Instructions for American Forces in Britain 1942

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They lived with price controls, dealt with shortages of everything from nylons to housing, and volunteered for jobs ranging from air raid warden to Red Cross worker. Eating leftovers became a patriotic duty and civilians were urged to grow their own vegetables and fruits. Millions of "Victory gardens," planted and maintained by ordinary citizens, appeared in backyards, vacant lots, and public parks.

They produced over 1 billion tons of food. 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. 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.

World War II Photos

Local rationing boards issued coupons to consumers that entitled them to a limited supply of rationed items. 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.

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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.

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British Army during the Second World War

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. By mid over 10 million Americans were civil defense volunteers. Though America's mainland was never invaded, there were dangers offshore. The drug was analysed and Sir Charles Wilson, physician to Winston Churchill, sent the Prime Minister a report recommending the British consider using something similar, like Benzedrine. These are the only known combat tests of amphetamines carried out by either side during the war. Only the base medical officer could issue them, and strictly at his discretion.

This was not, perhaps, quite so irresponsible as it might first seem, however.

WW2. American Troops arrive in Northern Ireland January 1942

It was not natural to fly at 20, feet, at night, for ten hours or more, being shot at, at temperatures of - 50C in what was effectively a tin can bombing machine. What was better - to fall asleep on the return leg once adrenalin had worn off, and ditch into the North Sea, or take speed and make it safely home?

The ‘battle’

Nor was it natural to be cooped up inside a tank in temperatures of over fifty degrees, with dust, fumes, little visibility and the threat of a brutal death moments away. As the British discovered during the war, another side effect of speed was giving its user a bit of Dutch courage. This, it was realised, could actually work against them, however. Users often became reckless. There were reports, for example, of Lancaster crews diving down and flying at rooftop height shooting at anything they saw.

Benzedrine continued to be used throughout the war by British and American forces. It was never freely available to troops and only ever issued by medical officers, but inevitably, some were more liberal with handing it out than others. By the s, Benzedrine was being marketed as a diet pill and mood enhancer. Benzedrine inhalers were even available on commercial airline menu cards. John F. Kennedy, a US Navy combat veteran, had used Benzedrine during the war and took a dose before the first televised presidential debate on 26 September All armed liberations quickly turn into occupations by a foreign army, no matter how friendly or high-minded the intentions.

After many months in Bavaria a veteran British relief worker wrote:. All large armies of occupation are disastrous. They strangle the conquered and demoralise and make helpless the conqueror.

And once again women were the key protagonists. In Bologna the Allies remained roughly six weeks. But a memoir from Naples, where the Allies stayed over 18 months, published in the same year by another post-Communist writer, Ermanno Rhea, offered a pained and bitter portrait of the experience, seen as prelude to a long-term occupation under the flag of NATO. There were all sorts of colours, whites, blacks, Indians..

They were our salvation. They were nice and friendly, just like in their films. They were free men, they came from a country where life had never been interrupted [by war] and you could tell. They were full of energy and cheer.

British Import Crisis

Like us, but ours was a cheerfulness which exploded after twenty years of terror. Mamma suddenly started singing Red Flag at the top of her voice. Just like when we were kids, when we learned to sing the International from a priest who was our cousin. Davis, Come as a Conqueror. Friedrich et al. Britain , London: Jonathan Cape, , La Lunga liberazione Milan: Franco Angeli, Anna of , the two young Italian women glimpsed are characterised only in sexual terms.

Hogan , ed. Whitnah and Florentine E.