U.S. service members celebrate Christmas Eve near what is now Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, on Dec. 24, 1942. (Flickr/John Atherton)
America's battle against alcohol in the 1920s failed to attract many foreign allies and ended in defeat. By the time World War II broke out, the nation's short-lived prohibition experiment had long ended. In some countries, such as France, drinking had been celebrated and encouraged during the interwar years, and consumption surged. Indeed, the French remained so devoted to their wine that securing enough wine for the troops was deemed essential to mobilizing for the next war. A third of the country's railroad cars designed to carry liquid in bulk were reserved for transporting wine to the front lines. When Germany attacked France in May 1940, 3,500 trucks were tasked with delivering two million liters per day to the troops.
But when France fell to the Germans within two months, praise turned to condemnation. Wine was blamed for making the country soft. Philippe Petain, the WWI hero who had credited wine for saving France, now pointed a finger at drunkenness for "undermining the will of the army." He became the leader of the collaborative government of Vichy, where new restrictions on the sale of alcohol were quickly imposed, including setting a minimum drinking age for the first time (no one under 14 could purchase alcohol).
The long relationship between whiskey and the U.S. armed forces may have evolved well beyond the liquor rations of the Revolutionary War over the last 250 years, but thirsty troops may have a new problem on their hands when it comes to a fine glass of Scotch.
A veteran-run company in California makes specialty items for holiday and groomsmen gifts, and their Six-Shooter Shot Glass will have you doing your best John Wayne impression as you load round after round of your booze of choice.