Unit 2: 1940's
You will observe and document key factors of pop culture in the 1940’s
You will compare 1940’s pop culture trends to 1940’s American values
You will identify what area of pop culture was most informative in expressing American values.
In the 1940's the United States entered and won the second world war and the United States continued its recovery after the Great Depression. It was through a unified American effort and sense of patriotic duty that the United States and its Allies won World War Two. As these factors collide American culture begins to change and new interests and desires emerge.
As soldiers returned home from war the nation was able to restart many of the industries that had to be shuttered to support the war effort and social programs could resume. Many of America’s celebrities and sports stars had participated in the war effort and the country was excited to welcome them back.
The United States was asserting itself as the world superpower and helped establish the United Nations as a replacement to the League of Nations. This international organization would work to prevent future global conflicts and resolve issues between nations before they escalate to all out war. Additionally, Elanor Roosevelt worked to establish the International Declaration of Human Rights which created a document outlining basic rights every human should enjoy regardless of where they live. At home Americans were looking to take advantage of this new found stability.
Within a year of the war coming to an end the United States economy was back and producing consumer goods and the American people were enjoying recreational activities like going out to clubs, watching films, camping and starting families. The idea of the traditional family unit and American values were important in the 1940’s and soldiers were looking for their piece of the American dream.
It is a period of economic prosperity and for the first time in decades Americans had the chance to work to live rather than live to work. New music emerged that had a more aggressive sound and fashion went from utilitarian to one of style and glamour. America was excited for what was in store and it seemingly had everything it needed to have tremendous success.