Flying Fortress Shoo Shoo Baby of the 91st Bomb Group (USAF Museum)

The B-17 Flying Fortress, Part 1

  Few World War II airplanes have captured the imagination like the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Next Monday, May 2, I’ll have the privilege in taking a flight in Aluminum Overcast, the restored B-17 owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association. Over the next three weeks, I’ll run a three-part series on the legendary Flying Fortress – a starring side character in my novels. Today I’ll t... 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 for... Read Article
US poster, 1942

Lessons from the 1940s – Watch out for Stereotypes

During World War II, stereotypes were used in posters, newsreels, and movies to demonize the enemy and motivate people to fight. It’s much easier to fight an enemy you hate. Nowadays, these images make us wince. We’re too enlightened to stereotype people. Or are we? Most of us would be ashamed to admit we have stereotypes, but deep inside we classify people. Judge people. Treat people differently. Skin co... Read Article
US poster, 1943

Lessons from the 1940s – Careless Words Kill

During World War II, careless words could lead to needless deaths. A mother chatting in the beauty parlor about her son’s ship leaving San Diego the next day, a spy in the chair next to her – a sub notified, a ship sunk. Posters like this reminded people to watch their words. Recently school bullying has made the headlines. Careless, cruel words caused several teens to hate their lives so much that suicid... Read Article
US War Bond poster, WWII

Lessons from the 1940s – Save and Invest

The generation that fought World War II on the battlefield and on the Home Front had come through the Great Depression. While we cringe at today’s unemployment figures hovering around 10 percent (as we should), in 1932, 13 million were unemployed – 25 percent of the labor force at a time when most households had only one wage-earner. This generation learned the importance of managing money wisely. During ... Read Article
US poster, 1943

Lessons from the 1940s – Teamwork

The brave pilot risking his life for the sake of his country. The soldier and sailor and Marine in combat. These are the people we think about when we think of World War II. Their stories are told in movies and documentaries and books – including mine. But this poster recognizes the truth – teamwork won the war. Even in the armed forces, few men saw combat. In the U.S. Eighth Air Force based in England, t... Read Article