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People Waiting in Line for Sugar Rations in America, between 1942 and 1945

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 A long line of women waiting for sugar rations.
Courtesy of National Archives, "Sugar Rationing," Office for Emergency Management, between 1942 and 1945


Rationing of goods was important on the homefront during World War II. Because of the war, Americans did not have access to certain goods, such as sugar. To provide context, American civilians only had access to six teaspoons of sugar a day during World War II, while the average American today consumes 22 teaspoons. Soldiers were provided more, but at the expense of civilians at home.  

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Consider the length as well as the cultural and ethnic diversity shown in the image. What does this communicate about the resolve of individuals on the homefront?
  • How do you feel the War Department might have used this photograph? Would an image like this have gained support for War Department policies or have worked against the war effort? Use evidence from the image to support your answer.

Citation Information 

"Sugar Rationing," Office for Emergency Management, between 1942 and 1945. Courtesy of National Archives