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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.

A W.W. II Draft Board <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)A W.W. 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!'"

Here 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 returned).

The Photograph <br />(Yank Magazine, 1943)The Photograph
(Yank Magazine, 1943)
Attached you will find a few well-chosen words about that famous 1943 photograph that the censors of the War Department saw fit to release to the American public. The image was distributed in order that the "over-optimistic and complacent" citizens on the home front gain an understanding that this war is not without a cost.

A haunting image even sixty years later, the photograph depicts three dead American boys washed-over by the tide of Buna Beach, New Guinea. The photographer was George Strock of Life Magazine and the photograph did it's job.

Click here to read General Marshall's end-of-war remarks about American casualty figures.

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...

Teen Slang of the 1940s <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Teen Slang of the 1940s
(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...

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"

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 Faith Again <br />(Click Magazine, 1942)The American Home Front Finds Faith 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:
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.

Click here to read about child labor exploitation during the Second World War...

Meat Rationing Lead To Alternatives <br />(Click Magazine, 1944)Meat Rationing Lead To Alternatives
(Click Magazine, 1944)
As a result of the rationing of beef 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."

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.

The Baby-Boom Begins <br />(Yank & Pic Magazines, 1945)The Baby-Boom Begins
(Yank & Pic Magazines, 1945)
The fact that more boy babies are born during and immediately after major wars is a phenomenon that was discovered by the underpaid statisticians employed by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1942. The articles that are attached are but two of what was probably four hundred articles that appeared on the topic that year. The writers and thinkers of the digital age continue studying this actuality - among them is the gang over at Psychology Today who wrote:

"Scientists have known for a long time that more boys than usual are born during and after major wars. The phenomenon was first noticed in 1954 with regard to white children born during World War II in the United States. It has since been replicated for most of the belligerent nations in both World Wars. The phenomenon has been dubbed the 'returning soldier effect.' There is no doubt that the phenomenon is real, but nobody has been able to explain it. Why are soldiers who return from wars more likely to father sons than other men?"

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."

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 Hat Superstition that was Reliable... <br />(Pathfinder Magazine, 1945)The Hat Superstition that was Reliable...
(Pathfinder Magazine, 1945)
As far as superstitions and clothing are concerned, hats seem to be the one garment that has the most unfounded and irrational precepts attached to their existence. Plentiful are the dictates pertaining to where hats should never be placed or worn - these superstitions existed centuries before the Second World War, but for one citizen of San Angelo, Texas, he had his own beliefs where hats are concerned and some believed that, as a result, he was able to save the lives of 56 American servicemen...
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, 1944)Home Front Spy-Hunters
(Coronet Magazine, 1944)
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)
''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."

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...

Click here food rationing at U.S. POW camps.

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.

Click here to read about the 1918 - 1920 outbreak of influenza in the United States.

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.

The American Draft Dodgers <br />(The American Magazine, 1942)The American Draft Dodgers
(The American Magazine, 1942)
This article consists of assorted stories that illustrate the length some American men would go in order to stay out of the military during the Second World War. The article also tells of draft evasion during the First World War.

Click here to read a 1945 article about your average Massachusetts draft board.

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.

Click here to read about child labor exploitation during the Second World War...

More Restrictions for 1945 <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)More Restrictions for 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 a good deal harder to locate.

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

A Languorous Home Front <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)A Languorous Home Front
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
"At long last the impact of of total war had bruised the American consciousness. Despite the initial success of General MacArthur's victory on Luzon and the Russians on the Eastern front, the first three weeks of 1945 had brought the nation face to face with the realities ahead as at no time since Pearl Harbor. No single factor could this metamorphosis be attributed, but it was plain that the stark lists of causalities and the growing hardships at home had contributed to it."
Balloons Over America  <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)Balloons Over America
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
When World War II was inching toward it's bloody conclusion, Japan launched its Fu-go Campaign - a project designed to deploy thousands of high-altitude hydrogen balloons armed with incendiary devices. These balloons were to follow the westerly winds of the upper atmosphere, drifting to the west coast of North America where they were expected descend into the forests and explode.

The Japanese home front suffered from tuberculosis - click here to read about it...

A Failed Peace Movement <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1944)A Failed Peace Movement
(Newsweek Magazine, 1944)
We were terribly surprised to learn of a peace movement that existed on the 1944 American home front. Baring an awkward name that was right out of Seventiespeak, Peace Now printed pamphlets that played the class game so prevalent in the other leftist organizations that would come forth twenty years later.
D-Day On The Home Front <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1944)D-Day On The Home Front
(Newsweek Magazine, 1944)
"By the dawn's early light America awoke to the knowledge that its D-Day had come. Electricity meters clocked a sudden spurt in kilowatt loads as house lights and radios went on; telephone switchboards jammed as excited householders passed the word along. By morning on June 6, scarcely a family failed to know that the nation's sons and brothers, husbands and sweethearts were even then storming the beaches of Normandy to begin the Allied liberation of Europe."

Click here to read about D-Day...

Thousands of British Children Welcomed <br />(<i>PM</i> Tabloid, 1940)Thousands of British Children Welcomed
(PM Tabloid, 1940)
A year and a half before Pearl Harbor, many Americans, 10,000 to be exact, were active in welcoming British children, ages 5 - 16, to their homes. This was a time when it was widely believed that a Nazi invasion of Britain was imminent and the Battle of Britain was in full-swing:

"Nobody knows how many will be admitted or how many will land in Canada on the first child-refugee ship, due three weeks from now.The quota for British children is 6,500 a-month; for children from other countries quotas are considerably lower."

To read about the short and productive life of New York's PM, click here...

The Addict's Plight <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)The Addict's Plight
(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)
The war in the Pacific interrupted the flow of illegal narcotics to the United States. By the Spring of 1942 opioids were becoming scarcer and the prices were predicted to rise. Drug suppliers turned to an untested source closer to home: Latin America.

Click here to read aboutdrug addiction in the Twenties.

Civil Defense Insignias <br />(The American Magazine, 1941)Civil Defense Insignias
(The American Magazine, 1941)
"Here are the sleeve insignia by which you can identify the various groups of U.S. Civilian Defense Workers - men and women, boys and girls, who volunteer for home duty to protect you in war [emergencies]"
Fair Employment Laws Enforced <br />(PM Tabloid, 1942)Fair Employment Laws Enforced
(PM Tabloid, 1942)
Some six months prior to Pearl Harbor FDR signed Executive Order 8802 which made it illegal for defense contractors to discriminate based on race or religious faith. Eight months later the President's Committee on Fair Employment Practices was convened in New York City to review the evidence at hand indicating that numerous defense contractors were failing to comply with the law.
The Rationing of Meat <br />(PM Tabloid, 1943)The Rationing of Meat
(PM Tabloid, 1943)
"When meat rationing finally comes, it is going to be just as stiff on the individual as canned goods rationing. On the average, the meat ration will provide about four ounces per citizen per day... The trick is more stews and meat gravies and no steak."
Under-Age Workers Step-Up <br />(PM Tabloid, 1942)Under-Age Workers Step-Up
(PM Tabloid, 1942)
The National Youth Administration (NYA) was established in 1935 as one of FDR's many alphabet agencies created to alleviate the sting of the Great Depression; it was tasked with providing work and education for young Americans between the ages of 16 through 25. By the time World War II kicked -in, many in Congress felt it was time to do away with the organization, but as this article spells out, NYA members could now be put to work in the defense plants.

Click here to read about the travails of young adults during the Great Depression.

A Smaller War on the Home Front <br />(Brooklyn Eagle, 1942)A Smaller War on the Home Front
(Brooklyn Eagle, 1942)
In 1942, the reasons for despising Global Fascism were many and myriad but the woman who penned this editorial hated Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo for a reason all her own: Gertie McAllister hated them because they put women in pants.
Yes, We Know There's a War On <br />(Liberty Magazine, 1942)Yes, We Know There's a War On
(Liberty Magazine, 1942)
This is an interesting editorial that pretty much implies that the U.S. Congress reigning in 1942 thought the American people were just as dumb as Congress does today. Although the Selective Service had reached into almost every household in the country and taken every able-bodied male, Congress behaved as if these households only cared about gas and sugar rationing:

"Don't Think that We the People, can't take anything you have to hand out. And don't get it into your minds that we don't know there is a war on... He won't be home for dinner [again] tonight. And your worry about our rationing cards would be funny if it weren't so pitiful."

War Memorials Don't Have to be Ugly <br />(Pageant Magazine, 1944)War Memorials Don't Have to be Ugly
(Pageant Magazine, 1944)
Robert Moses (1888 1981) was an American urban planner who worked as the New York City Parks Commissioner between 1934 and 1960. During the Second World War his phone was ringing off the hook:

"All over the country plans are being hatched for war memorials. Demands upon public officials for space in parks and public places are daily becoming more insistent. [But] if truth be told, most gestures of patriotism are pathetic, third-rate, inadequate [and] ugly..."

The Importance of Detroit <br />(Liberty Magazine, 1942)The Importance of Detroit
(Liberty Magazine, 1942)
Throughout a good deal of the Great Depression (1929 - 1940), FDR liked to think he was cozying-up to the voters when he insulted the great captains of industry with mean names like "selfish" and "stubborn". All that ended when the war started, and the President had to make common cause with these men in order gain their cooperation in meeting the military needs of the nation. This article concerns the importance of the industrial might of Detroit.
Price Gougers Sent to Jail' <br />(PM Tabloid, 1945)Price Gougers Sent to Jail'
(PM Tabloid, 1945)
A grocer and his bookkeeper were sentenced to prison for jacking-up chicken prices in violation of Federal law.
Debauchery Near the Army Camps <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1941)Debauchery Near the Army Camps
(Collier's Magazine, 1941)
Even before the Home Front kicked into high-gear, the men who had been picked up in the 1940 draft were causing real problems in every area where a military training camp could be found. Knowing that the enlistments were soon to grow and these problems would be getting worse, the brass hats joined arms with the town elders to curb the drinking and whoremongering. The cure for these difficulties came in the form of the USO, which would be eatablished before the year was out.

A similar article can be read here.

The Victory Corps <br />(See Magazine, 1944)The Victory Corps
(See Magazine, 1944)
The Victory Corps was a voluntary program open to American high school and college students during the Second World War. It was established in September of 1942 with an eye toward preparing teenagers for military service. Although its primary concern involved weapons training, physical fitness and mathematics, it also had a "farm volunteer" arm, as this article about one branch of the Sacramento Victory Corps makes clear.

More about youth and the war effort can be read here...

New Deal Price Controls <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1941)New Deal Price Controls
(Newsweek Magazine, 1941)
This article appeared six months before the 77th Congress passed a price control law as a wartime measure in an attempt to stave off inflation. The column pertains to the early planning of a wartime economy as the nation prepared to devote itself to total war. You'll remember that the Supreme Court found FDR's price control schemes (the NRA) to be unconstitutional during the Thirties. Regardless of their efforts, inflation still kicked-in after the war, up until the Republican Congress cut taxes.
Soldiers Speak-Out About the Home Front <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1943)Soldiers Speak-Out About the Home Front
(Collier's Magazine, 1943)
"There is no other country at war with such an enormous gulf in sacrifice between fighting men and civilians. There is no other country where the men at the front have given up everything, while the people at home have given up practically nothing. And the soldiers know it...'A few bombs would do this country a lot of good.' I heard that in San Francisco from a curly-headed sailor who had been sunk in the Pacific, and I heard it again in Washington from a corporal who had left his leg on Hill 609. Both added, rather anxiously, that, of course, they wouldn't want anyone to get hurt."