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Welcome to the theForties.com!

This website is devoted to the decade of the 1940's. As time marches on, fewer witnesses to that critical and fascinating era remain to tell us their stories first hand. Therefore, it becomes imperative that we, their descendants, listen, preserve and share their experiences.

Althought the initial content of this site will be developed from a U.S. perspective, we welcome content suggestions and contributions from other perspectives as well.

Please email us regarding any questions, corrections or suggestions at admin@theforties.com

Trying to summarize an entire decade in a paragraph or two is a very daunting task. When the decade in question is the 1940's, it is doubly so. From today's dynamic, lightning-paced, noisy, connected observation point, the 1940's appear as a simple, though fervent, time of innocence. Sure, there was the Depression followed by a World War followed by a Cold War, but from the safety of the present, it all seems so predictable and conformist.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

If history is prologue, then the 1940s were the fulcrum which moved the world into the place our generation now knows. The 1940s were midwife to all of the following (for better and for worse): nuclear weapons, television, the Holocaust, pop culture, American ascendancy, European descendancy, the middle east conflict, mass consumerism, computers, the United Nations, racial strife, rocket science, waning imperialism, triumph of democracy, spread of communism, the baby boomers, progressivism, humanism, technology, and on and on...

Each one of the above informs and impacts us today.

The era's nostalgic elements--the apparent simplicity and innocence of the average person's daily life viewed from the safety of our time--beckons us to indulge in their splendor. We view the forties through artifacts left over from that period: Big Band CDs, Turner Classic Movies, fedora hats, saddle shoes, radio clips on YouTube, old LIFE magazines and so on. We are drawn to that era because the world was a dangerous place at the time, and visibly so. People lost their jobs and were in danger of starving, men went off to war and did not return, evil tyrants were real and acknowleged by all. What makes us recall this era fondly then? Perhaps it is that amid all the danger we sense that grown-ups--people who had dealt with real physical hardship on a daily basis--were in charge. To the youth-rampant culture of today, these people look older than their years in photographs. Some of that is fashion not yet the youth-obsessed exercise it will soon become, and some of that is a real by-product of the hard times. Does it not follow, then, that nostalgia for retro fashion and old movies and swing music is really a yearning for a time when problems were direct, immediate and had real-life grown-ups confronting them?

In this world, no era is perfect. Let us learn from the past and continue forward.
The 1940's at a Glance

Population 132,122,000
National Debt $43 Billion
Average Salary $1,299
Minimum Wage $.43 per hour
Life expectancy 68.2 female, 60.8 male
more...

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