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A2 1940s De Zwaan

Page history last edited by Trevor Wood 9 years, 11 months ago

Trevor Wood, Max Hemmrich, Derick Yan, Zoha Rehman, and Jodie Al-Jarrah 

 

 

The 1940s: 

 

The Puberty of America

 

 

 

 

Business & the Economy

 

Because of World War II, most men were drafted and sent into the war. This created a higher job demand in the United States, because the majority of the male work force was fighting in the war, women started being hired to perform a variety of jobs that were previously considered jobs for only men. This decreased the unemployment rate from 25% in the late 30’s to just over 6% in the 40’s. Although employment increased, women made up a good amount of the work force, and women were always paid less for the same jobs than men were, explaining the drop in average salary and minimum wage. The average salary in the 1930’s was $1,368, while it was only $1,299 during the 1940’s.

The 40’s were one of the pivotal decades for businesses in the United States regarding development. Not only did the economy bounce back from the Great Depression, but large corporations recovered their ruined reputations, but towards the end of this decade, salaries increased and even reached new heights. Also, the production of consumer goods and military equipment developed. Business during this time was dominated with not only WWII, but also the Cold War. Although these were dark times, they had positive effects on the economy, as the military required a multitude of different vehicles, weapons and other equipment to either fight or be prepared for war.

 

           
 

 

Education

 

World War II exposed the weakness of American education. The army had rejected millions of recruits because they were illiterate. More than five million men had been discarded because of their lack of education and nutrients. At a higher level, people wanted a more variety of universities. Foreign-language and scientific training were inadequate and college graduates were poorly trained for global leadership. Educators paid attention to military’s complaints, determined to fix the problem after the war.

 

Community colleges after World War II, expanded their trade schools and two year degree programs. The army and navy gave specialized instruction in ballistic, cartography and aeronautics and paid for advanced education of service personnel at academic schools. The need of the military and the technological advances of the atomic bomb, guided many colleges to restore and expand their scientific and technical training after the war.

 

During the war, teachers were paid very less, and often abandoned their teaching positions for more lucrative work in the military or defense industries. By the mid 40s, it was estimated that abut one hundred thousand left the profession. Though after the war, many overworked and badly paid teachers often organize into strong labor unions and strike for better contracts from local and state government. Their efforts rarely met with public understanding and fueled the "Red Scare" of the late 1940s.

 

Segregation was still prominent in the schooling system. The NAACP continued their efforts in the 40s trying to get a court ruling invalidating segregated schools. NAACP cases such as Sweatt v. Painter in 1949 placed legal patterns that would finish in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision nullifying segregation. In 1945, however, the Supreme Court ruled in McCollum v. Board of Educationthat any religious instruction by a public school was unconstitutional.

 

 

  

Fashion

 

In the 1940s, World war II was still going on for half the era. Most of the men were still in war, creating an abundance of jobs in the US. In this decade fashion was heavily influenced by World War II, and was frequently referred to as the Big Band era.  Because all the men were fighting in the war, women took over all the jobs that the men would usually do, which meant that they would have to wear clothes that would allow them to move freely and work, like pants and a shirt. But after the war, when men came back home, women wore  powder skirts and woolen suits in a fashionable military style, which was typical for the majority of the era. When getting married, the grooms typically married in their service uniform. But during the end of the decade, dressing in pre-war was frowned upon. Simplification of the style became essential if a women wanted to appear patriotic. Silhouettes, boxy square shoulder padded jackets and short straight skirts became the style. Clothes had to be practical and restrained, as they had to give a women free movement in all situations. 

Fashion was very important in this era. One of the biggest fashions was hair because there was a shortage of supplies so women could only buy a limited amount of clothing. Women could not purchase new clothes when desired, so hair styles dominated 40's fashion. Fashion designers noticed how hair became a big part of the fashion and were able to adapt. They produced boxy square shoulder padded shirts, which went well with the hair. Girls in this era had to look sophisticated but also be able to move freely and work when the men were drafted into the army and sent off to fight in WWII. Toward the end of the era, the majority of women wore dresses and skirts, as they depicted the sophistication of women. Also, these dresses and skirts allowed a variety of movements, which was important because during the 1940's, women started working more and dancing became more popular.

 

       

 

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Film and Theater 

     In the 1940s, Hollywood had reached its golden age.  Studios such as Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, and United Artists and other big name studios controlled more than 90 percent of the film industry.  Although movies were extremely popular with over 80 million people going to movies a week, the Production Code Association (PCA) was strict about the themes in the movies.  The PCA made sure that there were no sexual references, no social issues were brought up in the script or screenplay, and that the good guys always won.  After reading this, it is okay to believe that everything in a movie is just a lie to make you feel better.  During the war, film popularity fell due to the brand new television set that had been put in many American homes.

     One of the most popular films of the 1940's is Casablanca.  Released in 1942, one year later the film won Oscars in 1943 for the categories of Best Picture, Best Direction, and Best Writing.  Another extremely popular movie that was released in the 1940s was Pinocchio.  Among the top 10 movies of the 1940s are, Citizen Kane placing #1, Casablanca #2, The Grapes of Wrath #5, and The Red Shoes #8.  Every single film that had made the top 10 list was listed as a Drama and many of them had Romance also.

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Food &  Drink

Recipes in the 1940's were all about rationing - creative ways to make tasty foods while at the same time using as little food as possible was the original goal of many of these popular foods. Many foods that became popular during the 1940's were the Rice Krispy Treats, Cheerios, and many "convenience foods like frozen pizza and instant pudding that were originally a result from military experimentation. Government pamphlets and food company brochures provided tons of creative and pleasing recipes, and many Americans were encouraged to combat the food shortages by creating 'Victory gardens' - small plots of land in their backyards in which common homeowners grew their own vegetables to ease the need for food from a supermarket.  In addition, Roosevelt's 'WPA spirit' and his ambition to end children's hunger was also put in action with the National School Lunch Act. This was also a period of time when families were generally wealthier - many families ate out more often in restaurants such as McDonald's. 

 

 

 

 

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Print Culture

 

     During WWII, most print productions were articles about the war until all of the troops had returned from Europe in 1946. The goal of American magazines and newspapers was to inform the American people about the events and news from the war. They contained  articles as well as photographs of the war as well as the brave men fighting in it, depicting how gruesome this war was. Thirty seven American reporters died while trying to get stories or pictures, which illustrates how determined and dedicated they were to getting the truth to their fellow Americans.

     

     Once all of the soldiers had returned, the print culture turned from serious articles to comics, although some serious books remained. Inexpensive paperback books about the horror of war and prejudice as well as the Holocaust such as Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery were written and sold. Book sales increased from one million to over twelve million volumes a year during the 40’s. Comics of superheroes such as Captain America and the Green Lantern were produced and well received by the American public. Curious George was also created by the German illustrator Hans Augusto Rey and his wife, who was a writer. His adventures have been purchased by over twenty million people worldwide, and have induced a whole line of toys, greeting cards and clothes.

 

       


 

Sports &  Games

 

As with all other aspects of this era, World War II had a great impact on sports in the 40's. As all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 26 were expected to fight for the United States and rubber, wood as well as other resources were conserved, all sports suffered. Even though baseball bats and all types of balls were in shortage, professional sports were encouraged to continue, and FDR even signed the Green Light letter, which supported baseball. His reasoning for this was that professional sports improved the morale of the troops, and baseball games were deemed so important to the spirit of the enlisted men that the Japanese attempted to jam radio signals and broadcasts. By the time 1943 rolled around, half of the professional players in the United States had enlisted, and teams used older veterans. The All-American Girls Baseball League required players to make frequent visits to charm school as well as wear dresses.

Basketball was not impacted as much as other professional sports by WWII, as many players were too tall to be eligible for service. The NBA was created when the Basketball Association of American and the National Basketball League combined. Boxing became very popular during this decade, as gambling was a pastime enjoyed by many remaining citizens. The Grand Nationals were started in 1949 by NASCAR, which was previously just a car racing club. 

 

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Music


The 1940's was the the time period where jazz developed the most. Influential artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Glen Miller, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman became huge hits. In addition, many different styles of jazz developed during this time, including cool jazz, bebop, hard bebop, and soul jazz. In cool jazz in particular, duets became popular, and bebop's 'edgier' improvisation style was often associated with the Civil Rights Movement. The music of the 1940's was generally upbeat and happy, in an effort to keep the second World War off the minds of the American people. In addition, the styles and tone of the jazz in this time period led to the creation of "rock and roll". Rock and Roll was created through a conglomeration a music styles, including jazz, folk music, swing, country, and many other types of music. Early rock and roll was produced by the black population at first, and it was slow to become mainstream, until the arrival of Elvis Presley, who would adopt the music style and eventually become the best selling American artist in history.

 

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"The Way We Lived"

 

The 1940s was mostly dominated by WWII and the Cold War. It was influential in many ways to the era. America’s attitude after the war shaped the fashion, style, food, culture, economy and the lifestyle. One of the major changes in the 40s was that men went off to war and many job positions were available. The Depression forced many wives and mothers to find ways to supplement their reduced family incomes, but government pronouncements and policies reinforced the ideology of the traditional family. The inability to provide for his family eroded an unemployed man's sense of masculinity, and married women who worked outside the home were often perceived as taking jobs away from men. As a result women faced job discrimination. This situation changed dramatically with the employment opportunities presented by World War II. Women started working and replacing the men while they were serving the country.

 

The war production bought an end to the Great Depression. Soon after the war was over, men returned to America and much had changed. People were enthusiastic because the war was finally over and people began to settle down. Marriage rates increased which  lead to a dramatic increase in birth rates. This era became known for having a baby boom. The Baby Boom generation reshaped the American family and American culture for decades to come. American society celebrated domesticity after the war. Education became a bigger part of family’s life. People were transiting from the farm family to the suburban family. While the men were off at war, women tasted independence.

 

 

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Government & Politics

Government and Politics during the 40’s was also greatly impacted by World War II. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor not only ceased the Isolationism in the United States, caused the US to declare war on Japan, Germany and Italy, but also affected the everyday lives of many Americans. Many Americans questioned the loyalty of the close to 3 million Japanese, German and Italian citizens that lived in the States following the Japanese attack of the US naval force. Executive Order 9066, dated February 19th, 1942, gave the military the ability to relocate any citizen from a 60 mile wide coastal area from the state of Washington to California and into the heart of Arizona. These citizens were generally Japanese, and were moved to assembly centers that were hastily put together and controlled by the United States military. This Executive Order also allowed the relocation of residents with German or Italian descent. Also, the Smith Act required the annual registration of resident aliens and WWII makes both the USSR and the States superpowers.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, contrary to public knowledge, realized that the war could be long and costly, and not only in money, but also in lives. Thus, he minimized the political consequences of the war by leaving most of the fighting (and dying) to the Russians and British, as he did not want to lose the public support of that war that the attack on Pearl Harbor had sparked. By minimizing the amount of deaths and money spent on the war, he remained one of the most popular Chief Executives in the history of the United States.

 

 

    



Leadership

 

In 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected for the third term as the president of the United States of America.  Promising to keep America out of the imminent war in Europe.  Unfortunately, this was proved impossible.  By passing the Lend-Lease Act in 1941, which provided food, machinery, munitions, and even American service to Britain and other Allied countries.  Even with his extra-ordinary talent of getting what he wants, America entered World War II after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Regardless of the war, FDR was a very popular man among the people of America.  He would often have fireside chats with America on the radio, just to let his people know what was happening with their country.  On April 12th, 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died, only a month before the World War II had ended.  His successor, Harry S. Truman took office as the 33rd president of the United States of America.

 

   

 

Law &  Justice

During the beginning of the 1940s, the country’s national security was being affected by man events that led Americans to either agree with the behavior or agree in action that today would be unfair. A U.S Army General misinformed officials making them believe that Japanese Americans living on the West Coast might be a threat to the country.  This lead to approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans forced into internment camps. Many Americans spoke out for the constitutional rights for these people. Later, Supreme Court called the confinement “the legalization of racism”.

 

 

 

In the late 1940s, an organization was made in order to assist nations avoid future wars like the one that fought. After World War I, the League of Nations was made for the same reason, but later failed mostly because the United States did not want to join and abide by its rules. In World War II, the United States became a leader amongst nations and recognition of its self-interest in a diplomatic, increasingly mutually dependent world, in the formation of the United Nations America was a leader. One of the main responsibilities was set as the guideline of international law among member nations, giving a way to assist in settling disagreements short of armed conflict.

 

 

Before World War II, Americans had an isolationist view of the world. One of the effects of World War II was that many Americans became more open minded and cosmopolitan about their perspectives. The law, inferred by a more liberal Supreme Court, began to reflect the American’s more open minded perception on society and the U.S Constitution. The Supreme Court made more choices that defined and outlined specific rights that Americans possessed. Some of these subjects included, right to own property was now made for all despite their skin color or the shape of their eyes, freedom of speech also incorporated not saluting the flag. Citizens had the right to a trial by a jury of their peers, which now included people of all races.

 

Religion

 

     In the 1940s, religion's popularity was growing drastically throughout America due to the war.  With more fathers, uncles, sons, and brothers going of to war the family members began going to church to pray for their loved ones.  By far the most dominant religion in the 1940s was Protestantism which had more than 250 denominations, or branches of the religion.  Other religions such as Catholicism and Judaism had millions of followers due to the immigration from Europe at the turn of the century.  Religion could be found in every place, both city and suburb throughout the 1940s.  On of the unique things about religion in the 1940s is the "War Church" which was when a priest or a rabbi went directly to the soldiers to teach them religion.  This kept morale high and strengthened the soldiers fighting spirits.  Without the heavy influence of religion during the 1940s, the people of America would have been in a much darker depression and a gloomy war.  With almost 69% of the population being attending churches or temples, religion was one of the most influential factors during the 1940s.

 

 New churches were built in large numbers during the 1940s, including synagogues and mosques. Twelve countries supplied the funds for the mosque on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, D.C. AP/Wide World Photos. Reproduced by permission. 

 

  

Positive Political Cartoon-

  

Ostrich hats are being handed out to the men in line. Dr. Seuss chose the ostrich because they put their heads into the ground and cannot see what is happening on the surface. The quote on the sign symbolizes that although the newspapers had been reporting atrocities in Europe, the hats allow the wearer to ignore those events. The historical figure that Dr. Seuss is referring to by calling it Lindy Ostrich Service is Charles Lindbergh because Lindbergh favored isolationism for America. The literal meaning of this cartoon illustrates how so many people were ignoring the horrors in Europe by putting on a facade for the world.  The purpose of this cartoon was to help people realize that the U.S needed to get their heads out of the ground and into events of Europe to bring justice where justice had been due long before.

 

   

Negative Political Cartoon-

 

This comic is illustrating the carving of Adolf Hitler and the Asian ruler during World War II into the side of a cliff.  This cartoon is illustrating the fact that if Americans do not support the war effort by buying saving bonds and stamps, communism will will and take over America and thus, "liberating" America.  During the 1940s, American's were extremely anti-communist and they felt that it was a disease that was spreading throughout Europe and the world and that it is America's duty to stop communism at all costs.  Also, near the bottom left of the picture is a flag pole with the Nazi flag flying over the American flag essential depicting the thought of communism conquering America's democracy and freedom.

 

 

 

MYP Unit Question: How did culture, events and leadership shape and reflect post-WWII America?

 

     In the early half of the 1940s, 1940-1945, American culture revolved entirely around the war in Europe.  Hundreds of thousands of men were drafted into the army to fight overseas, leaving all of the work for the women.  In most cases, women dressed very casual and comfortably.  This was because the work that they had many women had taken, was created munitions and supplies for the men in the army.  Many women were injured or killed in these factories becuase they sometimes had to create bombs and other extremely dangerous army weapons.  Not until the war ended on May 7th, of 1945 did the people of America rejoice.  Democracy and freedom had won the fight angainst communism and tyrany.  People celebrated in many ways when the soldiers returned from Europe.  One of these celebratory acts resulted in the baby boom in which there was a sudden and massive increase in the population of America.  At this point, women started to become fashionable again by wearing fur coats and expensive attire.  Men began working in the factories again making a living for their families.  The cultural beauty of America had begun to evolve and became more prominent thoughout the world.

     Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidency, post-WWII America and it's leaders would be forever changed. Roosevelt's early death horrified the American public, as the nation scrambled to appoint a new president during this war. The appointed president, Harry Truman, was looked down on by the American public as unprepared and too 'hot-headed'. However, Truman performed exceptionally well, leading the nation out of the second world war and created the NATO organisation. From then on, Presidents would adopt Roosevelt's method of appealing to the public using mass media devices such as the radio, and TV's and billboards nowadays. In addition, Americans realized the need for their elected leader to possess some degree of power, should a situation like WWIII arise. American leaders also realized that a strong sense of unity would be needed in the world in order to prevent another world war, so organizations such as the United Nations still hold great importance in today's world politics.  

     Many major events occurred in the 40s that shaped post WWII America. Prior to the war, Americans tended to have a more isolationist view of the world, but after the difficulties of the war, people’s perception changed becoming more positive and open minded of others. Though World War II led to the Cold War and people began to fear the spread of communism. One of results of the war includes the Baby Boom. Soldiers returned home, glad to be back home ready to take over the house and had many children. The dramatic increase in kids, led to a growth in the economy. People wanted to buy more such as cars, clothing and houses, and more jobs were created from this. The various events changed how Americans perceptions of the world and Americans began to re-live the American Dream.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

 

"1940s: Film and Theater." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3: 1940s-1950s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 529-530. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 June 2010.

 

"Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union.." The American Presidency Project. 2009. University of

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Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Eds. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3: 1940s-1950s. Detroit: U*X*L, 2002. Print.

 

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Cooke, Jacob E. "Washington, George." Presidents: A Reference History. Ed. Henry F. Graff. 3rd ed. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2002. 1- 21. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Farmington Hills: Gale. Web. 30 Apr. 2008.


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"Europe Divided on Familiar Lines To Two Speeches." Prescott Evening Courier 54(1948): 6. Print.

 

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Routledge, Chris. "Casablanca." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3: 1940s-1950s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 531-532. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 9 June 2010.

 

"The 1940s: Education: Overview." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 5: 1940-1949. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 15 June 2010.

 

"The 1940s: Law and Justice: Overview." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 5: 1940-1949. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 7 June 2010.

 

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"The 1940s: Religion: Overview." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 5: 1940-1949. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 June 2010. 

 

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