World War Two - Home Front
Additional home front articles can be read here
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."
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.
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...
"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 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.
"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."
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