In Wartime '40s, America's First Taste of Rationing


During World War II, rationing became not only accepted, but a symbol of patriotism for most Americans. Listen to Oscar Brand in this never-broadcast documentary on how the government —and WNYC— helped foster that sentiment.

Using archival footage, the documentary takes us on a short trip through the rationale, promotion, and consequences of rationing, including the dark side it helped create with the appearance of black markets. Within WNYC, Mayor La Guardia offered frequent reminders in his weekly address, there were regular programs dealing with the issue, and various admonitions were often broadcast. All in all, despite the general absence of true privations for the overall U.S. population, there is no question that rationing fostered a sense of solidarity at home and abroad.