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Archive for the ‘Home Front Friday’ Category

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More than prepared: Girl Scouts during WWII

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

The Girl Scout way and motto is described simply as “Be Prepared”. However, a more in depth description that was formed in 1947, according to the Girl Scout website, would be as follows:

“A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency”.

Perhaps that explanation and the year in which it was stated can be attributed to how the Girl Scouts along with the rest of America had just endured World War II and the attitude on the Home Front that was necessary. During the war years, every one’s help was needed and the Girl Scouts took their motto to heart by demonstrating the very Home Front spirit we like to highlight with this blog.

Girl Scouts were involved in helping the war effort in a variety of ways. They helped sell war bonds, tend victory gardens, and scrapped metals and fat to be reused. Girl Scouts also formed “Defense Institutes” for teaching women necessary skills and ways to comfort children during possible air raids. Troupes even made calendars instead of the Girl Scout cookies we all know and love today, so they could help with food rationing.

Girl Scout Calendar from 1945. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum collection.

Girl Scout Calendar from 1945. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum collection.

 

Inside of a Girl Scout Calendar. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum.

Inside of a Girl Scout Calendar. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum.

Their uniform even changed its look from a dress with a zipper to one with buttons because of metal shortages.

Intermediate Girl Scout Uniform style from 1938-1948. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum collection.

Intermediate Girl Scout Uniform style from 1938-1948. Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum collection.

Girl Scout ads and catalog covers also had patriotic themes to them to support the war cause.

Equipment catalog cover from Spring 1942. Photo courtesy of Vintage Girl Scout website.

Equipment catalog cover from Spring 1942. Photo courtesy of Vintage Girl Scout website.

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Equipment catalog cover from Fall 1943. Photo courtesy of Vintage Girl Scout website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Newspaper ad. Image courtesy of Vintage Girl Scout website.

The Girl Scouts kept the Home Front positive attitude alive during the war with all of these deeds and patriotism. Just as they are still keeping the same creed and way of helping people to this day. The museum celebrated National Girl Scout Day at the museum last March, where they made rag dolls with the troupes of scouts who visited the museum.

Girl Scout Day at the NWWII Museum. Photo courtesy of Lauren Handley.

Girl Scout Day at the NWWII Museum. Photo courtesy of Lauren Handley.

Girl Scout Day at the NWWII Museum. Photo courtesy of Lauren Handley.

Girl Scout Day at the NWWII Museum. Photo courtesy of Lauren Handley.

The rag doll activity incorporates some of the same ideas Girl Scouts and Americans had on the Home Front during the war by taking commonly found materials like cotton balls and scraps of fabric along with string or ribbon you have lying around and reusing them to make a doll. If you’d like to join in the fun and make a doll of your own, just follow the steps below! You can even help someone much like those Girl Scouts during the war years did by giving the doll to someone of your choosing and brightening their day. The Girl Scout slogan after all is, “Do a good turn daily” .

Rag Doll Instructions

Materials:

  • Various lengths of fabric (pillow ticking, camouflage, leaves, red, yellow, black, blue)
    • 9×9 inch square of material for head and body
    • 13×9 inch rectangle of material for arms
    • 9×5 inch square of material for dress/clothing
    • 6 inch length of ribbon to secure dress/clothing
  • Dowels (small)
  • Scissors (dull, safety)
  • Twine (or thread)
  • Ribbon (various colors)
  • Cotton balls or tissue

Step 1:  Place the 9×9 inch square of material facing pattern downwards.  Place the TWO cotton balls into the middle of the 9×9 inch piece of material.

Step 2: Wrap the material around the cotton balls to create the doll’s head and body.

Step 3: To create the effect of a neck, twist the material beneath the doll’s head and tie a knot to hold it in place with the twine or string.  Leave the ends of the string long and loose as they will be used to attach the arms.

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Step 4: Place the 13×9 inch rectangle of material facing pattern downwards.

Step 5: Use the small dowel to roll up the material – long-ways – like a carpet.

Step 6: After your material is rolled, remove the dowel.  This will be your two arms.  Tie a knot near each end to create hands.

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Step 7: Center and place the arms against the knot on the doll’s neck.  Use the two long, loose ends of twine to secure the arms in place by crossing them over the arms and across the doll’s chest like a bandolier before tying them into a knot behind the doll’s back.

Step 8: Fold the selected 9×5 piece of material in half and snip a small triangle-shape into the middle of the seam to create a hole for the doll’s head.

Step 9: Unfold the material and slip over the doll’s head.

Step 10: Secure the dress/clothing in place by tying a knot around the doll’s waist using one of the lengths of ribbon.

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Now you’re all done with making your rag doll! Enjoy!

Posted by Savannah Bamburg, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: A Wartime Inauguration Sparks Inspiration

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

On January 20, 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn in for a fourth term, which was cut short on April 12 of the same year due to his decline in health and passing. No president in the history of presidents had been sworn in for a fourth term, or even a third for that matter. It had always been two terms, but in the case of President Roosevelt, the American public did not want to defer from their familiar and trusted leader during a tense time of economic struggles and outbreak of war. Today, January 20, 2017, we are swearing in a new American who will begin their first term as President of the United States. Inauguration ceremonies began with George Washington, and since then have served as the day that an elected official is customarily sworn in and then addresses the American public with a speech laying out their goals and plans for the next four years. If you’re looking to learn more about the history of the induction on this January 20, 2017 inauguration of yet another President, follow this link.

In 1941, President Roosevelt was inaugurated for his third term as President. This was essentially about a whole year before Pearl Harbor was attacked and the formation of a direct U.S. relationship with the war. Floods of people gathered in front of the Capitol ready to listen to how Roosevelt will make his historic third term a four years of working to, “save the Nation and its institutions from disruption from without.” America was a nation of people made up of soon to be enlisted or drafted men and working civilians who banded together in the fight to preserve democracy and end the war on Nazi domination and Japanese expansion in the name of liberty.

FDR delivering his inaugural address on January 20, 1941. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

FDR delivering his inaugural address on January 20, 1941. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

January 20, 1941. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

January 20, 1941. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.

The years that followed this 1941 Inauguration Ceremony changed the United States from a neutral nation determined to stay out of the conflict to a united front, apart of a group of Allies, fighting in battle, losing lives, and persevering both on the battlefront and Home Front. Therefore, the somber, very low key and laid-back atmosphere of President Roosevelt’s Inauguration on January 20, 1945 was not a surprise. His heal was declining, and WWII was reaching a close. The Allies were going to emerge victorious, but no attention could be deferred from the war until their boys were home and safe from the constant threat of danger in Europe and the Pacific.

At the Inauguration in 1945, there was a short parade and a cold brunch. President Roosevelt did not host a long parade that traveled through the whole of Washington, D.C. to the White House due to the rationing of gasoline and the Home Front’s dedication to the only purposeful use of the valuable gallons of gasoline. In his 1945 address, Roosevelt stated:

“We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community.

We have learned the simple truth, as Emerson said, that, ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one.'”

Photo courtesy of cnn.com.

FDR delivering his speech on January 20, 1945. Photo courtesy of cnn.com.

These are some pretty iconic words, and definitely a phrase that we can hold us accountable today. It  never hurts to receive a nice reminder or wake up call from either a person of the past, like Roosevelt, or from your own friends that you see every day. Sometimes we need a little reminder that we are in this life together and taking it day by day as one nation, under God. Everyday is different and never easy, but as Roosevelt said, we are members of a human community and its up to us to treat one another with the respect each person deserves. Roosevelt captured the embodiment of the Home Front spirit with that quote; the “we can do it” attitude and unification of so many people for a common cause during WWII. For his full speech, follow this link.

In honor of Roosevelt’s speech, here are 7 ways you can be an even better citizen of the world and be a kind friend to those around you:

1. Hold the door for those behind you. That extra five seconds in  your life you use to wait for someone behind you could make all the positive difference in someone else’s day.

2. Write down three good things that happened to you during the day.

3. Definitely say “please” and “thank you.” Manners go a long way.

4. SMILE! (at everyone, even throw a stranger a soft smile. It may just brighten their day.)

5. Call a friend or family member and tell them that you appreciate them.

6. Learn something new. Whether its a language, recipe, or craft. Go ahead and try it out and see how much you’re capable of. It’ll bring you some joy and could inspire someone else to try something they’ve been wanting to do.

7. Pay it forward. However you may like. Pay a visit to the Pay It Forward site and learn more.

There are so many more than 7 ways to practice gratitude and appreciation for one another, so if you’re looking for other ways, follow this link to a Huffington Post article that’ll have you feeing inspired. 

Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: For Auld Lang Syne

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

A few days ago we watched the infamous NYC ball drop in honor of welcoming 2017. Masses of people have been gathering in Times Square to celebrate the New Year since 1904, but it was not until 1907 that the first New Year’s Eve Ball descended the pole. Flash forward 35 years to December 31, 1942, and the U.S. was in a state very different from 1907. We were finishing up a full year of involvement with WWII, and still in the process of sending more troops to Europe and the vast Pacific. The celebration of New Years varied on the Home Front depending on the year and morale of people. Here’s how our fellow Americans gathered in Times Square to ring in a fresh start for the years of 1942, 1943, and 1944.

New Year’s Eve on  December 31, 1941 was celebrated like there was no WWII in honor of welcoming 1942. 

New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square on December 31, 1941. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square on December 31, 1941. Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

The New Year’s Eve Ball dropped, and people cheered grander and happier than ever before. Masses of people celebrated as if Pearl Harbor had not been attacked and as if the U.S. was not in a state of war. The partying in Times Square was energetic and a complete escape from the unfortunate reality that awaited so many of the men in uniform: they were headed overseas. The signs of a wartime America were evident in Times Square because of the thousands of police officers and fire trucks lined up and stood by in case of an emergency, but the spirits of the American Home Front honored 1941 and welcomed 1942 with bright lights, noise makers, and a unified singing of the Star Spangled Banner once the NYE Ball reached the end of the pole. U.S. involvement with WWII had just begun, but the Home Front already stood strong with their troops.

Write-up in the New York Times of the NYE celebration to greet 1942.

Write-up in the New York Times of the NYE celebration that greeted 1942.

Photo courtesy of LIFE magazine.

Celebrating 1942. Photo courtesy of LIFE magazine.

New Year’s Eve on December 31, 1942 gave a more somber welcome to 1943.

An article in the New York Times published on January 1, 1943. Courtesy of the New York Times.

An article in the New York Times published on January 1, 1943. Courtesy of the New York Times.

Jump ahead one year, and the times had significantly changed. The U.S. had been involved with the battles of WWII for a full year now, and the sentiment of loss and longing for loved ones was felt in the atmosphere of all who gathered in Times Square on December 31, 1942. Every year since 1907, the New Year’s Eve Ball dropped, but on the eve of 1943, there would be no Ball to descend the infamous pole that sits on top of the Times Square buildings. The efforts on the Home Front of the past year were focused on how to save and reuse. As a way to conserve energy and fuel, as well as practice for a possible, and terrifying, attack by the German Luftwaffe, black out drills were held, especially along the East Coast because not only was an air raid imaginable, but also the bright lights from cities created silhouettes of ships in the water which made them easy targets for the lurking German U-Boats. It was because of these black out drills that New Year’s Eve in Times Square 1942 neither had the Ball drop nor the infamous billboard lights because they wanted to cut back on energy costs as well as stay under the radar from the evident possibility of an attack.

New Year’s Eve on December 31, 1943 experienced a happier celebration in honor of 1944 despite wartime limitations. 

A photo of the crowds in Times Square on December 31, 1943 published in the New York Times.

A photo of the crowds in Times Square on December 31, 1943 published in the New York Times.

A gathering to welcome 1944 then came along another year later and thousands celebrated with a more joyous spirit. People had a greater faith that the end to WWII was somewhat slowly getting closer, but they still had many tough fights ahead. Times Square was packed, and Churches filled up throughout the night and into the next day in honor of President Roosevelt’s declaration that January 1, 1944 was a day of prayer. Reflections of civilians who lived on the Home Front may not have been the happiest because of their strong desire to have family and friends back home, but at least they were a unified mass of people, working together and thankful that they were alive to put in another productive year. Although this was another year where the NYE Ball did not drop, men in uniform, women in their finest dresses, and anyone in between still gathered in New York City to celebrate with one another. The lyrics of Auld Lang Syne reminded people that it may have been long since they had seen family and friends, but that they could raise their cups or glasses in their honor and dedicate their toast to health and safety of those loved ones far away. The same rings true for today as people raise their “cups o’ kindness” in honor of those stationed around the world. In place of the Ball drop, a moment of silence was held when the clock struck twelve and chimes were played from sound trucks parked around Times Square.

A snippet from New York Times article published on January 1, 1944.

A snippet from New York Times article published on January 1, 1944.

There was no NYE Ball drop on December 31, 1943 to welcome 1944.

There was no NYE Ball drop on December 31, 1943 to welcome 1944.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these celebrations from eve of 1942 to the eve of 1944 are prime examples of the Home Front spirit during WWII. They may not have had lights or fireworks, and many probably were missing family members and close friends, but despite all of these setbacks, Americans found a way to cherish the clean slate of a new year, and continued to hope that that would be the year the war ended. During the parties and celebrations to welcome the New Year, many people had noise makers and party horns of some sort. Many of us still use these toys today to make as much noise as possible and cheer in a new 365 days. Although the day of celebration has passed, it’s always interesting, fun, sometimes successful other times a struggle, to make your own party supplies. The following instructions will teach you how to make your own party horns. The best part is you can use paper scraps to create the tube of the horn. This will get you in the spirit of scrapping, just as our friends on the Home Front.

Supplies:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Straw
  • Tape
  • Colored Pencils, Crayons, or any sort of decoration

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Step 1: Cut your paper into a strip that is 2×9 and then color it with a design of your choice.

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Step 2: Fold the sides of the paper so that they meet in the middle and tape the strip of paper closed.

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Step 3: Fold one of the ends of the tube of paper closed and tape it shut.

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Step 4: Roll the paper from the end taped closed until it meets the other end.

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Step 5: Place a rubber band around it while you move onto preparing the straw.

Step 6: Take out your straw and place a piece of double sided tape around the end that you will put into the open end of the tube of paper.

Step 7: Insert the taped end of the straw into the tube.

Step 8: Fold sides of the tube over the straw and tape them shut so that no air can exit the tube.

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Step 9: Celebrate!

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Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: 75th Anniversary of the First Home Front Christmas

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

The days were supposed to be merry and the times bright, but in the case of American’s first Home Front Christmas in 1941, this was not a family’s typical holly jolly season. Pearl Harbor had been attacked 18 days prior to Christmas day and the U.S. was now a part of the world war. Some men were drafted, others enlisted. Women headed to the factories and children began collecting metal scraps. It was only a few weeks into U.S. involvement with the war, but this Home Front was already unified, and in this unification they demonstrated one of the true meanings of Christmas. It was, and still is, a time of the year to set aside differences, to celebrate and to unify with one another in honor of the spirit of the holiday season. Although they may not have been celebrating with numerous amounts of gifts, a lot of food, and seasonal travel, people were realizing that the effort they had put in on the Home Front had already helped reach highs in production. Through their constant work, they would be one small step closer each day to helping reach the end of the war, which was far off in the distance.

On this day, December 23, 1941, in the world of politics and the fight to devise plans to end the war, Winston Churchill met with President Roosevelt at the White House. The first Home Front Christmas for the White House was nothing shy of somber. Rooms were decorated more with maps and military plans rather than with tinsel and lights. The Roosevelts’ four sons had left for war and their daughter was out of town. It was as if Christmas was just another day following the Pearl Harbor attack in which they had to come to terms with the fact that the U.S. was now an actual part of the conflict. If you have more of an interest in exactly how Christmas eve and day were spent at the White House in 1941, check out this article featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt discussing plans on Christmas Eve in 1941. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

A Christmas Tree lighting was held, and President Roosevelt delivered a speech that reminded the American public to not let their spirits hang low, but rather to unite with one another as a nationwide support system that was fighting to restore freedom. He stated, “Our strongest weapon in this war is that conviction of the dignity and brotherhood of man which Christmas Day signifies – more than any other day or any other symbol.” Follow this link if you wish to read his whole speech. Roosevelt dedicated the 1941 Tree Lighting to those armed forces who were preparing to head off or were already overseas.

President Roosevelt speaking at the Christmas Tree Lighting in 1941. Photo courtesy of FDR Library Digital Collection.

President Roosevelt speaking at the Christmas Tree Lighting in 1941. Photo courtesy of FDR Library Digital Collection.

In the 1941 world of pop culture, Bing Crosby released a radio broadcast of the infamous song, “White Christmas,” on December 25. A rather slow song, not very upbeat, and kind of sad, “White Christmas,” struck a chord with the American public and by 1942, Crosby had released recordings of this seasonal song for public distribution. The tune paralleled with the Home Front’s feelings of nostalgia for a world before war, even though 1941 was just the beginning for the U.S.

Families still decorated their homes with a small tree covered in ornaments and lights, but the ornaments they used were not all made of aluminum or tin or metal. A lot of them were home made of paper or some sort of thing from nature, like a pine cone. With the do it yourself culture on the constant rise today, it is not uncommon to find many homes at Christmas time, or during anytime of the year really, decorated with handmade objects compiled from paper, scrap wood, and coated with a little bit of paint. It’s never too late to throw a new ornament up on your tree, so here are some instructions for a snowflake ornament made from paper.

Supplies:

  • 6 pieces of paper (you can use computer paper, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, whatever type and design you want)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Stapler

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Step 1: Fold each of your pieces of paper diagonally then cut off the rectangle strip.

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Step 2: Cut three strips that vary in size into each of the triangles

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Step 3: Open up the triangle. It should form a diamond shape.IMG_2575Step 4: Fold the inner most slits and tape them together.

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Step 5: Flip the diamond sheet over and now fold the next level of slits and tape them together.

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Step 6: Continue this process until all of the cuts of each of the six pieces of paper have been folded and taped.

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Step 7: Staple or tape (your choice) three of the twists together at the center. Then do the same with the other three.

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Step 8: Now, staple (or tape) the two parts together at a central meeting point.

And now you’re finished. Add some color and hang it from your tree or around your house.

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Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: The Gifts That Keep On Giving

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Far from home and making their way through unknown territories, soldiers during WWII relied on hand written notes to communicate with their loved ones back on the Home Front. Since today is National Christmas Card Day, we’re going to give a shoutout to these letters that deliver the holiday cheer. These days we have cards with puns and cute catch phrases capturing feelings of love and joy people have for each other. Hallmark always seems to have some sort of new design that really tugs at the heart strings. During WWII, specific Christmas cards were created to send to soldiers. Many troops carried these cards with them throughout their time overseas because they boosted their morale and encouraged them to continue the fight. Christmas cards were truly a gift that kept on giving hope and served as lights at the end of a long tunnel.

US soldiers receive Christmas mail on 26 November 1943.

US soldiers receive Christmas mail in Italy on 26 November 1943.

US soldiers receive Christmas mail in Italy on November 1943.

US soldiers receive Christmas mail in Italy on 26 November 1943.

It was a tough time for many families to be separated by thousands of miles of ocean and land from their loved ones who were constantly in harms way to restore some sort of peace. Troops were nostalgic for home and familiarity while the Home Front desired to give them a piece of home that brought small elements of joy to their tough days. Hand written letters, packages, and recordings were among the most popular items sent, and during the Christmas season, specific cards were made to wish joy and bestow blessings on the troops.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Hallmark Cards joined the Home Front effort with their slogan, “keep ‘em happy with mail.” The company created cards of all sorts, as they do today. These cards were small tokens of affection that held special places in soldiers’ hearts. The United States Army Postal Service collected Christmas items set to be mailed to soldiers way before December in order to be certain that the packages and cards got there in time. This is a special time of year, and although it was just another day of fighting or arriving at new destinations, these soldiers deserved to receive some holiday cheer. Mailed items were their portable pieces of home that allowed a connection with loved ones from afar as well as brought a sense of calmness to otherwise stressful times. These small moments of connection, even if they were from thousands of miles away, made a day in their lives that much better.

Courtesy of the National Archives.

Courtesy of the National Archives.

As all else, Christmas cards during WWII reinforced the patriotic spirit of the Home Front.  Cards sent to soldiers typically had a red, white, and blue color scheme as well as an uncle Sam or a Santa Claus dressed as a soldier. This military-esque Santa could also be found on propaganda released during the holiday season that encouraged people to buy war bonds as Christmas gifts. There were also simple cards with a wreath and a, “Merry Christmas,” followed by a space for people to write their own personalized messages. In 1944, General George Patton sent cards out to his troops reminding each of them of the full confidence he had in their strength and dedication to victory. Check out the full card below.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

In honor of National Christmas Card Day, here are a few ways you can send mail to our troops overseas or to veterans near you.

Here are a few links to follow in order to write and mail letters:

  1. Operation Gratitude
  2. A Million Thanks
  3. Operation We Are Here 

If you want to embrace your inner Santa Claus, try baking some cookies, brownies, or another treat of some sort for your veterans.

Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: Capturing The History

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Whether you compile them into a scrapbook or keep them stored in a box, photos are a special medium of history that keep the past alive. WWII was the first major worldwide conflict that was covered by photo journalists for news outlets like LIFE and Time magazines. Journalists geared up and headed off to battle with infantry, naval, and air soldiers. Rather than carry numerous weapons, they were armed with film and lenses. It was up to them to capture the moments of the war effort and send these photos back to the Home Front in order to inform the public of what their boys were dealing with overseas.

Page of a scrapbook kept by a crew member aboard PT 305. Photos courtesy of NWWII Museum collection.

Page of a scrapbook kept by a crew member aboard PT 305. Photos courtesy of NWWII Museum collection.

A picture has the power to induce a lot of emotion, but through this form of communication, the American public saw what was happening, and turned their emotions into an effort. They were inspired to keep scrapping; to keep following the ration rules; to continue sending supplies to soldiers at war. The broad array of emotions that were captured in the photos of soldiers impacted those on the Home Front in a way that guided them to continue raising the bar and working hard in order to get their loved ones home quicker.

LIFE magazine covered WWII with more attention than any other news outlet. According to a recent Time magazine article, they sent a total of 13,000 photographers overseas to the battlefield to take snapshots of the scene, the people, and the events. Their photos and video montages were shown in theaters or put in magazines, newspapers and other forms of publication in order to share the front lines with those on the Home Front. Civilians had every right to know, see, and listen to what was happening on the battlefield. Long gone were the days of solely snapping photos of scenery and day to day life. Photography took an important journalistic approach during WWII and photographers like Robert Capa went as far as landing on Omaha Beach with a platoon to capture first hand footage of the D-Day beach landing. The photos taken by Capa and other photographers alike have lived on and will continue to after our time. Pictures spoke to the Home Front and they speak to us today of a time when teenagers and adults fought side by side to restore freedom.

Taken from LIFE magazine issued in 1942.

Excerpt from LIFE magazine issued in 1942. Example photo of the motivation to stay in solidarity with one another on the Home Front.

American soldiers landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, Normandy, France. Photo courtesy of International Center of Photography

American soldiers landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, Normandy, France taken by Robert Capa. Photo courtesy of International Center of Photography.

A Navy Photographer on an aircraft carrier deck in January 1945.

A Navy Photographer on an aircraft carrier deck in January 1945.

Today everybody takes photos of anything and everything: their meal at a restaurant, graffiti on a parking lot wall, or a candid with friends. All of these are history. They are a compilation of peoples’ lives; their interests and their days. Clearly they are not action shots from the D-Day landings or of barrack life, but they do help us remember moments in time and will, in the future, allow us to reflect on particular stages of our lives.

Continued use of cameras and film supplies has led to the improvement and innovation of new techniques, like the ability to replay a video or take an immediate glimpse at a photo right after taking it. Typically we use a USB cord, plug it into a computer, and wait for the upload. But, I’m sure some of us have film from old cameras lying around waiting to be developed or just old photos waiting to be pulled out of boxes and used.

Here is a cool craft for your weekend that’ll let you add some history to your homes. Give your past some new life.

Supplies:

  • Stick from your yard, piece of wood, or anything that can serve as a steady support.
  • Twine
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Photos!! (or film)

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1. Cut four pieces of twine and tie them to the object you have as the support.

2. Connect the twine from opposite ends over the top of stick and tie a knot. This will allow it to hold onto a hook or what you choose to use to display it.

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3. Tape the backs of your photos or film to the twine.

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4. Display and enjoy!

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Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: Rice and Chicken Casserole

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Plentiful and delicious, poultry held a lot of nutrition that week by week fed the hard workers of the Home Front. While smoked and other red meats were shipped to the Front, people back in the states found themselves eating perishable parts of animals, such as livers or kidneys. They were also encouraged to eat fish because there was no fear of a shortage. As a more tasty option, kitchens also fixed many chicken dishes because they were, and still are, easy to fix as well as pair with many types of vegetables that families on the Home Front grew in their Victory Gardens.

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All Home Front hands were on deck during this war, so if that meant that they had to learn to raise their own chickens and tend to their own vegetables in order to make their ration coupons last and have access to vegetables and fruits year round, then they learned. For those who were new to the world of gardening, US agricultural companies listed tips on how to make seeds spurt into multitudes. Also, the US government and other companies issued pamphlets, like the ones below, were filled with recipes, instructions on how to get the most out of their rationed ingredients or homegrown items, as well as information on how to buy particular items at the stores.

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Recipe for the Chicken and Rice Casserole from The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book: Wartime Edition

Recipe for the Chicken and Rice Casserole from The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cook Book: Wartime Edition

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cooked chicken
    • I used chicken breast and sauteed it rather than baking a whole chicken.
  • 2 cups of uncooked rice
  • 1 1/2 of tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350.

Step 2: Bone the chicken and cut the meat into 1-inch pieces.

  • I didn’t bake a whole chicken, but rather sauteed a few chicken breasts and added tomatoes, onions, and rosemary to the mixture. Tomatoes were a popular vegetable grown in Victory Gardens, and rosemary was commonly grown herb.

Step 3: Boil the rice in salted water until tender then drain it.

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Step 4: Stir in the butter, milk, eggs, and salt.

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Step 5: Place a layer of the rice mixture in greased casserole then add the chicken.

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Step 6: Top the chicken with the rest of the rice.

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Step 7: Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. This recipe will serve about 10 people.

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Although it may not be the worlds’ most photogenic dish, its lack of beauty is made up for in its rich taste. Everyone in my house was just as much a part of the clean plate club as civilians on the Home Front. They may have had many limitations when it came to feeding themselves, but they quickly learned how to make the best of their situation. They were cooking for health as well as victory, and civilians embraced the motto, “Food Fights for Freedom.” Food sent to the soldiers were what refueled their energy levels, and meals on the Home Front were nutritionally made to live a hearty and healthy life while working for the war effort.

Food propaganda from Cooking for Health: How to Choose and Cook the Right Foods published by the American Stove Company in 1942.

Food propaganda from Cooking for Health: How to Choose and Cook the Right Foods published by the American Stove Company in 1942 to encourage better nutrition and teach Americans how to get more from their food.

Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: Artists For Victory

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Today is International Animation Day, so in honor of cartoons, drawings, and other styles of art, let’s take a trip back to WWII to see the impact art had on the Home Front. Whether it is a piece of propaganda or a sketch of a battlefield, pieces of art have served as representations of humanity for centuries. They’ve evolved from sculptures to portraits to images with detail so perfect they seem to have the equivalence of a photograph. The emotions expressed through art challenge audience members to change their perspectives and to see the world through a different set of eyes, and during WWII these eyes were those of soldiers.

Artists on the Home Front decided to put their talents to work and support the war effort. Propaganda became a major source of communication all across the nation that rallied civilians to scrap, to carpool, to ration their food items, and called, women in particular, to join the workforce. They were artists for victory; reminding citizens that they were part of the fight too.

Created by Norman Rockwell. via National Archives.

Created by Norman Rockwell. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

WWII revolutionized art. Propaganda artists learned to target emotions of those on the Home Front while field artists portrayed events from the Pacific and European Theaters through their strong brushstrokes and revealing sketches. The war was shared with the Home Front through so many ways, and art was just a bonus form of communication that captured scenes and sentiments through a more creative approach. Photos instantly capture, but drawings and paintings take time to come to life. They used their skills to hone in on what they saw in battle and, for propaganda artists, what they knew needed motivation on the Home Front. Some artists, like Tom Lea, decided that it was best for them to change their perspectives from the Home Front to the battlefield. So, they went overseas to draw what they saw.

Titled "Sherman Tanks Invade." Painted by Army artist Ogden Pleissner. via PBS.

Titled “Sherman Tanks Invade.” Painted by Army artist Ogden Pleissner. Photo courtesy of PBS.

Photograph of an illustration of an invasion of a waterfront town and buildings along the shore line in Italy. 1944-45.

Photograph of an illustration of an invasion of a waterfront town and buildings along the shore line in Italy. 1944-45.

Tom Lea was an artist correspondent for LIFE magazine during WWII whose painting, sketching, and writing appeared in issues of the magazine from April 1942 through July 1945. His job as a correspondent was to go ashore with the United States Marines and to record what he witnessed and experienced through sketches. His most well known campaign was that of the Marine landing at Peleliu Island, where he could not sketch nor write about his experience until the next day because of the fear he had to overcome and let settle after the invasion. His sketches and artworks have been etched into their audiences’ minds as reminders that the effort was no easy task and that the soldiers were brothers in arms; assisting one another and fighting together to be able to restore peace and return home. The National WWII Museum has an exhibit with 26 of Tom Lea’s original pieces of art on display until January 1, 2017. If you find yourself with an interest in his art of WWII, you can experience this man’s talented way of revealing emotions of soldiers and harshness of battles during your visit to the museum.

Excerpt from LIFE magazine in 1942 with feature of Tom Lea's sketches from the North Atlantic.

Excerpt from LIFE magazine in 1942 with feature of Tom Lea’s sketches from the North Atlantic.

Lea's sketches in copy of LIFE.

Lea’s sketches in copy of LIFE.

Along with artists, many art historians put in an effort. From the Home Front, they worried about world renowned masterpieces falling to not only Nazi thievery but also to allied bombing efforts. The well-known, some what new movie, The Monuments Men, directed by George Clooney, was based on the book, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in Historyby Robert Edsel. It recalls the lives of American professors, architects, and artists who put their Home Front jobs on hold to go be soldiers of art and save important pieces that define our culture as a humanity.

The propaganda and field art of WWII have impacted the constantly evolving world of art. Both of these forms encouraged the sharing of information through a medium other than the written word or the radio. Propaganda has inspired new approaches to advertising and sharing information with people about new products or who to vote for in an election. During the war, all emotions were hit with propaganda. Artists instilled fear, sadness, happiness, or motivation within its audience through their creations. Some ads today that focus on products like cigarettes and other harmful items target a similar sense of fear within people, while most others aim to reveal how content a person’s life can be if they purchase a particular product. Propaganda struck a cord with the Home Front during WWII, and advertising today does the same. Actual art from the field allows people to study and reflect on this war. Propaganda and field art live on with lasting effects, reminding us of how everyone, even artists, were a part of the fight for victory both on the Home Front and in battle.

Since a lot of Americans on the Home Front read magazines and newspapers to learn about the war, they found themselves flipping through ads, propaganda, and political cartoons. For us, it is essentially the same. Magazines are full of coupons and advertisements encouraging us to buy, for example, the newest shoes available. When we’re done with these magazines, they typically find themselves sitting on coffee tables until someone decides to toss it into the recycle bin. Well, here’s a fun craft you can do with left over magazines and/or newspapers. Call on your inner artist and give these news outlets a new life. This is a simple way to embrace the spirit of scrapping just as people did on the Home Front.

American Flag mosaic coaster supplies:

  • Old magazines
  • Old coasters or bulletin board
  • Glue
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors

1. Cut red, white, and blue parts out of the old magazine/s that you’ve chosen.

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2. Begin to glue them to either your old coaster or to your cork board in the formation of an American Flag.

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3. When you’ve finished gluing, cover the coaster with a coat of mod podge and allow it to dry. Once they’ve finished drying, put them out on your coffee table and revel in your artistic skills.

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Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: Victory Apple Pie

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

Representative of so much more than a rich blend of apples and sugar tucked into a flaky crust, apple pie may have faced recipe changes during WWII due to the rationing of ingredients, but it did not find itself on the back burner when it came to baked goods. When soldiers on the Front thought apple pie, they thought home, and knew that as they continued making advancements they’d be one, slow step closer to reuniting with their family, friends, and a classic apple pie.

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From The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cook Book: Wartime Edition

 

The phrase, “as American as motherhood and apple pie,” rose in popularity from soldiers who answered reporters that they fought, “for mom and for apple pie.” If you have more interest in why we’re as American as apple pie, follow this link to the Huffington Post article that explains where apple pie originated and why it has become such a popular identifier for Americans.

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On the Home Front, extravagant desserts were frowned upon because of the type and amount of ingredients they called for, but in the case of pie, adjustments were easily, and necessarily, made. A few ingredients for an apple pie were items on the ration list, most well-known is probably sugar. In the following recipe, sugar is used. So, whoever was making this pie, would have to make sure that they have the correct amount of stamps left to purchase sugar. Eggs were also rationed. If a person was out of eggs and no longer had the correct amount of stamps to purchase eggs, baking soda could be used in their places. 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda can be used in place of 1 egg, so in the following recipe, you would use the equivalent amount of baking soda for three eggs.

Victory Apple Pie from The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book: Wartime Edition.

Victory Apple Pie recipe from The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cook Book: Wartime Edition.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup potato water
  • 1/2 cup yeast
  • 1/3 cup riced potatoes
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/3 cup shoteneing, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 6 apples
  • Cinnamon

Step 1: Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Combine potato water, crumbled yeast, cooled potatoes and 1/4 cup sugar.

Step 3: Let it rise for 1 hour.

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Step 4: After the 1 hour, add:

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Flour – the recipe calls for about one cup on the dough to make it stiff, but I had to use about 2.5 cups.

Step 5: Knead the dough well.

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Step 6: Let it rise until double in bulk. This took about an hour.

Step 7: Roll out the dough into 2 circles about 1/2 inch thick.

Step 8: Place in two greased (or one) pie pans and press the dough to the edges.

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Step 9: Cut the apples into eighths and arrange them on the dough.

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Step 10: Beat the remaining eggs, add the remaining sugar, and pour this mix over the apples.

Mary Mutz, again, 1943 New Mexico baking apple pie. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Mary Mutz, again, 1943 New Mexico baking apple pie. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Step 11: Sprinkle with cinnamon, and cover it with a top layer of dough.

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Step 12: Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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Mary Mutz cooking her apple pie in 1943 New Mexico. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Mary Mutz cooking her apple pie in 1943 New Mexico. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Enjoy!

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Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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Home Front Friday: Music Inspires

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Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

World War II was the time of the Big Band, and Americans all across the Home Front made their ways to performances at popular venues as well as listened to the newest hits on the radio by artists like Bing Crosby or groups led by Duke Ellington. Music kept people’s spirits high while husbands, cousins, friends, boyfriends, and other members of the family were off fighting to bring liberty to a world that found itself in a fierce battle.

Music of  the WWII era paralleled with the sentiments and proceedings of what was going on in the world. This hasn’t changed since. The only slight difference is that instead of 17 shined instruments, our musicians are found with guitars or mixes created with software on computers. Technology has changed the world of music, but what is has not touched is the sheer simplicity of an artist’s creation of songs that reflect the mood of the American public.

via National Archives

Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

RUDY VALLEE CONDUCTING THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD BAND WHILE ENTERTAINING TROOPS IN CALIFORNIA ON 30 JANUARY 1944

RUDY VALLEE CONDUCTING THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD BAND WHILE ENTERTAINING TROOPS IN CALIFORNIA ON 30 JANUARY 1944.

Jazz was a popular genre nationwide during WWII. Before US involvement in the war, themes of music centered on American isolationism and support for the Allied forces. A popular song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II titled “The Last Time I Saw Paris” was published in 1940. There are numerous versions of this song, but singer Kate Smith’s is one of the most well-known. The song creates a nostalgic feel of reflection for the beautiful city of Paris that unluckily fell to Nazi control earlier that year.

As the war progressed in Europe, songs continued to focus on the disapproval of US involvement, but when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, subject matters changed. Some songs called for scraps to be saved, collected, and donated while others encouraged enlistment. “We Did It Before and We Can Do It Again” by Barry Wood was released only days after Pearl Harbor. It is a rally song that convinced Americans they need not worry about fighting in a second war since they had already come out of WWI victorious. The upbeat attitude of the song was a hopeful disguise of the sentiment of worry most Americans were feeling. Elton Britton, a popular country music artist, released “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere” in 1942 to reassure families who had lost loved ones in the war that a flag would always fly in their honor.

There were also songs of love and of longing to reunite with loved ones. A well-known song that was released before US involvement in the war, but rose in popularity as more and more men were sent overseas was “I’ll Be Seeing You” sung by many artists, but most popularly by Bing Crosby in 1944.

Music today carries the same value it did during the war. There are artists like Toby Keith who have released songs that remind Americans of our strength of a country as well as express gratitude to soldiers for their sacrifice. A few favorites of Keith’s among the American public include “American Soldier” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” There are also songs today that expand beyond our military involvement with the Middle East and zoom in more on social issues happening stateside. “Same Love” released in 2013 by pop culture artists Macklemore calls for equality in the LGBT community. Whether it was 1940, is 2016, or any year in between, singers, songwriters, and composers have the job of creating songs that boost morale, open minds, or bring people together over a common cause.

If you’re a fan of music and are looking for a new playlist to celebrate the weekend, check out the one below. Enjoy taking yourself back in time to the 1940s through these lyrics and beats.

Posted by Camille Weber, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

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