The online tool for teaching with documents, from the National Archives

WWII on the Home Front

Making Connections

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

The following pictures contain propaganda used by the American government during WWII.  View the pictures, read the picture description, and then determine what each picture can teach about life on the home front during the Second World War.  Write brief notes on each picture to help you write your response at the end of the activity.


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

WWII on the Home Front

Making Connections

Examine the documents and text included in this activity. Fill in any blanks in the sequence with your thoughts and write your conclusion response in the space provided.

FOOD Comes FIRST


"Get A War Job!"


Get hot - keep moving. Don`t waste a precious minute


"How to Shop With Ration Book Two"


"Just By Keeping Well You Can Help Win This War. Follow these five simple health rules. (1) Eat right, (2) Get your rest (3) See your Doctor (4) Keep Clean (5) Play some each day."


"Make this pledge I pay no more than top legal prices I accept no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps"


Our Carelessness. Their Secret Weapon. Prevent Forest Fires.


Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting.


Productioneers Throw Another Log on the Fire! Let`s Keep the Home Fires Burning!


Save Waste Fats For Explosives


"Spend that Vacation at Home!"


You talk of sacrifice... He knew the meaning of sacrifice!


Young Men Wanted In Navy Radar


Which Book, Holy Bible





1

Activity Element

FOOD Comes FIRST

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2

Activity Element

"Get A War Job!"

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3

Activity Element

Get hot - keep moving. Don`t waste a precious minute

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4

Activity Element

"How to Shop With Ration Book Two"

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5

Activity Element

"Just By Keeping Well You Can Help Win This War. Follow these five simple health rules. (1) Eat right, (2) Get your rest (3) See your Doctor (4) Keep Clean (5) Play some each day."

Page 1



6

Activity Element

"Make this pledge I pay no more than top legal prices I accept no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps"

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7

Activity Element

Our Carelessness. Their Secret Weapon. Prevent Forest Fires.

Page 1



8

Activity Element

Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting.

Page 1



9

Activity Element

Productioneers Throw Another Log on the Fire! Let`s Keep the Home Fires Burning!

Page 1



10

Activity Element

Save Waste Fats For Explosives

Page 1



11

Activity Element

"Spend that Vacation at Home!"

Page 1



12

Activity Element

You talk of sacrifice... He knew the meaning of sacrifice!

Page 1



13

Activity Element

Young Men Wanted In Navy Radar

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14

Activity Element

Which Book, Holy Bible

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Conclusion

WWII on the Home Front

Making Connections

What have you learned about life on the home front during WWII?  Infer how many Americans must have thought and felt during the conflict.  Did Americans at home face fear, uncertainties, or challenges?  Write your response in a complete paragraph(s) making sure to cite the specific pieces of propaganda that helped you reach your conclusions.

Your Response




Document

FOOD Comes FIRST

c. 1942-1945

This comes from a series of original artwork for World War II posters from the Office of War Information (OWI). Posters were among the vehicles used by OWI to assist government agencies and to spread ideas, promote government war programs, sway public opinion, and communicate propaganda. The themes of the art document the needs, messages and values the OWI considered critical to the success of its campaigns and the war effort. They were designed to appeal to the public's conscience and patriotism by calling upon everyone to make personal sacrifices to further the national cause.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of War Information.
National Archives Identifier: 7387550
Full Citation: Poster 208-AOP-122-121; FOOD Comes FIRST; c. 1942-1945; Original Artwork for World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of War Information, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/food-comes-first, April 21, 2024]


FOOD Comes FIRST

Page 1



Document

Get A War Job!

1941 - 1945

Transcript

Longing won't bring him back sooner...
Get a War Job!
See Your U.S. Employment Service
War Manpower Commission
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 513840
Full Citation: Poster 44-PA-389; Get A War Job!; 1941 - 1945; World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/get-a-war-job, April 21, 2024]


Get A War Job!

Page 2



Document

Get hot - keep moving. Don't waste a precious minute

ca. 1942 - 1943


Additional details from our exhibits and publications

This undated poster from World War II delivered a message—the need to increase industrial output—common to wartime information efforts. Poster creators used images of muscled workers and patriotic symbols along with catchy slogans to inspire and encourage homefront war production and support.
This primary source comes from the Records of the War Production Board.
National Archives Identifier: 535107
Full Citation: Get hot - keep moving. Don't waste a precious minute; ca. 1942 - 1943; Records of the War Production Board, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/get-hot-keep-moving-dont-waste-a-precious-minute, April 21, 2024]


Get hot - keep moving. Don't waste a precious minute

Page 1



Document

'How to Shop With Ration Book Two'

1941-1945

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of War Information.
National Archives Identifier: 514549
Full Citation: 'How to Shop With Ration Book Two'; 1941-1945; Records of the Office of War Information, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/how-to-shop-with-ration-book-two, April 21, 2024]


'How to Shop With Ration Book Two'

Page 1



Document

'Just By Keeping Well You Can Help Win This War. Follow these five simple health rules. (1) Eat right, (2) Get your rest (3) See your Doctor (4) Keep Clean (5) Play some each day.'

1941 - 1945

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 514753
Full Citation: 'Just By Keeping Well You Can Help Win This War. Follow these five simple health rules. (1) Eat right, (2) Get your rest (3) See your Doctor (4) Keep Clean (5) Play some each day.'; 1941 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/just-by-keeping-well-you-can-help-win-this-war-follow-these-five-simple-health-rules-1-eat-right-2-get-your-rest-3-see-your-doctor-4-keep-clean-5-play-some-each-day, April 21, 2024]


'Just By Keeping Well You Can Help Win This War. Follow these five simple health rules. (1) Eat right, (2) Get your rest (3) See your Doctor (4) Keep Clean (5) Play some each day.'

Page 1



Document

'Make this pledge I pay no more than top legal prices I accept no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps'

1941 - 1945

This World War II poster reads: Make this pledge: I pay no more than top legal prices. I accept no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 514960
Full Citation: Poster 44-PA-1322; 'Make this pledge I pay no more than top legal prices I accept no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps'; 1941 - 1945; World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/make-this-pledge, April 21, 2024]


'Make this pledge I pay no more than top legal prices I accept no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps'

Page 1



Document

Our Carelessness. Their Secret Weapon. Prevent Forest Fires.

1941 - 1945

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of War Information.
National Archives Identifier: 515140
Full Citation: Our Carelessness. Their Secret Weapon. Prevent Forest Fires.; 1941 - 1945; Records of the Office of War Information, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/our-carelessness-their-secret-weapon-prevent-forest-fires, April 21, 2024]


Our Carelessness. Their Secret Weapon. Prevent Forest Fires.

Page 1



Document

Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting.

1941-1945

"Food will win the war and write the peace," announced Agriculture Secretary Claude Wickard in a statement to the press in early 1943. Even before the United States entered the war in 1941, U.S. farmers were producing at record levels to supply the food needs of the Allies.

After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, getting food and equipment to American troops strained production and distribution systems to their limits. Farm labor was in short supply as men left for military service. The Office of Civil Defense was given primary responsibility for convincing non-farm families to produce and preserve some of their food at home.

Although by the 1940s most people in the United States lived in towns and cities, many felt some romantic nostalgia for the farm life their parents and grandparents had left. Food rationing, begun in 1942 by limiting purchases of coffee and sugar and later expanded to other products, added practical necessity to nostalgia. This poster explains that "A garden will make your rations go further." Patriotic fervor was contagious and victory gardens sprang up everywhere.

Text adapted from "Victory Gardens in World War II" in the April/May 1986 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 513818
Full Citation: Poster 44-PA-368; Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting.; 1941-1945; World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/victory-garden-food-is-fighting, April 21, 2024]


Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting.

Page 1



Document

Productioneers Throw Another Log on the Fire! Let's Keep the Home Fires Burning!

ca. 1942 - ca. 1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Production Board.
National Archives Identifier: 534500
Full Citation: Productioneers Throw Another Log on the Fire! Let's Keep the Home Fires Burning!; ca. 1942 - ca. 1943; Records of the War Production Board, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/productioneers-throw-another-log-on-the-fire-lets-keep-the-home-fires-burning, April 21, 2024]


Productioneers Throw Another Log on the Fire! Let's Keep the Home Fires Burning!

Page 1



Document

Save Waste Fats For Explosives

1941 - 1945

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 513832
Full Citation: Save Waste Fats For Explosives; 1941 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/save-waste-fats-for-explosives, April 21, 2024]


Save Waste Fats For Explosives

Page 1



Document

'Spend that Vacation at Home!'

1943

This comes from a series of original drawings and mockups for cartoons promoting the war effort; and original sketches drawn by artist Charles Alston. This document was identified by teachers in our 2015 Primarily Teaching online workshop.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of War Information.
National Archives Identifier: 535650
Full Citation: 'Spend that Vacation at Home!'; 1943; Records of the Office of War Information, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/spend-that-vacation-at-home, April 21, 2024]


'Spend that Vacation at Home!'

Page 1



Document

You talk of sacrifice... He knew the meaning of sacrifice!

ca. 1942 - 1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Production Board.
National Archives Identifier: 535236
Full Citation: You talk of sacrifice... He knew the meaning of sacrifice!; ca. 1942 - 1943; Records of the War Production Board, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/you-talk-of-sacrifice-he-knew-the-meaning-of-sacrifice, April 21, 2024]


You talk of sacrifice... He knew the meaning of sacrifice!

Page 1



Document

Young Men Wanted In Navy Radar

1941 - 1945

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 516241
Full Citation: Young Men Wanted In Navy Radar; 1941 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/young-men-wanted-in-navy-radar, April 21, 2024]


Young Men Wanted In Navy Radar

Page 1



Document

Which Book, Holy Bible

1941 - 1945

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 516150
Full Citation: Which Book, Holy Bible; 1941 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/which-book-holy-bible, April 21, 2024]


Which Book, Holy Bible

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