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On Exhibit: The American Debate about Alcohol Consumption During World War II

Today’s post comes from Emily Niekrasz, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC.

In March 2015 the National Archives opened “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History,” a new exhibit that explores the complex love-hate relationship between America and alcohol.

The exhibit’s curator, Bruce Bustard, has written, “These two different views of alcoholic beverages run throughout American history. Sometimes they have existed in relative peace; at other times they have been at war.”

Some of the documents not only represent the war of opposing views regarding Prohibition, but they also highlight the debate over alcohol consumption within an even larger conflict—World War II.

On December 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the repeal of the 18th Amendment, ending the prohibition on the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. Although the American government concluded its legal war on alcohol, the American people remained divided.  This friction—documented in the exhibit—continued throughout World War II.

"Alcohol—Hitler’s Best Friend, America’s Worst Enemy." Petition to Congress, 1943. (National Archives Identifier 16764619)

“Alcohol—Hitler’s Best Friend, America’s Worst Enemy.” Petition to Congress, 1943. (National Archives Identifier 16764619)

One such document is a 1943 petition to Congress for the return to Prohibition, titled “Alcohol—Hitler’s Best Friend, America’s Worst Enemy.” By associating alcohol with Hitler—at the height of World War II—it is evident that the 19 petitioners, both men and women, considered alcohol an evil.

Within the opening of their appeal, the authors … [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

“I TOLD you we should have taken that job at Budweiser…”

“I TOLD you we should have taken that job at Budweiser…”

Chris Staats managed to not only tap the Rockies with his caption, but tap our funny bone, too. Those poor horses would be glad to take a Clydesdale waltz through those untapped glaciers and barley fields, but instead they’re stuck hauling half a forest for Sasquatch.

The actual caption doesn’t provide much insight, I’m afraid. It reads “Photograph of Logs Heading to Market, 1887″ and comes from the Department of Agriculture. That sizable timber isn’t from any great forest out west though; it’s good ol’ Michigan timber from the Huron-Manistee National Forest, which was largely deforested according to its official website. Now the trees have returned to the million-acre forest, the only national forest in Lower Michigan.

Onto this week’s photo! Give us your all and get a 30% discount from the National Archives eStore if you win! Good luck!

Insert your caption

Insert your caption

For starters: “I’ll reattack with a spell from my level 3+ wizard of Ogdon!”… [ Read all ]