America’s Civilian Armies” provides a new, realistic look at the USA’s homefront in WWII plus the challenges in a similar WWIII effort.
The World War II home front was much more than rationing a few foods and salvaging old metal.
It was a civilian army producing miracles in weaponry.
It was living with greed, uncertainty, secrecy, and fear of unwanted telegrams. It was a long work hour. Massive cheating. Bigger paychecks. Air raid shelters. Watching kids go off to war. Draft Dodging.
It was higher taxes. Worry over spies, sabotage, enemy planes and submarines off our coasts.
It was air raid drills. Limited food. Stretching four gallons of gas a week. Price controls. Jammed buses and trains.
Endless obits for young people. Neither silk nor nylon stockings. Wage controls.
We had gang wars. Violent labor strikes. Massive discrimination. Sudden female power. Unprecedented teamwork. Huge bureaucracies. War camps. Teacher shortages.
It worked, but it wasn’t always pretty.
It was an army, composed of millions of civilian warriors, dedicated to winning the war. They didn’t carry guns. They made guns, as well as warplanes, warships, tanks, anything the military needed.
They didn’t wear military uniforms, but thousands of women wore pants for the first time so that they could work in defense plants. Millions of men and women wore safety helmets for the first time.
They weren’t drafted. They volunteered, to learn new skills, to move to new jobs, to new towns. They knew they were at war and accepted their roles.
How will the next home front be? Can we come together again? United, but still unequal?
Can we optimize production? Share commodities? Control greed and inflation? Let our kids go off to war again? Persist while losing thousands of lives?
Maintain justice? Live with constant fear? Accept secrecy? Provide the financing needed for another global war?
“America’s Civilian Armies” recalls the realities of the WWII homefront and examines new civilian challenges in the next global war.
What would your role be?