Posts Tagged ‘WWII rationing’

Winner: Pluto

Where have all the flowers gone? On the day that spring arrived, we played a game based on WWII – the War in the Pacific. Most  players were confused by the timing of this theme. Darin, who put this sucker punch together, had wisely left town to make some money and was unavailable for comment. Pluto, whose older brother watched John Wayne in “Sands of Iwo Jima” repeatedly, used this info to edge Driver and Wild Bill. Or maybe it was the butterfly wings he borrowed from Miss Connie, who made the voyage across the sound from CT to celebrate spring with us. In any case, Pluto’s victory was cheered by one and all (well, not exactly).

Good Question!: Most of the rationing for WWII started in 1942. What item stayed on the ration list the longest?

Answer: Sugar

Sugar was the first food to be rationed, in the spring of 1942. The war with Japan cut off U.S. imports from the Philippines, and cargo ships from Hawaii were diverted to military purposes. The nation’s supply of sugar was quickly reduced by more than a third. To prevent hoarding and skyrocketing prices, the Office of Price Administration issued 123 million copies of War Ration Book One, which contained stamps that could be used to purchase sugar. A typical allocation of sugar was 12 ounces per week. No sugar could legally be bought without stamps, and sugar rationing would continue until supplies returned to normal in 1947.

GI Joe

Photographic design played an important role in the production of many WWII posters. To encourage rationing on the home front, this cheery and friendly ‘GI Joe’ drinking coffee appealed to families with boys overseas. This poster is an example of the creative uses for photography during the war.

The man in the photo is Thomas J. Murray, who died in 2002 at the age of 87 and was buried with military honors. Murray served as the face for rationing from 1943-1945 through this poster. Murray’s portrayal of “GI Joe in the foxhole” contributed to the home front battle of rationing and helped gain support for the war effort. During the last three years of WWII, Americans needed ration stamps to purchase products such as meat, cheese, canned goods, sugar, butter, shoes and gasoline.

One Pair of Shoes!

One pair of shoes a year was the allowed ration for all between February 1943 and October 1945. Are they kidding! I don’t know a single woman who could live under those restrictions.


Gasoline was rationed in 17 eastern states beginning in May 1942 and nationwide in December 1942 — not so much to save fuel as to save tires and the rubber they were made of. A nationwide speed limit of 35 miles per hour was also enforced to save wear on tires. To ration gasoline, the government issued coupon stamps. These “A” stamps were worth three to five gallons of gasoline per week for essential activities such as shopping, attending church, and going to the doctor. The letter on the stamp would have matched a sticker on the car’s windshield. People using their cars for work could buy more gasoline, and truckers could buy all they needed.


Instructions on the back of each ration book reminded people not to lose it and asked them to “give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods… If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!” Sounds like their version of: “If you see something, say something.”

Sands of Iwo Jima

Now about those war movies. Play this at 480p and it’s really special – they don’t make ’em like “the Duke” anymore.

sources: www.u-s-history.com, www.learnnc.org

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