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Posts Categorized: Inspirational

Lessons from the 1940s – Save and Invest

US War Bond poster, WWII

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

US poster, 1943

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

US Army Nurse Corps recruiting poster, 1944

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 »

Lessons from the 1940s – Let Boys Be Boys

US Navy recruitment poster, 1944

My two sons’ favorite TV show is “Mythbusters.” Why do they like it? The scientific investigation of urban legends? Sure. The quirky characters and offbeat humor? Yep. But the primary reason…”They blow things up!” I don’t get this. I’m a girl. Explosions don’t appeal to me, and all I can think about is those poor… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Have Faith

US poster, 1942

Here’s a poster you wouldn’t see today: “Strong in the strength of the Lord, we who fight in the people’s cause will never stop until that cause is won.” While researching my World War II novels, I was surprised at the religious tone in the writings. Top Ten songs like “Comin’ in on a Wing… Read more »

Lessons from the 1940s – Discretion

US poster, World War II

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?

US poster, 1943, honoring Dorie Miller, recipient of the Navy Cross for his actions at Pearl Harbor

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 »

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

US poster promoting canning, 1943

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 – Support Your Man!

US recruiting poster, 1944

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… Read more »