1940 - 1949

America has survived the Great Depression and the devastating drought of the 30s. But, there is turmoil in Europe, Preseident Roosevelt warns the nation to be prepared in case of war, and the first draft number is drawn.

Then, on December 7, 1941, the unthinkable happens,
Japanese planes bomb the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Attack
The attack kills 2,397 Americans, destroys 18 ships, and 188 aircraft leading the United States into war with Japan.

By December 11th the Germans and Italians, in a pact with Japan, also declare war on the United States - and so begins World War II.


In 1942, some 110,000 Japanese-Americans (two-thirds of them born in the United States) are put behind barbed wire at internment camps.


We Can Do It!
Rosie the Riveter
Uncle Sam

I Want You
Army Recruiting Poster
War Bonds Poster

US Government
War Bonds Poster
As most men are recruited or drafted into service and sent off to war, many jobs are left vacant. The government reclassifies 55% of their jobs, allowing women and blacks to fill them.

Recruitment poster

Women at Redstone Arsenal

Women enter the workforce
and war production is at its peak.

To support the war effort, "War Ration Books" are issued to each family member. Sugar, coffee, dairy products, meat, shoes, clothing, gasoline, and fuel oil are rationed. Most Americans accept rationing as necessary, and many begin to grow their own food in "victory" gardens.

War Rationing

Rubber, tin, paper, and nylon are recycled.

June 6, 1944 "D-Day" - The Allies land 150,000 men on the coast of Normandy. A gigantic undertaking, it is the most dramatic single event of World War II.

August 14, 1945 - After the United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese surrender, ending the war.

Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki
Heading 2

The years that follow are marked by a post-war buying spree.
Prices climb as consumers clamor for cars and modern conveniences.

Over 1 million veterans enroll in college through the G.I. Bill.

In 1947, government agencies investigate the first documented sightings of "flying saucers" including reports of an alien crash site near Roswell, New Mexico.

Roswell debris 1947

In 1948, Selective Service is inaugurated, providing a continuous peacetime military draft.

Baby Boom

Between 1946 and 1964, the United States will experience an exceptionally high birth rate that will become known as The Baby Boom.

The postwar baby boom will peak in 1957, and a baby will be born every seven seconds in the U.S.

You have been listening to "The 1940s- Glen Miller" performed by Larry Dalton, As Time Goes By.
CBS Newsroom Audio Broadcast of Pearl Harbor Attack


Naval Historical Center Online Library, Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941.
Kingwood College Library, American History - Decade 1940-1949
The American Historical Society,World War II Rationing
New York State Library, World War II Rationing Collection, 1942-1946.
Women Remember WWII, Women at work.
Women's History, The Women of Redstone Arsenal: A Chronology, 1941-2005.
PBS American Experience, Guts and Glory, D-Day.
Video and Audio Broadcasts, Pearl Harbor Attack
Roswell UFO Incident, Wikipedia-Answers.com

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