The Fist Computer

The Packard, a common car driven by Americans during the 40's

6 American soldiers raise a flag at Iwo Jima

Navy men try to start their planes as the Japanese bomb the harbor

The precarious skyline of 1940's New York

Aircraft from WWII

A photo of the first atomic bomb detonated during at the Trinity Site


Dwight D. Eisenhower

President Dwight D Eisenhower was important in the 1940’s because of his role in the military. Eisenhower was assigned to General DeWitt Clinton for a short term in Fort Ord in California and then transferred permanently to Fort Lewis in Washington as a regimental executive, from February of 1940 to November of 1940. After, Eisenhower was Chief of Staff for General Thompson until March of 1941. Then he served as Chief of Staff for General Kenyon Joyce at Fort Lewis until June 1941. He was then Chief of Staff to Walter Kreuger at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas from June 1941 to December of 1941. He was temporarily promoted to colonel on March 11, 1941 and also temporarily to Brigadier General, September 29, 1941. He was assigned to General Staff in Washington D.C. from December 1941 to June 1942. He was named Deputy Chief in charge of pacific defenses under Chief of War Plans Division, General Leonard Gerow, in December 1941. He was designated as Chief of War Plans Division in February of 1942. In April 1942, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff in charge of Operations Division for General George Marshall, Chief of Staff. On March 27, 1942, he was temporarily promoted to Major General.

In May 1942, Eisenhower conducted a mission to increase co-operation among World War II allies, London and England. He was designated Commanding General of the European Theatre in London, England in May 1942. He was commander-in-chief of the allied forces in North Africa in November of 1942. He was temporarily promoted to Lieutenant General on July 7, 1942 and to general on February 11, 1943. Eisenhower was promoted to Brigadier General on August 30, 1943 and was promoted to Major General on the same date. On D-Day in 1944 he was supreme commander of the troops invading France. In this role he commanded forces Of Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944. On December 20, 1944 he was promoted to the General of the Army. Shortly after the German surrender on May 8, 1945 Eisenhower was appointed Military Governor, U.S. Occupied Zone, and Frankfurt, Germany. On April 11 of 1946, wartime rank of the General of the Army was converted to a permanent rank. Eisenhower was designated as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army on November 19, 1945
. He was inaugurated as president, Columbia University, New York City, on June 7, 1948.

Enrico Fermi

Born in Rome on September 29 1901, Enrico Fermi became the Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Rome, and was an expert on neutrons. His work furthered science’s understanding of beta (β) decay and artificial radiation. He observed that almost any atom struck with a neutron will undergo some sort of nuclear transformation, which would lead to the discovery of nuclear fission and atoms previously not on the table, including plutonium (ununquadium being the heaviest known atom).

Fermi was fascinated by fission, and experimented on using secondary neutrons to create a chain nuclear reaction, called a nuclear furnace, with which he succeeded on December 2, 1942. This is the same energy releasing technology that would later be used during the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb. Others in the Manhattan project included Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein. Fermi was horrified by the power of the bomb at the Trinity Test on July 16, 1945, which was almost double his estimate, the equivalent of 19 kilotons of TNT.
Harry S. Truman


May 8,1884
December 6,1972
33rd president

President Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884. Truman was nominated as vice president in July 1944, but on April 12, 1945, he was sworn in to be the 33rd president because President Roosevelt died. He called the first year of his presidency a “year of decisions.” He participated in the Potsdam conference in Germany. He approved to drop the bombs on Japan on August 6th and 9th of 1945. This led to Japan surrendering on August 14th. The first year of his presidency he saw the founding of the UN (United Nations), also the development of fighting relationship with the Soviet Union. He undertook in his foreign policy the Truman Doctrine. The Truman Doctrine was a projection of American willingness to provide military aid to countries that resisted communist.

Truman recognized Israel’s demonstration of support for democracy and commitment to a Jewish homeland in May of 1948. In 1948 he won the reelection. His defeat over Thomas E. Dewey and Storm Thurmond was widely expected. He had a famous campaign “whistle-stop.” It tour through the United States and passed into political folklore. President Truman died on December 6, 1972.

Franklin D. Roosevelt


He became the 32nd president of the United States and finished his presidency on the day of his death on April 12, 1945. He was the only president elected for four terms. He led the United States through one of the most devastating crises in the last century: World War 2. Which some thought would be the end of the world.

In March 1941 Roosevelt obtained passage of the Lend-Lease Act which let the US accept non-cash payment for military and other aid to Britain and its other allies. Later that year he authorized the United States Navy to provide protection for lend-lease shipments, and in the fall he instructed the navy to “shoot on sight” at German submarines. On August 1941 FDR and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledged their countries to the goal of achieving “the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny.” Yet, instead of the Atlantic attacking it was the Pacific. On December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan which thrust the US in to the war. After the war FDR was viewed as a hero for most. FDR took the troubled country out of the wilderness and into the promise land with his new and innovative ideas.

1940s Evaluation

The 1940s were important to how we live modern day today. The 40s were a time of entertainment advancements. In 1940, famous cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were created along with a whole cast of Looney Toons. Another addition to the entertainment industry was the war films. The Americans were portrayed as the heroes and the Germans and the Japanese were portrayed as villains.bugs-bunny-neener.jpgDaffyDuck.jpgWith the men off fighting in the war; women were left to do the work around the country. Factories and assembly lines that were occupied by male workers were now operated by females. Characters like Rosie the Riveter were created to make working women appear tough and confident. Another thing women took over was the baseball diamond. The AAGPBL gave people baseball in a different light. Though it faced adversity at first the League gained much popularity and respect for its players.


On December 7, 1941, Japanese airplanes attacked Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor came in four waves. It lasted for a little more than 2 hours. The destruction of the bombings resulted in 19 sunken ships and 190 American airplanes were destroyed. Only three aircraft carriers survived 2,400 people were killed that day. Because of Pearl Harbor Roosevelt decided to declare war with the Japanese.


In 1941 African Americans were fighting for civil rights for those overseas when even they didn’t have civil rights. Labor leader A. Phillip Randolph set up a march on Washington. He threatened to bring 50,000 protesters if job discrimination was not stopped. President Roosevelt’s Wife Eleanor encouraged her husband to stop discrimination in war industry jobs. On June 25, he created the Fair Employment Practices Committee to make sure these industries did not discriminate according to skin color.



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