World War II and the Home Front: Ed Tubbs

To help win the fight from the home front, the U.S. government asked its citizens to increase production of everything from ammunition to food. Ed Tubbs went to work for the Jasper Country Extension Service to promote Victory Gardens but eventually volunteered for military service.


Ed Tubbs, of Delmar, had just graduated from Iowa State College in December of 1941.

(Ed Tubbs) I went to work in Jasper County, lived in Newton, for the Extension Service. I was there for six months, and it occurred to me that it was probably time to get involved, so I volunteered.

Several months after enlisting, Tubbs' father Clifton became ill. Tubbs petitioned the federal government for a deferment which would allow him to return to Delmar. Farmers fed the troops, so the request was granted.

(Ed Tubbs) As far as balancing supply and demand, it wasn’t getting done—until the war came along. And then, of course, demand exploded, and we suddenly needed to produce everything we could in order to feed the people, supply the armed forces, and so on, so we were—into production in a big way, as big a way as we could with the equipment we had. It was a tough time—tough time, really.

Though farmers had been asked to produce as much as possible it was still not enough to feed both a hungry nation and millions of people in the military. To help prevent a shortage for those in uniform the federal government began to ration everything with a strategic value. Special coupon books were issued to every man, woman and child in the United States. Without the coupon books, you could not buy certain items like sugar, meat, tires or gasoline.

(Ed Tubbs) I think every time before the baby was wiped off, why, everybody was going to sign him up for a rationing card. And you get one for the baby when he’s born. Obviously he wasn’t able to use all the stuff that you can buy with those coupons. And those coupon books were coveted. As usual, a lot of swapping going on. If you had a ration card for pickles, and you didn't like pickles, you could trade it with somebody.

Iowa PBS