During my childhood in the late 1950s and 60s, I remember my grandparents reminiscing about war rationing. They didn’t just mention it a few times, rationing was brought up quite often. The official rationing of food, fuel, tires, clothing, and other materials made a great impact in their lives and nearly everybody else’s. Rationing was burdensome in many ways, especially because it was implemented only a few years after the hardships of the Great Depression.
Even though we think of 20th century rationing in conjunction with the Second World War, it was actually put into effect to aid the efforts of the First World War. Allied combatant nations faced disruptions and shortages of food because farms had become battlefields, and the farmers had been conscripted. The shortages presented very real, harsh challenges to everyone.
Soon after the US entered the war in the summer of 1917, the US Food Administration…
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