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Home front during World War II

Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. October 9, Winter State Defense Force Monograph Series. State Defense Force Publication Center. Strategy Page. November 1, Retrieved 27 July American Legion. Retrieved 7 April Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. October 5, Louisiana State Guard".


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Louisiana State Legislature Official Website. Retrieved 23 November The Pacific Northwest remained distinctive demographically, even as it resembled more than before the other states of the union. While the Second World War was not the only event contributing to a new demographic mixture in the Northwest between and , it launched fundamental changes reshaping the regional population.

These changes began to lower the geographic hurdles that had for so long inhibited migration to the region.

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In mobilizing for war, the United States needed to recruit people to serve in the armed forces and work in war-related industries. Moreover, because a large part of the war took place around the Pacific Rim, the government especially needed to mobilize the Pacific Coast. The western states became places from which troops and supplies would be shipped to the Pacific Theater of operations. The number of military bases and personnel there climbed dramatically. Many families followed servicemen out to the coast, as they prepared to leave for the Pacific front, and those families added to the region's wartime population.

Simultaneously, the western states developed more industry to support the war effort, producing such things as warships and planes. The fact that Grand Coulee and Bonneville Dams had recently been completed on the Columbia River gave the Pacific Northwest extra appeal for manufacturing, because their surplus hydroelectricity was available to supply wartime industries. These businesses, too, demanded workers, who had to be recruited from all parts of the country. Additionally, the armed services and war-related manufacturing drew labor from other sectors of the economy; farms throughout the Northwest, for example, experienced shortages of workers, especially during harvests.

Replacements needed to be recruited there, too. The Second World War reversed the economic conditions that had prevailed just a few years before. A depressed economy became a booming one; a surplus of labor turned into a shortage. By itself, the Northwest did not contain enough people to work in the burgeoning industries.

Consequently, the federal government and private sector both undertook large-scale efforts to recruit workers to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. This effort laid the foundation for the diversification of the regional population that occurred between and African Americans came to the Northwest during the war to work in shipyards and airplane factories in Portland and Seattle; Latinos came to work on farms and ranches; Indians left reservations in substantial numbers to work in cities and enlist in the armed services. Moreover, many people of all colors moved to or through the Northwest, including in particular people from Midwest and the western fringes of the South—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana.

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Not all migrants stayed in the Northwest for the duration of the war; most went "home" once the war ended. But many stayed and made a life in the region, and others who had passed through the area during the war liked what they saw and returned months or years later to live in the Northwest. In these ways the Second World War precipitated broad demographic changes.

The population of the region expanded as well as became more diverse.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest

Above, right: The Aluminum Industry. Among the many industries drawn to the Pacific Northwest by the abundance of hydroelectricity was the production of aluminum. This view shows the pouring of molten aluminum around a steel slab in the carbon anodes used in the smelting of aluminum at a plant near Wenatchee. Photograph courtesy Aluminum Company of America, Wenatchee. Right: The Kaiser Company's shipyard in Portland, Oregon was one of the many wartime industries that drew people into the Pacific Northwest.

Courtesy of the Kaiser Corporation. Reproduced in Manley Maben, Vanport. Portland, Title page. Below: Richland, Washington , looking west. Photograph by Robley L. The construction of the Hanford Engineer Works, which manufactured plutonium for atomic bombs, illustrated the demographic patterns. The population in and around the towns of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland hovered around 7, or so in But the construction of the Hanford plant required a work force that reached 45, at its peak, and many of these workers brought family members with them.

After construction ended, more than 15, additional newcomers remained behind in Richland to operate the plant, while the towns of Kennewick and Pasco underwent dramatic population increases during wartime, too.

The Italian Home Front in World War II

The Army and the Du Pont company recruited workers from every state of the union to work at Hanford—and because the living conditions seemed so harsh, recruiters had to work overtime to make up for the high rate of employee turnover on the job. Cotton and rice production lagged behind, however, because of characteristics unique to each crop. Engineering technology simply did not advance sufficiently to build a successful mechanical cotton picker until the harvest season, when the first one in Louisiana was used in southern Rapides Parish.

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Mechanization of rice harvesting did not occur until after the war, when researchers solved problems related to the fact that successful mechanical rice harvest required a moisture content in the grain far above that required for successful storage. The increased use of tractors affected production of all three crops.

African Americans and women, two groups historically denied full access to many social and economic opportunities, also added to the wartime labor pool. Ironically, many found it easier to enjoy the rights of equality during the war than before or after. Many African Americans moved out of low-paying jobs and into more lucrative employment opportunities formerly dominated by white males.

The outbreak of war

Despite the economic prosperity it engendered, World War II also curtailed and limited the lives of many Louisianans. Shortages and rationing removed some consumer goods from store shelves and made others difficult to obtain. Residents who wanted sugar, for example, had to sign up to receive sugar-rationing books.


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Finally having money to spend after years of doing without during the Depression, Louisianans with wartime jobs found the shortages galling. In towns near military bases, young women were frequently recruited to attended military dances. Residents of Baton Rouge sometimes opened their homes to soldiers for a meal, while the Elks Club and YMCA provided showers for soldiers passing through the city.

Similarly, a Masonic Service Center in Alexandria furnished stationery, stamps, magazines, books, newspapers, games, and puzzles to soldiers. On a more personal level, parties and family events throughout the state increasingly featured military themes. Even holiday celebrations sometimes assumed a military tinge. Traditional recreational activities were replaced by civilian defense, scrap collection drives, and war bond sales, providing Louisianans with a sense of participation in the struggle to rid the world of totalitarianism.

Merchants set aside room in their stores for war stamp and bond sales; newspaper delivery boys sold war stamps; and air raid wardens and aircraft spotters scanned the skies. Louisianans rummaged through piles of refuse seeking material that could be recycled.

They donated kitchen utensils—relics from the Civil War and World War I , as well as family heirlooms—to scrap metal collection drives. They bought war stamps and bonds with such enthusiasm that the state exceeded its sales quota in each war bond drive. Many primary and secondary schools provided the technical training, in both industry and agriculture, necessary to support the war effort. Schools offered courses such as welding, electricity, sheet metal working, automobile mechanics, radio repair, woodworking, lathe operation, drill press operation, and agriculture to nontraditional students.