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Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 but

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
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Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 but

Postby Felix C on 03 Feb 2013 00:05

why? USA and Allies were winning and the end was near in ETO and PTO would be not far away.(pre A-bomb) I thought rationing has loosened in the USA by 1945 and unless one was of draft age or had a loved one in hazards way there was no reason to be unhappy with the state of affairs.


I use the comparison with the USA involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan where the there is no clear cut victory.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Heinrich George on 22 Feb 2013 23:59

You first have to consider the impact of 400,000 deaths due to the war, about three-quarters of them in combat, in a country of only around 135 million people in 1945. Project that death toll in the context of today's population and you'd have almost 900,000 dead. I'm not sure what the toll is now for Iraq and Afghanistan, but it's probably under 10,000. Imagine the psychological impact if it were 90 times that number. That may give you an idea of how people must have felt, even if they or their relatives weren't at risk.

As to the possibility of the war ending, the average person expected the fighting in the Pacific to go on for at least another year. They also were aware that the fighting was getting harder, reflected in the casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. People expected the invasion of Japan to be even worse.

Certainly people were glad the war was being won, but they really looked forward to peace, rather than simply victory.

As for rationing, it ended in 1946, not 1945.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Lynn R on 23 Feb 2013 06:52

Beyond the general deprivation of rationing here are a couple of examples of the nightmare it was.

First is a .pdf of the New York Times rationing overview that ran July 30, 1945 - which coupons are good when and for what items, etc.

rationing.pdf

Second is a 1943 example of the points system that had to be coped with.

and woe betide anyone who lost or had their coupon books stolen or miscalulated or missed a use date...
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Trackhead M2 on 23 Feb 2013 17:33

Heinrich George wrote:
As to the possibility of the war ending, the average person expected the fighting in the Pacific to go on for at least another year. They also were aware that the fighting was getting harder, reflected in the casualties at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. People expected the invasion of Japan to be even worse.

Certainly people were glad the war was being won, but they really looked forward to peace, rather than simply victory.

Dear HG,
The saying was "the Golden Gate in "48" for a lot of folks, the optimists hoped for "Home alive in '45".
Strike Swiftly,
TH-M2
P.S. My grandfather was one of the ones already in the Pacific, so my grandmother was hoping for either.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby ROLAND1369 on 23 Feb 2013 18:24

A primary contribitor to the depression of the war was that the war was fought by a draftee army. It was, as a result, that losses were spread out amoung the largest and smallest comunities throughout the US. This resulted in the deaths not being the unknown professional soldier but a local boy who they knew and grew up with, thus removing the facelessness of death. This constant feeling of community loss was further reinforced by the fact that many National Guard Divisions were activated and fought in the heaviest fighting, the 29th National guard Division was one of the two us assalt divisions on D Day. As these divisions were locally manned from individual small towns within states and adjoining states losses came in highly concentrated areas and in short periods.The 36th Division for instance was almost destroyed at the Rapido River in Italy. As an example" one of its units which was a company from Waco, Texas took 200 men overseas and only the Company Clerk and Company Commander came home. This is the reason you do not and will not find any statue of Gen Mark Clark in Texas. Along the same line the sucesses and sacrifices during D Day and the specticular sucess of the drive through france, coupled with allied propaganda, had convinced the combat units that "the war would be over Christmas",conclusion which the Battle of the Bulge disproved and convinced Americans that the Germans were far fro'm beaten. One of the things not usually mentioned is that all military ID cards of the period, whether for volenteers or draftees, read " duration[ of war] plus 6 months, I still have my fathers. After the defeat of Germany a number of Europeon Units were, like my father's Bomber unit, told " good job, you are going home for 30 days leave, re train from B24 aircraft to B32 bombers. and are going to combat in the Pacific for the invasion of Japan. This creates a feeling that "we are going back into combat untill they kill us all". This feeling was common amoung multible tour soldiers in both Viet Nam and Afganistan. This is personal observation as I fought in both. Such feelings I would say had be communicated and were felt by their relatics at home.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby wm on 23 Feb 2013 18:41

It was certainly a tragedy for everyone who lost his/her loved one, but during the WW2 7 million Americans died from the natural causes.
So in fact for every 18 funerals, some unlucky citizen of the US had to attend in that time, only one was of a soldier who died in battle.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Mark in Cleveland, Tn. on 23 Feb 2013 19:01

ROLAND1369...Excellent posting of the facts!!!The part of ETO soldiers having done their duty, then being slapped in the face with the PTO is spot on...Caused a tremendous morale ploblem and much bitterness among ETO troops.

Post some of the *Homefront* sick and tired issues. Was a huge swelling of bitterness among the Homefront people starting in 1944, just as you staed, with deaths amomng small towns, etc..And rationing caused bitterness as people started doing without.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Lynn R on 24 Feb 2013 02:18

The issues is the US pale compared to the war zones but the homefront was still far, far different from what is used to be pre-war. The poverty level increased, those working worked longer hours, many women entered the workforce for the first time - especially disruptive for those who had children at home and a husband away in the service. The mere absence of the servicemen in their homes was trying, even if he had a safe, state-side posting.

Many people moved to get work at the major plants, causing localized housing shortages and overwhelming social systems like schools. Many plants worked around the clock. This period saw the major population shift from rural and agricultural areas to cities. There was a general unsettling throughout.

And for those who worried there was always the back of the mind nagging about spies, the fallout from the release of interned Japanese, the presence of ETO POWs on US soil, the black market, etc.

My dad recalled a night when his dog started barking in the wee hours and wouldn't stop, though he couldn't see anything wrong. In the morning he found all the lug nuts on his work truck loosened out to their last threads. If the dog hadn't barked he would have lost all four rims and (rationed) tires off of his truck.

It was just an accumulation of annoyances people had to endure - the lifestyle wasn't reduced to survival mode like in many war zones, so people were closer to what seemed just out of reach.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Trackhead M2 on 25 Feb 2013 20:02

ROLAND1369 wrote: One of the things not usually mentioned is that all military ID cards of the period, whether for volenteers or draftees, read " duration[ of war] plus 6 months, I still have my fathers.

Dear R1369,
Have you seen the movie " A Walk in the Sun'; a soldier in the film talks about the "Battle of Tibet" before the war ends. Some men felt it was never going to end. Others knew the deal and accepted it. It is not hard to understand your feelings about the wars you survived as being a never ending struggle. There were others who probably didn't feel the way you did too. The fact all the allied nations were sick of war by 1945 is a given. But, what about the liberation of Dachau and the other camps? That must have made the sacrifice of allied troops have some purpose?
Strike Swiftly,
TH-M2
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby mikel on 03 May 2013 06:53

I think you ignore the numbers involved.

I am a early baby boomer born in 1947. I grew up with endless tales of the homefront.
One side of my family were farmers and my mothers were urban dwellers.

My father enlisted in 1943 and was in the 506th PIR.
Uncles were Marines and Seabees.

The numbers of youngsters who manned up and volunteered or were drafted were staggering.
They left gaping holes in the population.
Many left and were notseen for several years.

Meanwhile women and youngsters were hurried into any slots theycould fill including war production.
Families were torn apart, rationing was significant in mny areas.
Shortages of many goods and resources was oppressive as was the simple wartime atmosphere.
Many were being killed , wounded or went missing.
Many families never knew the circumstances of a loved ones death.

Even today, talk of those times is common amongst the survivors in my area, though they are quite old.

I believe you are attempting to trivialize a major historical event or period.
We were fortunate here, to have avoided the destruction, occupations or fighting, but things were not without consequence.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Dwight Pruitt on 09 May 2013 19:29

wm wrote:It was certainly a tragedy for everyone who lost his/her loved one, but during the WW2 7 million Americans died from the natural causes.
So in fact for every 18 funerals, some unlucky citizen of the US had to attend in that time, only one was of a soldier who died in battle.


The large majority of those 6.6 Million deaths would have occurred regardless of the war. While grandma or grandpa dying in their 80's would have been tragic for the families involved, their death would hardly have been front page news as were casualty lists of young men in the prime of their lives. Couple that with the fear that any knock on the door could be the Western Union boy with the dreaded words "The Adjutant General regrets to inform you that......" informing you that a son, father, brother etc. wasn't coming home.

Remember, that only 25 years or so prior another 100,000 men were killed in the same fashion. Casualties were relatively light until 1943, and really multiplied in 1944-1945. People saw that Japanese territory, like Iwo and Okinawa were not going to be cheap in the terms of lives, and it looked like the only way that Japan was going to quit was the same way Germany did-after Tokyo fell.

After 5 years of conscription and 4 years of strict rationing, the large majority of people's lives being disrupted, and the prospect of more people dying, yeah, I can see how the home front was tiring of the war.

Oh, and the funerals? Most of those did'nt really start until late 1946 when the repatriation of the dead got into full swing.
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Penn44 on 10 May 2013 01:36

Is it not reasonable to expect a society to become war weary after a certain period of time?

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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Mark in Cleveland, Tn. on 17 May 2013 04:14

From what I have read in several books, starting in late 1944 people started to wise up, so to speak.. Patriotism only went so far, then reality hit, and hit hard.
Then the vets started coming home, to no jobs, no housing,

War plants that were going full blast one day were shut down the next. people out of work.The government started cancelling contracts as early as late 1944 when the writing was on the wall as to the outcome.
People just got tired!!!
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby Heinrich George on 19 May 2013 22:43

The monthly Army casualty tables at the link show how the nature of the war changed in 1944-45.

From December 1941 to June 1943 there had been just over 37,000 deaths (battle and non-battle). During the next six months the Allies invaded Italy and stepped up the bombing of Germany, which led to somewhat higher losses. The first five months of 1944 saw even more casualties as the fighting intensified, but the worst was yet to come.

Losses rose drastically with the invasion of Normandy, peaking in December during the Battle of the Bulge. In that month alone the number of dead exceeded the total for the first 12 months of the war. Casualties remained heavy through April 1945, then fell significantly as the European war ended and the ground fighting in the Pacific became limited mostly to Okinawa.

When you add around 90,000 Navy deaths to these numbers you have the full picture, but the key to the home front fatigue was the number of deaths from D-Day to V-E Day. There had been nothing like this since the Civil War, an event only a handful of people could remember in 1945.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref ... ies-2.html
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Re: Have often read the homefront was sick of war by 1945 bu

Postby wm on 28 Jun 2014 20:19

More statistics, during the WW2 statistically there were:

73 000 - combat deaths per year,
100 000 - unintentional injury deaths (at work, at home, traffic accidents) per year.

It doesn't say anything about the home front fatigue, but maybe puts things into perspective.
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