Map of Pennsylvania in the 1900s-1940s.
Map of Luzerne county in the 1900s
Pennsylvania played an important role in the nation's war effort. They were crucial producers of resources, supplied volunteers, created military bases, and was a heavy pusher for rationing.
Throughout the war, Pennsylvania supplied 20% of the worldwide production of steel and was a major producer of coal. They were also the nations leading supplier of Portland cement. The increasing production, however, called for an increase in the need for workers. Southern blacks poured into major cities to fill the work in the factories as 900,000 Pennsylvania men and 22,000 women were off serving in the armed forces. Other volunteers served in the state's army of civil defense workers. This included over 1.6 million Pennsylvanians who would care for equipment, administer the rationing system, and acting as airplane spotters. Pennsylvania workers tolled 2.5 million by the start of 1944.
Pennsylvania homed over forty military bases for the soldiers, providing food, supplies, and a temporary stay. Several colleges also set up programs for the Army to allow for officer training.
The nations food was being sent to troops across the world, causing food shortages everywhere, including Pennsylvania. Its citizens were forced to ration materials such as meat, gasoline, and sugar. This led to them planting their own gardens for food. This also led to an increase in agricultural production, as farmers focused solely on helping the war effort.
The advertisement for Wilkes-Barre's Stegmaier Brewing Company wishes its readers "A Victorious New Year" as the United States entered the final stages of WWII. These ads worked to create positive thoughts surrounding the war effort and kept citizens optimistic for their nation.
A picture of female trainees in the Shops. The Commonwealth had a desperate need for workers and over one million Pennsylvania women entered the workforce during the war. They completed jobs that were originally reserved for only men.
In June 1940, a Luzerne County newspaper used a powerful photo of refugees to encourage donations for war relief. It shows a women and her children next to a burning building in war-filled Belgium during a Nazi invasion.