The Homefront

By: Emily O'Meara and Jessica Shamdas
World War I                                                                                  (www.corbisimages.com)
World War I (www.corbisimages.com)

Introduction: When WWI started in 1914, many people believed it would be a short war and would not leave as much of an effect as it did. Many of these thoughts were similar as arguments and wars began in the middle east. As all of Britain became involved back in WWI, the United States has become fully involved in the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars today. Women, suffering, and the US economy are just a few of the major key points of these wars and series of wars.Though there are many soldiers which we have and are thankful for, many citizens aren't actually fighting in the battles. The term that's used to describe these people who are still extremely vital to the war but don't fight is the 'Home Front'. All of these wars wouldn't have been the same without the causes and effects of 'Home Front'.


Issue #1 :
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In the picture above, women are volunteering for the Red Cross in WWI. www.gettyimages.com

Women and the War

In WWI, since the majority of men had to go to war, women had to take over their jobs. They began to work in factories that produced trucks and tanks. African American women started working in department stores as elevator operators and cafeteria waitresses. Many women also volunteered for the Red Cross, for example, to help soldiers and families during the time of war. Another thing women contributed to WWI was the establishment of victory gardens. Women planted victory gardens to reduce the demand on the public in that particular country for food. With so much effort going towards the war, quality of food decreased. These victory gardens were found in Germany, the US, the UK and Canada. They grew herbs, fruits, and vegetables which greatly influenced people and helped families.


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This picture is of a women in the Iraqi War, shooting a machine gun. www.bigredhair.com



War has changed a lot since WWI in the 1900’s. Over 200,000 women have fought in the current Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, and been treated equally as men. “This is the first generation where women have actually been fighting in combat,” said the Joint Chiefs Administration last year. One rule states women cannot fight in combat units on the ground is the Pentagon Rule. More commonly today, you will find women as truck drivers, gunners, medics, military police, and helicopter pilots.Even though this rule is subject to change very soon, we’ve come a long way from WWI where women couldn’t even imagine fighting and working alongside the men.






Issue #2:

Suffering
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Ration Stamp for coffee (see the specific number code on each) www.cecomhistorian.armylive

During WWI, America had to go through periods of rationing to keep the country running as smoothly as possible creating major suffering throughout the country. Rationing consists of controlled distribution of resourses or goods that are not always easily found or made. During the period that the US was involved in the war common things that were rationed were rubber/tires, fuel/oil, footwear, silk, nylon and even things like stoves and other home appliances. Many foods were rationed as well; foods like sugar, coffee, shortening, cheese, butter, margarine, dried fruits, certain meat and many processed foods (canned, bottled, and frozen). Even many medicines including penicillin were used less.To keep order in communities and through the country, the US took a few different ways to apply rationing to the people. In most cases stamps were used to get certain items. People or families would receive a specific amount of stamps for rationed items and essentially trade them for food or object needed.

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This american soldier is shown crying and suffering in Afghanistan. www.licemeadbooks.com

There is suffering that occurs in any war, even if they are many years apart. Between WWI and modern Middle Eastern wars today, suffering has taken place for many involved. Without doubt, there has been suffering of the economy (see below) for the US in modern times. But another form of suffering, internally and emotionally, is felt everywhere throughout the US. When family members leave and go away to war there is great distress caused for the rest of the family members back at home. Throughout their whole time period serving, it is a great struggle for soldiers to be away fromt their loved ones for such a long time. Even though there are modern ways to communicate, the constant worry is there for the family. Some of the horrific things soldiers have seen and expierenced while fighting also causes a lot of suffering for them. Soldiers who have come home have described thier nightmares of the war, and how it is constantly on their mind. As you can see, wars can lead to a lot of suffering for people, whether they are fighting or not.





Issue #3
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US began to use rationing stamps to save money and recources. www.answers.com/topic/rationing

US Economy

When the US joined the war, many new expenses came into play and the economy changed. Because so many men entered the war there were automatically new training facilities, clothing/uniforms, guns, ammunition, and transportation needed for them. The US found themselves spending a large amount of money on the men in the war. Many jobs were changing and money began to be spent in different ways, always less frivolously. Eventually, starting in about 1942, materials and food began to be rationed (as mentioned above) to save money and resources.


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The US economy goes down as the costs for the War constantly increase. http://www.costofiraqwar.com/


There is no doubt that the wars against terrorism today in the US that include the war in Iraq and also in Afghanistan have had a large impact on our economy. Sending troops to far countries with supplies costs our country a great deal of money. At the start of the war, the highest estimate on cost was $200 billion. Today the estimate has reached around $1 trillion, plus interest payments and follow-up some say the “war against terrorism” will cost $2.4 trillion. Throwing the US economy another hoop to jump through is the fact that a sufficient amount of our oil is coming from Iraq. The country purposely is able to raise the price making energy prices skyrocket. There are many factors that contribute to the economy through the war and many are affecting the US in negative ways.







Conclusion: There are many similarities and differences between WWI and the War Against Terrorism today. Women's roles have drastically changed over the years allowing women many more opportunities. Suffering in WWI and in wars today are similar in the way that people feel and act but reasons are different. The economy in the United States has shown great changes over the years between WWI and now but money loss to the war is a similar factor. Wars show change in people, governments and the world but in many cases we can find factors that are the same throughout.
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Works CitedRockoff, Hugh. "US Economy in World War I". EH.Net Encyclopedia, ed. by Robert Whaples. February 10, 2008."Rationing." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.
"United States Military Ration." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.
Steve, Ian Westwell, and John Westwood. Home Fronts, Technologies of War. Vol. 3. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2002. Print.
NewsHour, Pbs. "Iraq in Transition | PBS NewsHour | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 23 Feb. 2011."Women In War: 'I've Lived Out There With The Guys' : NPR." NPR : National Public Radio : News & Analysis, World, US, Music & Arts : NPR. Web. 23 Feb. 2011. Kirchhoff, Sue. "Debate Rages about Impact of Iraq War on U.S. Economy - USATODAY.com." News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World - USATODAY.com. USA Today. Web. 23 Feb. 2011.Teslik, Lee Hudson. "Iraq, Afghanistan, and the U.S. Economy." Council on Foreign Relations. Web. 23 Feb. 2011