Featured poets for publishing in the 1940's are Anna Kingsbury Lindsey of Illinois, Annie Stevens Jones of Louisiana, Mary Edna Mitchell of Missouri, and Charlotte Merriman Olmstead of Wiconsin.

Overview of the Decade:

The 1940's was not only the decade in which the second world war was fought, which had important influences on economic and cultural aspects of American life, but it was a time of major social shifts, a time where traditional roles and norms were, once again, challenged and questioned.

Presidents of the 1940's:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Harry S Truman


Unbeknownst to the American public, evil was claiming the European continent, as Hitler's concentration camps reached full swing. At home, the depression continued into FDR's third presidential term.

Everything changed in December of 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into WWII. Young men enlisted by the thousands and were shipped to such diverse locations as the South Pacific and North Africa. Women at home were needed to work manufacturing jobs for the war effort and fill in for other jobs vacated by the servicemen. For the first time, a sizable portion of women entered the work force and got a taste of financial independence. The seeds were sown for the feminist movement that would come two decades later.

1944 saw the invasion at Normandy when allied forces began their advance into Europe that would culminate in the liberation of Paris. The G.I. bill was also approved in '44, paving the way for servicemen's return home, and Roosevelt earned a fourth presidential term.

As the war came to a crescendo in 1945, Roosevelt died of a stroke and Harry S Truman became president and commander in chief with a world ablaze in war. With Germany's surrender in May of '45 and the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, World War II came, at last, to an end.

The rest of the decade saw continued economic growth, a trend that had begun during the war years, and a period of optimism and national pride, as the troops returned to their sweethearts and began marrying and making babies in what would be termed the "baby boom" which lasted from 1946 to 1964.

On the cultural front, the 1940's saw continued growth in the film industry, as films such as Citizen Kane and Casablanca flashed across the screen. Television first became available in 1947, but radio was still king until roughly the end of the decade, and young people were busy learning the newest dance craze to the music on the radio.

As women made the first inroads towards liberation, blacks too began to assert their rights and push for greater equality. Blacks who had fought in the war alongside their white comrades were no longer willing to use separate bathrooms or sit at the back of the bus, and the stirrings of a civil rights movement sent ripples across the nation.


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