Have a great Monday! These 1940s ladies are wearing some stylish everyday dresses. This hay ride was likely due to wartime gasoline rationing. Don’t you love this sustainable, alternative transportation?
This day in history, April 22nd,1944, an airman shared a joke with his girlfriend as they danced. It’s a jovial moment of romantic bliss, despite the ongoing international war. Couples like this would marry and create the post-war baby boom culture during the Cold War era. Their years of rationing transitioned to a consumer culture to build nuclear families in the suburbs. Original Publication: Wartime Dance Hall, 1944 (Photo by Leonard McCombe/Picture Post/Getty Images)
The term bombshell is a fitting word for the women of the WWII era. It refers to the explosive effects that women had on the viewer based on one’s beauty. It also connects to their war jobs at munition factories. They produced militaryequipment at top speeds. Factories became a source of liberation for young women who ventured out into the world. According to the National Women’s History Museum “wages in munitions plants and aircraft factories averaged more than those for traditional female jobs. Women abandoned traditional jobs, particularly domestic service, to work in war production plants offering 40 percent higher wages. Women who entered war production were primarily working-class wives, widows, divorcees, and students who needed the money.” In women’s new liberated life, they learned a manufacturing craft and aided the Ally cause.
These new gatherings tested the former social limits for male and female relations. Louise Johnson, who worked at Defense Industries Limited in Ajax, Ontario, she met her future husband during her shift. When they finished their shifts, young adults would often gather in the dancing halls to relax and celebrate their daily success of living and trying to sustain other lives abroad. In these night scenes, big band music would create a sensational environment in which to jive and demonstrate other skills such as flirting. These relationships would later be the foundation of the new generation of Baby Boomers who solidified their unions in marriage. The years of rationing and waiting would cause an economic surge in the post-war years. Consumption levels would boom since an incredible amount of new households were created which needed all the basics such as appliances, furniture, and other décor. But in this realm, women would be requested as their civic duty to return home and serve their family. America desired a “return to normalcy” in the post-war years.
Olive Ann Beech established an aviation business with her husband, Walter, in 1932. During the Depression, this dynamic duo created an airplane empire which would aid the American cause during World War II. She oversaw the business in 1940 due to her husband’s severe illness. Her tenacious behavior and business skills helped her manage the development of more than 7,200 aircraft throughout the war.
June Harrison and Olive Ann Beech pose by a Travel Air biplane
Barbara Britton, actress and Mayor of Hollywood (1952), wearing 1940s work apparel. Muriel King designed this women’s WWII factory uniform for Boeing and other military outposts. Fashion evidenced the change in gender roles with the mainstream adaption of slacks into women’s wardrobes. According to cultural historian Elizabeth Wilson, “the advance of the trouser for women” was “the most significant fashion change of the twentieth century.”  Melissa McEuen, Making War, Making Women: Femininity and Duty on the American Home Front, 1941-1945. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 149.
A Parisian resistance patrol the city on August 29, 1944. This woman fights along men to recapture Nazi occupied France. She aided the mission two days prior by having killed several German soldiers.
A women participating in a 1942 war conservation campaign that asked for donated stockings. These materials were re-purposed into powder bags that the US Navy used to propel missile projectiles.
Trümmerfrauen, German “rubble women”, cleared post-WWII city debris and were given extra ration cards for their efforts. Cities like Dresden and Berlin were slowly restored by women who were only given basic tools and used their bare hands for this hard labor.
Today, Americans celebrate the service of our men and women. This U.S. Navy WWII recruitment poster illustrated the personification of freedom. She is manifested in the form of Lady Liberty.
Veterans Day 2012. We rest because of their love to defend.
An American riveter at Lockheed’s Burbank P-38 facility during WWII.
Kristallnacht- November 9, 1938. Never forget. This photo was taken inside of a destroyed synagogue.
A young girl knitting in Scotland during WWII.