"Whose boy will die because you failed?" : Waco and McLennan County in 1942.
This thesis analyzes the experiences and actions of Waco and McLennan County residents during 1942, the first full year of World War II. People living on the home front participated in the war effort in a variety of ways, each person accepting the government's claims that all Americans must make serious sacrifices in order to help win the war. This pervasive popular belief, however, was the result of a surge in government propaganda that characterized all sacrifices as crucial acts of great patriotism. Traditional race and gender roles wartime employment were temporarily challenged only because of a crippling labor shortage that plagued the nation and threatened to harm production. The federal government imposed a massive, haphazard, and largely unnecessary series of rationing programs to combat an alleged shortage of food, tires, gasoline, and other essential items. Vast salvage drives for scrap metal and rubber, as well as government war bond sales programs demanded positive responses from the public and prompted local organizations to commit to meeting difficult government quotas. It was a fearful time when rampant patriotism motivated the American public’s willing compliance, all for the sake of the federal government's main purpose of unifying the nation for victory.