Today in History for 23rd September 2018

Historical Events

1746 – Jacob Gilles appointed Dutch pension advisor
1955 – Pakistan signs Pact of Baghdad
1968 – WKLE TV channel 46 in Lexington, KY (PBS) begins broadcasting
1983 – Gerrie Coetzee KOs Michael Dokes in 10 for heavyweight boxing title in Ohio
1983 – Argentine military regime gives amnesty to military and political assassins
1990 – PBS begins an 11 hour miniseries on Civil War

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Famous Birthdays

1895 – Johnny Mokan, American baseball player (d. 1985)
1947 – Mary Kay Place, actress/country singer (Mary Hartman!), born in Tulsa, Oklahoma
1963 – Gabriele Reinsch, German DR, discus thrower (world record 1988)
1976 – Kip Pardue, American actor and model
1977 – Susan Tamim, Lebanese singer and actress (d. 2008)
1978 – Keri Lynn Pratt, American actress

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Famous Deaths

1837 – Richard John Samuel Stevens, English composer, dies at 80
1944 – Colijn, Neth PM, buried
1961 – Elmer R Diktonius, Finnish musicologist/author (Stenkol), dies at 65
1978 – Lyman Bostock, outfielder (Angels), shot and killed at 27
1994 – Madeleine Renaud, French actress and theater director (Plaisir), dies at 94
1994 – John van Damme, businessman, hanged in Singapore at 59

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Today in History for 22nd September 2018

Historical Events

1868 – Race riots in New Orleans, Louisiana
1965 – India and Pakistan ceases-fire goes into effect, ending Indo-Pakistani War
1969 – China performs nuclear test at Lop Nor, PRC
1983 – Everly Brothers reunite after 10 years (Royal Albert Hall, London))
1989 – “Baywatch” starring David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson debuts on NBC
1993 – STS-51 (Discovery) lands

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Famous Birthdays

1729 – George Wilhelm Gruber, composer
1900 – William Spratling, American silversmith (d. 1967)
1918 – Henryk Szeryng, Zelazowa Wola Poland, violinist (Brahms Concerto)
1971 – Ian Van Der Wal, swimmer (Olympics 1996), born in Darwin, Australia
1981 – Subaru Shibutani, Japanese singer, dancer, actor (Kanjani8)
1982 – Kosuke Kitajima, Japanese swimmer (Olympic gold 100/200m breaststroke 2004, 08), born in Tokyo, Japan

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Famous Deaths

1531 – Louise Van Savoye, French regent of king Francois I, dies at 55
1662 – John Biddle, English theologian (b. 1615)
1975 – Patricia Doyle, actress (Wuthering Heights), dies at 60
1996 – Mohammed Ben Amhed Abdelghani, PM of Algeria (1979-84), dies
1997 – Ruth Picardie, journalist, dies at 33
1999 – Wyndraeth Morris-Jones, British political scientist, dies at 81

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Today in History for 21st September 2018

Historical Events

1896 – British General Kitchener’s army occupies Dongola, Sudan
1922 – US President Warren G. Harding signs a joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine
1938 – The Great Hurricane of 1938 makes landfall on Long Island in New York. The death toll is estimated at 500-700 people.
1970 – KAPP TV channel 35 in Yakima, WA (ABC) begins broadcasting
1984 – NASA launches Galaxy-C
2001 – University of Roorkee, becomes India’s 7th Indian Institute of Technology, rechristened as IIT Roorkee

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Famous Birthdays

1902 – Allen Lane, English publisher/founder (Penguin Books)
1961 – Nancy Travis, American actress (Kim-Almost Perfect, Chaplin, 8 Men Out), born in NYC, New York
1965 – Richard Brown, NFL linebacker (Minnesota Vikings)
1966 – Ronna Reeves, Big Spring TX
1980 – Aleksa Palladino, American actress
1980 – Robert Hoffman, American actor

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Famous Deaths

1796 – François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers, French general (b. 1769)
1809 – Alexander Reinagle, English-American composer, dies at 53
1961 – Maurice Delage, French composer, dies at 81
1988 – Christine Norden, British actress (Little Shop of Horrors, Night Beat), dies from pneumonia at 63
1995 – William Murray, teacher/educationalist, dies at 83
1997 – Jennifer Holt, American actress (b. 1920)

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Today in History for 20th September 2018

Historical Events

1924 – Carl Mays is 1st pitcher to win 20 games seasons for 3 different teams
1931 – Lou Gehrig’s 4 RBIs break his old RBI mark of 175 en route to 184
1961 – USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
1979 – Jose E dod Santos becomes president of Angola
1997 – Yanks clinch 37th appearance in post season, 3rd consecutive
2015 – Pope Francis meets Fidel Castro in Havana, on the 1st day of his tour of Cuba

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Famous Birthdays

1924 – James Galanos, fashion designer (Coty Hall of Fame 1959), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2016)
1931 – Cherd Songsri, Thai filmmaker (d. 2006)
1954 – Anne Mcintosh, British member European parliament
1956 – Debi Morgan, actress (All My Children, Cry Uncle), born in Dunn, North Carolina
1972 – Jenny Morris, Maryborough Australia, field hockey fullback (Olympics 1996)
1985 – David Allen, American composer and writer

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Famous Deaths

1863 – Jacob Grimm, German philologist, folklorist and editor of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”, dies at 78
1880 – Donald McKay, Canadian-American naval architect (built fastest clipper ships), dies at 70
1884 – Leopold Fitzinger, Austrian zoologist (b.1802)
1897 – Karel Bendl, Czech composer, dies at 59
1988 – Roy Kinnear, actor (Casanova, Pirates, Scrooge, Help!), dies at 54
2015 – Jack Larson, American playwright and actor (Jimmy Olsen-Superman), dies at 87

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Today in History for 19th September 2018

Historical Events

1864 – 3rd Battle of Winchester, Virginia (Opequon, 3rd Winchester)
1949 – “Late Spring”, Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu, starring Chishū Ryū, Setsuko Hara and Haruko Sugimura, is released in Japan
1989 – Appeals court restores America’s Cup to US after NY Supreme Court gave it to NZ (NZ protested US’s use of a catamaran)
2004 – 56th Emmy Awards: The Sopranos, Arrested Development, James Spader and Allison Janney win
2009 – 34th Toronto International Film Festival: “Precious” directed by Lee Daniels wins the People’s Choice Award
2017 – US President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations vowing to “totally destroy North Korea” if threatens the US

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Famous Birthdays

1898 – Giuseppe Saragat, president of Italy (1964-71)
1920 – Karen Khachiturian, composer
1927 – Rosemary Harris, British actress (Spider-Man, The Lion in Winter, Holocaust, Notorious Woman, Tom and Viv), born in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, England
1947 – Steve Bartlett, (Rep-R-TX, 1983- )
1947 – Tanith Lee, British sci-fi author (Don’t Bite the Sun), born in London
1952 – Rhys Chatham, composer

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Famous Deaths

1339 – Emperor Go-Daigo of Japan (b. 1288)
1356 – Gautier de Brienne, duke of Athens/French supreme commander, dies
1936 – Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande, Indian musician (b. 1860)
1974 – Eve March, actress (Adam’s Rib, Danny Boy), dies at 63
1988 – Oren Lee Staley, 1st President of National the Farmers Organization (1955-79), dies at 65
1997 – Rich Mullins, American singer (b. 1955)

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Today in History for 18th September 2018

Historical Events

1914 – Battle of Aisne ends with Germans beating French during WW I
1939 – Polish government of Moscicki flees to Romania
1949 – Baseball major league record 4 grand slams hit
1956 – Mickey Mantle is 8th to hit 50 HRs in a seaon
1980 – Royals Willie Wilson steals AL-record 28 consecutive base
1987 – USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR

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Famous Birthdays

1636 – Pietro Sanmartini, composer
1910 – Henri A Cornelis, gov-general Belgian Congo/Rwanda-Urundi
1916 – Rossano Brazzi, Italian actor (Final Justice, South Pacific, The Barefoot Contessa), born in Bolognia, Italy (d. 1994)
1933 – Robert Blake, Nutley NJ, (Baretta, Little Rascals, Coast to Coast)
1950 – Darryl Sittler, Canadian ice hockey player (Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings), born in Kitchener, Ontario
1980 – Avi Strool, Israeli footballer

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Famous Deaths

1137 – Erik II Eimune, [Onvergetelijke], king of Denmark (1134-37), murdered
1905 – George MacDonald, sci-fi author (Princess and Curdie), dies at 80
1939 – Gwen John, Welsh painter, dies at 63
1960 – A J Evans, cricketer (only England Test v Aus 1921), dies
1964 – Clive Bell, English art critic, dies at 83
2002 – Mauro Ramos, Brazilian football player (b. 1930)

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Today in History for 17th September 2018

Historical Events

1595 – Pope Clemens VIII recognizes Henry IV as King of France
1863 – Pope Pius IX encyclical On persecution in New Grenada
1935 – Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina chosen 2nd President of Philippines
1980 – Oak A’s Rick Langford is removed with 2 outs in 9th inning ending his consecutive complete-game streak at 22
1980 – “Divine Madness” starring Bette Midler, premieres
1993 – Last Russian troops leave Poland.

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Famous Birthdays

1815 – Halfdan Kjerulf, Norwegian composer (Brudefaerden i Hardanger), born in Christiania, Norway (d. 1868)
1930 – Lalgudi Jayaraman, Indian violinist
1945 – Phil Jackson, American basketball player and coach (Knicks/Bulls/Lakers), born in Deer Lodge, Montana
1979 – Billy Miller, actor (The Young and the Restless), born in Tulsa, Oklahoma
1980 – Danny Haren, American baseball player
1981 – Bakari Koné, Ivorian footballer

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Famous Deaths

1702 – Olof Rudbeck, Swedish scientist, writer and composer, dies at 71
1864 – Walter Savage Landor, English poet and writer (Imaginary Conversations), dies at 89
1877 – William Henry Fox Talbot, English photographic pioneer, dies at 77
1899 – Charles Alfred Pillsbury, American industrialist (b. 1842)
1972 – Akim Tamiroff, Armenian-Russian actor (Touch of Evil, For Whom the Bell Tolls), dies at 72
1994 – Vitas Gerulaitis, Lithuanian American tennis star (Davis Cup 1979), dies of carbon monoxide poisoning at 40

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Today in History for 16th September 2018

Historical Events

1949 – KABC TV channel 7 in Los Angeles, CA (ABC) begins broadcasting
1962 – Brian Kilby wins marathon: (2:23:18.8)
1963 – Federation of Malaysia formed by Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak
1979 – Catfish Hunter Day at Yankee Stadium
1979 – USSR performs nuclear test
1996 – Space Shuttle STS 79 (Atlantis 17), launches into space

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Famous Birthdays

1818 – Francis Seymour Haden, English surgeon and etcher, born in London (d. 1910)
1929 – Dale E Kildee, (Rep-D-Michigan, 1977- )
1933 – George Chakiris, Norwood Ohio, actor (West Side Story)
1934 – Eva Clayton, (Rep-D-North Carolina)
1967 – Hiroya Oku, Japanese Manga-ka
1984 – Sabrina Bryan, American actress and singer

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Famous Deaths

1542 – Diego de Almagro, Spanish captain-general of Peru, beheaded
1589 – Michael Baius, Flemish theologian (b. 1513)
1652 – Dirck Janszoon Sweelinck, Dutch composer, dies at 61
1936 – Karl Buresch, Austrian lawyer and politician, dies at 57
1945 – Johannes “Pa” van der Steur, Dutch missionary and philanthropist (Java), dies at 80
1990 – Loretta Tupper, radio/TV entertainer, dies of cancer at 84

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Today in History for 15th September 2018

Historical Events

1644 – Giambattista Pamfili replaces Pope Urban VII as Innocent X
1928 – Alfred “Tich” Freeman becomes the only bowler to take 300 wickets in an English cricket season.
1938 – British PM Neville Chamberlain visits Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden
1982 – Israeli forces began pouring into west Beirut
1994 – “Sound of Motown” premieres in Rotterdam
2015 – EU Migrant Crisis: Hungary seals its border with Serbia with a razor-wire fence, stranding thousands of migrants

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Famous Birthdays

1913 – John Mitchell, Nixon’s attorney general who went to jail
1921 – Norma MacMillan, Canadian voice actress (Casper the Ghost), born in Vancouver (d. 2001)
1934 – Fred Nile, Australian politician
1946 – Fighting Mack, [Edwin Alberto], Antillian welterweight boxer
1946 – Tommy Lee Jones, American actor (Executioner’s Song, Bloody Monday, The Fugitive), born in San Saba, Texas
1972 – Amanda Lynn Granrud, Miss America-Montana (1996), born in Great Falls, Montana

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Famous Deaths

1500 – John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury
1707 – George Stepney, English poet and diplomat (b. 1663)
1963 – Fred Hillebrand, American actor (Martin Kane, Moon Over Manhattan), dies at 69
1978 – Willy Messerschmitt, German aircraft builder, dies at 80
1994 – Haywood Frank Henry, sax player, dies at 81
2006 – Pablo Santos, Mexican actor (b. 1987)

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Recycling to Win the Second World War

Recycling to Win the Second World War

Henry Irving

As the Battle of Britain raged overhead, the nation’s women were urged to salvage metal for the war effort. But was it just propaganda?

An official notice appeared in British newspapers on 10 July 1940, the first day of the Battle of Britain. Attributed to Lord Beaverbrook, the press baron turned Minister of Aircraft Production, it was addressed directly ‘To the women of Britain’. The notice called on the reader to give up any aluminium that they could spare. It explained that the metal was needed to produce aircraft for the RAF’s fight against the Luftwaffe. It said: ‘We want it and we want it now. New and old, of every type and description, and all of it … The need is instant. The call is urgent. Our expectations are high.’The appeal was the brainchild of J.B. Wilson, the former news editor of Beaverbrook’s Daily Express, who worked as the Ministry of Aircraft Production’s public relations officer. He was inspired by a campaign for scrap iron that had taken place in Germany three months earlier, but carefully designed Beaverbrook’s appeal to attract the attention of the British press.The ministry also gained the support of the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS), which had been set up in 1938, as war loomed, to encourage women to participate in civil defence. The WVS’s chairman, Lady Reading, echoed Beaverbrook’s words in a lunchtime radio broadcast. She said:The Minister of Aircraft Production is asking the women of Great Britain for everything made of aluminium, everything that they can possibly give to be made into aeroplanes … Now you’re going to be able to have a chance of doing something positive that will be of direct and vital help to our airmen … Very few of us can be heroines on the battle-front, but we can all have the tiny thrill of thinking as we hear the news of an epic battle in the air, ‘Perhaps it was my saucepan that made a part of that Hurricane!’To enable this, WVS volunteers set up a national network of collection points and began to canvass households for donations. Their efforts were met with an almost immediate response. WVS officials reported that gifts began to arrive just minutes after Lady Reading’s broadcast had ended. Within a day, many of its 2,000 depots were overflowing with scrap metal.As Wilson had hoped, these developments were widely reported in the press. Photographers were commissioned to take pictures of unusual donations and newsreel companies were invited to visit the WVS depots. On Lady Reading’s suggestion, the Royal Family was even asked to make donations that could be mentioned in a press release, once the original interest died down.Most reports seized on the juxtaposition between household items and weapons of war. Humorous examples of individual gifts sat alongside human interest stories, such as that of an elderly woman who was determined that her hot water bottle should be made into a Spitfire rather than a Hurricane. By the time the appeal ended on 27 July, the WVS had collected over 1,000 tons of aluminium. It was said to be the equivalent of around 300,000 saucepans – or 60 fighter planes.Propaganda stuntIn the years since 1940, the Pots to Planes appeal has been dismissed as little more than a propaganda stunt for Beaverbrook. Historians have pointed out that he refused to prohibit the sale of aluminium goods or requisition stocks from industry. It is true that this led some frustrated shoppers to complain that his appeal was simply a ruse and convinced others that their donations remained on scrapheaps throughout the war.The appeal, however, was motivated by a concern over resources. The fall of France in June 1940 had thrown British production plans into jeopardy by cutting established supply routes. Statisticians at the Ministry of Aircraft Production were particularly concerned that Britain lacked the capacity to process bauxite (the key ore used in the production of aluminium) at the rate required to replace stock of aluminium. Fearing that reserves would be exhausted within a year, they argued that latent materials needed to be mobilised in order to avoid bottlenecks. In the fevered atmosphere of the Battle of Britain, the 10,000 tons of aluminium estimated to be contained within kitchen utensils was identified as a vital reserve.Beaverbrook’s appeal was one of many attempts to promote salvage – recycling – during the Second World War. Although it tends to be overlooked within the broader history of the conflict, salvage formed an important part of life on the British home front. Civilians were encouraged to donate everything from books to binoculars to the war effort, while local councils were gradually compelled to recycle household waste. Not all of this activity was equally valuable. The collection of tins, rubber and railings all caused problems when stocks proved difficult to process. However, millions of tons of recycled material were put back into the war economy.As was the case with Pots to Planes, these activities relied upon a fundamental change in attitudes towards everyday objects. There had been very little recycling in Britain during the interwar years, so most people had become used to disposing of waste through tipping and incineration. These actions assumed a new significance in the context of a ‘total’ war, where thrift was imbued with military importance. A combination of government regulations and high-profile publicity campaigns encouraged civilians to see their household waste as raw material for munitions. This process reached a fever pitch in the summer of 1940, with a sustained publicity campaign that was even more deliberate than the one it replaced.Blurred boundariesThe campaign began with a broadcast appeal by the Labour MP Herbert Morrison, who was Minister of Supply in the Churchill government. Speaking on Sunday 28 July, he blurred the boundary between home and fighting fronts by describing salvage as a form of war work. Morrison warned that Britain was facing material shortages and said that ‘Every piece of paper, every old bone, every piece of scrap metal is a potential bullet against Hitler … You will shorten the war if you see we get it all.’ Here, he said, was ‘a chance for you housewives to get right into the fight for freedom and to stay in it until we have wiped those Nazis and all that they stand for off the face of the world’.Morrison’s message was continued by a series of posters and illustrated newspaper advertisements featuring three women and a small dog. The apron-clad characters were shown in a variety of poses. The first had them marching into battle, armed with a pile of newspapers, a bundle of bones and an old curtain pole. They were later shown hurling this waste at the enemy, before being thanked by three servicemen representing the army, navy and air force. ‘We can’t all be in the Fighting Services’, the advertisements conceded, but ‘we can all help to provide munitions … Every scrap is wanted, every scrap will be used. Do this and you are helping your country to victory’.Immediately after the appeal, a journalist was hired to write magazine feature articles and a version of Morrison’s broadcast was re-recorded for the newsreels. In the weeks that followed, the government issued a series of temporary displays for shop windows and enlisted the popular entertainer George Formby into the campaign, using his 1932 song ‘If You Don’t Want the Goods Don’t Maul ’Em’. All of these activities were united under the strapline ‘Up Housewives and at ’Em!’. The campaign, which ran for six weeks, was the most expensive carried out by the government’s Ministry of Information that year.People’s warThe fact that these messages were targeted at women should not be taken for granted. Although British women were extensively mobilised during the Second World War, their place in the war effort was not a simple one. The idea of a ‘people’s war’ put a moral obligation on all citizens to do their bit; the opportunities open to women, however, were often constrained by established gender roles.This tension can be seen most clearly in the case of paid employment. Despite recognising the need to increase the number of people working in the war economy, the British government was initially unwilling to change established employment practices. The proportion of women working in war industries grew very slowly as a result. In June 1940, women accounted for 13.2 per cent of the engineering workforce, an increase of just 2.7 per cent from the year before. It was not until January 1941 that the first steps were taken towards the industrial conscription of women. Even then, the number of adult women in full-time war work was always less than the number who had full-time domestic duties. In 1943, at the peak of mobilisation, the Ministry of Labour and National Service calculated that there were almost nine million housewives compared with the seven and a quarter million women working in industry, the auxiliary services and civil defence.The salvage campaigns launched by Beaverbrook and Morrison encouraged women to see themselves as bearing some responsibility for the production of armaments, but did so in a way that reinforced the primacy of domestic duty. Viewed in this way, they can be understood as an attempt to involve women in the war effort without upsetting patriarchal distinctions between male and female work. Salvage, said Morrison, was ‘A job for all of us, but particularly, it’s a job for women.’Yet neither campaign could have happened without women’s labour. With no local organisation of its own, the Ministry of Aircraft Production depended on the WVS to provide a mechanism for the collection of aluminium. Many of the same volunteers were also integral to the Up Housewives campaign, which was supported by local efforts to explain what and how people should recycle. The WVS organised an ambitious programme of house-to-house visits, delivering almost nine million leaflets. In some areas, it also maintained the collection depots set up in response to Beaverbrook’s appeal to help local authorities with the collection of paper and tins.Fundamental tensionThis contradiction was indicative of a fundamental tension within the government’s approach. Its urgent appeals exhorted individuals to act in support of the war effort, but the implications of such actions did not always seem to have been thought through. Problems were evident from the beginning of the Pots to Planes appeal, as nobody in the Ministry of Aircraft Production or the WVS had anticipated just how much aluminium would be donated in its early days. As depots struggled to cope with the weight of gifts, intelligence reports recorded various complaints that the appeal had been made too soon. It did not take long for the press to uncover this ‘Aluminium muddle’.These complaints provided the context for Morrison’s broadcast. Confronting the critics, he promised that the government had a policy to ‘clear away obstacles and hold ups’ and assured the public that local authorities were ready to extend their salvage activities. The ministry’s emphasis was placed instead on the individual. According to the leaflet delivered by the WVS: ‘Your Council will arrange for the collection of all this valuable waste material. But it depends on YOU – on how carefully YOU save it and keep it for collection.’Not everyone was convinced by these pledges. The Daily Mirror columnist Bill Greig drew parallels with previous appeals, claiming that these had ‘failed completely because, while the housewives did their bit, the minister’s orders were partly ignored and flouted by eight out of ten of the local authorities in the country’.The reality fell somewhere in between. Figures collected by the Ministry of Supply show that there was a marked increase in salvage during the summer of 1940. The total weight of material collected by councils rose from around 70,000 tons in June to 114,000 tons in August. However, many local authorities lacked the labour, vehicles and processing machinery necessary to cope with this increased supply. As the scheme broke down, there were spats between residents and refuse collectors, who were accused of undermining the war effort by throwing out valuable materials. Writing in December 1940, a frustrated government official explained that the campaign was abandoned early because ‘it [was] so successful that the transport of collected materials became embarrassing’.The impact of this embarrassment can be seen in an unusual meeting between representatives from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, the Ministry of Supply and the WVS in August 1940. The meeting had been called to discuss plans for a renewed aluminium appeal and took place in a cramped air raid shelter after a siren disrupted proceedings. The WVS were told that Beaverbrook planned to launch a new appeal and that the Ministry of Supply would organise collection by local authorities. Lady Reading was unconvinced. She thought that the public would be unwilling to give aluminium to councils, as they simply did not trust refuse collectors to do the job. Without the support of the WVS, the government pulled the plug.The significance of these campaigns deserves to be reconsidered. Rather than just propaganda, the appeals were hugely significant to many British civilians at the time. While the Battle of Britain was fought by ‘the Few’, Beaverbrook and Morrison’s appeals consolidated the idea that victory in the Second World War rested with the people. The idea of the Second World War as a ‘people’s war’ was born. The conflict was, in Churchill’s words, one in which: ‘The whole of the warring nations are engaged, not only soldiers, but the entire population, men, women and children.’ The government’s realisation in the summer of 1940 that its success depended on a careful balance between administrative efficiency and popular participation was also important. Having been told that their waste was vital to winning the war, it is little wonder that Britain’s housewives were sceptical when confronted with growing dumps of metal and overflowing bins. The salvage campaigns showed clearly what Churchill’s words meant in practice.Henry Irving is Senior Lecturer in Public History at Leeds Beckett University.This article was originally published in the October 2018 issue under the title ‘Up Housewives and At Em!’.

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