Some six months prior to Pearl Harbor FDR signed Executive Order 8802 which made it illegal for defense contractors to discriminate based on race or religious faith. Eight months later the President's Committee on Fair Employment Practices was convened in New York City to review the evidence at hand indicating that numerous defense contractors were failing to comply with the law.
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."
The National Youth Administration (NYA) was established in 1935 as one of FDR's many alphabet agencies created to alleviate the sting of the Great Depression; it was tasked with providing work and education for young Americans between the ages of 16 through 25. By the time World War II kicked -in, many in Congress felt it was time to do away with the organization, but as this article spells out, NYA members could now be put to work in the defense plants.
Click here to read about the travails of young adults during the Great Depression.
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...
"'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."
- from Amazon:
Click here to read more on this topic.
During the Second Word War all mail headed out of the country and all inbound mail from foreign locales fell under the discerning eyes of U.S. Post Office censors. The censors, all 15,000 of them, were under the command a U.S. Army cryptologist named Colonel W. Preston Corderman; click the title link above to learn more about him.
Click here to read about censoring the mail during W.W. I.