The Home Fronts of Iowa, 1939-1945

By Lisa L. Ossian | Go to book overview

Preface

The war changed everything except human needs and desires.

—William O’Neill, A Democracy at War (1993)

How does one begin to write about the complexities surrounding World War II? This war, as John Keegan so succinctly states in the foreword to his extensive study of it, is the largest single event in human history. The war involved six of seven continents and all the oceans; it killed fifty million people and wounded countless others. Historians have examined numerous pieces of the puzzle within this massive event, but not the state of Iowa and its citizens’ reactions and contributions. Iowa, as one small piece of the world, experienced much of the drama and heartache of this war despite the state’s physical distance from the areas of combat and destruction.

Most American World War II histories of domestic involvement have focused on paid industrial work and have been organized chronologically or by topics such as patriotism and discrimination, and an unequal depiction of the home-front activities has often resulted. In my attempt to produce a more broad-ranging account, my research of the Iowa home front branched into an analysis of four separate fronts: farm, production, community, and kitchen. All were historic terms used throughout the war years.

This divided examination of the home front provides a clearer picture of the nonmilitary work as well as the rhetoric surrounding American citizens’ involvement in the war effort as deemed necessary by the

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The Home Fronts of Iowa, 1939-1945
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Soldiers of the Soil the Farm Front 21
  • Chapter 2 - "E" Awards and Wows the Production Front 50
  • Chapter 3 - Bonds, Scrap, and Boys the Community Front 90
  • Chapter 4 - Mrs. America’s Mission the Kitchen Front 121
  • Conclusion 155
  • Notes 165
  • Bibliography 203
  • Index 235
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