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Posts Categorized: WWII Articles

Lessons from the 1940s – Remember Pearl Harbor

On December 6, 1941, twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses left Hamilton Field, north of San Francisco, bound for their new station on Mindanao in the Philippines. My great-uncle, Roderick M. Stewart, was a second lieutenant with one of the crews. The first leg of their journey would take them to Hickam Field in Honolulu. Weighted down… Read more »

World War II Army Nursing

During World War II, nurses were needed as never before, and tens of thousands of young women stepped forward to serve their country. They served in stateside hospitals, frigid Alaska, Pacific jungles, muddy North Africa, malaria-infested Sicily and Italy, and on the beaches of Normandy. They cared for the wounded and soothed the dying. This… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Freedom from Want

How could I resist this poster for Thanksgiving week? On January 6, 1941, in his State of the Union Address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that everyone deserved four fundamental freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want. At the time, the Axis dictators stifled freedom of speech… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Vote!

How many of you will be glad to see election season come to an end? I will. I’m sick of the deluge of phone calls and junk mail and spam, of the obscene quantities of money spent, of cheesy smiles and perfectly coiffed heads and plastic suits. It beats the alternative. While the United States… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Watch out for Stereotypes

During World War II, stereotypes were used in posters, newsreels, and movies to demonize the enemy and motivate people to fight. It’s much easier to fight an enemy you hate. Nowadays, these images make us wince. We’re too enlightened to stereotype people. Or are we? Most of us would be ashamed to admit we have… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Careless Words Kill

During World War II, careless words could lead to needless deaths. A mother chatting in the beauty parlor about her son’s ship leaving San Diego the next day, a spy in the chair next to her – a sub notified, a ship sunk. Posters like this reminded people to watch their words. Recently school bullying… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Don’t Lose Heart

In 1940, things looked bleak in the United Kingdom. Hitler had swallowed up Poland, Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In July, the Battle of Britain began as the Luftwaffe began attacking British shipping. In August the target shifted to the RAF, and by September 6, the British had lost 466 planes. Then… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Save and Invest

The generation that fought World War II on the battlefield and on the Home Front had come through the Great Depression. While we cringe at today’s unemployment figures hovering around 10 percent (as we should), in 1932, 13 million were unemployed – 25 percent of the labor force at a time when most households had… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Teamwork

The brave pilot risking his life for the sake of his country. The soldier and sailor and Marine in combat. These are the people we think about when we think of World War II. Their stories are told in movies and documentaries and books – including mine. But this poster recognizes the truth – teamwork… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – No Complaints

They waded ashore in chest-deep water in Algeria and took shelter behind sand dunes. Snipers and strafing fighter planes aimed for them. They ate cold K-rations and dug slit trenches and dealt with fleas, mosquitoes, lice, and flies. And they were women. Lately I’ve been researching nursing in the Mediterranean Theater (North Africa, Sicily, and… Read more »