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World War Two - Home Front

Additional home front articles can be read here.

An Anti-Discrimination Law on the Home Front (Collier's Magazine, 1941)

Inasmuch as the Roosevelt administration believed that the integration the armed forces was far too risky a proposition during wartime, it did take steps to insure that fair hiring practices were observed by all industries that held defense contracts with the Federal government; during the summer of 1941 a law was passed making such discrimination a crime.


The attached editorial from Collier's Magazine applauded the President for doing the right thing:

"For our money, the President's finest single act in the national emergency to date is his loud-voiced demand for an end to all racial discrimination in hiring workers for the defense industries."

The primary political force behind this mandate was a group that was popularly known as "the Black Brain Trust''...

 

Here Comes Denim (Collier's Magazine, 1942)

Nine months into the war the American fashion industry awoke to discover that one of the most sought after cottons being purchased domestically was denim.

Denim was first seen in 1853, worn by the men who panned for gold in California. When faced with hard labor, this sturdy twill had proven its worth again and again, and when the American home front recognized that there was a great deal of work to be done in the fields and factories if the war was to be won, they slipped on jeans and denim coveralls and saw the job through.

Who on Sixth Avenue could have known back then that denim would be the main-stay in American sportswear for decades to come?

A far more thorough history of blue jeans can be read here.

 

Art on the Home Front (Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1942)

The United States had only been committed to the Second World War for twenty weeks when the American artist Rockwell Kent (1882 1971) felt compelled to write about the unique roll artist are called upon to play within a democracy at war:

"The art of a democracy must be, like democracy itself, of and by and for the people. It must and will reflect the public mood and public interest...Awareness of America, of its infinitely varied beauties and of its sometimes sordid ugliness; awareness of the life of America, of its fulfillments and its failures; awareness, if you like, of God, the landscape architect supreme - and political failure: of the promise of America and of its problems, art has been, or has aimed to be, a revelation. It is for the right to solve these problems our way that we are now at war."

 

Absolute, Total Morons on the Home Front (Collier's Magazine, 1943)

If you're one of those types who tend to feel that Americans aren't as smart as they used to be, this is the article for you: attached is a collection of quotes generated by eight home front dullards who were asked the question:

"Do you know what you are fighting?"

They all understood that their nation had just finished it's second year fighting something called "Fascism" but were hard-pressed to put a thoughtful definition to the term:

"A Kansas cattle raiser defined Fascism as '...the belief in a big industrial enterprise. Anyone who thinks that way is Fascist-minded."

Additionally, it is fun to see the pictures of all the assorted noobs who made such ridiculous statements.

 

The Comic Book Industry: Tweleve Years Old in 1945 (Yank Magazine, 1945)

This is an article about the 1940s comic book industry and the roll it played during W.W. II.

The writer doesn't spell it out for us, but by-and-by it dawned on us that among all the various "firsts" the World War Two generation had claim to, they were also the first generation to read comic books. Although this article concentrates on the wartime exploits of such forties comic book characters as Plastic Man and Blackhawk, it should be remembered that the primary American comic book heroes that we remember today were no slackers during the course of the war; Superman smashed the Siegfried Line prior to arresting Hitler as he luxuriated in his mountain retreat; Batman selflessly labored in the fields of counterintelligence while Captain America signed-up as a buck private.

Click here to read an article about the predecessor to the American comic book: the Dime Novel.

If you would like to read a W.W. II story concerning 1940s comic strips and the failed plot to assassinate General Eisenhower, click here.

 

Tin Cans Go to War (Click Magazine, 1945)

This article is accompanied by nineteen pictures illustrating the various ways tin cans are put to use by the American military during W.W.II, and it was printed to show the necessity of full civilian participation along the home front. In order to guarantee that this message would get out to everyone, magazine editors would have been provided with these photographs and an assortment of facts by a government agency called the Office of War Information.

 


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