Topics: World War II, United States, World War I Pages: 10 (3361 words) Published: December 4, 2013

The Decade of the 1940s
Nickenha Ashley
History of Psychology
Dr. Specht
November 20th, 2013

The 1940s was a great period of well-known events in history. One of the most important events of the decade was World War II, which basically ruled the 1940s. World War II started on September 1, 1939 beginning with the German invasion of Poland; and Britain and France declaring war on German two days later. It was the most costly and destructive war in history and its effects, for good and ill, were felt far beyond the battlefields. After the war was over the United States entered a period of great prosperity, an increase in the birthrate produced more consumers who fueled the economy and made the United States the most powerful nation (Hills, 1958, p.56).

It is safe to say that the 1940s was one of the many decades that influenced and shaped the future of the American society, with the many challenges and hardship that the United States faced within this decade. The events that took place in the 1940s changed the American society forever. It was a time of hardship and every aspect of life were affected by World War II. The rights of different groups of people were also an issue during the 1940s, the inventions of different technology like computers, nuclear weapons, and rockets affected the whole world and television began to change American’s lives.

The 1940s were defined by World War II. The war began on December 7, 1941 after the Japanese attached the United States Naval Base in Hawaii. President Roosevelt came on the radio the next morning and announced that the United Sates was going to war. Roosevelt explained that the war was inevitable and that in order to win this war, the United States needed support from all Americans, and the next day Congress declared war on Japan (Sullivan, 1991). The United States and the Allies were not successful in the beginning of the war, and President Roosevelt encouraged Americans on the home front, and General Eisenhower commanded troops in Europe. After a disastrous beginning, the United States began to take the offensive and gradually began to turn the tide against Axis armies in Africa, Europe and on hundreds of tiny islands in the Pacific. Germany finally surrendered in May of 1945, while Japan was not an easy defeat, and a secret atomic bomb had to be used against the Japanese mainland. In August of 1945 Japan surrendered and World War II ended. The cost and sacrifices of the war were shocking. This 1,364 day war cost the United States and estimated $341 billion and 407, 318 American soldiers (Uschan, 1999, p.12-17). This was a huge price to pay for victory, and could not have been done without the actions by the civilians on the home front during World War II.

World War II was not only fought by the troops overseas, but also by our American women and children. When the war was declared, a lot of American men enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces, causing a labor shortage in factories and other blue collar jobs. Because of this the United States had to turn to its female population to replenish the labor supply. Women began to work in factories, making bullets and riveting planes, tanks, and other war supplies. By 1943, half the workers on American assembly lines and factories were women. This was the first time in American history that women held jobs that had been regarded as for men only. Children were also able to participate in helping with the war, they collected scrap metal, old tires, and even toothpaste tubes that were recycled and used to make more war supplies. Children also grew victory gardens, which supplied one third of the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States (Duden, 1989, p. 11-21). As a result of these social trends during World War II, women gained a new independence and were able to enter the workforce in much larger numbers and in a different capacity.

Racial discrimination was still a norm in the United...
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