The home fronts of Iowa, 1940-1945

Ossian, Lisa
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Iowa's citizens during World War II became soldiers in their loyalty, energy, and commitment as they fought on one or more of the home fronts. These four home fronts (historic terms) were the farm, production, community, and kitchen fronts. The farm front as part of the Food for Freedom campaign produced corn, soybeans, eggs, pork, beef, milk, and hemp for the Armed Services and the Allies. Iowa's farmers faced labor and machinery shortages yet produced record amounts of crops and animals. This prosperity, however, cost Iowa some of its valuable topsoil and initiated a turn toward a factory perspective of farming. The production front manufactured bombs at the Iowa Ordnance Plant and machine-gun bullets at the Des Moines Ordnance Plant along with various sub-contracts at factories located throughout the state. Iowans were extremely productive soldiers of war, producing such items as mule packs, airplane parts, and highly-purified uranium. The community front supported the eight national war bond drives through various campaign tactics and conducted assorted scrap drives for iron, paper, and rubber among other items. Iowa's small towns provided the organizational structures and personal motivation to ensure success in these monetary and salvage contributions for the national war effort. The community front, as a collection of families, sent young men to serve as soldiers and sailors as its greatest sacrifice to the war. And the kitchen front conserved valuable food resources through national rationing efforts, produced fruits and vegetables with Victory gardens, and preserved garden produce by home canning as well as contributing to fat and metal drives. Wartime housewives, complete with military imagery and acronyms, provided the necessary nutritional meals, despite shortages and rationing, for Iowa's war workers. This complete involvement of Iowa's citizens in the war effort through the four home fronts complemented the political and emotional support of the Second World War.

History, Agricultural history and rural studies