Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 29, 2010

Rationing during World War II

March 29, 1943: In the US, rationing of meat, butter, and cheese is added to the list of already rationed products. The price of war is difficult to calculate. What price, what cost, what sacrifice is too great? During Word War Two there was a different perspective both to that war and to the costs people were willing to pay. The ration list grew longer as the war continued.

Even before “globalization” the entire industrialized world was affected by the catastrophic economic force of the Great Depression. After years of going without the considered necessities of the day, Americans were again asked to go without –this time to sacrifice for what was deemed a greater good.

The sacrifices made at home were to benefit those on the battlefields. Many, if not most, of the citizens at home during the war effort had someone actively participating in either the European or Pacific arena of World War II. Perhaps there was some personal reason for this “greatest generation” to forego luxuries or even necessities to help the “boys” overseas.

Rationing books and tokens were used. Items in short supply were limited, not by being able to afford them, but because the little available had to be shared by all. By the end of the war, half of all cars were issued an A sticker, meaning driving was for nonessential use. They were permitted four gallons of gasoline a week. Green B stickers went to those who worked in war industries and gave them twice as much fuel. Physician, ministers, mail carriers, and railroad workers got C stickers while T was for truckers. The rare X sticker, for unlimited fuel went to members of Congress and other VIPs. The maximum speed was the Victory Speed of 35 mph.

“If war is ever lawful, then peace is sometimes sinful.” – C.S. Lewis

“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.” – General George S. Patton

“War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end; it has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes” – Thomas Paine

“The best things in life are never rationed. Friendship, loyalty, love, do not require coupons.” – unknown

Also on this day, in 1848 Niagara Falls stopped running due to an ice jam farther up river.

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