Second World War: Fair Share

Iowan recalls rationing during the Second World War, and the idea of 'fair share.'

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In the United States, rationing began a few days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, with a freeze on the sale of automobile tires. Before 1942 was over, other commodities followed, including automobiles, rubber footwear, coffee, sugar, gasoline, and fuel oil for heating. 

After the defeat of Japan all rationing was lifted except sugar, which was controlled until June 1947. The decision to ration a commodity rested on the judgment of how scarce it was and how important. Rationing was begun to ensure that there would be a "fair share" for all consumers.

Ration coupons in books were issued for frequently purchased commodities such as gasoline, coffee and sugar. Local ration boards issued certificates for those commodities infrequently needed, such as tires.

Esther Carolus
Clarion, Iowa


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.