Pitching In

During WWII most of the U.S. was mobilized in some way to support the war effort. Many manufacturing companies and factories retooled their equipment to make military supplies, and civilians were encouraged to chainge their daily habits in order to support the war effort. Read the following reminiscence by Dorothy Nelson, look at the images, and think about the following:

  • What kinds of things did average citizens do to support the war effort?
  • How did U.S. manufacturing companies support the war effort?
  • Did the war open up opportunities for different people? How?

There wasn't even any garbage pickup.  We had a burning barrel out in back by the garage where we burned some papers and whatever else could not be recycled.  Everything was saved.  I remember that Mother would take the waxed paper out of the cereal boxes, smooth it out, refold it, and use it again.  Conservation of everthing was not only patriotic, but also practical as many, many things were in short supply.  We reused, made over, or did without.  Many manufacturing plants that previously produced domestic items had been retooled and were in war production.  I recall my mother and grandmother unraveling old sweaters and reusing the yarn to make a new garment.  Hardly anything was thrown away.  Mother would also make coats for my sister and I out of old men's suits. The buttons would be cut off, and the lining would be saved.  Our throw-away society now is filling up landfills rapidly.  The World War II housewives would never have believed that people could be so wasteful.


Northern Pump Company, Naval Ordnance Plant, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Women's Hands Speed War Production

The Starvation Study Medical Care at Fort Snelling Minnesota Home Front Induction Military Intelligence Service Language School