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Posts Categorized: WWII Articles

Lessons from the 1940s – Look Back for Inspiration

Happy Independence Day! This poster seemed appropriate with its Revolutionary War theme. In 1943, the United States, and the rest of the world, faced its greatest threat. Germany, Japan, and Italy with the other Axis powers, had conquered vast areas of the globe. The Allies were just beginning to make progress, clearing North Africa, invading… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Never Forget

Today, we commemorate the 66th anniversary of the D-Day landings. On June 6, 1944, the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Europe from Nazi power. In August 2007, I was privileged to stand on Omaha Beach on a misty, overcast morning not unlike the men faced that historic day. As I stood… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Discretion

During World War II, posters like these decorated storefronts, train stations, and other public places. Spies were present. An innocent conversation in the barber shop, the grocery, or a phone booth could be overheard and passed to the enemy. Information about troop movements, sailing schedules, and strength of the armed forces was especially guarded. One… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Liberty and Justice for All?

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Mess Attendant Second Class Doris “Dorie” Miller (pictured in the poster) was collecting laundry on board the USS West Virginia in Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attacked. The alarm for general quarters sounded, and Miller reported to his battle station, an antiaircraft battery amidships. It had already been destroyed…. Read more »

Happy V-E Day Anniversary!

Sixty-five years ago today, the Allies celebrated Victory in Europe. People went to church and prayed. Bells rang. Parades rejoiced through small towns and cities. The cost of victory was high. Tens of millions were killed in battle. More tens of millions were murdered and starved in concentration camps. And more millions perished as civilian… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – “Grown-Up Culture”

The more I look at this poster, the more I see how our culture has changed. In the 1940s, mother-daughter outfits were popular – the daughter wanted to dress just like her mother. Nowadays, middle-aged mothers dress like their teenaged daughters. Something has flipped in recent generations. In traditional cultures, children couldn’t wait to grow… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Woman’s Work Is Good Work

She’s canning. In a frilly apron. And she’s smiling. To the 2010 woman, this image looks hokey. Doesn’t she know that kind of work is drudgery? A waste of her potential? Beneath her? While the women’s movement opened up traditional men’s work to women, somehow in the process, traditional women’s work was demeaned. Child care,… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Support Your Man!

Here’s a poster that would never be printed today. To the eye of the 2010 woman, this girl looks a bit…daft. The doting little woman fawning over her man’s accomplishments. Doesn’t she have a life of her own? Maybe she’s not as stupid as we think. Though our culture has undergone a gigantic shift, the… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Make It Do!

In our green times, we say, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but the 1940s woman puts us to shame. For her, “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do” was more than a slogan, it was a necessary, patriotic lifestyle. Many consumer goods, such as rubber goods and some spices, were scarce because they were produced… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s Woman – Work Is Fulfilling

World War II was a turning point for women. Before the war, few married women had jobs – in fact, most men considered a working wife a shameful sign that he couldn’t provide for his family. Unmarried women found few careers open to them, namely in nursing, teaching, and as secretaries. The war changed that…. Read more »