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Give Till It Hurts | July 24, 2015 By Todd Nebel Seventy-three years ago, America was thrown headlong into a war which would forever change the United Slates' standing in the world. If ever there was a year that America had one consciousness, one purpose and one set of principles which it wished to demonstrate to the world -- 1942 was it. Minds were one, knowing there was a certain enemy, a certain evil and a definite outcome which must be attained. Principles and virtues reflected a God-fearing country which knowing that if it stayed on the side of right and just, good would certainly win out. Sergeant York, George M. Cohan, Superman, The New York Yankees, the polio stricken President Franklin Roosevelt, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker and Eleanor Roosevelt were a few of the American examples for proof. Before 1942, Americans had endured over a decade of depression, unemployment and simply, doing without. When wartime prosperity changed Americans' lives and full employment was suddenly a reality, Americans were still asked to cut back due to shortages. Wartime restrictions on nearly every available consumer good from cars (new cars were not manufactured from 1942 through 1945) to food, clothing, homes and gasoline were now in short supply. In 1942, Americans were less sophisticated but at the same time, better off because of it. Americans' expectations may have been more simple; many were less educated and less seemed to have enjoyed the sensual pleasures of life. But even with all of today's vast improvements in technology, medicine, and thought, the majority of Americans were a happier people then. They were a generation of Americans who probably have seen more economic ups and downs, more wars and more improvements in technology than any other generation in American history. This generation survived through the prosperous 1920's, the depression of the 1930's and the war-torn 1940's and still survives today; responsible for much of what America amounts to in today's world. When these Americans were asked to do something, they did it. When these Americans were asked to assist their country in time of need, they did it. They may have been more innocent and less suspicious than generations which followed them, but they put their trust and faith in God and did what was asked of them. That was their clear strength as a people and as a country; their trust in God gave them high ideals (like a steamroller) which no other country in the world could come close to.  And, by 1942, despite the fact that this generation of Americans finally had prosperity within their grasp, they also had a war — the ultimate test of which had to be won at home as well as on the battlefield. American cohesiveness was assured from the start, with radio as the perfect salesman and motivator for the homefront war effort. Uncle Sam called for America's help and involvement through big band songs, radio soap opera heroines, and radio adventure serials. Another helpful motivator came in the form of radio advertising, like in this actual ad ...   Housewife: "Oh, what can I serve as a main dish tonight?" Announcer 1: "You're short on time and ration points, right? Well, have macaroni and cheese, made the Kraft dinner way. Cooks in seven minutes." Housewife: "Then I'll certainly try this Kraft dinner!" Announcer 2: "There's a lady who's going to save time and ration points!" In Hollywood, despite movie work, the principle concern of performers, starting in 1942, was entertaining troops and defense workers, selling war bonds, and appearing for free in government or industry film trailers and radio shows asking Americans to do all they could to win the war, ranging from saving used fats to paying their income taxes. Even though the stars in Hollywood often seemed larger than life, they were the Americans who provided this country with incessant reminders as well as escapism when it most desperately needed it. To achieve cohesion in a free country like ours, the message needed to be hammered tirelessly on the homefront through radio, magazines, newspapers, billboards, movie screens and hundreds of other places where, "Buy More Bonds!", "Save Used Fats!", "Car Pool!", "Don't You Know There's A War On?", "Uncle Sam Wants You!", "Use it up! Wear it out! Make it do! Or do without!", and of course, "Give Till It Hurts!", would eventually become what being an American in 1942 was all about. And so, with the government's help, Americans pulled together to buy over $100 billion in war bonds. They saved newspapers, scraps and gas and they were rationed, bussed and trained. Women forgot nylon and silk stockings and wore socks or went bare-legged. Ladies even handed over their girdles when the government needed, rubber. Rolling your own cigarettes and pipe smoking became fashionable because cigarettes went to servicemen overseas. And growing food in victory gardens became one answer to the food shortage. As a result, a terrible time became a time of unity.