During World War II, millions of military personnel left their homes to show patriotism and fight for the country. While it is a gallant task, it meant leaving their families at home at a time of anarchy and uncertainty. As soldiers fought adversary forces overseas using guns and warplanes, civilians had their own battle, doing everything possible to survive.
Though many lives perished, many also survived, proving humans’ capability and ingenuity to cope even in the most challenging situations. In this article, let’s look back at valuable survival lessons from the civilians of the Second World War and how they apply to any plight people can face today.
Walk, walk, and walk
As oil was required by warplanes, tanks, ships, and factories to run, gasoline was scarce, and deliveries were massively decreased. Thus, rationing was needed, with non-essential vehicles only receiving a few gallons a week. With that, people had to go back to walking or resort to public transportation to reach their destination.
While walking can be an inconvenience, especially for farther locations, it can actually be an excellent survival skill. Looking on the brighter side, it actually helps boost stamina and serves as a regular form of exercise to keep your body fit. As you stay in great shape, you will be able to do more strenuous tasks essential for your survival.
Waste not, recycle and repurpose
Today, people seemingly live in a “disposable” era, throwing things after a single use or dispatching them away if they no longer fit their preference or no longer serve their desired purpose. It was a complete turnaround during World War II as wasting products is something people detest. With the supplies running low and very difficult to obtain, civilians did their best not to waste any items and strive to prolong their life.
Recycling and repurposing have also become a big trend, turning things people nowadays will usually dispose of into something useful. With resources becoming limited, people then poured their creativity and resourcefulness to survive. As a tip, try to evaluate what possible things you can do before throwing anything. Sometimes, there are limitless things you can do to give it a new value.
Start a home garden
Before World War II, the Industrial Revolution already reached many countries, with rural regions being converted into urbanized ones. Lands used for crops, cattle, and poultry soon homed factories and new cities, taking away what was supposed to be for growing crops.
With that, house gardening was encouraged for the people’s sustainability. Families then started planting at the comfort of their homes and soon reaped fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only it allowed civilians to survive, but it also helped military personnel. The produce coming from homes was sent overseas for the soldiers to eat, refueling their bodies for the battles.
If you have a garden at home, be sure to maximize it with well-chosen produce. If you don’t have one, you can resort to container gardening instead and start growing staples, such as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, kale, and onions in pots. While you don’t want anything unfortunate to happen, it is always great to have a fresh supply in your backyard or home, which you can benefit from in dire situations.
Nowadays, it’s quick to get the meals you prefer by going to your favorite restaurants or ordering them online and having them delivered straight to your home. During World War II, the food supply was rationed but typically only composing the essential items, such as sugar, butter, bacon, milk, cheese, eggs, and meat. With limited supply, many people learned how to cook and become more inventive with their meals to ensure each food is used that they last longer. So, once you have the extra time, be sure to learn cooking in a way that pleases your palate and keeps your body healthy.
Go back to basics
Wars usually entail being away from the forms of entertainment you’re accustomed to. People back then relied on television and radio to keep themselves amused. When the war broke out, it was halted, seemingly cutting their source of fun. They went back to basics, such as creating handicrafts, reading books, or gardening to let time pass.
Today, thanks to technology, we have more options to be happy, be it watching a Netflix series, playing smartphone games, or browsing social media. No surprise that reverting to the basics is a daunting task.
However, you’ll know when any event can happen, switching you off from the things you enjoy. Try to experience the basics at times, be it from doing simple hobbies, playing with a pet, writing letters, or devouring book series. You’ll be surprised how fun it can be, plus you get to prepare yourself should the situation calls for you to abandon technology.
Jobs that used to be occupied by men during World War II were vacated as they joined the military. While the norm was that women should only stay at home, they took the task and replaced men in the workforce. Women became machinists, riveters, and assemblers in shipyards and factories, becoming new symbols of bravery and patriotism. That implies that you must be ready to step up, go outside your comfort zone, and do things you might have never done before for the sake of survival.
Always value life
World War II is the costlier war, where financial resources were mainly used on weapons, but primarily to protect countries and life. While you won’t likely spend trillions of money, what this wartime lesson tells is to put a value on life. If you’re amidst a survival situation, be sure to prioritize saving your life or colleagues’ over any material things. Remember, life is irreplaceable. Once lost, you can no longer return it, no matter how many resources you have.
Survival undoubtedly has been difficult during the Second World War, resulting in millions of casualties. Yet, those who survived teach lessons you can still use in any plight that may come your way, increasing your chances to thrive.