During World War II, shortages of a variety of civilian goods became commonplace. To 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.
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.
SS.4.A.1.1: Analyze primary and secondary resources to identify significant individuals and events throughout Florida history.
SS.4.A.7.3: Identify Florida’s role in World War II.
Examples may include, but are not limited to, warfare near Florida’s shores and training bases in Florida (Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, etc.), spying near the coast, Mosquito Fleet.
Activate prior knowledge. Review with students what they already know about the homefront during World War II. Some questions you might ask:
Explain to students that they will be reading a document related to rationing efforts in the United States during World War II. Show students an example of ration stamps.
Conduct an in-class discussion of what students learned during the document analysis. Questions for students might include the following:
Have students site specific examples from the text. Ask students to use detail and examples when drawing inferences from the text.
Students can further explore the documents in the Primary Source Set: Rationing, Victory Gardens and Scrap Drives During WWII.