In 1939 most of the fuel, food and raw materials used in Britain
was bought abroad and transported here in ships. This caused big
problems at the start of the war. German submarines and aircraft
were able to start weakening Britain's defences by attacking the
ships and destroying supplies of resources essential for making
weapons and fighting the war.
The government needed to try and make the country as self sufficient
as possible. Any savings that could be made in the use of fuel,
food and raw materials from abroad meant that fewer sailors had
to risk their lives on the boats, and more money could be put into
fighting the war.
Information campaigns were used to encourage people to make better
use of resources at home, especially waste. These campaigns were
a bit like the ones we have today to encourage us to be environmentally
friendly by saving electricity and recycling rubbish.
Posters, information leaflets and slogans persuaded and reminded
everyone that they had a part to play in fighting the war on the
'Home Front'. 'Saucepans for Spitfires' was one of the most famous
campaigns. People were asked to give their aluminium pans so that
they could be melted down to make parts for aircraft. In fact the
government did not need any more aluminium but it believed the appeal
meant people felt that they were doing something to defeat Hitler
and helped to keep morale up.