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 reat 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 ere 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 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. 1-21). 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 States during the start of the 1940s. By the end of the decade, those attitudes were beginning to change because of the events of the past 10 years. In the early 1900s, African Americans began a great migration from the rural south to the northern cities.
This migration began during the WWII era because the war caused labor shortages, and African Americans ad a chance of getting Jobs in northern factories. The migration benefited both the African American population and economy. African Americans and whites served together in the military and business world, but the United States was still a segregated society. After World War II ended, African Americans were eager to be accepted, and one of the first breakthroughs came by way of America’s pastime, baseball. Only white players were allowed on the major league teams.
African Americans had to play in their own segregated league. A number of famous African American baseball stars were eager to make a break for the big eagues. In 1947 the Brooklyn Dodgers drafted a young infielder named Jackie Robinson, the first Negro to achieve major-league baseball status in modern times (Effrat, 1947). Although it was unknown to him at the time, but he would end up being a symbol of hope that a multi- racial society could exist. Throughout the season Robinson received death threats and racial insults but racism could not stop him.
Robinson stayed with the team and even went on to win the World Series and was even named rookie of the year. Technology started to rocket in the early 1940s, but it was the early stages of films nd television. Walt Disney was one of the biggest cartoon film makes then. This was the start of Walt Disney’s famous career. Walt Disney released Pinocchio, Dumbo, The computer was also one of the most significant technological advances made in the 1940s. In 1946 the first all-electronic digital computer named ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator) was developed.
This computer was able to do as much work in one hour as most people could do in one week (Duden, 1989, p. 30). Even though the television was invented in the late 1930s, it did not gain much popularity at the start of the decade. When World War II began, production of television and other electronics was stopped in order to devote factory capacity to the war effort. After the war ended, the ban on the production of electronics was lifted and televisions began rolling off the assembly lines again. The increasing amount of disposable income of consumers after the war had television flying off the shelves of stores around the country.
The Olympic Games in 1948 were shown on television and attracted the largest broadcast audience in history (Peterson, J. R. ). Colored television achieved realism when CBS demonstrated the first color television in New York City, nd WNBT, making New York City the countrys first regular television station, broadcasting to about 10,000 viewers (http://www. nytimes. com). The television created a social impact on the United States in many ways, people were buying televisions in record numbers and television was becoming a common part of life (Duden, 1989, p. 43).
The television movement impacted life in the United States in many ways and provided Americans with easier access to information and entertainment with pictures and words. The atomic bomb, one of the most powerful and deadly technological advances in history, was developed in the 1940s. In 1941, nuclear physicists discovered that two uranium derivatives, U-235 and plutonium, could be used to create rapid fission. In December of 1942 a physicist named Enrico Fermi created the first nuclear reaction. The first time the bomb was used was August of 1945 when the bombing of Japan occurred (Fyson, 1999, p. 6). This Marilyn Monroe advertisement was very effective in the 1940s. This was used to endorse the production in sales for Lustre Company. Though this shampoo may work well as any other shampoos, this advertisement was meant to reach out to the fans of Marilyn Monroe. When this ad was put out we can assume that many of Marilyn Monroe’s fans bought this product causing this company to make a lot of money, which made this advertisement very effective. This poster is of Uncle Sam in the 1940s looks very convincing.
This poster was recruiting anyone WWII, it was very demanding and inspired young people to Join the army’s frontlines and serve for their country. This advertisement was very effective as it made people think that it was their Job to protect the country and run the front lines. up no matter what. Being the first black man to play baseball he was faced with a lot of obstacles, hate messages and death threats being sent to him, but this did not top him. This advertisement served as a motivator for others, and gives others hope that though they may be of different color they can still do things the same as any other race.
This advertisement is of one of the first Walt Disney movies created. This advertisement was effective because it showed the first movie created by Disney and was convincing to others to go and watch it. The economy of the 1940s can be easily divided into two periods: the economy during the war and the economy after the war. After World War II the U. S. economy was drastically altered, the involvement of America in the war boosted the economy uring the war years and set the foundation for the US to become an economic superpower (Vatter, H. G. 1985).
One of the most applauding economic achievements by the U. S. during WWII was the elimination of unemployment. During this period, employment went up from 47. 52 million to 53. 96 million, over a 13% increase. Unemployment rates had fallen from 4. 7% in 1942 and declined to 1. 2% in 1944 (Williams, R. M. 1994). This was more a significance because of the diminished labor force caused by the 11 million men and women entering the armed forces during this period. The labor force was one of the main reasons U. S. ndustry was able to meet the great demand in productivity created by the war.
Because of the shortages of goods such as, meat, shoes, gasoline, and sugar President Roosevelt and his administration created what was called the Office of Price Administration. This was ordered to “hold the line” against rising prices and this was successful from April of 1943 to February of 1946, and they were able to hold the annual rate of inflation to only 1. 6% (Williams, R. M. 1994). The U. S. involvement in the war raised the economy to new heights. Over 17 million Jobs were created, industrial production went up, and corporate profits doubled. After the war ended, Americans learned the extent of the Holocaust.
Realization of the power of prejudice helped lead to Civil Rights reforms over the next 3 decades. The GI Bill of Rights was passed entitling returning soldiers to a college education. In 1949, there were 3 times as many colleges degrees issued as in 1940, college became available to those who were capable rather the privileged. Being as education was becoming so accessible, in Germany Hitler was eliminating artists whose ideas didn’t agree with his. Because of this many of the artists migrated to the US, where they had a huge effect on American artists.
One of the art styles hat were popular was abstract expressionism, which showed raw emotions. The art style of abstract expressionism was the first specifically American artistic movement that influenced the world and put New York City at the center of the world (http:// www. learningzoneclass. com/aoatl 1 /beltran/art. html). One of the most famous artists of the 1940s was Paul Jackson Pollock, and one of his most famous art works is Number 5. Like art, music reflected American enthusiasm, and American composers remained more traditional and at the beginning of the decade bands dominated popular music.
Radio became the lifeline for Americans in the 1940’s. Providing news, music and entertainment, much like television today. Shows included soap operas, government relied heavily on radio for propaganda, and the radio faded and TV became more prominent and accessible, and most popular shows on the radio started to show on TV. TV also had an effect on the food people ate, frozen dinners were invented and they became known as TV dinners. The “Jitterbug” dance was also developed in the 1940’s, and it was the first dance that allowed individual expressionism.
Rosie the Riverter was the symbol of the working woman as the men off to war and women were needed to work in factories. Tupperware and aluminum foil became popular in the 1940’s as well as a way to ease the postwar housewives burdens, and the slinky was developed in 1945 as a way to keep kids occupied. Fashion was the fad with the most influence and changed the way women would look at clothes. The convertible suit, which is still popular today, was designed for the working woman and carried on until the war ended. Once the war was over, Christian Dior introduced the “New look”.
This look included feminine dresses with long, full skirts, tight waists and comfortable low heeled shoes, which soon swept the country as the new trend (Peacock, 1998). Make up was also socially acceptable and hair was curled very tightly and was shoulder length. With men home from war and back to work, women had more time to focus on themselves, which was exactly what the new look was trying to accomplish. In 1948, Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi by Hindu fanatic, and Burma and Ceylon was granted independence by Britain.
Although World War II dominated the decade of the 1940’s another major international event that taking was taking place was the Holocaust, and Jews being put into concentration camps. The Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler, were the perpetrators of the Holocaust. The Nazis targeted Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s witnesses, Communists, twins, and the disabled. Some of these people tried to hide from the Nazis like Anne Frank and her family, some were successful and some were not. Those that were captured suffered sterilization, forced resettlement, separation from family and friends, beatings, tortures, starvation, and/or death (http://www. istoryl 900s. about. com/od/holocaust/tp/ holocaust. htm). The discovery of penicillin in the 1940’s revolutionized medicine. Developed first to help the military personnel survive war wounds, it also helped increase survival rates or surgery. In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin from a pile of petri dishes in his sink that were growing bacteria. After taking samples of mold he found that it was from the penicillium family, and named it penicillin and found that it was nontoxic and sufficient in treating many types of bacteria harmful to man.
Unfortunately, the interest in penicillin did not peak again until World War II, and it was Howard Florey and Ernst Chain who continued the research and found a way to purify, and presented this powerful antibiotic to the world (http:// www. essortment. com/alexander-flemming-discovery-penicillin-40564. tml). In 1943 Fleming was presented the Award of Distinction for his discovery of the miracle drug and of similar award to Dr. Howard W. Florey of Oxford University, in “recognition of his pioneer contributions to our knowledge of the value of penicillin as a In 1945 The Journal of Clinical Psychology was founded.
In 1999 a study was done to examine the mental and medical health care utilization of World War II survivors and the characteristics of survivors seeking professional health care. Forty seven years after WWII ended, a random sample of 4,057 Dutch WWII survivors answered a our-page questionnaire, and out of that 1,461 of those persons subsequently answered an extensive follow-up questionnaire (Bramsen, & Henk, 1999). Twenty two percent had sought some form of health care for war-related complaints at some time since WWII, and most consultations were made in the 1940’s.
It was found that most consultations were made to general practitioners or to a medical specialist as opposed to mental health specialists. Results showed that 59% of the highly-exposed respondents with posttraumatic stress disorders had not sought professional help in he years of 1990-1992 (Bramsen, & Henk, 1999). In a study done by Audrey Rieger to test differences in personality using the Rorschach test that was invented in 1921 by Hermann Rorschach to determine personality characteristics and evaluate emotional health.
This study was designed to study personality patterns of certain specific occupational groups as reflected in the individual Rorschach test to determine if differences between such groups do occur and if the differences are meaningful in practical situations (Rieger, 1949). Results showed that personality differences between the occupational groups had some ignificant results, but the Rorschach scores failed to differentiate the groups in practice. Most of the differences appeared to be related to variations in response total.
The only important result is the distinction found between those who deal with verbal concepts (mostly administrators and personnel workers) and those who dealt with their hands (supervisors and foremen) (Rieger, 1949). In 1949 David Wechsler published the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. This was used as tools in school placement, determining the presence of a learning disability, or developmental delay. It was also used to identify giftedness among children, and track their intellectual development.
In 1946 Lindner, and Gurvitz did a research on the restandardization of the revised beta examination to yield the Wechsler type of ‘Q. The revised Beta examination has been restandardized to accomplish three purposes: the administration and scoring procedures have been improved, the sample of adults upon which new norms were based on were selected to represent the 1940 Census with respect to education and socio-economic status within several groups from twenty years and above (Lindner, & Gurvitz, 1946). The standardization lso permitted the securing of Beta IQs which were similar to the IQs on the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale.
The 1940s was an important decade to study because of the history that took place, which can give us a better understanding of the American and heritage and to appreciate the power and freedom that was enjoyed by this country in the 21st century. This decade produced many different changes in the political, social, and technological aspects of life. World War II was a major factor that influenced all of these aspects throughout the decade. Bramsen, 1. , & Van der Ploeg, H. M. (1999). Use of Medical and Mental Health Care by World War II Survivors in the Netherlands. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 12(2), 243-261.
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Fashion sourcebooks: The 1940s. New York, NY: Thames and Hudson. Sullivan, G. (1991). The day Pearl Harbor was bombed. New York, NY: Scholastic. Fyson, N. (1999). World War Two. In D. Marks (Ed. ), World book of Encyclopedia. Uschan, M. (1999). A cultural history of the United States: 1940s. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books. Peterson, J. R. (2010). World War Two. Retrieved from http://cnn. com. Rosenberg, J. (2013). The Holocaust. Retrieved from http://history1900s. about. com/od/holocaust/ tp/holocaust. htm Alexander Fleming and the discovery of Penicillin. Retrieved from ttp://www. essortment. om/alexander-fleming-discovery-penicillin-40564. html. Vatter, H. G. (1985). The U. S. economy in World War II. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Williams, R. M. (1994). The politics of boom and bust in the twentieth century America. St. Paul: West Publishing. The generation to remember: Art of the 1940’s. Retrieved from http:// learningzoneclass. com/aoatll/beltran/art. html. The Walt Disney studios history. Retrieved from http://www. studioservices. go. com/ disneystudios/history. html. Effrat, L. (1947, April 11). Royal’s star signs with Brooks today. The New York Times, p. 20.