A Sailor writes a note to a loved one. The U.S.O. provided the note paper, a quiet place to compose letters home, and free postage for the sender
'Dear Pop' U.S.O. promotional poster
Pennsylvania Service on The Home Front
Rosie the Riveter recgnition pin
Actress Carole Lombard's last Bond Drive appearance as she leads the crowd in The Star Spangled Banner. Ms. Lombard died the next day in a plane crash while being flown to her next Bond Rally location. Life Magazine Jan 26 1942
Aircraft Warning Service pin
World War II Women's Army Corps poster
The O.W.I.'s famous Poster No. 20, A Homemaker's War Guide
A Salvage Committee for Victory truck collects salvagable items
Jackie Cochran was an important contributor to the formation of the wartime Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).
The All American Pin-Up gained all-time popularity during WWII
Americans Listened to the Jumping Beats
of Glenn Miller and His Band Music
1940s Fashion Took On An Attitude All Its Own
1940s The Way Grandmother May Have Remembered
ON THE HOMEFRONT IN AMERICA:
This, "The Greatest Generation" remained intent on pulling together to "get the job of freedom done!" America kicked her defenses in gear on the Home Front too. From widespread rationing to Victory Gardens!
'The Victory Garden,' promoting the wartime need for self-sustaining
sources of foodstuffs to relieve the great pressures being placed on agricultural requirements by the War effort.'
The Office of Civilian Defense was created to protect and educate Americans of the possible infiltration on American soil. From Air Raids To Blackouts,...Americans were at the Ready!
The Office of War Information enlisted the support of all major Radio networks to devote hundreds of hours of broadcast time each week to inspirational, informative and patriotic messages and updates on the status of the troops. The OWI also produced thousands of patriotic and informative posters throughout the period.
One of its most famous posters, the O.W.I. commissioned Norman Rockwell to create O.W.I Poster No. 47, celebrating the Four Freedoms set down by President Roosevelt in his famous 'Four Freedoms' speech.
Former Community Chest chapters throughout America were renamed War Chest chapters, channeling and coordinating former local and regional Community Chest efforts through a larger, nationwide volunteer effort to provide desperately needed relief to families directly disadvantaged during World War II. The effort evolved into the United Way of today.
The Ladies' Auxillary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organized book, magazine, tobacco, and cigarette collection efforts to send needed morale boosting supplies to our fighting men overseas.
The Office of War Information helped establish the Armed Forces Radio Service to transcribe popular Radio programs for distribution to Allied troops overseas. By March 1945 the AFRS had pressed 1,000,000 such recordings for the troops
In a similar effort The Council on Books in Wartime sent millions of copies of popular novels and comics in Armed Services Edition form to our G.I.s throughout the Pacific, European and North African Theatres.
National Red Cross chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada focused Home Front support on the mental and physical health of families left behind due to a loved one fighting overseas.
Hollywood geared up with an unprecedented series of promotional and patriotic feature films and shorts in support of the War effort. Many of Hollywood's best and brightest talents enlisted or were commissioned into all branches of the Services and soon found themselves producing thousands of informational, patriotic, and both serious and more light-hearted fare for consumption by both overseas troops and those back at the Homefront. The great bandleader Captain Glenn Miller was but one of hundreds of entertainment world artists, musicians and technicians who paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and defending their beloved Homefront.
The December 7, 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor brought out both the best in America and the worst.
Propaganda films and patriotic newsreels of the era attempted to justify the massive internment of Japanese Americans in the wake of Pearl Harbor and its anti-Japanese sentiments.
Initially produced by either the War Department or the U.S. Army's Signal Corps, by World War II's end, all branches of the service were contributing to the tens of thousands of these inspirational and compelling shorts and feature-length films.
One of twenty-six 'Private Snafu' animations ordered by the U.S. Army Signal Corps. This one is 'Private Snafu--The Homefront' from 1943
From the U.S.O. to Bond Rallies to Scrap and Cooking Oil Collection Drives ... American citizens on the Home front gave their all.
'Rosie the Riveter' as interpreted by Norman Rockwell
Women replaced and augmented men throughout the industrial centers of America. With the help of the Red Cross, Community War Chest and other local aid programs, women with children recieved babysitting and child care assistance to the extent possible in order to keep American Industry at peak, twenty-four hour capacity throughout the War effort.
Rockwell's'Rosie the Riveter' update for Labor Day 1943
For all Americans, December 7, 1941 marked a moment after which Life would never again be the same.
This war brought both a sense of sorrow and a stark awareness that America--indeed the world--had entered a new phase in History. For men, women, and girls and boys, an entire generation of Americans were forced to face the harsh realities of war and simply accept them.
Premiere Eyes Aloft! program from August 17, 1942
In the belief that Japan might very well be able to reach America's west coast, the Army Air Forces established the IV Fighter Command and the Aircaft Warning Service to maintain a vigil along our coastal borders. Tens of thousands of volunteers on both coasts and along the Gulf States were pressed into service to act as aircraft spotters, reporting any suspicious activity or sightings. And though considered by many as an overreaction, World War II secrets, revealed two decades later, showed that the threats were very real indeed.
These Americans were far more serious about life's realities--such as life, death and personal beliefs and values. Their sense of security and perhaps much of their innocence was robbed from them.
Victory Gardens sprang up across America in response to rationing and sorely needed foodstuffs and resources in support of the War effort.
The United States government had to overcome all of these challenges--and more--in order to recruit women to the workforce.
June 11, 1945: Los Angeles gives a heroes' welcome to Generals Jimmy Doolittle and George S. Patton.
World War II finally ended in the summer of 1945. Life in the United States began to return to normal. As huge numbers of young men returned home from war to find peacetime jobs, America's consumer sector rebounded quickly.
Industry was no longer producing war equipment and materiel and began to produce goods that called for the needs of a peacetime America.
The American economy was stronger than ever. In spite of many Americans' fear that the end of World War II and the subsequent drop in military spending might accentuate the hardship of the Great Depression. Instead, consumer demands fueled strong economic growth in the post WWII period.
Major changes were underway in the American population. With the end of WWII , America enjoyed an exciting period of transformation.
World War II was a catalyst for alterations in social values and tastes.
After the war America was the only Western Ally whose economy had not been ruined by devastation. This disposition squarely placed America in the position and status of virtual monopoly on agricultural exports and manufactured goods that lasted for more than a decade, and beyond into the 1950's.
America emerged from World War II a far wealthier nation, holding a huge manufacturing capacity advantage over other nations as the rest of the world fought to rebuild and recover. Having made windfall profits throughout the War, America's corporate industrial base pushed back against all manner of union activities to preserve those profits in a post-War climate. The corporate greed was unsustainable. Unions fought back, citing the sacrifices all workers had shared throughout World War II. As the unions fought for better working conditions and wages, corporate America spent millions through Congressional lobbyists to instill the notion that all union activities were not only un-American, but socialist or even communist. The House Committee on Un-American Activities undertook one of the nation's darkest periods, instilling fear of any and all organizing activities throughout America by characterizing all such activities as Communist. By 1950, the living standard for American workers had rising only slightly from that of World War II conditions in spite of continuing windfall profits across the American industrial base.
Having demonstrated its international industrial capacity, American corporations began expanding their manufacturing base to countries devasted from World War II. This further depressed wages throughout post-War America, causing unions to call strikes to force corporations to the negotiation table. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, upon leaving office, warned against the rise of the corporate military-industrial complex and its increasing sway in creating American economic and social policy. The Republican President's warning fell on deaf ears.The fear-mongering of the Cold War years had begun in earnest and would haunt the American psyche for fifteen post-War years.
Pent up demand for goods and materials had increased throughout the WWII era. The explosive release of those demands during the post-War years of percieved prosperity resulted in a round of profit-taking and record production levels never before seen in the national economy. As corporations grew stronger, their influence in obtaining favorable legislation and subsidies grew at a record pace throughout the post-War years.
American women had found that they could easily perform most of the same jobs as their male counterparts.
WWII's end found segration of U.S. troops eliminated and gave rise to the Civil Rights movement.
War's end brought a marked and rapid change in manufacturing, switching economic output from war materiel to consumer goods. The need for wartime supplies and services had created a huge military-industrial complex (a term coined by Dwight D. Eisenhower, who served as the U.S. president from 1953 through 1961) which did not disappear with the war's end.
As huge numbers of G.I.s returned from war, America's consumer sector grew exponentially.
The rise of the suburbs during the post-War years created a boom in housing, transportation, industrial parks, and hard goods production.
With the war over, and with a temporary reduction in military spending, hundreds of thousands of armed forces personnel were honorably discharged from service and national unemployment became a transient impediment to economic growth.
Rations and quotas were gradually lifted from food, gas, and other goods.
The Baby Boom was a direct result of this feeling of relief. At the same time, the jump in postwar births, known as the "baby boom," increased the number of consumers.
The automobile industry resumed production of all manner of domestic vehicles. Some of the automotive giants of the pre-War years never managed to fully recover in the post-World War II economy.
Aviation and electronics industries grew exponentially throughout the post-War years, creating the foundation for the military-industrial complex and its far-reaching political and economic influence to this day.
More affordable mortgages, mandated by Congress, stimulated a housing boom for returning members of the military.
The nation's gross national product rose from about $100 Billion in 1940 to $300 Billion in 1950 and to more than $500 Billion in 1960.
Millions of Americans finally began to enter the the middle class, through a combination of women remaining in the workforce, the availability of the first G.I. Bill of Education for returning military men and women, and efforts by unions to obtain long-delayed parity in wages. The rise of the middle class came with a price. While exponentially increasing the demand for goods and services--the most vital engine of the U.S. economy--American citizens' rights and protections were eroding at an alarming rate as corporate America lobbied for--and obtained--all manner of legal and trade protections and subsidies. But in the 'feel good' era of the 1950s, Americans were simply too war weary and preoccupied with getting ahead to notice the darker turns of the political and legislative climate of the era.
Fascist, extreme right wing conservative lobbyists and politicians, having observed and studied the extraordinarily effective propaganda techniques of the 3rd Reich, began to employ ' The Big Lie' as a fear-mongering tool in the U.S.. Seizing on the almost fanatically patriotic temperament of America in the wake of victory in World War II and backed by groups such as The American Legion, rumor-mongering, whispering campaigns, and fear-mongering entered the American political quiver. Right wing demagogues such as Representative J. Parnell Thomas and Senator Joe McCarthy instituted a seven-year series of contemporary 'witch trials' in an attempt to brand all manner of free speech, thought and labor-organizing efforts as Communist.
Utterly abandoning the long-standing American principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' the House Un-American Activities Committtee (HUAC) conducted hundreds of fascist kangaroo courts, many of which were televised during the later years of the HUAC. Suspending all legal protections for the witnesses and subjects of the public hearings, the period marked the beginning of the end of The Four Freedoms that Americans had fought and died to protect throughout World War II and the Korean Conflict.
With the Iron Curtain looming, America found itself caught up in a 'cold war' with the Soviet Union. The American government maintained a strong fighting capacity and invested in weapons such as the hydrogen bomb, rings of Army-deployed anti-missile garrisons around most major cities, and the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC).
Justice Under Arms and Reconciliation
As World War II came to an end, nearly 400,000 Italian, German and Japanese POWs remained imprisoned in the United States in over 500 camps. These prisoners, were sent out to harvest, farm and process crops. They helped build highways, waterways and all manner of infrastructure during the post-War boom. Through the process, friendships were formed which lasted oftentimes, decades. The enemy POW underwent immense changes as not only a group, but as individuals here in America. Forages into the fundamental influence of post-war German values and institutions were shaped, and the American-German relations were changing. Changed forever, many POWs eventually emigrated to the U.S. after the war. Elsewhere in the world? Virtually millions of the detainees of Allied POWs and Axis Powers remained in gulags throughout the Soviet Union, and detention camps in Canada, Europe, Africa and Australia. These prisoners were not only perpetrators of but victims to facism, dictatorships and terror.
Pin-up art came into the Golden Age during World War II. Pin up images and photographs of a host of starlets found their ways to lockers and calendars, paperback covers once the pin-ups went public..
Economic aid from America flowed to war-ravaged European countries under the Marshall Plan, which also helped maintain--and create--markets for American goods.
America itself identified it's role in economic affairs. The Employment Act of 1946 was embraced as a government policy "to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power."
During the postwar period, America also recognized the need to restructure international monetary arrangements, spearheading the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank -- institutions with the intention to ensure an open, capitalist international economy.
Business, meanwhile, entered a period marked by consolidation.
Mergers of firms created huge, diversified entities. International Telephone and Telegraph, for instance, bought Sheraton Hotels, Continental Banking, Hartford Fire Insurance, Avis Rent-a-Car, and other companies.
The face of the American work force changed significantly. .
During the 1950s, the number of workers providing services grew until it equaled--and then surpassed--the number of workers producing hard goods. And by 1956, an unprecedented number of U.S. workers held white-collar rather than blue-collar jobs. Labor unions won hard-fought, long-term employment contracts and other benefits for their members.
Radio during the post-War years gave way in increasing numbers to Television. Radio's supremacy up to and throughout World War II grew even more commercial during the post-War years. But increased domestic wealth and the rise of consumerism sound found a new Television set in a growing majority of American homes. Radio was still essential for Civil Defense though, throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.
Farmers, post WWII, faced tougher times than ever. Gains in productivity led to agricultural overproduction, as farming became a big business. Small family farms found it increasingly difficult to compete with Corporate Agriculture, and more and more farmers left their land. As a result, the number of people employed in the farm sector, which in 1947 stood at 7.9 million, began a continuing decline; by 1998, U.S. farms employed only 3.4 million people.
Other Americans moved, too. Growing demand for single-family homes and the widespread ownership of automobiles led many Americans to migrate from central cities to suburbs.
Coupled with technological innovations such as the invention of air conditioning, the migration spurred the development of "Sun Belt" cities such as Houston, Atlanta, Miami, and Phoenix in the southern and southwestern states.
As new, federally sponsored highways created better access to the suburbs, business patterns began to change as well.
Large shopping centers multiplied, rising from eight at the end of World War II to 3,840 in 1960.
Many industries soon followed to the suburbs, leaving cities for less crowded sites
Before the United States entered World War II, several companies already had contracts with the government to produce war equipment for the Allies. Almost overnight the United States entered the war and war production had to increase dramatically in a short amount of time.
Auto factories had converted to build airplanes, shipyards had expanded, and new factories were built, and all these facilities needed workers.
At first companies did not think that there would be a labor shortage so they did not take the idea of hiring women seriously. Eventually, women were needed because companies were signing large, lucrative contracts with the government just as all the men were leaving for the service.
America was and is a changing country, a nation on the move.