The End of Rationing and the Celebration of Thanksgiving
On November 23, 1945, the wartime rationing of most foods ended. Ask anyone who remembers life on the Home Front during WWII about their strongest memories and chances are they will tell you about rationing. In addition to shortages of rubber, metal, clothing, and other materials, there were shortages of various types of food that effected just about everyone on a daily basis.
Food was in short supply for a variety of reasons: much of the processed and canned foods was reserved for shipping overseas to our military and our Allies; transportation of fresh foods was limited due to gasoline and tire rationing and the priority of transporting soldiers and war supplies instead of food; imported foods, like coffee and sugar, was limited due to restrictions on importing.
Holidays like Thanksgiving were quite different during wartime on the Home Front. Many families missed parents and siblings who were overseas fighting. Items like your Thanksgiving turkey would be nearly impossible to find. Even a tradition as simple as a football game was suspended; the Detroit Lions, who have hosted an annual Thanksgiving game since 1934, put this tradition on hold between 1939-1944.
This Thanksgiving, when you think about what you are thankful for, consider the soldiers and families that have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for the war effort. How do you think they celebrated, given the challenges they faced?
Posted by Gemma Birnbaum, Digital Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.