World War II was the deadliest war in human history, with a death toll of about 70 million people worldwide. As the Axis and Allied powers battled it out in the South Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Northern Africa, American citizens on the home front came together to support each other and their country.
Though they may not have been on the ground fighting, the men and women at home were forced to sacrifice and cooperate to ensure our country’s victory. From rationing to victory gardens, Americans on the home front during World War II provide us with an excellent example of cooperation, preparedness, and strategic thinking.
Read on as I’m going to share a few of the lessons and strategies that we can still apply to our lives today, particularly if a disaster occurs. Perhaps you and your family lose access to food and medical supplies when stores close during a winter storm. Or your family falls on hard economic times during a downturn. Whatever it may be, knowing this information now and reflecting on which methods you can employ in your own life will ensure you and your family make it through the worst-case scenarios.
From food to fuel and metals to clothing, rationing became a part of everyday life in the United States during World War II. For example, sugar was utilized in gunpowder, dynamite, and other chemical products needed by the US military. American citizens on the home front were required to ration the resource to conserve it for war purposes. According to the National WWII Museum, “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.”
The US also launched a “Food for Victory” campaign, in which citizens were encouraged to eat leftovers and grow their own produce. These homegrown gardens became known as Victory Gardens, and creating them was seen as a patriotic duty. According to the History Channel, “By 1945, some 20 million such gardens were in use and accounted for about 40 percent of all vegetables consumed in the U.S.” Additionally, many citizens made their food last longer by canning their produce as well.
Relying on getting your food from a grocery store isn’t a guaranteed survival method. If you don’t already have a garden at home, it may be time to consider starting one using our Patriot Seeds. Additionally, learning how to can, freeze, and other methods for preservation is a worthwhile endeavor. Knowing how to do so and stocking up on a long-lasting supply of food will come in handy if things go awry.
In addition to conservation, when disaster strikes and stores close, services shut down, and supplies run low, oftentimes, the name of the game is to use substitutes. In the context of the home front during World War II, war production created a shortage of essential supplies, such as copper. The material was used in various products by the US army, such as assault wire needed in order to communicate during battle. War planners needed to find substitutes that could be used in products that were of less importance than defending our country. In the end, the US Mint came up with solution, substituting steel for copper in the production of pennies.
When things go awry, you may lose or have diminished access to the supplies you use on a day-to-day basis. If this happens, it’s good to know what kinds of materials and items could be used as substitutes. Here are a few substitute suggestions to keep in mind…
- Using newspaper as a toilet paper substitute.
- Using a mix of baking soda and water as a substitute for toothpaste and deodorant.
- Using unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas as a substitute for butter.
- Using honey as an alternative wound dressing.
- Using oil of oregano or ginger root as natural antibiotics.
- Using candles or solar-powered lights in place of lamps when the electricity goes out.
Readying themselves for worst-case scenarios
Fortunately, the mainland of the United States was never invaded during the war. However, threats offshore were ever-present, and the attack on Pearl Harbor reinforced fear that a mainland attack could very well occur. According to the National World War II Museum, “Several Japanese submarines were spotted near the Pacific coast, and German U-boats patrolled the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.”
Citizens living on the mainland had to prepare themselves in case of an attack. Many became civil defense volunteers and trained in first aid, aircraft spotting, bomb removal, and firefighting. Some led practice blackout drills in preparation for real-world scenarios.
In a similar sense, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of how to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy if a disaster were to occur. This means many things, such as learning basic first aid, stocking up on nonperishable foods, and practicing your evacuation plan with your whole family.
Coming together as a united front
Strategic cooperation between civilians, whether it be when producing weapons and resources for the US army or planting communal neighborhood victory gardens, was an essential piece of the puzzle. Who knows how our country would have fared if people hadn’t come together to support each other and the wider patriotic mission.
When planning for disasters, take intentional time to design a strategy for how your family and wider social community can work together. Perhaps it’s planning a neighborhood evacuation plan or delegating tasks and roles relating to food production, first aid, and self-defense.
We may never see a home front war effort like we did during World War II. That doesn’t mean we can’t apply the lessons from those times to other high-stakes situations in our lives today. From surviving the aftermath of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane to making it through an economic downturn, there are plenty of applicable scenarios in which these lessons would come in handy.
Keep them in mind, stock up on the essentials, and take the time to learn essential skills...before it’s too late. It’s true that history always seems to repeat itself. Those who know what’s coming are using today to prepare.
Stay alert, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply