Americans canned food at home and consulted "Victory cookbooks" for recipes and tips to make the most of rationed goods. To overcome these shortages, war planners searched for substitutes. One key metal in limited supply was copper. It was used in many war-related products, including assault wire.
The military needed millions of miles of this wire to communicate on battlefields. To satisfy the military's demands, copper substitutes had to be found to use in products less important to the nation's defense. The US Mint helped solve the copper shortage. During it made pennies out of steel.
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The Mint also conserved nickel, another important metal, by removing it from 5-cent coins. Substitutions like these helped win the production battle. It had to be fed. The Army's standard K ration included chocolate bars, which were produced in huge numbers. Cocoa production was increased to make this possible. Sugar was another ingredient in chocolate. It was also used in chewing gum, another part of the K ration. Sugar cane was needed to produce gunpowder, dynamite, and other chemical products.
To satisfy the military's needs, sugar was rationed to civilians. The government also rationed other foods, including meat and coffee. Local rationing boards issued coupons to consumers that entitled them to a limited supply of rationed items.
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A key ingredient needed to make the explosives in much ammunition was glycerine. To help produce more ammunition, Americans were encouraged to save household waste fat, which was used to make glycerine. Other household goods,including rags, paper, silk, and string,were also recycled. This was a home front project that all Americans could join. Canteens are a standard part of military equipment. Millions were produced during the war. Most were made of steel or aluminum, metals which were also used to make everything from ammunition to ships.
At times, both metals were in short supply. To meet America's metal needs, scrap was salvaged from basements, backyards, and attics. Old cars, bed frames, radiators, pots, and pipes were just some of the items gathered at metal "scrap drives" around the nation. Americans also collected rubber, tin, nylon, and paper at salvage drives. Tires required rubber. Rubber was also used to produce tanks and planes. But when Japan invaded Southeast Asia, the United States was cut off from one of its chief sources of this critical raw product.
America overcame its rubber shortage in several ways. Speed limits and gas rationing forced people to limit their driving. This reduced wear and tear on tires. A synthetic rubber industry was created. The public also carpooled and contributed rubber scrap for recycling. Dollars for Defense To help pay for the war, the government increased corporate and personal income taxes. The federal income tax entered the lives of many Americans.
In fewer than 8 million people filed individual income tax returns. In nearly 50 million filed. The withholding system of payroll deductions was another wartime development. The government also borrowed money by selling "war bonds" to the public. With consumer goods in short supply, Americans put much of their money into bonds and savings accounts. America's economy performed astonishing feats during World War II.
Manufacturers retooled their plants to produce war goods. But this alone was not enough. Soon huge new factories, built with government and private funds, appeared around the nation. Millions of new jobs were created and millions of Americans moved to new communities to fill them. One story helps capture the scale of the defense effort. In President Roosevelt shocked Congress when he proposed building 50, aircraft a year. In the nation made almost double that number.
Ford's massive Willow Run bomber factory alone produced nearly one plane an hour by March By America led the world in arms production, making more than enough to fill its military needs. At the same time, the United States was providing its allies in Great Britain and the Soviet Union with critically needed supplies. Civilian Defense Many Americans volunteered to defend the nation from enemy bombing or invasion.
They trained in first aid, aircraft spotting, bomb removal, and fire fighting. Air raid wardens led practice drills, including blackouts.
List of wars involving the United States - Wikipedia
By mid over 10 million Americans were civil defense volunteers. Though America's mainland was never invaded, there were dangers offshore. At least 10 US naval vessels were sunk or damaged by U-boats operating in American waters. The need for workers led manufacturers to hire women, teenagers, the aged, and minorities previously excluded by discrimination from sectors of the economy. Plentiful overtime work contributed to rising wages and increased savings. Military and economic expansion created labor shortages. Even though readers know how the story ends—as with The Iliad —they will be as riveted by the tale as if they were hearing it for the first time.
With Embers of War, he has written an even more impressive book about the French conflict in Vietnam and the beginning of the American one. It is the most comprehensive history of that time. Logevall, a professor of history at Cornell University, has drawn from many years of previous scholarship as well as his own. And he has produced a powerful portrait of the terrible and futile French war from which Americans learned little as they moved toward their own engagement in Vietnam.
Embers of War is a product of formidable international research. It is lucidly and comprehensively composed. And it leverages a consistently potent analytical perspective. Since many of the others, some written over fifty years ago, are excellent, this is a considerable achievement. Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. There could be no other way, she knew it.
When a Northern tells you what they're fighting for, they'll use words like democracy and freedom and equality and the whole time both you and they know that the meaning of those words changes by the day, changes like the weather. I'd had enough of all that. You pick up a gun and fight for something, you best never change your mind. Right or wrong, you own your cause and you never, ever change your mind.