Education

Conserving Clothing, Fight Waste Booklet, page 20, 1944


Historical Context
Once the United States entered World War 2, it became evident that conservation efforts needed to be made in all areas of the economy. People on the home front contributed to the war effort by rationing consumer goods, recycling, buying war bonds, and replacing men in the factories with women.

Our soldiers needed lots of clothing–three to ten times more than Americans on the home front. The clothing industry had to work at top speed in order to clothe the soldiers. Factories shifted their production to the needs of the military. Because of this, the amount of consumer goods became limited. If people at home could cut down on their supply of new clothing, it would be helpful to the war effort. Booklets were distributed to Americans on how they could extend the life of their clothing.

Next, the government began a rationing program in which consumers were limited in the amount of goods they could purchase. A massive advertising campaign urged households to avoid waste. “Food is a weapon” became the slogan of the Wartime Nutritional Program. Housewives were encouraged to recycle fats, bottles, tin, copper, paper, etc. They were called upon to be creative in planning meals based on the rationed food that was available to them. Because of their sacrifices, the people on the home front played a major part in the war effort.
Essential Question
How does war impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this document and evaluate the impact this document on the general public.
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World War II - Conserving Clothing, Fight Waste booklet, page 20, New York State Archives, NYSA_A4287-78_B3F3_p20
Document Description
A continuation of an article encouraging people to conserve clothing including tips and advice on how to do so.  The article was taken from the Fight Waste booklet, page 20, 1944.
Questions
  1. What are some things you could have done to conserve clothing if you had lived during World War 2?
Historical Challenge
Research what sorts of items Americans on the home front were asked to give up for the war effort during previous wars (American Revolution, Civil War, World War I).
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: In the first year of being a soldier, each man needed about 75 pounds of wool to make his clothing. How much wool would 25 soldiers need during their first year?
Science: What are some ways in which recycled fats and grease were used during World War 2?
English Language Arts: Create a poster in which you encourage people to recycle tin, paper, fat, clothing, or iron during World War 2.
Resources
  1. Stalcup, Ann. On the Homefront: Growing up in Wartime England. Shoe String Press, Incorporated, March 1998. ISBN: 0208024913