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America had not yet recovered from the hardship and uncertainty of the Great Depression when an expanding war in Europe brought even greater cause for alarm and apprehension. Although the Roosevelt administration at first tried to assist our allies at a distance, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other American territories in December 1941 forced our nation into the conflict on two fronts.

The need to mobilize all of America's resources brought the war home to all of our citizens. Food and gasoline was rationed and all of us were called upon to recycle rubber, metal and other products necessary to the war effort. Since most of our men were called to military duty, it was necessary for women to fill vacancies in factories and other industrial facilities.

After the defeat of the enemy in 1945, technological advances developed during the war served to fuel a robust and energetic economic boom. Returning service members eager to start families provided a boost to the construction industries as planned suburban communities like Levittown in New York sprouted up all across America.

However, the consequences of the war also brought more worries to the world. The development of the atomic bomb, which provided a rapid end to the battle against Japan, and a growing rift between the United States and the Soviet Union led to the decades long Cold War between Communism and the West.


These news reports, broadcasts and speeches bring history alive through first hand descriptions of the events that shaped the world.


The tone and flavor of an era is expressed in many ways by the popular music of the time. Press the Music button above to sample the sounds of the 1940s.


Before television, radio was the most popular form of entertainment in America. Sit back and explore this selection of great golden age radio programs from the 1940s


Experience the past through documentaries, news reports, informational films and short features. These videos capture a glimpse of the history and culture of the times.


Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a great classic film.