This was an important article for its time. It seems hard to believe, but it took the Federal Government the full six months after Pearl Harbor to figure out how the home front would be governed and what would be rationed. This article heralds that new day and clarified how the war would affect their salaries, savings, education, shopping, clothing, taxes, leisure time, transportation and their general manner of living:
In 1944, a class of sixth graders wrote General Eisenhower and asked him how they can help in the war effort; click here to read his response...
After suffering eleven years of the squalor brought on by the Great Depression, many Americans were in shock to find their pockets fully lined with cash and their days spent in gainful employment when W.W. II came along (in 1943, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 1.9%). The bars and restaurants that were situated around defense plants found that for the first time in years they were fully booked with paying customers. This article points out that this new economic boom on the home front was not without complications: absenteeism. As more factory workers discovered the joy of compensated labor, the more frequent they would skip work - which was seen as a nuisance for an industrial nation at war.
"Many workers, not just youngsters, are making more money than they ever made before in their lives."
"'A new problem of the war is the fact that children are born to married women whose husbands have been long overseas... Department of Labor figures show that more than twice as many illegitimate children were born this year than in 1942."
A 1945 Yank Magazine article concerning American teen culture on the W.W. II home front in which the journalist/anthropologist paid particular attention to the teen-age slang of the day.
"Some of today's teenagers ---pleasantly not many --- talk the strange new language of "sling swing." In this bright lexicon of the good citizens of tomorrow, a girl with sex appeal is an "able Grable" or a "ready Hedy." A pretty girl is "whistle bait." A boy whose mug and muscles appeal to the girls is a "mellow man," a "hunk of heart break" or a "glad lad."
To read about one of the fashion legacies of W.W. II, click here...
Click here to learn how the Beatniks spoke.
Click here if you would like to read a glossary of WAC slang terms.
•Suggested Reading• Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang
*Watch this 1947 Film Featuring the Wholesome Teenagers of the Forties*
By the time this historic piece was written, thousands upon thousands of Western Union casualty telegrams had been delivered to altogether too many American households. This article lucidly explains how they should be delivered and how they shouldn't be delivered. Recognizing the solemnity of the task, the men who passed the news along were often older men, who had tasted some of life's bitterness:
"One mother, receiving the news that her son was dead, crushed the paper in her hand and looking beyond the messenger, said, 'If it hadn't been my son, it would have been some other mother's'".