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World War II, Nebraska Trailblazer #21, page 4

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Nebraskans helped the war effort.

Most Nebraskans did not serve in the armed forces. They contributed to the war effort on the home front.

Photo of women in field [2865. McDonald 7-28-43-2]
Nebraska's greatest contribution to winning the war was in food production. The nation needed food not only for our own soldiers, but for our allies. Because many of Nebraska's young men had left farms to join the military, there was a labor shortage in rural areas. Women helped on many farms.

Photo of children with victory garden vegetables [2865]
Even Nebraska families who did not live in rural areas got involved with agriculture though the nationwide "Victory Garden" program. Nebraskans were encouraged to plant gardens to help ease the food shortage. These children from St. Teresa's School in Lincoln are pictured with the victory garden vegetables they raised in 1944.

Illustration of rationing
Because of the war, the military had the top priority for many items. Civilians (people who were not in the military) had to do without some products. A system called rationing was set up to distribute scarce goods fairly. All Nebraskans were issued ration books containing coupons which had to be turned over at the time certain items were purchased. Once you were out of coupons for a certain product, you could not purchase more. Sugar, coffee, shoes, gasoline, meat, and tires were some of the items rationed.

Photo of man pointing to war loan sign [McDonald 4-15-43: 4]
The war was costly, and the United States government needed to raise money to help pay for it. Nebraskans contributed by buying war bonds, which were loans to the government. Can you tell where this picture was taken?

Photo of collecting scrap metal [RG2183.PH:1943-0811-5]
Along with rationing, Nebraskans became well-educated in the art of collecting scrap materials. These could be recycled into weapons and other equipment essential to the war effort. Scrap iron was the most obvious choice for collectors. Paper was the easiest to get and was reused for packaging weapons. Leftover food grease was used to manufacture ammunition.

Photo of USO club interior [McDonald, 9-22-45-2]
Another way Nebraskans helped was by volunteering in their local United Service Organization clubs. A USO club was a place were service personnel could go for relaxation and entertainment.

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