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Office of War Information Document on Rationing

From: State Defense Council, Subject Files, 1940-1946, Rationing Board, Local, Series S 419, Box 41

Office of War Information Document on Rationing

About This Document

During the Second World War, shortages of a variety of civilian goods became commonplace. In ensure fair distribution, and that vital materials would be conserved for military use, the Federal government implemented a rationing policy on a wide variety of products. Gasoline, rubber, bicycles, shoes, sugar, fruits and vegetables, fats and oils, cheese, coffee, butter, meats, fish, certain canned goods, and even dried peas and beans were among the many products rationed for all or part of the war. Many other non-rationed items were in chronically short supply and virtually impossible to obtain. One historian has written that "[a]s the war drew on, nearly every item Americans ate, wore, used or lived in was rationed or otherwise regulated. It was the most concerted attack on wartime inflation and scarcity in the nation's history and by and large it worked."(1)

To enforce the system, the Office of Price Administration issued ration books for gasoline and foodstuffs, which civilians had to present and turn over the required ration coupons before they were allowed to purchase the rationed item. To ensure cooperation, the Office of War Information provided information to the public on the often confusing system. The typescript reproduced here was issued by the OWI and the State Defense Council of Florida.

(1) Richard R. Lingeman, Don't You Know There's a War On? The American Home Front, 1941-1945 (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1970), 235.