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The West Coast as a Military Zone <br />(U.S. Gov. 1943)The West Coast as a Military Zone
(U.S. Gov. 1943)
The following illustration was created by the U.S. Government during the early days of World War II and will help to illustrate how enormous the task of Japanese-American "relocation" must have been.

Click here to read some of the reasoning that was offered for this step...

The Comic Book Industry: Tweleve Years Old in 1945 <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)The Comic Book Industry: Tweleve Years Old in 1945
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
This is an article about the 1940s comic book industry and the roll it played during W.W. II.

The writer doesn't spell it out for us, but by-and-by it dawned on us that among all the various "firsts" the World War Two generation had claim to, they were also the first generation to read comic books. Although this article concentrates on the wartime exploits of such forties comic book characters as Plastic Man and Blackhawk, it should be remembered that the primary American comic book heroes that we remember today were no slackers during the course of the war; Superman smashed the Siegfried Line prior to arresting Hitler as he luxuriated in his mountain retreat; Batman selflessly labored in the fields of counterintelligence while Captain America signed-up as a buck private.

Click here to read an article about the predecessor to the American comic book: the "dime novel".

If you would like to read a W.W. II story concerning 1940s comic strips and the failed plot to assassinate General Eisenhower, click here.

Washington, D.C. During Wartime <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Washington, D.C. During Wartime
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
Washington, D.C. has always been described as a pretty dull place and the only ones who ever seem to feel differently must have had a good deal of experiences in far worse locations. In this case, I am referring to Iowa and the war-torn portions of the South Pacific, which are the only two locations this YANK journalist had ever called home; so he liked Washington just fine. The author in question, Sergeant Merle Miller (1919 - 1986), does not ramble on about historic bone-yards or any other pedantic clap-trap, but rather presents useful information that a G.I. can apply to his life:

"Of course, getting a fair date while you're in town is no problem. A Canadian newspaperman recently discovered that, judging from ration-book requests, there are 82,000 single girls of what he called the "right marrying age" of 20 to 24 in town, and only 26,000 men of the same age Therefore, he concluded, a girl has only about a 30-percent chance of getting a husband -- or, for that matter, a date"

The missing period at the close of the article, I assume, is due entirely to war-time shortages.

To read about the VJ-Day celebrations in Washington, click here.

''The Most Married Man in America'' <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)''The Most Married Man in America''
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
As a result of the generous "proxy-marriage" laws allowed by the citizens of Kansas City, Kansas, many young women, feeling the urge to marry their beaus residing so far afield as a result of the Second World War, would board buses and trains and head to that far-distant burg with one name on their lips: Finnegan. This is the story of Mr. Thomas H. Finnegan, a successful lawyer back in the day who saw fit to do his patriotic duty by standing-in for all those G.I.s who were unable to attend their own weddings.
World War II Fabric Rationing in the United States <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)World War II Fabric Rationing in the United States
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
This illustrated article appeared in "Yank Magazine" during March of 1945 and explained fully what fabric rationing was and how the American home front fashion consumer was affected:

"The absence of cuffs and vests aside, pre-war styles in men's clothing are still obtainable. A man can get plaids, stripes, herringbones and all sorts of weaves in brown, blue, gray and all the various pastel shades. ...Women generally have had to make great changes in their dressing habits. In the first place the shortage of rubber has raised hell with the girdle, or foundation garment.".

Click here to read more about fashion on the W.W. II home front...

Read a 1940s fashion article about fabric restrictions and the War Production Board.

Interview with a Home Front War Worker <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Interview with a Home Front War Worker
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
It would seem that a good many World War II servicemen believed that they were missing out on all that "home front glamour" that had kicked-in as a result of the full-employment and booming economic prosperity of wartime America; and so Yank correspondent Al Hine was quickly dispatched to Turtle Creek, Pa. to pen this small article about Frank Hanly, "an average guy in a average war plant. He works hard, rests and plays like we used to and he isn't getting rich."

The truth is this army reporter was instructed to report on the blander side of home front living - the facts were far brighter; there was money to be made and fun to be had and you can click here to read about it...

Home Front Teen Slang <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Home Front Teen Slang
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
A 1945 Yank Magazine article concerning American teen culture on the W.W. II home front in which the journalist/anthropologist paid particular attention to the teen-age slang of the day.

"Some of today's teenagers ---pleasantly not many --- talk the strange new language of "sling swing." In this bright lexicon of the good citizens of tomorrow, a girl with sex appeal is an "able Grable" or a "ready Hedy." A pretty girl is "whistle bait." A boy whose mug and muscles appeal to the girls is a "mellow man," a "hunk of heart break" or a "glad lad."

To read about one of the fashion legacies of W.W. II, click here...

Click here to learn how the Beatniks spoke. Click here if you would like to read a glossary of WAC slang terms.

•Suggested Reading• Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang

Home Front Culture and Men Without Uniforms <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Home Front Culture and Men Without Uniforms
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
"...you think it's easy for a guy my age not to be in the Army? You think I'm having a good time? Every place I go people spit on me..."

So spake one of the 4-F men interviewed for this magazine article when asked what it was like to be a twenty-year-old excused from military service during World War Two. This article makes clear the resentment experienced at the deepest levels by all other manner of men forced to soldier-on in uniform; and so Yank had one of their writers stand on a street corner to ask the "slackers" what it was like to wear "civies" during wartime.

Read about the 4-F guy who creamed three obnoxious GIs.
Click here to read an article about a World War Two draft board.

World War Two Hollywood <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)World War Two Hollywood
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
The attached article is a swell piece of journalism that truly catches the spirit of home front America. You will read about the war-weary Hollywood that existed between the years 1941-1945 and the movie shortages, the hair-pin rationing, the rise of the independent producers and the ascent of Van Johnson (4-F slacker) and Lauren Becall:

"Lauren, a Warner Brothers property, is a blonde-haired chick with a tall, hippy figure, a voice that sounds like a sexy foghorn and a pair of so-what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it eyes"

More articles on wartime movies can be read here...

A World War II Draft Board <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)A World War II Draft Board
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
"When Michael Campiseno turned 18, he was pulled out of his senior class in Norwood High School and drafted. Mike was sore. He swore that if he ever returned, he'd throw his discharge papers on the desk of the board chairman and say, 'Now, ya sonuvabitch, I hope you're satisfied!'"

This is the skinny on Draft Board 119 of Norwood, Massachusetts - an average draft board that sent 2,103 men off to war (75 of them never came back).

Home Front Ditties <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Home Front Ditties
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
Attached is a 1945 article written for the many homesick GIs who wondered what musical treats they were missing in their absence. All the great performers are cataloged as well as a list of many of the most popular home front hits from the top forty.

"Popular music back home hasn't changed much. The same familiar bands play the new hit tunes."

Would you like to read a 1941 article about Boogie-Woogie?

Broadway Theater in Wartime <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Broadway Theater in Wartime
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
New York's Broadway theater scene during World War II:

"Show people will never forget the year 1944. Thousands of men and women from the legitimate theater were overseas in uniform -actors and actresses, writers, scene designers, stage hands - and all looked back in wonderment at what war had done to the business... Letters and newspapers from home told the story. On Broadway even bad shows were packing them in..."

Click here to read a 1946 article about post-war Broadway.

The San Francisco Home Front <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)The San Francisco Home Front
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
San Francisco played an active roll in World War Two and it was the largest port of embarkation, ferrying millions of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines off to their unknown fates in the Pacific War. Between 1942 and 1945, the San Francisco population increased by some 150,000 - yet despite the growth, traffic along Market Street was just as heavy as it was before the war. Taxis were fewer and far more dilapidated, trolley car rides were raised to seven cents and despite a government restriction obliging all coffee vendors to charge no more than five cents for each cup, the caffeine-addicted San Franciscans paid twice that amount. U.S.O shows were plentiful throughout San Francisco and with so many of the city's police officer's called up, some parts of the city were patrolled by women.
True fans of San Francisco will enjoy this article.

Read about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake...

From Amazon:
The Bad City in the Good War

Work Clothes for Rosie the Riveter <br />(Advertisement, 1943)Work Clothes for Rosie the Riveter
(Advertisement, 1943)
Two images depicting the factory clothing prescribed for women war-workers on the American home front during the Second World War.

More on the women war workers of W.W. II can be read here...

Absolute, Total Morons on the Home Front <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1943)Absolute, Total Morons on the Home Front
(Collier's Magazine, 1943)
If you're one of those types who tend to feel that Americans aren't as smart as they used to be, this is the article for you: attached is a collection of quotes generated by eight home front dullards who were asked the question:

"Do you know what you are fighting?"

They all understood that their nation had just finished it's second year fighting something called "Fascism" but were hard-pressed to put a thoughtful definition to the term:

"A Kansas cattle raiser defined Fascism as '...the belief in a big industrial enterprise. Anyone who thinks that way is Fascist-minded."

Additionally, it is fun to see the pictures of all the assorted noobs who made such ridiculous statements.

4-F Guy Mops the Floor with Three GIs <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)4-F Guy Mops the Floor with Three GIs
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
"Classified as 4-F, Edwin Taylor of Belleville, Illinois, was enraged when four GIs kidded him by singing a song about 4-Fs..." he sent two to the hospital and the other soldiers are still running today.
Home Front Philadelphia <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Home Front Philadelphia
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
"You can boil down nearly all the changes that have taken place in Philadelphia since Pearl Harbor to one word: prosperity."

"In 1940 the average factory worker in Philadelphia was making $27 a week and the city's total factory pay roll was 393 millions. In 1943 Philadelphia's factory workers averaged $48 a week and the total factory payroll was one and a quarter billions...The Philadelphia social life, too, has taken a terrific shot in the arm..."

Read about Wartime San Francisco.

Click here to read about wartime Washington, D.C..

New York City Home Front <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)New York City Home Front
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
This is a three page article concerning the city of New York from Yank's on-going series, "Home Towns in Wartime". The Yank correspondent, Sanderson Vanderbilt, characterized Gotham as being "overcrowded" (in 1945 the population was believed to be 1,902,000; as opposed to the number today: 8,143,197) and I'm sure we can all assume that today's New Yorkers tend to feel that their fore-bearers did not know the meaning of the word.

New York was the home base of Yank Magazine and this article presents a young man's view of that town and the differences that he can recall when he remembers it's pre-war glory (Sanderson tended to feel that the city looked a bit "down-at-the-heel").

Click here if you would like to read an article about the celebrations in New York the day World War Two ended.

The American Home Front Finds Religion Again <br />(Click Magazine, 1942)The American Home Front Finds Religion Again
(Click Magazine, 1942)
By the time this article appeared on the newsstands at the close of 1942, the American people were fully committed to a war on two fronts that quite often was not generating the kinds of headlines they would have preferred to read. Certainly, there was the naval victory at Midway, but the butcher's bill was high at Pearl Harbor and North Africa and after a thirteen year lull in church attendance, America was once again returning to the church:

Read this article from 1946 that explains the unprecedented sexual charge that characterized much of the American home front: it helps to account for the unusually high count (60 percent) of American brides who were non-virgins when they stood at the alter that year: click here to read it.

American Makeup  Goes to War <br />(Click Magazine, 1942)American Makeup Goes to War
(Click Magazine, 1942)
An interesting look at the beauty products used by American women during the Second World War and how that war effected the cosmetic industry. Students of history will be reminded that when a nation commits itself to a state of total war, all available elements within a government's grasp will be picked over by that country's military; even makeup.

"If you're following a routine of 'beauty as usual' with qualms of conscience, believing that cosmetics and toiletries use materials essential to the war machine, know for certain that if Uncle Sam needed your lipstick for bombs and bullets, he'd have gotten it first."

The U.S. cosmetics industry was effected in many ways, read the article and find out.

Click here to read an article about a popular 1940s hairstyle.

CLICK HERE to read about the beautiful "Blonde Battalions" who spied for the Nazis...

Wartime Brooklyn <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Wartime Brooklyn
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
A four page article regarding the city of Brooklyn, New York during the Second World War - make no mistake about it: this is the Brooklyn that Senator Bernie Sanders inherited - it isn't far from the N.Y. borough named Queens, where numerous Communists resided.

• Almost half the penicillin that was produced in the United States came out of Brooklyn
• Forty Five percent of of the Brooklyn war plants were awarded the Army and Navy "E" or the "M" from the Maritime Services
• Throughout the war, the ranks of the U.S. Armed Services were swollen with Brooklyn sons and daughters, 280,000 strong.

Click here to read an article about one of New York's greatest mayors: Fiorello LaGuardia.

Sports on the Home Front <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Sports on the Home Front
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
A page from a 1945 YANK MAGAZINE which offers a smattering of sports info.
Tin Cans Go to War  <br />(Click Magazine, 1945)Tin Cans Go to War
(Click Magazine, 1945)
This article is accompanied by nineteen pictures illustrating the various ways tin cans are put to use by the American military during W.W.II, and it was printed to show the necessity of full civilian participation along the home front. In order to guarantee that this message would get out to everyone, magazine editors would have been provided with these photographs and an assortment of facts by a government agency called the Office of War Information.
Art on the Home Front <br />(Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1942)Art on the Home Front
(Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1942)
The United States had only been committed to the Second World War for twenty weeks when the American artist Rockwell Kent (1882 – 1971) felt compelled to write about the unique roll artist are called upon to play within a democracy at war:

"The art of a democracy must be, like democracy itself, of and by and for the people. It must and will reflect the public mood and public interest...Awareness of America, of its infinitely varied beauties and of its sometimes sordid ugliness; awareness of the life of America, of its fulfillments and its failures; awareness, if you like, of God, the landscape architect supreme - and political failure: of the promise of America and of its problems, art has been, or has aimed to be, a revelation. It is for the right to solve these problems our way that we are now at war."

The Absent Teachers <br />(Click Magazine, 1944)The Absent Teachers
(Click Magazine, 1944)
This 1944 article by the U.S. Commissioner of Education, John W. Studebaker (1887 – 1989), reported on the impact that W.W. II was having on the American educational system. Studebaker pointed out that during the course of the national emergency, as many as 115,000 teachers had left the nation's classrooms in order to help the war effort in one form or another:

"Every community can testify to the competent and unselfish job teachers have done both at their posts and in voluntary wartime tasks of rationing, salvaging and bond sales. But the fact remains that at this critical time in our history between 20,000 and 25,000 positions have been abandoned and thousands of classes are overcrowded. Look at these figures:
in October, 1939, there were practically no teaching jobs vacant. In October, 1943 there were 7,700, and in addition , about 57,000 more positions had to be filled by teachers who could not meet the regular certification requirements."

W.W. II Beef Rationing <br />(Click Magazine, 1944)W.W. II Beef Rationing
(Click Magazine, 1944)
As a result of the rationing of beef, in order to placate the Grand Poo-Bahs who lorded-over the American war effort, some people along the W.W. II home front turned to whale meat as a substitute for beef:

"If you walk into a Seattle, Washington butcher shop and ask for a steak, you might be offered a whale steak. No ration points will be required, and the flavor will be somewhere between that of veal and beef. You can prepare your steak just as you would a sirloin, or you can have it ground into whaleburger."

"An average whale is valued at about $5,000, weighs from 50 to 80 tons and gives 7 to 15 tons of edible meat. It produces between 50 to 70 barrels of oil and 5 to 10 tons of bone. The liver weighs from 1,800 pounds and the heart about 400 pounds. Three types of whales are common off of the West Coast: the fin-back, best meat producer; the sperm, good for oil only; and the humpback which provides both meat and oil."

When the U.S. was fighting the First World War, twenty years earlier, it was found that the oil extracted from whales proved useful in the production of explosives.

Here Comes Denim <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1942)Here Comes Denim
(Collier's Magazine, 1942)
Nine months into the war the American fashion industry awoke to discover that one of the most sought after cottons being purchased domestically was denim.

Denim was first seen in 1853, worn by the men who panned for gold in California. When faced with hard labor, this sturdy twill had proven its worth again and again, and when the American home front recognized that there was a great deal of work to be done in the fields and factories if the war was to be won, they slipped on jeans and denim coveralls and saw the job through.

Who on Sixth Avenue could have known back then that denim would be the main-stay in American sportswear for decades to come?

A far more thorough history of blue jeans can be read here.

An Anti-Discrimination Law on the Home Front <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1941)An Anti-Discrimination Law on the Home Front
(Collier's Magazine, 1941)
Inasmuch as the Roosevelt administration believed that the integration the armed forces was far too risky a proposition during wartime, it did take steps to insure that fair hiring practices were observed by all industries that held defense contracts with the Federal government; during the summer of 1941 a law was passed making such discrimination a crime.

The attached editorial from COLLIER'S MAGAZINE applauded the President for doing the right thing:

"For our money, the President's finest single act in the national emergency to date is his loud-voiced demand for an end to all racial discrimination in hiring workers for the defense industries."

"Any loyal inhabitant of this country, says the President, is entitled to a chance at any of these jobs, whether he be of German, Italian, colored, Jewish or any other descent. We don't know of anything more timely that could be said just now."

The primary political force behind this mandate was a group that was popularly known as "the Black Brain Trust''...

Home Front Chicago <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Home Front Chicago
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
Chicago, Illinois saw enormous changes take place during the war years, most notably the overnight construction of over 260 defense plants and the opening of its subway system (six miles in length, at that time). Half a million war workers arrived to toil in her new factories while it is said that each city block in Chicago dispatched, on average, at least seven of her sons and daughters for the armed services.

"Nerves are taught with war tension. Hard work adds to the strain and increases the tempo. People walk faster in the streets. Stampedes for surface cars, and the new subway are more chaotic than ever... Five thousand block flagpoles have been erected by block committees of the Office of Civilian Defense. Listed in some manner near each are the names of all the GIs from the block. Some of the installations are elaborate and have bulletin boards that are kept up to date with personal news from camps and war theaters."

Air-Raid Wardens on the Home Front <br />(ClicK Magazine, 1942)Air-Raid Wardens on the Home Front
(ClicK Magazine, 1942)
The Congressional Declaration of War was a mere five months old when this photo-essay appeared that documented the earliest days of the American Civil Defense efforts during the Second World War. At this point in the war, the Marines were still three months away from landing on Guadalcanal and the Army wouldn't be arriving in North Africa for another six months - but the neighborhood volunteers of the Civil Defense seemed to be prepared.
The Returning Army <br />(United States News, 1944)The Returning Army
(United States News, 1944)
"The young man going into the Army has a course in orientation to fit him for fighting. He has to be shown what kind of people his enemies are. He has to be told why it is necessary to fight. In the same manner, the Army is finding that the men returning from war have to be fitted for civilian life. They bring back resentment against men and women who have known little privation and less hardship."
The Most Dreaded Telegram on the Home Front <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1944)The Most Dreaded Telegram on the Home Front
(Coronet Magazine, 1944)
By the time this historic piece was written, thousands upon thousands of Western Union casualty telegrams had been delivered to altogether too many American households. This article lucidly explains how they should be delivered and how they shouldn't be delivered. Recognizing the solemnity of the task, the men who passed the news along were often older men, who had tasted some of life's bitterness:

"One mother, receiving the news that her son was dead, crushed the paper in her hand and looking beyond the messenger, said, 'If it hadn't been my son, it would have been some other mother's'".

Home Front Spy-Hunters <br />(Coronet Magazine, 19444)Home Front Spy-Hunters
(Coronet Magazine, 19444)
Appearing in 1944, this article listed numerous reports relayed to the FBI by amateur spy-hunters of all the imagined foreign agents who they stumbled upon daily. Some of the accounts ended up being true and lead to actual confessions, but most were just plain silly - either way, the G-men had to investigate each account.
Washington, D.C. pt. II <br />(Click Magazine, 1942)Washington, D.C. pt. II
(Click Magazine, 1942)
The Returned P.O.W. <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1945)The Returned P.O.W.
(Coronet Magazine, 1945)
Merchant Marine William T. Mitchell, having been locked-up for three and half years in a Japanese POW camp, recalled those terrible days intermittently as he explains what it was like to return to a changed America. One of the amusing stories concerned a time when his captors assembled the camp to announce [falsely] that movie stars Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin had been killed:

"The Nips had lied to us, and I fell for it. You believe anything - almost - when you're cut off from your home."

''Man on the Street Solidly Approves of War Declaration'' <br />(St. Louis Star-Times, 1941)''Man on the Street Solidly Approves of War Declaration''
(St. Louis Star-Times, 1941)
This report appeared in the evening edition of the St. Louis Star-Times on December 8, 1941 and it serves as an eyewitness account as to how the St. Louisans reacted both during and after listening to the President's declaration of war broadcast before Congress:

"In downtown restaurants and taverns, people paused to listen to the dramatic broadcast from Washington. Work was at a standstill for those minutes in many office buildings and stores. Pedestrians crowded around newsboys to obtain the latest 'extras' and along the streets groups could be seen collected about radio-equipped automobiles."

When the Depression Lingered Into the War Years <br />(Pic Magazine, 1942)When the Depression Lingered Into the War Years
(Pic Magazine, 1942)
"It matters not that we're fighting a war on, under and over all the seas and on half the continents of the earth. Uncle Sam is determined that there shall be be no new army of 'forgotten men' to make a mockery of all the things for which we are now fighting...The Farm Security Administration [has been] detailed to look out for migratory defense workers - the kind who can't find a place to live in overcrowded war-boom towns"

Click here to read about the effects that the Great Depression had on the clothes we wore...

Understanding the Veterans <BR><br />(Pageant Magazine, 1945)Understanding the Veterans

(Pageant Magazine, 1945)
Appearing in various magazines and newspapers on the 1945 home front were articles and interviews with assorted "experts" who predicted that the demobilized military men would be a burden on society. They cautioned families to be ready for these crushed and broken men, who had seen so much violence and had inflicted the same upon others, would be maladjusted and likely to drift into crime. In response to this blarney stepped Frances Langford (1913 – 2005), the American singer. She wrote in the attached article that she had come to know thousands of soldiers, sailors airmen and Marines during the course of her tours with the USO and that the nation could only benefit from their return.
Dontchya Know There's A War On! <br />(Click Magazine, 1944)Dontchya Know There's A War On!
(Click Magazine, 1944)
A Spike In Illegitimate Births <br />(Pathfinder Magazine, 1944)A Spike In Illegitimate Births
(Pathfinder Magazine, 1944)
"'A new problem of the war is the fact that children are born to married women whose husbands have been long overseas... Department of Labor figures show that more than twice as many illegitimate children were born this year than in 1942."

Click here to read more on this topic.

Barbers & Hair Stylists Called On The Carpet <br />(Pathfinder Magazine, 1944)Barbers & Hair Stylists Called On The Carpet
(Pathfinder Magazine, 1944)
By the end of 1944 Congressional heads all turned when it was brought to their attention that the fees charged by hairstylists and barbers had soared 25% above the 1941 levels. New Dealers sought to burden the trade with a price freeze.
Sugar Rationing Hits The Candy Industry <br />(Pathfinder Magazine, 1943)Sugar Rationing Hits The Candy Industry
(Pathfinder Magazine, 1943)
"The candy-makers of the nation are not having a such a sweet time of it, for, like most other manufacturers, they are bothered by scarcities of labor and materials and so must cut corners and find substitutes."

The article goes on to point out that the sugar that was available was largely devoted to military personnel (18 pounds a year); as a result of this candy rationing, movie-goers were introduced to popcorn as a substitute (you can read about that here).

Results of the Economic Boom On The Home Front <br />(United States News, 1943)Results of the Economic Boom On The Home Front
(United States News, 1943)
After suffering eleven years of the squalor brought on by the Great Depression, many Americans were in shock to find their pockets fully lined with cash and their days spent in gainful employment when W.W. II came along (in 1943, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 1.9%). The bars and restaurants that were situated around defense plants found that for the first time in years they were fully booked with paying customers. This article points out that this new economic boom on the home front was not without complications: absenteeism. As more factory workers discovered the joy of compensated labor, the more frequent they would skip work - which was seen as a nuisance for an industrial nation at war.

"Many workers, not just youngsters, are making more money than they ever made before in their lives."

The New Normal <br />(United States News, 1942)The New Normal
(United States News, 1942)
This was an important article for its time. It seems hard to believe, but it took the Federal Government the full six months after Pearl Harbor to figure out how the home front would be governed and what would be rationed. This article heralds that new day and clarified how the war would affect their salaries, savings, education, shopping, clothing, taxes, leisure time, transportation and their general manner of living:

In 1944, a class of sixth graders wrote General Eisenhower and asked him how they can help in the war effort; click here to read his response...

Home Front Concerns <br />(Pathfinder Magazine, 1944)Home Front Concerns
(Pathfinder Magazine, 1944)
Here are two home front articles regarding the rationing of labor, food and steel; 1944 orders on clothing production are also touched upon.
Personal Efforts On The Home Front <br />(Assorted Magazines)Personal Efforts On The Home Front
(Assorted Magazines)
Here is a smattering of paragraphs that appeared seven months into the war that give a glimpse into how various souls on the American home front had pitched-in for the war effort. My personal favorite is the one about the school children who pooled their money to buy cartons of cigarettes for soldiers.
Adultery on the Home Front <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)Adultery on the Home Front
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
The overlords of the Illinois justice system became so fed-up with the growing divorce rate in their state as a result of wives who stepped-out while their husbands were fighting overseas, and they decided to do something about it. The Illinois Attorney General proposed a plan:

Penalties for conviction range from $500 fine or a year in jail or both for the first offense to $3,000 fine or three years in jail or both for a third conviction."

Influenza Returns <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1944)Influenza Returns
(Newsweek Magazine, 1944)
During the final year of the First World War, the Influenza Pandemic absolutely ravaged the American home front - it made a return visit to the W.W. II home front during the winter of 1943 - 44, but not to the same degree.
He Censored The Mail <br />(American Magazine, 1942)He Censored The Mail
(American Magazine, 1942)
During the Second Word War all mail headed out of the country and all inbound mail from foreign locales fell under the discerning eyes of U.S. Post Office censors. The censors, all 15,000 of them, were under the command a U.S. Army cryptologist named Colonel W. Preston Corderman; click the title link above to learn more about him.

Click here to read about censoring the mail during W.W. I.

Posters For Encouragement <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1942) Posters For Encouragement
(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)
There were many varieties of posters to be found on the American home front of W.W. II - most depicting sweaty barrel-chested young men. Yet in the factories another type was prevalent, these were the ones that showed the non-heroic faces of the average American worker. Below these images would be found simple quotes declaring their unique patriotic reasons for laboring on the production lines. This article recalls who dreamed them up and how popular they were.
Restraining The Consumer <br />(American Magazine, 1942)Restraining The Consumer
(American Magazine, 1942)
Home Front Feminism <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1943)Home Front Feminism
(Collier's Magazine, 1943)
1940s feminism bares no resemblance to the take-no-prisoners feminism of today. This is made clear in the attached article by Amaran Scheinfeld (1900 - 1979), a writer, whose book Women and Men (1944), as stated by the New York Times, "foreshadowed many issues of the feminist movement". The primary difference between the two lay in the fact that seventy-five years ago it was believed that it was nature that had established many of the rolls played by the (two) genders.
The End of the Home Front <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)The End of the Home Front
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
The word "reconversion" is a term so odd to our era that my auto-correct insists it is a misspelling - but the word appears more than a few times in the September 3, 1945 issue of Newsweek and it pertains to process of turning the economy (and society) from one centered on war to one that caters to consumers. This article encapsulates the excitement of the previous week when the war was declared over - POWs returned, rationing ended, Lend-Lease completed, nukes created, draft quotas reduced, traitors hanged and the recruits demobilized.
Home Front: 1945 <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)Home Front: 1945
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
The last eight months of the home front saw the suspension of all horse racing (in the interest of preserving tires and gas) and more foods, both delicious and otherwise, became harder to get.

During the closing months of the war, the draft pool was increased, as well - click here to read about it.