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Rationing in World War II

Rationing became a way of life in every country impacted by the war. Some countries, such as the UK, adopted rationing policies early on while others, such as Germany, did not, or did so on a small scale, thus making their hardships even harder once rationing became absolutely necessary.

As the war progressed, rations imposed by the Nazis on their occupied territories became severely reduced, giving preference to the Fatherland.

Tire Rationing...

To ensure enough rubber for military and vital civilian purposes, tire rationing was instituted on December 27, 1941. The program ran through December 31, 1945. Local Tire Rationing Boards issued certificates for tires or recapping upon application. Certificates for new tires were restricted to vehicles for public health and safety (medical, fire, police, garbage, and mail services), essential trucking (food, ice, fuel), and public transportation. Recapping was allowed at the discretion of the local board for any of the above, and occasionally for taxis and defense workers who shared rides. Civilians were allowed to keep five tires per automobile, and were required to surrender any others.

Rubber Drive...

From June 15-30, 1942 the United States held a nationwide rubber drive. People were encouraged to donate used or surplus rubber items. People brought in old or excess tires, raincoats, hot water bottles, boots, and floor mats. In exchange they received a penny a pound. Although 450,000 tons of scrap rubber was collected, used rubber was found to be of poor quality for military use.

Public service campaigns educated people on how to care for rubber products to make them last for the duration - protection from heat and moisture, proper cleaning, avoiding folding or crumpling, careful stretching of elastic, and speedy repair of holes or tears.

Care of Tires...

Since civilians had to make five tires last the entire war, they had to be extremely careful. People were encouraged to drive less - in fact, the primary purpose of gasoline rationing was to protect tires. A "Victory Speed" of 35 mph was instituted - tires wore out half as quickly at 35 mph than at 60 mph. Slow and steady stops, starts, and turns also reduced wear on the treads. Everyone was encouraged to use public transportation, to share rides, and to avoid rough roads. Proper auto maintenance was more important than ever - brake adjustment, wheel alignment, tire inflation, tire rotation, and early repair of holes all prolonged wear. In addition, all auto racing was banned.

Dates related to rationing in World War II...

 

This WWII Article was last modified on Wednesday, December 23, 2015
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