The Home Front. Discussing the activities of civilians in a nation at war, strengthening civilian morale and support for the war effort.
When the second World War began on September 1st, 1939, the great powers of the world formed two opposing military alliances: The Allies and the Axis.
The Allies: France, Great Britain, United States, Soviet Union, China
The Axis: Germany, Italy, Japan
Several organisations were formed during World War II, with civilians looking for coping mechanisms and support aids during such a disturbing and unprecedented times. Individuals volunteered themselves and their services in an attempt to bring a sense of community to those waiting for loved ones to return, one of which being the Home Guard.
Individuals who formed this organisation were initially ‘Local Defence Volunteers’. They were defined as an armed citizen militia who supported the British Army during the second World War. The Home Guard initially began in the May of 1940 and continued to serve their community until the December of 1944.
Key targets like factories, explosive stores, beaches and sea fronts were defended, with fields being patrolled during the nighttime. Attempts were made to slow down the advance of the enemy, even if by a few hours to give the regular troops the chance to regroup. They continued to actively help the community until they were officially disbanded in December of 1945.
Yet another influential organisation, consisting of the majority of females. The Women’s Land Army, also known as the Land Girls, provided extra agricultural labour. The government feared that food shortages made be one of the many results of a war. The addition of this organisation boosted Britain’s food production, showing civilians that it was necessary to grow more food at home and increase the amount of cultivation. The development of these skills and the support of the Land Army enabled individuals to support themselves throughout the war, producing more food in times of need.
Not an organisation, but a significant factor in individual’s lifestyle during World War II. Governing bodies coined this term in an attempt to prolong the availability of food supplies and other daily essentials. Bacon, butter and sugar were the first to be rationed in January of 1940, with limits being placed among the purchase of certain high-demand items.
Alongside limiting individual’s quantities of food, the government also supplied a ‘points’ system in which the points had to be turned in (along with money!) in order to purchase the goods that were restricted. By 1942, many other food items became restricted: meat, milk, cheese, eggs… to name a few. Housewives had to register with particular retailers, limiting individuals access to essential supplies. Even babies were part of the points system.
World War II and the organisations developed alongside it influence the life in which we live today. Economic factors, social factors and environmental factors have all be impacted as a result of the World Wars. Past generations fought for our freedom in order for the future generations to live freely and be able to make their own choices.
Comparing life now to life on the Home Front during World War II just shows us how different things can be. The sacrifices made by individuals during the war impacted the life we have the joy of living today.