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It was not just the lives of the men and women who joined the armed
forces that were affected by the outbreak of war. Ordinary civilians
also saw their lives change as governments started to control the
supply of food and take more interest in industrial and agricultural
Many countries such as Australia, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Malta
introduced rationing. Food, clothing, petrol and gas were all rationed
so that everybody received an equal share. Other products were also
in short supply. In Australia, there was a shortage of rubber so
the government reduced the speed limit for motor vehicles from 40
mph to 30 mph. It was hoped that this would reduce wear and tear
on tyres by nearly 25%.
The work place was also affected by the war. Farm workers were
asked to grow different crops so that they could help feed the population
of their own country and keep Britain supplied with much needed
raw materials. Mines producing minerals such as tin, copper and
iron were asked to increase production so that more supplies could
be sent to Britain. Factories started to make munitions and other
goods that could be used in the war effort. Women also started to
be employed in greater numbers. As well as joining the Armed Services
themselves, they took the jobs of men who had left to fight.