Sacrifice in the Second World War II

A belated juxtaposition to the Waugh quote below:

Inequality of Sacrifice

There is growing evidence of a feeling among certain sections of the public that ‘everything is nto fair and equal and that therefore our sacrifices are not worthwhile’. In particular, there is some belief that the rich are less hit by rationing than ‘ordinary people’ for the following reasons:

a) they can eat at expensive restaurants

b) they can afford to buy high priced goods in short demand, such as salmon and game

c) they can spend more on clothes and therefore use their coupons more advantageously

d) they receive preferential treatment in shops, as ‘people giving large orders are favoured and the poorer people wanting ‘little bits’ are refused.

e) They receive preferential treatment as regards petrol rationing. To quote a postal censorship report: ‘ We can see Big Bugs riding in their posh cars and poor beggars can’t get petrol for business’.

The feeling of ‘inequality of sacrifice’ between the services and civilians, frequently mentioned in these reports, continues. Ill-feeling between the two is said to be growing as tales of slacking in factories, high wages and black markets increase the belief among servicemen that civilians are not pulling their weight.

(Ministry of Information, Home Intelligence Division Weekly Report No 77, 25 March 1942, National Archives, Kew, INF 1/282)

There are some problems with the way that these reports were assembled, but as Ira Zweiniger-Bargielowska has shown, these were far from isolated or unjustified sentiments. What interests also interests me here is the mention at the end of the perception at the time of a service/civilian split.


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