The People History

1940s Important News and Events, Key Technology Fashion and Popular Culture

The Early to mid Forties were dominated by World War II and following the end of the war the start of the Baby Boomer Years, Technology advancements during wartime including the Jet Engine, Nuclear Fusion, Radar, Rocket Technology and others later became the starting points for Space Exploration and Improved Air Travel

Jump To 1940's Fashions -- Toys -- Cars -- Popular Culture -- Homes -- Technology -- Cost Of Living -- Sports
 

Money and Inflation 1940's

To provide an estimate of inflation we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in today's money
If you have $100 Converted from 1940 to 2005 it would be equivalent to $1433.77 today
In 1940 a new house cost $3,920.00 and by 1949 was $7,450.00
In 1940 the average income per year was $1,725.00 and by 1949 was $2,950.00
In 1940 a gallon of gas was 11 cents and by 1949 was 17 cents
In 1940 the average cost of new car was $850.00 and by 1949 was $1,420.00
A few more prices from the 40's and how much things cost
100 aspirin 76 cents
Philco Refrigerator $239.00
Pork Loin Roast per pound 45 cents
Nylon Hose 20 cents
New Emerson Bedroom Radio 1938 $19.65
Men's Suits from $24.50
Portable electric heater $42.50
Ford Super Deluxe Sedan Coupe $1395
Sealey Mattress $38.00

 
 

What Happened in the 1940s

The events listed below we have tried to put a small paragraph on the specific year page providing additional information )

1940

What Happened in 1940 History
  • Germany invades Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands during World War II.
  • Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. is appointed as a General in the United States Army, becoming the first African-American to hold such a position.
  • President Roosevelt signs the Selective Training and Service Act, making it the first military draft to be created during a peacetime in the United States.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected for an unprecedented third term as the U.S. president.
  • Germany begins bombing London in what was known as "The Blitz" in an attempt to weaken the British Royal Air Force.
 
 

1941

What Happened in 1941 History
  • The Mount Rushmore sculpture is completed.
  • Japan launches a surprise attack on the U.S. base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, bringing the United States into the War. Italy and Germany also declare war on the United States.
  • Soviet Russia and Japan sign a non-aggression pact.
  • The Siege of Leningrad begins as German troops enter the Soviet Union, the siege will last until 1944.
  • The G.I. Bill is signed by President Roosevelt, providing financial aid to World War II veterans.
 
 
 

1942

What Happened in 1942 History
  • The draft age in the United States is lowered from 21 to 18.
  • The famous and well-regarded film "Casablanca" premieres in New York City during the month of November.
  • The Battle of Midway begins between Japan and the U.S.
  • The U.S. Congress creates several branches of the armed forces for women to join the war effort, including the Army's Women;s Auxiliary Corps or WACs, the Navy's WAVES, the Coast Guard's SPARs, and the Women Air Force Service Pilots.
  • The United States and Canada begin the unjust removal and internment of Japanese-Americans and Japanese-Canadians in the fear that they will become a security threat during the war.
 
 

1943

What Happened in 1943 History
  • The Pentagon building is completed.
  • Mussolini resigns from his position of power and Italy surrenders during World War II.
  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower takes control of the Allied forces when he is appointed as the Supreme Allied Commander.
  • Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan invent the "Aqualung."
  • An uprising takes place in the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto against the Nazis.
 
 

1944

What Happened in 1944 History
  • President Roosevelt is elected to a fourth term in the United States, becoming the only person to ever do so. His fourth term does not last long however, as he died during the next year in April of 1945.
  • Operation Overlord (D-Day) sees 150,000 Allied troops successfully storm the beachs of Normandy in France. Paris is soon liberated as the troops make their way through the country.
  • Popular musician and band leader Glenn Miller is reported missing while on his way to perform for troops in Paris.
  • Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi is released from prison.
  • Poland is liberated from Nazi occupation by Soviet troops and the Polish Home Army.
 
 

1945

What Happened in 1945 History
  • World War II ends as Allied and Soviet forces make their way towards Germany, liberating concentration camps along the way.
  • The United States drops two atomic bombs on Japan, bringing an end to the Pacific side of the war.
  • The United Nations is created after fifty nations sign the charter.
  • Vietnam declares its independence from France under Ho Chi Minh.
  • Harry S. Truman becomes the United States President after FDR dies.
 
 
 

1946

What Happened in 1946 History
  • The ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the first programmable electronic computer, is unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • The Philippines becomes independent after being under U.S. rule for forty-eight years.
  • The BBC resumes regular television broadcasting after being off the air during World War II.
  • Department stores begin to sell Tupperware food containers.
  • The former Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill, gives his "Iron Curtain" speech.
 
 

1947

What Happened in 1947 History
  • The transistor is invented at Bell Laboratories by William Shockley, Walter Brattain, and John Bardeen.
  • India and Pakistan become independent from the United Kingdom.
  • The Polaroid instant camera is demonstrated.
  • Jackie Robinson becomes a part of the Dodgers, becoming the first African-American to play baseball for the Major League.
  • Ferrari begins to produce sports cars.
 
 

1948

What Happened in 1948 History
  • Israel is created as an independent Jewish state.
  • The beloved Indian independence leader and pacifist Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated.
  • Great Britain creates the NHS (National Health Service).
  • George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, creates Velcro but it is not formally patented until 1955.
  • The first NASCAR race for modified stock cars is held in Daytona Beach.
 
 

1949

What Happened in 1949 History
  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is established.
  • Mao Zedong establishes the People's Republic of China.
  • "The Goldbergs" airs live on CBS as one of the very first television sitcoms.
  • The first test flight of the De Havilland Comet takes place, it would later become the first commercial passenger jet.
  • 45 RPM records are introduced.
 

Other Major Events From The 40's

World War II 1940's

The Forties were dominated by World War II , and after a long period of Economic Recession throughout the world, starting with Wall Street Crash in 1929 and through most of the 30's, the world would be a different place after the 2nd world war ended. As so often happens during war technological advances in any technology that is seen to provide some advantage jump in leaps and bounds the 40's provide some of the best examples
America helped fund the war by issueing War Savings Bonds, for each $75.00 American's invested 10 years later they would pay out $100.00
The first ever use of a Nuclear Bomb during wartime when the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Major advancements in radar to help with tracking Enemy aircraft which after the war changed the aviation industry
The improvements in the use of Jet Engines
The use of unmanned rockets as a weapon ( V2 ) to carry bombs
Mans inhumanity to Man exceeded anything preceding with the use of concentration camps as part of "The Holocaust " the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews
More About Hiroshima
  • First nuclear bomb that dramatically changed the war and international relationships between those who had the technology and those countries who did not
  • VE Victory In Europe Celebrated May 8th
  • VJ Victory In Japan Celebrated August 14th Which signals the end of World War II
  • Following the end of the war during the second half of the 40's marked the beginning of the East-West conflict and the Cold War.
  • One of the gains from the war was the setting up of the United Nations to help negotiate and manage future world conflicts
  • Countries gaining independence from the UK included Pakistan and India
  • NATO / North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, was formed by the major western powers for collective security and established in 1949
  • Following the continued growth of Jewish refugees and settlers to Israel during the war, in 1948 the region became embroiled in Arab-Israeli War
  • After achieving the independence he so desired for his country On January 30, 1948, on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was shot dead
 
 
 

1940's Mens and Womens and Childrens Fashion Clothes

Practicality was of great essence during this time. Clothing was meant just to cover the body, and it was designed for the busy men and women involved in fighting or working during this time.
40s Clothes and Fashions
Few examples of ladies fashion from the 40's

 
 
 

Childrens Toys From The 1940's

Kids Toys From the 40s
During the early 40's to aid the war effort few toys were sold 1. Because men were off fighting in Europe and Japan 2. anything that could be used to make toys steel / rubber etc. was also needed for producing tanks / ships / planes and other weapons.
1940s toys including  Brightly Enameled Steel Truck, Selection of Steel Cars, Trucks and Bus for 98 cents, Table Style Zellophone - Old Toy Xylophone, Army Doctor/Nurses Kit, World War II Model Plane Kits, Pull Along Walking Dog, Farm Yard Set  From www.thepeoplehistory.com/40stoys.html page

 
 

Forties Cars

Cars From the 40s
1940s Cars


 
 

Sporting Changes In The 40's

Our Detailed Sports History Section
Baseball
Baseball Stars are quick to join the forces and fight for their country
Following the end of world war II Jackie Robinson signed a contract to play first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color barrier in baseball.
Basketball
Other Leagues created earlier fall by the wayside and the National Basketball Association NBA comes to the fore
Association Football (Soccer)
The famous Latin goal call is first heard, when Brazilian radio announcer Rebelo Junior. shouts (GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL) during a soccer match.
American Football
Notre Dame / Fighting Irish win four championships
The platoons introduced using different players for offense and defense
Ice Hockey
Rocket Richard
The center red line Introduced
The first All-Star Ice Hockey game
The first All-Star Ice Hockey game
 
 
 

Technology

After the fast pace of technology change in the 20's the 30's did still see some advances including
The Jet Engine
Tea Bags Are introduced and sold Commercially
The First Photocopier Invented but not commercial available till 1948
The BBC broadcasts a wider range of Television Programmes until the Outbreak of War in 1949 and TV stays off the air until 1946 , many of the technical staff are used during for the development of Radar for the war effort
The continued increase in use of Radio for entertainment and the refinement of the Airplane for travel
1940's when the airships LZ127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ129 Hindenburg operated regular transatlantic passenger flights between Germany and both North and South America.


Inventions The Year Invented Inventors and Country ( or attributed to First Use )

Ballpoint Pen ----- 1948 Hungary by Laszlo Biró - also called a biro (UK)
BBC Television ----- 1942 England first regular TV broadcasts (London)
Catseyes ----- 1944 England by Percy Shaw - for lighting roads
Electric Razor ----- 1941 USA by Jacob Schick
Electron Microscope ----- 1943 Germany by Ernst Ruska
Frequency Modulation FM ----- 1949 USA by Edwin H Armstrong - sound by radio waves
Helicopter ----- 1946 Germany by Heinrich Focke
Jet Engine ----- 1940 England by Frank Whittle
Nylon ----- 1941 USA by Wallace Corothers - artificial silk
Magnetic Recording ----- 1946 USA audio tapes
Photocopier ----- 1948 USA by Chester Carlson
Polaroid ----- 1942 USA by Edwin Herbert Land
Radar (for Aircraft) ----- 1945 Scotland by Robert Watson-Watt
Radio Telescope ----- 1942 USA by Karl Jansky
Sticky Tape ----- 1940 USA
 
 

Popular Culture 1940s

The late 30's and The war in the 40's changed many things and one of those was how black sportsmen became popular heroes and paved the way for future generations, these included Joe Louis ( Boxer ), Jesse Owens ( Runner ) and Jackie Robinson ( Baseball Player ). Find Out More About The History Of Baseball including the Jackie Robinson and other great players

Some of the Most Well Known Movie Stars of the Forties
Clark Gable couple of his films from the 40's
The Hucksters and
Bob Hope couple of his films from the 40's

Bing Crosby couple of his films from the 40's

Humphrey Bogart couple of his films from the 40's

Abbott and Costello couple of films from the 40's

Gary Cooper couple of his films from the 40's

Spencer Tracy couple of his films from the 40's

James Cagney couple of his films from the 40's



Music From The 40's
  • Rhythm and blues Music becomes popular and the beginnings of Rock and roll

 
 
 

Forties Homes

Additional amenities of a 1940s home would include items that are thought of as necessities by today's building standards. For instance, a hot water heater, barbecue patio, double garage, and/or heating system would be included in the sale of a specific home. The exterior of a home built during this decade was often of a red brick siding, and the interior home flooring was often of hardwood, just as it was in earlier decades. Other luxuries of 1940s homes included newly-installed roofing, kitchen cupboards, spacious rooms, and thermostat controlled heat.

A few examples of furniture and appliances found for sale before and after World War II