It is probably safe to say that most people,
especially today, believe that the United States was suddenly and unexpectedly thrust
into involvement in World War II on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese navy
launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The fact is the U.S. was "unofficially"
engaged for over a year beforehand by "lending" both equipment and personnel to
British, Russian, Chinese, French, and other militaries as part of their effort
to drive back invading German, Italian, and Japanese Axis forces. World War II
actually began in the Fall of1939 with Hitler's invasion of Poland. Americans, being
safely separated from the front lines by the Seven Seas, knew little of and were
concerned little about the goings on "Over There."
the call to arms was sounded with the Pearl Harbor attack, the country quickly and
enthusiastically converted to full wartime mode. Manufacturing plants for many kinds
of products used in the various theaters of war halted production of commercial
and consumer products and dedicated operations to making certain our fighting men
had all the supplies and equipment needed to not just defeat the enemy but assure
the battle would never reach our shores - which we did and it never did, respectively.
Makers of automobiles, trucks, ships, trains, airplanes, rifles, ammunition,
clothing, footwear, television, radios, medical supplies, and other items reconfigured
production lines to rapidly turn out tanks, Jeeps, and amphibious vehicles; tents,
uniforms, and flags; battleships, aircraft carriers and landing craft; bombers,
fighters and troop transports; first aid kits, field operating equipment, and antibiotics;
portable radios, radars, and cryptograph machines. As such, a lot of common products
that had been easily obtained began to disappear from store shelves and showrooms.
Advertisements like the one shown in the June 4, 1942 edition of the Harrisburg
Telegraph newspaper, which I retrieved thanks to my subscription to
readers to the impending scarcity of new radios. A while back I posted a notice
in the September 1942 issue of Radio-Craft magazine titled, "Crosley Scraps '43 Line for Military Radios." In fact, I suppose
that my 1941 vintage
Crosley 03CB floor console radio was probably one of the last
pre-war models of a Crosley radio! It was not until the early-to-middle days of
1945 that companies began running notices that they already were or soon would be
back to making products for public consumption again.
Posted October 25, 2018
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