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Do you remember when ...

The 1940s was not the happiest decade, but perhaps the greatest decade in American history. The sound of the weapons of World War II dominated life with the largest and most destructive war in human history fighting against the tyranny of Hitler and the fascist regime as well as the Japanese. Women went into the workforce providing valuable efforts toward winning the war.

Many gave their lives to protect freedom, but still the East-West conflict and the Cold War were to haunt us for a long time.

When our solders returned home after the war it turned out that our economy wasn't the only thing that was excited. It seemed the stork began visiting homes in record numbers. Everyone was happy and the term baby boomer was yet to be coined. People were looking for entertainement and television expanded rapidly to fill the need.

At the end of the war, there was about 5,000 television sets, mostly five inch black & white screens. By 1951, 17 million had been sold. Milton Berle's slapstick comedy, Texaco Star Theater, was credited with creating the demand for televisions. Its greatest rival was Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town. Kukla, Fran & Ollie and the Howdy Doody Show rounded out the children's television viewing.

New cars began to appear as war time production turned to the domestic market. New appliances were making the work load of women easier, and colleges would soon explode with new students as part of the GI bill. It was nice to get back to a pleasant life.


1940 - Broad band carrier systems allows simultaneous calls over a single pair of wires.
Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States enter World War II on Dec 7, 1941.
Japanese immigrants and their descendants in the US were sent to internment camps.
Adolf Hitler systematically eliminated artists whose ideals didn't agree with his own
The Zoot Suit was the height of fashion among daring young men.
Rationing of food supplies began in 1943, we all had little ration books
D-Day was June 6, 1944, the beginning of a hard battle.
V-E Day was on May 8, 1945
Japan surrendered after two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
World War II officially ends on September 2, 1945.
The US implemented the Marshall Plan, helping war-torn countries to rebuild.
United Nations was established in 1945.
Alger Hiss, a former hero of the New Deal, was indicted as a traitor.
The House Un-American Activities Committee began its infamous hearings.
Returning GI's created the baby boom. Are you a babyboomer?
GI Bill of Rights was created to entitled returning soldiers to a college education, 1949
In 1947, commercial television with 13 stations became available to the public.
1945 Digital computer, named ENIAC, weighing 30 tons and stood two stories high.
Big Bands dominated popular music.
Famous bands were Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman
Bing Crosby's smooth voice made him one of the most popular singers.
Frank Sinatra. Dinah Shore, Kate Smith and Perry Como led the hit parade.
Arthur Godfrey was a popular radio host.
Many of the most popular radio shows continued on in television.
TV stars included Red Skelton, Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, and Bob Hope
Gary Cooper was shooting the bad guys and cleaning up the towns.
Judy Garland was singing her little heart out, somewhere over a rainbow.
Betty Grable was in the thoughts of a lot of men.
Cary Grant was making the women swoon with his movies.
Rita Hayworth was in more lockers than you can imagine.
Jimmy Stewart gave some of his greatest movie performances for our enjoyment.
John Wayne was busy making lots of war movies.
Gene Autry was riding the range as a singing cowboy.
Benny Goodman was leading his bands and playing his clarinet.
Albert Einstein became a U. S. citizen 194
The Jeep was designed in 1940
Nickel juke boxes appeared in many public places.
Dr. Benjamin Spock published 'Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care".
In popular dancing, the Jitterbug made its appearance at the beginning of the decade.
Rosie the Riveter was the symbol of the working woman, as the men went off to war.
Frozen dinners came on the scene, later to be known as TV Dinners.
The Slinky was invented by a ship inspector in 1945.
Seventeen magazine was established in 1944.
The Office of War declared movies an essential industry for morale and propaganda.
The first nuclear weapon is built and tested in 1945.
First cruise missile, the V-1 flying bomb, was invented in 1942.
The first ballistic missile, the V-2 rocket was invented in 1942.
The Bikini was unveiled in Paris in 1946 by engineer Louis Reard.
Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 rocket-powered aircraft in 1947.
The beginning of the Cold War started in 1946.
The Berlin blockade was in 1948.
The Frisbee was invented in 1948 by Walter Morris
Be-Bop and Rhythm and Blues, grew out of the big bands toward the end of the decade.
The Chinese Civil War ends in victory for the Communists in 1949.
NATO was founded in 1949
Sweaters were very popular in the 1940's. Some factory owners wouldn't let women wear sweaters. They said the sweaters were dangerous. They said the sweaters could get caught in machinery. They weren't entirely wrong. A sweater on a woman that's too lose is a health hazard. A sweater that's too tight was said to be a production hazard.

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