One of the biggest things the forties is known for is the Second World War. A big change that came with the war was that women began working outside the home in large numbers due to the need to replace men who went off to war. December 7th, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese that seeded fear of Japan for many citizens in America. Another big change for the American people was that rationing went into effect to help the war effort. The citizens that were not overseas in Europe and Asia were back on the homefront and found comfort and relaxation at jazz clubs. Since France was involved in war, it gave American fashion designers a chance to make their own styles, when it came to womens fashion it changed to shorter hair and female jumpsuits, this also had effected womens swimwear to bring about the two piece swimsuit to ration cloth and swimshorts for men. Just as in WWI, WWII called upon hollywood to create propaganda and war films. A negative effect of the was a major shortage of teachers. During this time the war was giving a distinct personality to the generation.
Another large influence on the 1940’s was jazz. Jazz was evolving right before the eyes of its fans without sign of slowing down. In 1940 Duke Ellington reigned with hits “Cotton Tail”, “Don't get around much anymore”, and “In a mellow tone”.Other artists gave songs like “Harlem nocturne”, “Round