Saturday, March 5, 2011


     When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, America had already been struggling economically through a depression. This new catastrophe, rather than knocking the American people any lower, actually, managed to unite them. With enlistment and the draft taking the strong, able-bodied young men into military service it was left to those on the home front to provide aid to the war efforts and continue caring for their families and citizens who remained on American soil.
     The U.S. government contracted factories to build their war planes, jeeps, ships, munitions and a multitude of other necessities used for the war effort. With these contracts came jobs that needed filled, the problem was that there wasn't enough male laborers left to fill them. So, the government enlisted the use of propaganda in the forms of posters, newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts and Hollywood movies, all to bolster morale and incite patriotism. Now, women, the disabled and those of a different race were encouraged to step out and join the work force.
     The American people united by sacrificing, recycling and doing new things they had never had to do before, such as rationing food, clothes and gasoline. They were encouraged to grow their own produce, in the forms of "victory gardens", and buy war bonds, all in the effort to contribute to the financing of the war. Whether the sacrifice was large or small, every American was impacted some way or another, and every American had some part in shaping our history.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Victory Gardens

      As part of the war effort, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods. Labor and transport shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to the market. So the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant “Victory Gardens” to provide their own fruits and vegetables. Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call. They Planted gardens in the backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources and planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives. Farm families, of course had been planting gardens and preserving produce for generations. Now, their urban cousins got into the act too. The government and businesses urged people to make gardening a family and community effort. People responded all in the name of patriotism to do their part on the home front. Women magazines gave instructions on how to grow and preserve produce. Families were encouraged to can their own fruits and vegetables to save commercial canned goods for the troops. By 1945 victory gardens accounted for about 40 percent of all vegetables consumed in the U.S.
All Americans were encouraged to have "Victory Gardens" to supplement food supplies because of rationing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


     Rationing began in World War II when a supply shortage on everyday things became an issue as a result of the fact that all things needed for our soldiers became top priority. The ability to pay was not the issue. The government wanted to make it as fair as possible for all to obtain items.
     Overnight the economy shifted to war production with everyday goods taking a backseat to the necessary military items. Hence, nationwide rationing began. Prices were frozen on basic goods, such as sugar and coffee. War ration books were distributed to each American family with a specific amount of stamps per book for things to be purchased. These items included, but were not limited to, sugar, milk, gasoline, silk, nylons, and meat. The Sears Roebuck catalog from 1943 also contained a list of all rationed farm equipment, the reasons and the benefits of the rationing, and who would be eligible to make purchases. There was also a wartime cookbook with revised recipes to help American families deal with the food shortages.
     There were different types of rationing that took existed at the time, including: Uniform coupon rationing, which provided equal shares of a single item to all, such as sugar. Point rationing which provided equal shares of an item by coupons issued for points that could be used for any combination of items in the group, such as processed foods, cheeses, meat or fats. Differential coupons which provided single shares of a product according to varying needs, such as gasoline, fuel and oil. There was also Certificate rationing which required a completed application proving your need for such products as stoves, typewriters, tires and cars.
     Ration coins allowed retailers to give back change that was due the consumer for purchases made with ration stamps.

Original Ration Items I Own..

Newspaper Ad of Rationing Information- Retrieved from:

Newspaper Ad with Ration Calendar- Retrieved from:

Works Cited:

"Rationing on the US Homefront during WW II." Ames Historical Society Website. Web. .
"War Ration Clippings | Rationing Information." Genealogy Today: Family Tree History, Ancestry, Free Lookups. Web. .
Everyone was encouraged to do their own small part to help the war effort.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


     America was in the middle of the Great Depression when they got involved in WWII. America had been thrust into a war by being attacked by Japanese warriors and they came together as a nation to fight for their country. Men and women enlisted to help serve their country. Americans were eager to help out in any way possible in order to help their own armed forces. By being in the war, the United States needed equipment of all sorts to help the men and women serve and fight off the enemy. Since all this new equipment was needed, manufacturers had to hire more people in order to meet the demands. This increase in the work force brought the Great Depression to an end. The government controlled inflation and by doing this people slowly started to bring themselves up out of poverty.
     The government also started to ration supplies for every person within the country. While people were making more money than before they were only allowed to buy a specified amount of food and clothes. Ration stamps helped each family get only what they needed and no more so that everyone could have the essentials. Everyone chipped in at home in order to serve the fighting men that were many miles away. Men, women, and children did their part in helping out. Clothes hemming and stitching were changed to ration material. As you can see in the picture below, women’s dresses were altered in small ways, but just those few changes made a big difference in the war effort.

Retrieved from

Works Cited:

Ames Historical Society (n.d.). World War II Rationing on the U.S. Homefront. Retrieve from:
Tassava, Christopher J. (February 5th, 2010). The American Economy during WWII. Retrieved
United States History (n.d.). World War II Rationing. Retrieved from:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hollywood and Propaganda

     World War II was a time of terror for everybody. This stretched much further than the actual soldiers fighting war, even further than their families. Everyone would be affected greatly in some way or another. Whether it was war rations, that abruptly changed lives, or if it was the jobs that were created in the war effort which required citizens way out of their skill level to contribute in ways they never thought before. Everybody needed to do their part, because just like the soldiers, every American citizen had a duty to help the war effort(Wartime).  
     This even included Hollywood. Hollywood was an integral part of peoples lives in the 1940’s just as they are today. Hollywood would create movies that had a way of influencing, and some might say controlling the lives of movie goers. Hollywood was actually said to have a significant impact on whether or not the U.S. would join the war in the first place(Hollywood). They created films that were anti-nazi, and almost Hitler horror films, that would scare American citizens to thinking Hitler would come and hurt them. But after Pearl Harbor, Hollywood stepped up just as they should have. They created films like “Sunday in Hawaii” and  “V is for Victory.” They overall result of the Hollywood film created in the U.S. was a sky high morale. Citizens would see movies about men being tested on the battlefield, and soldiers being thrown into battles with diverse backgrounds, and nothing in common except preserving their freedom, and their loved ones. Hollywood did their part, and kept American citizens believing in the war cause(Wartime).  This also created new opportunities for females to come forward and take the spotlight while the men were away at war. 

Works Cited:

Wartime Hollywood.

Hollywood goes to War.

Vintage Movie Poster.
"Rosie the Riveter" represented all of the women who went to work to fill the spots of men who were off to war.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


     World War II brought about many changes on the home front, one being the need for additional workers. Many factories or companies already had contracts with the government to build war equipment. As the need for production of the war equipment increased, the need for workers increased as well. Since so many men were in the service, it fell to the women to fill this void. This led to the development of the government’s “propaganda campaign” known as Rosie the Riveter. Rosie the Riveter was a fictional character featured in the propaganda campaign created by the U.S. government to encourage white middle class women to work outside the home during World War II (Lowen, n.d.). Norman Rockwell developed an image of Rosie and it was on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May of 1943. There were two “real-life” Rosies. The first was Rose Will Monroe. She was found working in Ford Motor Company aircraft assembly plant by Hollywood star Walter Pidgeon. She starred as herself in a government film that promoted the war efforts. A second “real-life” Rosie was Rose Hicker from the Eastern Aircraft Company in New York. The media pictured her with her partner. They drove a record number of rivets into the wing of a bomber plane. As time went on, many Rosies were found around the country and used in the propaganda.
     A more feminine and glamorous portrayal of Rosie with her wearing a red bandana and the words “We Can Do It!” came about by artist J. Howard Miller. This image was commissioned by the U.S. was Production Coordination Committee and became the icon associated with Rosie the Riveter (Lowen, n.d.). As Lowen desribes what she obtained from the National Parks Service, the propaganda campaign focused on several themes in order to lure women to work outside the home. The themes were patriotic duty, high earnings, glamour of work, similar to housework, and spousal pride. Each theme gave reasons as to why women should work during the war.
     As history shows, Rosie the Riveter gained greater importance through the years and far exceeded her original purpose of representing the ideal female worker and helping to fill temporary labor shortages caused by the war. She was not meant to promote change or build up the role of women in society. It was just understood that “Rosie” would resume her original role as a homemaker when the men came home from the war. Although most women returned home to care for their families, society had been forever changed. The idea of Rosie continued into the future. She paved the way for equality and increasing gains for women throughout our history.

Cover of the Saturday Evening Post, May 1943
Norman Rockwell
Retrieved from

J. Howard Miller’s portrayal of Rosie the Riveter

Works Cited:

Lowen, L (n.d.). Who was rosie the riveter? Retrieved from Norman Rockwell photo on Saturday Evening Post
Wars and history battles, world war II home front. (n.d.) Retrieved from

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blog Created & Edited By:

Bobbi Sisco
Hist 1312
Group: Home Front WWII