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Wartime Etiquette

social etiquette during world war two

In times of war, drastic measures must be taken, but according to Emily Post, a man or woman must not abandon his or her etiquette just because a war’s on. In her 913-page volume of “Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage,” dear Emily Post devotes the very last section to wartime etiquette because Congress had made new rules regarding social etiquette. And it’s really quite interesting.

In 1943, Congress suggested corrections and additions to social etiquette. Here are a few:

Junior Reserve Officers’ Dislike of “Mister”

The junior officers thought it impractical etiquette to be addressed as “Mister.” On page 876a, “As they themselves put it, they are in the service ‘just to fight’ and they don’t want to wait to be called by their military titles until they have reached senior grade. Therefore, the title “Mister,” always used on certain occasions by the Regulars, is shunned by the Reserves, and “Lieutenant This” and “Ensign That,” or even Ensign with no name following it — is frankly preferred” (876a-876b).

No Man In Uniform Doffs Hat

While a civilian must remove his hat when in the presence of a lady, a military man is not permitted to remove his hat in public (876b).

*This is why the courier does not remove his hat when delivering a wartime telegram to Laurie’s dad in the first chapter of my novel.

Women Wearing Miniature Insignia

Wives, mothers, sisters, and best girls are not permitted to wear full sized insignia under Army or Navy regulations (876b).

*My character Laurie wears a two miniature insignia to support her dad and best friend who serve in the Army and Army Air Corps.

If you have any bit of military etiquette that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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