What was the impact of WWII on the American civilian population?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

World War II impacted nearly every aspect of American life, and fully 16 million Americans were drafted into the military or volunteered and sent overseas on two fronts.  The civilian population at home faced rationing of many consumer goods, gasoline, even things such as spare tires and sugar were hard to come by without ration stamps.

Since so many families had at least one and often times more than one son or brother or father serving overseas, the parade of "we regret to inform you" notices delivered by Western Telegram agents became a common and dreaded occurrence.  Daily sacrifices were required of the population, working long shifts in armaments factories, recycling tin cans and even their cooking fat (to make explosives with).  People paid much higher taxes than they do now, and volunteered in the hundreds of thousands for relief organizations and troops and family support groups.

So there was no ignoring the fact the country was at war, as the civilian population was intimately connected to it on several levels.  Another difficult aspect was that it was very difficult to know when it would ever end, especially on the Pacific front. 

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