“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Worcester in Worcester County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

The Home Front

The Home Front Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 20, 2020
1. The Home Front Marker
As World War II began, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described the United States as "the arsenal of democracy." Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war on the United States, the nation had been providing materials to the Allied powers. For a major industrial city like Worcester this meant conversion of its industries to war production. This conversion intensified as Worcester's industries ramped up production after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Virtually every Worcester industry produced something for the war effort, and many companies produced the essential ingredients for victory. If the United States was the arsenal of democracy, Worcester was a major component of that arsenal. In 1943 nearly eighty percent of the 50,000 people employed in Worcester factories were working in war-related jobs, and many of them were women who joined the industrial work force during the war.

Company after company ramped up production — from one shift, to two shifts, to three shifts of work — meaning factories worked around the clock seven days a week to meet the demands of war. The
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United States adopted War Time, a year-round daylight savings time, to save energy and maximize productivity. As Worcester companies and their workers met the quotas and targets set by the War Department and the Department of the Navy, their successes were recognized with the award of Victory E flags. From Quinsigamond Village and South Worcester to Greendale and the Summit, these flags flew as a home front version of the battle ribbons earned overseas.

Victory in the war demanded military muscle, and it was Worcester which provided that strength. Worcester clothed and armed the troops; it provided boots supplied communications, moved troops, and delivered bombs. Worcester products were in the planes and ships of American and Allied troops. Worcester could be found in virtually every aspect of the successful Allied effort.

Involvement in this "total war" meant that every person was called upon to do his or her part in the war effort. Many enlisted or were drafted for military service, others worked in the war industries. Everyone had a role to play in any number of ways. Fears of attack led to the formation of civil defense forces in the cities.

Families were urged to save fats from cooking and children were asked to collect scrap metal and turn it in for the war effort. All were encouraged to save money and to buy war bonds issued by the U.S. in
The Home Front Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 20, 2020
2. The Home Front Marker
a series of bond drives. Homes were darkened at night; a "blackout" with fully drawn shades and the top half of car headlights covered to prevent any light which might help enemy aircraft.

Yards and parks were tilled over as families were urged to plant victory gardens to help increase the food supply. Individuals were assigned to guard bridges and installations, some enforced the blackout rules designed to hinder possible air attacks, and others taught first aid procedures.

To insure an adequate supply of goods for the U.S. and allied militaries, the federal government introduced rationing at the beginning of 1942. Civilian access to goods and raw materials needed for the war was limited. Local ration boards were established and citizens were required to sign up for ration books and cards. Ordinary civilian use of gasoline was limited to four gallons per week. Foods such as butter and meat were rationed, as were consumer products like shoes. Cuffs on pants and slacks were prohibited. No new automobiles were produced for civilians after February 1942.

Worcester citizens followed the battle news and casualty reports with care and, as Allied troops made progress in Europe and the Pacific, hopes rose for victory and an end to the conflict. Victory in Europe came on May 6th, 1945 (V-E Day). Mayor William Bennett asked the people of Worcester to hold
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off celebrating and to continue their war work as the battle continued in the Pacific.

Victory in the Pacific came on August 15th, 1945 and September 2nd was declared V-J Day as Japan officially surrendered on the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Soon thereafter came grand public celebrations with parades, parties, dances, and the eventual restoration of daily life in the city. The brave soldiers who fought on faraway lands so that freedom could prevail will never be forgotten. The people of Worcester will forever be heralded for their strength, sacrifice and commitment to the war effort.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceIndustry & CommercePatriots & PatriotismRoads & VehiclesWar, World IIWaterways & VesselsWomen. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1942.
Location. 42° 15.73′ N, 71° 48.052′ W. Marker is in Worcester, Massachusetts, in Worcester County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Front Street and Commercial Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 99 Front St, Worcester MA 01608, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. War in the Pacific (here, next to this marker); World War II Time Capsule (here, next to this marker); Worcester World War II Memorial (a few steps from this marker); World War II (within shouting distance of this marker); War in Europe (within shouting distance of this marker); Vietnam Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Northeast Corner of the Worcester Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Worcester.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 23, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 93 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 23, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 22, 2024