1940-1949 Articles

The War Years: A Timeline of the 1940s

1940s tiimeline

By Jennifer Rosenberg https://www.thoughtco.com/1940s-timeline-1779951#:~:text=The%201940s%20tower%20over%20every%20other%20decade%20of,war%20years%2C%22%20is%20synonymous%20with%20World%20War%20II.

Updated on March 16, 2020

The 1940s tower over every other decade of the 20th century as the most full of sorrow, patriotism, and ultimately, hope and the beginning of a new era of American dominance on the world stage. This decade, commonly called “the war years,” is synonymous with World War II. This decade left an indelible mark on all but the youngest of Americans that lasted for the rest of their lives. Those who were young and in the military were dubbed “The Greatest Generation” by former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, and the moniker stuck.

Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, and the war dominated Europe from that moment until the Nazis surrendered. The United States was drawn into World War II with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and was then involved in both the European and Pacific theaters until peace came in May 1945 in Europe and August of that year in the Pacific.

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.507.1_debug_en.html#goog_2042491750 seconds of 1 minute, 58 secondsVolume 90%00:4901:5801:58 

Watch Now: A Brief History of the 1940s


Auschwitz II - Birkenau
Massimo Pizzotti / Getty Images

The first year of the 1940s was filled with war-related news. In 1940 or late 1939, the Nazis began “Operation T4,” the first mass killings of Germans and Austrians with disabilities, most by large-scale poison gas operations. This program alone resulted in the murder of an estimated 275,000 persons by war’s end.

May: The Germans opened the Auschwitz concentration camp, where at least 1.1 million people would be killed.

May: The Katyn Forest massacre of 22,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia was conducted in Russia by the Soviet Union.

May 14: After years of experimentation and investment, stockings made of nylon rather than silk hit the market because silk was needed for the war effort.

May 26–June 4: Britain was forced to retreat from France in the Dunkirk evacuation.

July 10–October 31: The Battle of Britain raged with Nazi bombings of military bases and London, known as the Blitz. Britain’s Royal Air Force was ultimately victorious in its defense of the U.K.

July 27: Warner Brothers’ signature cartoon rabbit Bugs Bunny debuts in “A Wild Hare,” co-starring Elmer Fudd.

August 21: Russian Revolution leader Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City.

September 12: The entrance to Lascaux Cave, containing Stone Age paintings dated to 15,000–17,000 years old, was discovered by three French teenagers.

October: The Warsaw Ghetto, the largest of the Jewish ghettos opened by the Nazi, was established in Poland, and would eventually house as many as 460,000 Jews there in an area of 1.3 square miles.

November 5: President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented third term.


Mt. Rushmore viewed from a road
Underwood Archives / Getty Images

By far the biggest event for Americans in 1941 was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, a day that would indeed, as FDR said, live in infamy.

March: The quintessential superhero “Captain America” made his debut in Marvel Comics.

March 3: Forrest Mars, Sr. obtained a patent for the candy to be known as M&M’s and based on British-made Smarties.

May 1: Cheerios cereal, or rather CheeriOats as it was known then, was introduced.

May 15: Joe DiMaggio began his 56-game hitting streak, which would end on July 17, with a batting average of .408, 15 home runs, and 55 RBIs.

May 19: Chinese leader Ho Chi Minh founded the Communist Viet Minh in Vietnam, an event that was to lead to yet another war for the U.S. years later.

May 24: The British battle-cruiser HMS Hood was sunk by the Bismarck during the Battle of Denmark Strait; the Royal Navy sunk the Bismarck three days later.

June 22–December 5: Operation Barbarossa, an Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, took place. The plan was to conquer the western Soviet Union and repopulate it with Germans; and in the process, the German armies captured some five million troops and starved or otherwise killed 3.3 million prisoners of war. Despite the horrific bloodshed, the operation failed.

August 14: The Atlantic Charter was signed, setting out goals for England and the U.S. after the close of World War II. It was one of the basic documents underlying the modern United Nations.

September 8: The Nazis began a prolonged military blockade known as the Siege of Leningrad, which would not end until 1944.

September 29–30: In the Babi Yar Massacre, Nazis killed over 33,000 Jews from Kiev in a ravine in Ukraine; the killing would continue for months and involve at least 100,000 people.

October 31: In South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, a sculpture of 60-foot-high faces of four U.S. presidents, was completed after 14 years under the direction of Gutzon Borglum.

November: The first prototype of what would become the Jeep, the Willys Quad, was delivered to the U.S. Army.FEATURED VIDEOhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.507.1_debug_en.html#goog_2042491760 seconds of 2 minutes, 13 secondsVolume 0%02:09 Timeline of the Vietnam War


Anne Frank
Anne Frank House

In 1942, World War II continued to dominate the news.

February 19: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an Executive Order commanding the relocation of Japanese Americans families from their homes and businesses to internment camps.

April 9: At least 72,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war began a forced march by the Japanese 63 miles from the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula to Camp O’Donnell in the Philippines. An estimated 7,000–10,000 soldiers died along the way in what became known as the Bataan Death March. 

June 3–7: The naval Battle of Midway occurred, between the U.S. Navy led by Admiral Chester Nimitz and the Imperial Japanese Navy led by Isoroku Yamamoto. The decisive win by the U.S. is considered a turning point in the Pacific theater.

July 6: Anne Frank and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in an attic apartment behind her father’s pectin-trading business in Amsterdam.

July 13: The first printed T-shirt worn in a photograph appeared on the cover of Life magazine, a man brandishing an Air Corps Gunnery School logo.

August 13: The Manhattan Project, a U.S. federally-funded effort to develop and produce nuclear weapons, began.

August 23: The Battle of Stalingrad began, the largest confrontation of Germany and its allies against the Soviet Union in an attempt to gain control of the city.https://46833ebcf2b032834c54d15a170bfc25.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html


On April, 1943, mass graves containing the remains of 4,400 Polish military officers who had been killed by the Soviet secret police were discovered.
PhotoQuest / Getty Images

April 13: The Germans announced that they had discovered 4,400 bodies of Polish officers in a mass grave in Russia’s Katyn Forest, the first concrete evidence of the Katyn Massacre of May 1940.

April 19: German troops and police entered the Warsaw Ghetto to deport its surviving inhabitants. The Jews refused to surrender, and the Germans ordered the burning of the ghetto, which lasted until May 16 and killed an estimated 13,000 people.

July 8: French resistance leader Jean Pierre Moulin is said to have died on a train near Metz and headed to Germany after being tortured by the Nazis.

October 13: One month after surrendering to Allied forces, the government of Italy under Pietro Badoglio joined the Allies and declared war on Germany.https://46833ebcf2b032834c54d15a170bfc25.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html


Troops landing in Normandy on D-Day
Keystone / Getty Images

June 6, 1944 was momentous: D-Day, when the Allies landed in Normandy on the way to liberate Europe from the Nazis.​

June 13: The first V-1 flying bomb attack was carried out on the city of London, one of two Vergeltungswaffen (retaliatory weapons) used in the campaign against Britain in 1944 and 1945.

July 20: German military officers led by Claus von Stauffenberg led Operation Valkyrie, a plot to kill German chancellor Adolf Hitler inside his Wolf’s Lair field headquarters, but failed.https://46833ebcf2b032834c54d15a170bfc25.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html


Computer operators program ENIAC, the first electronic digital computer
CORBIS / Corbis / Getty Images

World War II ended in Europe and the Pacific in 1945, and those two events dominated this year. 

January 17: Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary, disappeared in Budapest after being called to Soviet military commander Rodion Malinovsky’s headquarters in Debrecen. He was never seen again.

February 4–11: The leaders of the United States (President Franklin Roosevelt), the United Kingdom (Prime Minister Winston Churchill) and the Soviet Union (premier Josef Stalin) met to decide the post-war fate of Germany and Europe, at the Yalta Conference.

February 13–15: British and American forces launched an aerial bombing attack on the city of Dresden, effectively destroying over 12,000 buildings in the city’s old town and inner eastern suburbs.

March 9–10: Operation Meetinghouse, in which the U.S. Army Air forces bombed the city of Tokyo, was conducted, only the first of firebombing raids against the city that would continue until the end of the war.

April 12: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt died at his Warm Springs, Georgia estate. His vice president Harry S. Truman took office.

April 30: Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide by cyanide and pistol, in an underground bunker under his headquarters in Berlin.

May 7: Germany signed the first legal German Institution of Surrender in Reims, although the final document was signed on May 9.

August 6 and 8: The United States detonates two nuclear weapons above the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first and (so far only) use of such a weapon against an enemy people.

August 10–17: Korea is divided into North (occupied by the Soviet Union) and South (occupied by the United States).

August 15: Emperor Hirohito announces the surrender of Japan, formally signed on September 2.

October 8: Inventor Percy Spencer filed the first of what would be 150 patents for the Microwave oven, to be made available to the public as the Radarange.

October 24: The United Nations was founded in San Francisco, California, by representatives of 50 countries.

October 29: The Reynolds pen, an early ballpoint, went on sale in the U.S. It proved immensely popular, with several advantages over the fountain pen—a smooth ball bearing instead of a scratchy nib, and an instant-drying ink that only had to be refilled once every six months.

November: The Slinky toy was demonstrated at Gimbel’s department store in Philadelphia.

November 20: The Nuremberg trials began, military tribunals prosecuting prominent members of the leadership of Nazi Germany for their crimes in World War II.https://46833ebcf2b032834c54d15a170bfc25.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html


A mushroom cloud forms after the initial atomic bomb test explosion off the coast of Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands.
Keystone / Getty Images

With World War II over, the news lightened up considerably in 1946.

February 15: ENIAC, the first electronic, general purpose digital computer, was announced to the public by the U.S. Army.

February 24: Juan Perón was elected president of Argentina.

March 5: Winston Churchill gave his “Iron Curtain” speech, condemning Soviet Union policies in Europe.

July 1: Nuclear testing began in the Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, the first of 23 detonations by the United States between 1946 and 1958.

July 4: The post-Holocaust outbreak of violence known as the Kielce Pogrom in Poland was conducted by Polish soldiers, police officers and civilians who killed between 38 and 42 people.

July 5: Bikini swimsuits made their debut on a Paris beach but quickly spread to beaches everywhere.

July 14: Dr. Spock‘s “The Common Book of Baby and Child Care” was published, just in time for the start of the post-war Baby Boom.

July 22: The militant right-wing Zionist organization known as the Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people.

December 11: UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, was founded in New York City.

December 20: The landmark holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” had its premiere; it opened to mixed reviews.

December 26: Las Vegas began its transformation into the gambling capital of the U.S. with the opening of the Flamingo Hotel.https://46833ebcf2b032834c54d15a170bfc25.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html


Portrait of Jackie Robinson
Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images

Sometime in 1947, the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic documents stored in caves on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, were discovered.

February 21: Polaroid cameras were introduced at a meeting of the Optical Society of America in New York City, just in time for all those baby shots.

April 15: Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American baseball player in the Major Leagues.

June: U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall gave a paper at Harvard in which he spoke of an urgent need to help Europe rebuild and later that year, the Marshall Plan doing just that took effect.

July 11: Jewish refugees from France attempting to reach Palestine aboard the Exodus were forcibly turned back by the British.

October 14: World War II fighter pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time, flying in a a Bell X-1 experimental aircraft.


The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Imagno / Getty Images

After the Nationalist Party in South Africa won a majority of seats in the parliament, they established “practical apartheid” in the country, a white supremacist strategy that would last another four decades.

January 30: The philosopher and leader of India Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by an advocate of Hindu nationalism.

March: British astronomer Fred Hoyle, appearing on a BBC radio program, described the current theory of how the universe began as “one big bang at a particular time in the remote past,” making the notion accessible to the public imagination and even though he didn’t at the time accept it.

April 12: Despite headlines saying “Dewey Defeats Truman,” Harry Truman was elected president.

May 14: Jewish politician and diplomat David Ben-Gurion announced the establishment of the State of Israel, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman quickly recognized the new nation.

June 24: After the Soviet Union blocked Western Allies’ routes into sections of Berlin in the Berlin Blockade, the U.S. and British organized the Berlin Airlift to bring supplies to West Berlin.


Mao Tse-tung led the Red Army on its epic Long March and overthrew the Nationalist Chinese dictator Chiang Kai-Shek in 1949
The Print Collector / Print Collector / Getty Images

April 4: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established, an intergovernmental military alliance among 29 North American and European countries.

March 2: The Boeing B-50 named Lucky Lady II landed at Carswell Air Force Base in Texas, completing the first non-stop flight around the world. It was refueled in the air four times.

June 8: George Orwell’s landmark “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was published.

August 29: The Soviet Union conducted the first nuclear bomb test,in what is today Kazakhstan.

October 1: After the Chinese Communist Revolution, part of the Chinese Civil War, leader and party chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the creation of the People’s Republic of China.Cite this Article 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to search“’40s” redirects here. For decades comprising years 40–49 of other centuries, see List of decades.

Above title bar: events during World War II (1939–1945): From left to right: Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching Omaha Beach on D-DayAdolf Hitler visits Paris, soon after the Battle of FranceThe Holocaust occurs as Nazi Germany carries out a programme of systematic state-sponsored genocide, during which approximately six million European Jews are killed; The Japaneseattack on the American naval base of Pearl Harbor launches the United States into the war; An Observer Corps spotter scans the skies of London during the Battle of Britain and The Blitz; The creation of the Manhattan Project leads to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first uses of nuclear weapons, which kill over a quarter million people and lead to the Japanese surrender; Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government, on board USS Missouri, effectively ending the war.

Below title bar: events after World War II: From left to right: The Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948; The Nuremberg trials are held after the war, in which the prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany are prosecuted; After the war, the United States carries out the Marshall Plan, which aims at rebuilding Western Europe; ENIAC, the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer.

Millennium:2nd millennium
Centuries:19th century20th century21st century
Categories:BirthsDeathsBy countryBy topicEstablishmentsDisestablishments

The 1940s (pronounced “nineteen-forties” and commonly abbreviated as “the 40s“) was a decade that began on January 1, 1940, and ended on December 31, 1949.

Most of World War II took place in the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on most countries and people in EuropeAsia, and elsewhere. The consequences of the war lingered well into the second half of the decade, with a war-weary Europe divided between the jostling spheres of influence of the Western world and the Soviet Union, leading to the beginning of the Cold War. To some degree internal and external tensions in the post-war era were managed by new institutions, including the United Nations, the welfare state, and the Bretton Woods system, facilitating the post–World War II economic expansion, which lasted well into the 1970s. The conditions of the post-war world encouraged decolonization and the emergence of new states and governments, with IndiaPakistanIsraelVietnam, and others declaring independence, although rarely without bloodshed. The decade also witnessed the early beginnings of new technologies (such as computersnuclear power, and jet propulsion), often first developed in tandem with the war effort, and later adapted and improved upon in the post-war era.


Politics and wars[edit]


Main article: List of wars 1900–1944 § 1930–1944Main article: List of wars 1945–1989 § 1945–1949World War IIIn Green: German Reich at its peak (1942):  Germany  Civilian-administered occupied territories (Reichskommissariat and General Government)  Military-administered occupied territories (Militärverwaltung)

Major political changes[edit]

  • Establishment of the United Nations Charter (June 26, 1945) effective (October 24, 1945).
  • Establishment of the defence alliance NATO April 4, 1949.

Internal conflicts[edit]

Decolonization and independence[edit]

David Ben-Gurion proclaiming Israeli independence from the United Kingdom on May 14, 1948Mao Zedong proclaiming the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

Prominent political events[edit]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it(July 2018)


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it(July 2018)

The Bretton Woods Conference was the gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton WoodsNew Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II. The conference was held from July 1–22, 1944. It established the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and created the Bretton Woods system.[5]

Assassinations and attempts[edit]

Prominent assassinations, targeted killings, and assassination attempts include:Mahatma Gandhi

Science and technology[edit]



Popular culture[edit]


Main article: 1940s in filmOrson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane (1941)Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund in the trailer for Casablanca (1942)

Although the 1940s was a decade dominated by World War II, important and noteworthy films about a wide variety of subjects were made during that era. Hollywood was instrumental in producing dozens of classic films during the 1940s, several of which were about the war and some are on most lists of all-time great films. European cinema survived although obviously curtailed during wartime and yet many films of high quality were made in the United KingdomFranceItaly, the Soviet Union and elsewhere in Europe. The cinema of Japan also survived. Akira Kurosawa and other directors managed to produce significant films during the 1940s.

Polish filmmakers in Great Britain created anti-nazi color film Calling mr. Smith (1943) about current nazi crimes in occupied Europe during the war and about lies of nazi propaganda.[6]

Film Noir, a film style that incorporated crime dramas with dark images, became largely prevalent during the decade. Films such as The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep are considered classics and helped launch the careers of legendary actors such as Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner. The genre has been widely copied since its initial inception.

In France during the war the tour de force Children of Paradise directed by Marcel Carné (1945), was shot in Nazi occupied Paris.[7][8][9] Memorable films from post-war England include David Lean‘s Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948), Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out (1947) and The Third Man (1949), and Powell and Pressburger‘s A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1946) and The Red Shoes (1948), Laurence Olivier‘s Hamlet, the first non-American film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) directed by Robert HamerItalian neorealism of the 1940s produced poignant movies made in post-war Italy. Roma, città aperta directed by Roberto Rossellini (1945), Sciuscià directed by Vittorio De Sica (1946), Paisà directed by Roberto Rossellini (1946), La terra trema directed by Luchino Visconti (1948), The Bicycle Thief directed by Vittorio De Sica (1948), and Bitter Rice directed by Giuseppe De Santis (1949), are some well-known examples.

In Japanese cinema, The 47 Ronin is a 1941 black and white two-part Japanese film directed by Kenji MizoguchiThe Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945), and the post-war Drunken Angel (1948), and Stray Dog (1949), directed by Akira Kurosawa are considered important early works leading to his first masterpieces of the 1950s. Drunken Angel (1948), marked the beginning of the successful collaboration between Kurosawa and actor Toshiro Mifune that lasted until 1965.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it(July 2018)

Main article: 1940s in musicFrank Sinatra gained massive popularity during the decade, becoming one of the first teen idols, and one of the pop artists who sold the most records in the 1940s

  • Bing Crosby was the best selling pop artist of the 1940s. Crosby was the leading figure of the crooner sound as well as its most iconic, defining artist. By the 1940s, he was an entertainment superstar who mastered all of the major media formats of the day, movies, radio, and recorded music.
  • The most popular music style during the 1940s was swing, which prevailed during World War II. In the later periods of the 1940s, less swing was prominent and crooners like Frank Sinatra, along with genres such as bebop and the earliest traces of rock and roll, were the prevalent genre.


Main articles: List of years in literature and List of years in poetry


As the 1940s went through times of hardship during and after WWII, the solution was significant rationing and fashion items and fabrics were no exception. Fashion became more utilitarian or function and comfortability over style. Besides this rationing, as a tribute, women’s fashion also changed to reflect that and it was seen in the new silhouette that is featured suits. In order to feminize this, certain elements were added such as the straight knee-length skirts and accessories to complete the look. Even with the challenges imposed by shortages in rayon, nylon, wool, leather, rubber, metal (for snaps, buckles, and embellishments), and even the amount of fabric that could be used in any one garment, the fashion industry’s wheels kept chugging slowly along, producing what it could. After the fall of France in 1940, Hollywood drove fashion in the United States almost entirely, with the exception of a few trends coming from war torn London in 1944 and 1945, as America’s own rationing hit full force, and the idea of function seemed to overtake fashion, if only for a few short months until the end of the war. Fabrics shifted dramatically as rationing and wartime shortages controlled import items such as silk and furs. Floral prints seem to dominate the early 1940s, with the mid-to-late 1940s also seeing what is sometimes referred to as “atomic prints” or geometric patterns and shapes. The color of fashion seemed to even go to war, with patriotic nautical themes and dark greens and khakis dominating the color palettes, as trousers and wedges slowly replaced the dresses and more traditional heels due to shortages in stockings and gasoline. The most common characteristics of this fashion were the straight skirt, pleats, front fullness, squared shoulders with v-necks or high necks, slim sleeves and the most favorited necklines were sailor, mandarin and scalloped.

[10]See also: 1930–1945 in fashion and 1945–1960 in fashion


Military leaders[edit]

Activists and religious leaders[edit]

See also: List of individuals and groups assisting Jews during the HolocaustList of Righteous among the Nations by countryResistance during the Holocaust, and Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust


Actors / Entertainers[edit]




Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg

During the 1940s, sporting events were disrupted and changed by the events that engaged and shaped the entire world. The 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games were cancelled because of World War II. During World War II in the United States Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis and numerous stars and performers from American baseball and other sports served in the armed forces until the end of the war. Among the many baseball players (including well known stars) who served during World War II were Moe BergJoe DiMaggioBob FellerHank GreenbergStan Musial (in 1945), Warren Spahn, and Ted Williams. They like many others sacrificed their personal and valuable career time for the benefit and well-being of the rest of society. The Summer Olympics were resumed in 1948 in London and the Winter games were held that year in St. MoritzSwitzerland.

In 1947, Wataru Misaka of the New York Knicks became the first person of color to play in modern professional basketball, just months after Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in Major League Baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers.[11]


Jackie Robinson with the Montreal Royals in July 1946See also: History of baseball in the United States § The war years, and All-American Girls Professional Baseball League

During the early 1940s World War II had an enormous impact on Major League Baseball as many players including many of the most successful stars joined the war effort. After the war many players returned to their teams, while the major event of the second half of the 1940s was the 1945 signing of Jackie Robinson to a players contract by Branch Rickey the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Signing Robinson opened the door to the integration of Major League Baseball finally putting an end to the professional discrimination that had characterized the sport since the 19th century.


See also: Ring Magazine fighters of the year and List of The Ring world champions

During the mid-1930s and throughout the years leading up to the 1940s Joe Louis was an enormously popular Heavyweight boxer. In 1936, he lost an important 12 round fight (his first loss) to the German boxer Max Schmeling and he vowed to meet Schmeling once again in the ring. Louis’ comeback bout against Schmeling became an international symbol of the struggle between the US and democracy against Nazism and Fascism. When on June 22, 1938, Louis knocked Schmeling out in the first few seconds of the first round during their rematch at Yankee Stadium, his sensational comeback victory riveted the entire nation. Louis enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 10, 1942, in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Louis’ cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. He is widely regarded as the first African American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States, and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II.[12]

Track and Field[edit]

See also[edit]


The following articles contain brief timelines listing the most prominent events of the decade.



  1. ^ “Holocaust,” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009: “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women, and children and millions of others by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. The Germans called this “the final solution to the Jewish question …”
  2. ^ Niewyk, Donald L. The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust, Columbia University Press, 2000, p. 45: “The Holocaust is commonly defined as the murder of more than 5,000,000 Jews by the Germans in World War II.” Also see “The Holocaust”, Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007: “the systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jewish men, women and children, and millions of others, by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II. The Germans called this “the final solution to the Jewish question”.
  3. ^ Niewyk, Donald L. and Nicosia, Francis R. The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust, Columbia University Press, 2000, pp. 45–52.
  4. ^ Donald Niewyk suggests that the broadest definition, including Soviet civilian deaths, would produce a death toll of 17 million. [1] Estimates of the death toll of non-Jewish victims vary by millions, partly because the boundary between death by persecution and death by starvation and other means in a context of total war is unclear. Overall, about 5.7 million (78 percent) of the 7.3 million Jews in occupied Europe perished (Gilbert, MartinAtlas of the Holocaust 1988, pp. 242–244). Compared to five to 11 million (1.4 percent to 3.0 percent) of the 360 million non-Jews in German-dominated Europe. Small, Melvin and J. David Singer. Resort to Arms: International and civil Wars 1816–1980 and Berenbaum, Michael. A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis. New York: New York University Press, 1990
  5. ^ Markwell, Donald (2006). John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace. Oxford: Oxford University PressISBN 978-0-198-29236-4.
  6. ^ “Calling Mr Smith”Centre Pompidou. Archived from the original on 2021-02-21. Retrieved 2021-02-13.
  7. ^ “Les Enfants du Paradis – Film (Movie) Plot and Review – Publications”www.filmreference.com.
  8. ^ “Les Enfants du Paradis”www.eufs.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2009-01-13. Gio MacDonald, Edinburgh University Film Society program notes, 1994–95
  9. ^ “Quoted by Roger Ebert, Children of ParadiseChicago Sun-Times, 6 January 2002 review of the Criterion DVD release”. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  10. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  11. ^ Goldstein, Richard (22 November 2019). “New York Times”. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  12. ^ Bloom, John; Willard, Michael Nevin (2002). John Bloom; Michael Nevin Willard (eds.). Sports Matters: Race, Recreation, and Culture. New York: New York University Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-8147-9882-9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lewis, Thomas Tandy, ed. The Forties in America. 3 volumes. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2011.
  • Lingeman, Richard. The Noir Forties: The American People from Victory to Cold War (New York: Nation Books, 2012. xii, 420 pp.)
  • Yust, Walter, ed., 10 Eventful Years (4 vol., Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc, 1947), encyclopedia of world events 1937-46

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1940s.
showvteEvents by month
showvteHistory of the 20th century
Authority control: National libraries IsraelUnited States


You may also like...