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World War II on the home front: Rationing

Scrap metal drives

To build tanks, ships, planes, and weapons required massive amounts of metal. A single tank needed 18 tons of metal, and one of the navy’s biggest ships took 900 tons. Anything using metal — from chicken wire to farm equipment — was rationed. Americans were urged to turn in scrap metal for recycling, and schools and community groups across the country held scrap metal drives. Celebrities helped promote these efforts. In this publicity photo, actress Rita Hayworth announced that she was “harvesting a bumper crop for Uncle Sam.” The caption added that “Besides setting an example by turning in unessential metal car parts, Miss Hayworth has been active in selling war bonds.”

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