Rationing in the 1940’s

Some of the things
that we often forget
about the World War II
generation are the
type of hardships
they had to endure
on a daily basis —

— and,
a good example
of this is rationing.

Just about everything that
we would consider to be
necessities of daily life
were subject to some
kind of war-time rationing,

–not just in the United States,
but even more especially
in Europe, Asia and Australia.

In 1945 Britain,
for instance,
the bacon ration was less
than 4 ounces per week
(per person), while the
cheese ration was a
mere 2 ounces.
8 ounces of sugar
and 2 ounces of tea
and butter would
also have to suffice.

Clothes, soap, paper,
and fuel were also
tightly controlled.

Actually, some of these
controls got even tighter
for several years after
the war ended.

Bread was rationed
until 1948, and clothes
in Britain were still
being rationed in 1949.

Consumers in the United States
generally had much lighter
restrictions as far as
quantity was concerned,
but there were very strict
controls on items like fuel,
tires, and sugar.

An example of this would
be the fact that a person
could only own 5 tires –
4 on his car, and 1 spare,
and they became next
to impossible to replace.

Any extra tires- like on
a second car, were confiscated
for use in the war effort.

Of course, there was very little
incentive to own a second car,
since gasoline was rationed
with the use of “A”, “B”, “C”
and “X” sticker system —

–the average Joe with an
“A” sticker would qualify
for no more than 4 gallons
of gas per week.

( And you had to take
good care of the car you had —
because the U.S. auto industry
had stopped manufacturing
civilian cars by 1942–
so you couldn’t buy a new one )

Sugar was limited to
half a pound a week,
and the coffee ration,
which was issued every
five weeks, was 1 pound.

Some medicines, like penicillin,
were almost completely
unavailable to civilians.

Fats, meats, cheeses,
and processed foods
were also tightly controlled.

When one looks back
at all the rationing coupons,
charts, tables, and cards
that were in daily use by
the average citizen,
it’s mind boggling —

— how the American mother
of 1944 fed her family and
functioned with such bureaucratic
red tape and limitations —

but it worked surprisingly
well, considering.

As a part of keeping
the whole system running,
price controls were instituted
on daily staples, which helped.

But of course, there was
still a large black market,
through which almost
anything could obtained,
for a price.

This was frowned upon
as unpatriotic – but it was
a common enough thing
for a consumer to use/acquire
ration stamps fraudulently
(especially the ‘red’ stamps,
which were to be used for
butter and meat,
or to buy steaks and chops
‘from behind the counter’.)

Fortunately, all war rationing
in the United States ended
in 1946 —

By then, the system had become
so complicated that it was getting
to be impractical, anyway.

And who knows what would
have become subject to rationing,
if the system had been continued.

So, be thankful for
what you got, man !

!!! HOY !!!!!!


9 thoughts on “Rationing in the 1940’s

  1. Remember some of my older relatives talking about rationing in Ireland too. Tough times.

  2. Great post, C! Stuff we need to remember! Hopefully it makes us more grateful for how good we have it AND grateful for those who endured those times with a determination to survive and thrive!
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…Nookie should NEVER EVER be rationed!!!

  3. ktz2 says:

    We have it so good today compared to this. and the 30’s Depresion

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