The American homefront before, during, and after World War ii changed. Some people like to think it changed little, and some like to think it changed drasticly. A lot of women think that they were a big part of changing the homefront during the war. Women became a symbol during the war, they became flyers, nures, teachers and took over the husbands job while they were at war. While the war was going on, the government demanded more out of the men and women.
As women were traditionally the managers of the home, the rationing and shortage of domestic resources fell more heavily on women to accommodate. Women’s shopping and food preparation habits were affected by having to deal with ration stamps or other rationing methods, as well as the increased likelihood that she was working outside the home in addition to her homemaking responsibilities. Many worked in volunteer organizations connected with the war effort.
In the United States, women were urged by organized propaganda campaigns to practice frugality, to carry groceries instead of using the car to preserve tire rubber for the war effort, to grow more of their family’s food, to sew and repair clothing rather than buy new clothes, to raise money for and contribute to war bonds, and generally to contribute to the morale of the war effort through sacrifice. In the US, the marriage rate increased greatly in 1942, and the rate of babies born to unmarried women increased by 42% from 1939 to 1945.
Although World War II began in Europe in early September of 1939, the United States did not join until December 8, 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Entering the war drastically changed the United States economy, and the nation immediately demanded more from its men and women. Since women’s participation in the war effort was essential for an Allied victory, gender roles were dramatically altered, at least temporarily.
While some women joined the new female branches of the military, many of those who stayed at home went to work in factories and filled other traditionally male jobs while their husbands, fathers, boyfriends, brothers, and sons left to fight. Many women who did not fight or work for pay chose to volunteer their time and energies for the war effort. Minnesota women participated a great deal in the home front war effort. Women worked in the shipyards in Duluth and on Lake Superior and as streetcar conductors for the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company.
They also worked on farms to replace their husbands and the hired workers who had gone to fight. Wives and daughters were often left in charge of family farms when their husbands and fathers were drafted. Although only one-third of the state’s adult female population was employed during the war, the two-thirds that were not employed found other ways to assist the war effort. Among many volunteer activities, women offered their services to the Red Cross and the Office of Civilian Defense, providing recreation to the men in canteens and selling war bonds. http://www . mnhs. rg/library/tips/history_topics/131women_homefront. htm
In 1941, the New York Herald Tribune published a letter from a woman who was tired of sitting at home worrying about the war. “If I were only a man, there would be a place for me,” she wrote. Many women shared similar feelings of frustration, eager to play an active role in the conflict, but held back because by law and tradition. But as the war escalated, many countries found they could not afford to exclude half of their adult populations and doors began to open for women. They went to work in factories. Capital cities became overrun with female office workers.
Nurses joined the front line troops, and many women were allowed to fly. Ultimately, more than 150,000 American women served in the Army during World War II. The overall philosophy and purpose of the Women’s Army Corps was to allow women to aid the American war effort directly and individually. The prevailing philosophy was that women could best support the war effort by performing noncombatant military jobs for which they were already trained. This allowed the Army to make the most efficient use of available labor and free men to perform essential combat duties.
The concept of women in uniform was difficult for American society of the 1940s to accept. In a 1939 Army staff study which addressed the probability that women would serve in some capacity with the Army, a male officer wrote that “women’s probable jobs would include those of hostess, librarians, canteen clerks, cooks and waitresses, chauffeurs, messengers, and strolling minstrels. ” No mention was made in this report of the highly skilled office jobs which the majority of WACs eventually held, because such positions often carried with them significant responsibility and many people doubted that women were capable of handling such jobs.