1940 With the rearming of US forces the Great Depression was finally beginning to ease , and Americans were earning more and buying more so being able to buy goods and further fueling the economy . But outside of America things were not good as Germany invaded France which meant between Germany and Italy most of Western Europe was controlled by them except for England. In the US the feel good feeling of leaving the depression behind fueled the making of some great movies including "Gone With the Wind" and the "Great Dictator" , and Jazz sounds were the popular music of the day from the likes of Benny Goodman and Count Basie amongst others. The Nylon stockings invented the previous year were all the rage with women, FDR was elected for a third term but Americans were starting to believe they should help Britain in it's fight for survival with Germany and the first peacetime draft occurred in September 1940 which had ominous overtones for the future. Britain was being bombed incessantly and many believed it may only be time before America would be involved. And a worker in the New Factories appearing can earn up to $1,250 per year

Cost of Living

How Much things cost in 1940 Average Cost of new house $3,920.00 Average wages per year $1,725.00 Cost of a gallon of Gas 11 cents Average Cost for house rent $30.00 per month Radio $16.95 Average Price for a new car $850.00 Battery for Torch 10 cents Hoover $52.50

World War II 1940

  • Germany and Italy agree to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.
  • Germany invades Denmark and Norway
  • German forces invade France on May 10th and later Luxembourg Belgium and Netherlands
  • Germany bombs Paris killing mostly civilians, including school children.
  • Britain Creates The Home Guard to act as the first line of defence in case of invasion
  • Dunkirk nine day evacuation begins on May 27th of British Expeditionary Force
  • On June 10th Italy declares war on France and the United Kingdom.
  • The Lascaux prehistoric cave paintings are discovered in France
  • Axis Powers win The Battle Of France and Take control of Paris on June 14th .
  • Following the German invasion and occupation of France, Britain opened fire on the French fleet killing 1,200 French sailors
  • The battle of Britain begins on July 10th with the German Luftwaffe attempting gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF),
  • Winston Churchill makes a number of speeches after becoming Prime Minister that inspire the British People "We Shall Fight Them On The Beaches.....", and on August 20th "Never in the field of human conflict was so much..."
  • The Queen Mary, The Mauritania and The Queen Elizabeth Ocean Liners are put into service as troop carriers.
  • The bombing of cities in England including Coventry and London leads to the bombing of Hamburg and other cities in Germany
  • Germany starts it's Blitz on London on September 7th with 300 German bombers in the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing

Other Pages From The People History

Our 1940's  Quiz Just For Fun

  • Selective Training and Service Act signed into law as first peacetime military draft in United States history

What Other Events Happened

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt wins the election and becomes the United States' first third-term president.
  • Selective Training and Service Act signed into law as first peacetime military draft in United States history
  • 40-hour working week goes into effect
  • The Narrows Suspension Bridge Collapses on November 7th at Tacoma, Washington
  • Armistice Day Blizzard kills 154 in Midwest
  • Churchill was appointed Prime Minister and formed an all-party government
  • Race Riots in Chicago, Harlem, Los Angeles and Detroit
  • Leon Trotsky the Russian revolutionary is assassinated in Mexico
  • Life magazine costs 10 cents
  • Nylon Stockings go on sale
  • RMS Queen Elizabeth - entered service

Popular Culture

Popular Films

  • Walt Disney's animated film Pinocchio is released together with Fantasia
  • The Great Dictator, starring Charlie Chaplin

Popular Music

  • "Careless" Glenn Miller
  • "I'll Never Smile Again " Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra
  • "In the Mood " Glenn Miller
  • "Pennsylvania 6-5000 " Glenn Miller
  • "Only Forever" Bing Crosby

Born This Year

John Lennon October 9th
Manfred Mann October 21st
Percy Sledge November 25th
Richard Pryor December 1st
Jeffrey Archer April 15th -- London, England
Mario Andretti February 28th -- Motovun
Frankie Avalon September 18th -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Peter Fonda February 23rd -- New York City, New York, U.S.
John Gotti October 27th -- The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
John Hurt January 22nd -- Shirebrook, Derbyshire, England
Tom Jones June 7th -- Pontypridd, Wales, UK
Ted Koppel February 8th -- Lancashire, England,
Bruce Lee November 27th -- San Francisco, California, U.S.
Jack Nicklaus January 21st -- Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Chuck Norris March 10th -- Ryan, Oklahoma, United States
Al Pacino April 25th -- East Harlem, Manhattan, U.S.
Nancy Pelosi March 26th -- Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Gene Pitney February 17th -- Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Cliff Richard October 14th -- Lucknow, United Provinces, British India
Smokey Robinson February 19th -- Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Martin Sheen August 3rd -- Dayton, Ohio, USA
Nancy Sinatra June 8th -- Jersey City, New Jersey, United States
Clive Sinclair July 30th -- Richmond, Surrey, UK
Ringo Starr July 7th -- Dingle, Liverpool, England

1940 Calendar

Major World Political Leaders

Australia Prime Minister Robert Menzies Brazil President Getúlio Vargas Canada Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King

Germany Chancellor Adolf Hitler

Italy Prime Minister Benito Mussolini

Japan Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe Till 16 January
Japan Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai From 16 January
Japan Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai Till 22 July
Japan Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe From 22 July
Mexico President Lázaro Cárdenas Till 30 November
Mexico President Manuel Ávila Camacho From 1 December
Russia / Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee Joseph Stalin South Africa Prime Minister Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt United Kingdom Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain Till 10 May
United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill From 10 May

Political Elections

Canadian Federal Election 1940 William Lyon Mackenzie King ( Liberal ) defeats Robert Manion( National Government ).
United States Presidential Election 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic) Defeats Wendell Willkie (Republican)