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Today in World War II History

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Posts Categorized: WWII Articles

US Army Nurse Corps recruiting poster, 1944

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 Italy) in World War II, and I’ve been struck by the conditio... Read Article
US Navy recruitment poster, 1944

Lessons from the 1940s – Let Boys Be Boys

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 people on the other boat. This poster does nothing ... Read Article
US poster, 1942

Lessons from the 1940s – Have Faith

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 and a Prayer,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” and a humbl... Read Article
US poster, World War II

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 careless comment could lead to thousands of deaths. Free speec... Read Article
US poster, 1943, honoring Dorie Miller, recipient of the Navy Cross for his actions at Pearl Harbor

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. A heavyweight boxer, Miller carried wounded sailors to ... Read Article
US poster promoting canning, 1943

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 up and have adult responsibilities, and people hoped to live... Read Article
US recruiting poster, 1944

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 basic nature of a man has not. According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in Love and Respect (... Read Article

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 by Japanese-occupied countries. Metal goods, clothing, and leather were rationed to take care o... Read Article
US poster by J. Howard Miller, WWII

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. In 1940, 132 million people lived in the US. and during the war 11 million men and women served in ... Read Article
US poster by J. Howard Miller, 1943

Lessons from the 1940s Woman

  Rosie the Riveter is the icon of World War II women – strong but feminine. She’s got biceps, but she curls her hair and does her nails. She can do a man’s work, and don’t you dare tell her she can’t. She is woman; hear her riveting gun. Today I’m starting a series of posts on lessons we can learn from the women of the 1940s. The World War II time period was a pivotal time fo... Read Article