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Using Primary Sources in the Classroom:

Lesson 6: The Home Front - "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do Or Do Without!"

Background Information for Teachers

Victory in World War II ultimately depended on outlasting the enemy. Learning from the lessons of the First World War, the U.S. government undertook unprecedented steps on the home front to boost morale, increase food and industrial production, and allocate resources efficiently. Government-directed advertising campaigns urged Americans to grow their own food, ration necessities, and recycle resources, all in the attempt to continue supplying the armed forces in the field and work force at home.

 

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to:
  1. Define and identify propaganda.
  2. Analyze the multiple sides of an issue (problem resolution skills).
  3. Discuss the importance of recycling and rationing during World War II.
Suggested Activity
  1. Make a copy of the documents concerning victory gardens, conservation of meat and the paper recycling photograph.

     

  2. Ask the students the following questions:
    1. Why was it important to plant victory gardens? Where were some of the locations of the victory gardens?
    2. How was this idea of home production of food beneficial to the entire war effort? Look at the ads concerning victory gardens. Could these be considered "propaganda?"
    3. What kinds of skills could be learned by young Americans by keeping the records of a home garden?
    4. Why was the conservation of meat important to the war effort? How could the animal products be used besides as meat?
    5. What were some other products that were recycled in this time period besides paper?
Suggested Activity for Younger Students
  1. Create a poster to encourage people to:
    1. plant a "victory" garden
    2. can or preserve food to support the war effort

     

  2. Draw a plan of your "victory" garden. What kinds of vegetables would you choose to plant? How large would your garden be? How many rows of each type of vegetable would you plant?

     

  3. Draw an advertisement to encourage people your age to plant a victory garden or to recycle rubber or paper.

     

  4. Create a slogan to encourage people to plant a victory garden or to recycle.
Documents
  • Document 1: National Victory Garden Institute. Green Thumb Contest Record Book. n.p., 1944. Alabama State Council of Defense (1941-1946), Program Administrative Files, SG 19860, Folder 8, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama.

     

  • Document 2: Metro Newspaper Service. "1945 Victory Garden." February 1945. Alabama State Council of Defense (1941-1946), Program Administrative Files, SG 19856, Folder 23, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama.

     

  • Document 3: Metro Newspaper Service. "Your 1945 Victory Garden Ads." Alabama State Council of Defense (1941-1946), Program Administrative Files, SG 19856, Folder 23, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama.

     

  • Document 4: Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics. 99 Ways to Share the Meat. [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1943. Alabama State Council of Defense (1941-1946), Program Administrative Files, SG 19854, Folder 36, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama.

     

  • Document 5: G. W. Landrum. Photograph (PN 15935). 1945. Alabama State Council of Defense (1941-1946), Program Administrative Files, SG 19860, Folder 17, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Montgomery, Alabama.