Life in the 1940’s

A young Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower is shown in the above photo as the Louisiana Maneuvers involving 400,000 U.S. soldiers took place north of Pineville, Louisiana in 1941. Four years later Col. Eisenhower would be a general commanding the D-Day invasion as the U.S. would enter the European theater of World War II on June 6, 1944. Less than a year later the war would be over in Europe when Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945. Three months later on August 15,1945 the Japanese would surrender.

The war was just part of 1940’s history but affected the daily lives of those who stayed home during the war. In 1943 automobile production was halted so those materials could be used in the war effort.

American citizens experienced rationing of food supplies in 1943. Travel was limited in order to make tires last longer and drivers were told to not drive over 35 MPH to extend the life of tires.

Interesting Facts From the 40’s

The U.S. population was 122 million in the 1940’s and is as of this moment at over 311 million an increase of  189 million since the 1940’s.

The national debt in the 40’s was $43 billion but the national debt today stands at over $14 trillion. The minimum wage was 43 cents an hour and in 1966 when I started work at the Alexandria Town Talk in Alexandria, Louisiana the minimum wage was $1.40 an hour an increase of about a dollar an hour over what American workers were earning in minimum wage in the 40’s. The minimum wage today is $7.25

Many Had No Indoor Plumbing

Only 55 percent of  American homes had indoor plumbing in the 1940’s and outhouses were still being widely used.

The first commercial television stations went on the air in the 1940’s. The first digital computers weighed 30 tons.

Big Band Music Dominated

Big band music dominated the music scene during the 40’s as the bands traveled across the U.S. entertaining fans of big name bandleaders like Glenn Miller, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.

The 1940’s would be the last decade in which old time radio ruled  the airwaves as television began to convert radio listeners into television viewers.

1945 would see the development of the first TV dinner. At the end of World War II there were only 5,000 television sets in existence. In 1951 that number would increase to 17 million sets being used.

Window Air Conditioners Gained Popularity

Only 74,000 window air conditioners were sold in 1948 and that number increased to 1.45 million by 1953.  We didn’t buy our first air conditioner till about 1967 so was 9 years old when we first bought a television and 23 when we bought our first air conditioner.

I don’t ever remember being hot though since that was all we knew and didn’t have anything to compare it with.

The following website has even more details about the 1940’s and the events and entertainment from that decade.

No Modern Electronics in the 40’s

Back in the 1940’s the cell phone,  MP3 players, HD televisions, DVD players, laptops, notepads and electronic readers were not yet in use leaving time for other activities. Life was simpler then with no ringtones being heard from a cell phone when a phone call or message was being sent.

The 40’s saw the birth of my oldest brother in 1941, my birth in 1944, the birth of a younger brother in 1947 and a younger sister in 1947.

No War at End of Decade

The decade ended without another major war but June of 1950 would see the start of the Korean War the war which has been more of a forgotten war except for the veterans of that war and their family members.

You seldom see any television documentaries about the Korean War while you can always find film from World War II and the Vietnam War on television programs.

The 1940’s ended 62 years ago but for those of us who lived during that decade it will be forever etched in our memories.