"Teenager" was not even a word until the late 1940s. Zoot suits, bobby-soxers, soda shops, do not sound familiar. These were all things 1940 teenagers know. A teenager's life in the 1940s and today is extremely different in the areas of high school life and home life. If you stepped into a classroom in the 1940s, you might see girls making dresses and boys training hard in physical education.

At Crane Technical High School, physical education was very important because the principal wanted to keep all of the boys in tip-top shape for war. At Lucy Flower High School for girls, the students studied hat making, laundering, and beauty culture. Also, schools that had sewing classes, had a fashion show at the end of the year where the boys and girls alike would fashion what they had made.

According to the Chicago Teen Exhibit at the Chicago Historical Society, the reason these classes are so different from today is "many poor and immigrant families saw little value in studying subjects like Latin and Botany. Educators knew that young people and their parents would choose school over work only if it served a practical purpose. In response, schools offered vocational and commercial courses from dress-making to bookkeeping. Growing numbers of young people soon filled technical schools”.

Schools taught lessons in family life, hygiene, and health. According to Joel Spring this was because "What do we do with sixty percent of students who aren't gaining anything from a college-prep curriculum? We will give them “life adjustment education”. In 1940, eight out ten boys who graduated from school went to war and more than half of the population of the United States had completed no more than eighth grade. In 1945 fifty-one percent of 17 year olds were high school graduates. Today, more than 13 million teenagers report to public high school classes across the United States.

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Having to once again endure war years, Hollywood, and its top film stars of the 1940's, continued to provide quality entertainment to their audience. Although the early part of the decade provided financial challenges to the entire nation, Americas desire for entertainment was still in great demand. In an effort to meet the demand, and continue with its Golden Era, Hollywood was once again successful in providing a number of talented new stars and producing many popular films.

One of the most iconic movie stars of this period, or any peried, was Bette Davis. Davis has been regarded by numerous feminist historians as one of the most influential actresses in leading the way for more important and meaningful women's roles on the silver screen. Her film accomplishments are legendary, having won two Best Actress Awards for her roles in Jezebel (1938) and Dangerous (1940). She would also receive five more Oscar nominations for her performances in Dark Victory (1940), The Letter (1941), The Little Foxes (1942), Now Voyager (1943) and Mr. Skeffington (1944). Her talent has firmly established Bette Davis as one of the most honored and respected actresses in Hollywood history.

During the 1940's, Davis would become one of Hollywood's highest paid actresses, and used her notoriety and wealth to contribute greatly to supporting the World War II effort by assisting the Hollywood Canteen's programs for GI's who passed through the Los Angeles area. Another 1940's film icon, and one of Hollywood's most popular stars, was the great Humphrey Bogart.

During this decade, Bogart deservedly earned his reputation in Hollywood as one of their most talented and hardest working stars. Bogart's impact on the silver screen was huge. Some of his more notable staring roles included High Sierra (1941), The Maltese Falcon (1941), and the classic war time propaganda film Casablanca (1942).

His role in Casablanca would earn him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, launching him into stardom and making him the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Some of Humphrey Bogart's most popular roles were those in which he teamed up with actress Lauren Bacall.

The most notable being To Have and Have Not (1944), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and the famous and memorable Key Largo (1948). The success of their screen pairing carried over to their personal lives as the two stars would eventually be married and come to be recognized as the "star power couple" of Hollywood.

Another movie fan favorite to kick off a very successful film career in the 1940's was femme fatale Rita Hayworth. Although she began making films during the 1930's, it was her role in Gilda (1946) that put her on the map as major movie star and sex symbol.

With one little strip of a glove, while dancing in Gilda, she managed to cement her image into American film audiences. This audience would continue their love affair with the beautiful actress in the black satin dress with that sultry, wavy auburn hair for many years to come. Take some time to explore these films as the 1940's was a great decade for film stars and the many enjoyable films they made.

Food Rationing Program 1940

With the onset of World War II, numerous challenges confronted the American people. The government found it necessary to ration food, gas, and even clothing during that time. Americans were asked to conserve on everything. With not a single person unaffected by the war, rationing meant sacrifices for all. In the spring of 1942, the Food Rationing Program was set into motion. Rationing would deeply affect the American way of life for most. The federal government needed to control supply and demand.

Rationing was introduced to avoid public anger with shortages and not to allow only the wealthy to purchase commodities. While industry and commerce were affected, individuals felt the effects more intensely. People were often required to give up many material goods, but there also was an increase in employment. Individual efforts evolved into clubs and organizations coming to terms with the immediate circumstances. Joining together to support and maintain supply levels for the troops abroad meant making daily adjustments.

Their efforts also included scrap drives, taking factory jobs, goods donations and other similar projects to assist those on the front. Government-sponsored ads, radio shows, posters and pamphlet campaigns urged the American people to comply. With a sense of urgency, the campaigns appealed to America to contribute by whatever means they had, without complaint. The propaganda was a highly effective tool in reaching the masses.

Rationing regulated the amount of commodities that consumers could obtain. Sugar rationing took effect in May 1943 with the distribution of "Sugar Buying Cards." Registration usually took place in local schools. Each family was asked to send only one member for registration and be prepared to describe all other family members. Coupons were distributed based on family size, and the coupon book allowed the holder to buy a specified amount.

Possession of a coupon book did not guarantee that sugar would be available. Americans learned to utilize what they had during rationing time. While some food items were scarce, others did not require rationing, and Americans adjusted accordingly. "Red Stamp" rationing covered all meats, butter, fat, and oils, and with some exceptions, cheese.

Each person was allowed a certain amount of points weekly with expiration dates to consider. "Blue Stamp" rationing covered canned, bottled, and frozen fruits and vegetables, plus juices and dry beans; and such processed foods as soups, baby food and cats up. Ration stamps became a kind of currency with each family being issued a "War Ration Book." Each stamp authorized a purchase of rationed goods in the quantity and time designated, and the book guaranteed each family its fair share of goods made scarce, thanks to the war.

Up until the outbreak of hostilities in Europe during WWII, American fashion designers simply copied the styles of French designers. The US did not make any of its own fashions, but became quite skilled at making inexpensive, mass-produced copies. This allowed most American women, even those on a modest budget, to be fashionable.

Once the Germans occupied Paris, the American designers were cut off from Paris haute couture and were forced to design new fashions for the United States market. Many concentrated on sportswear which led to the United States emerging as the sportswear capital of the world. In 1941, war good manufacturing took center stage.

During 1942, the War Production Board began severely restricting the amount of yardage used in garments. On March 8, 1942 the War Production Board issued regulation L - 85, which regulated every aspect of clothing. Stanley Marcus was the apparel consultant to the War Production Board. At this time he took the stand that it was the designer's patriotic duty to design fashions which would remain stylish through multiple seasons.

ww2 american fashion

American designers introduced the concept of separates and co-ordinating components in order to create the illusion of more outfits than one actually had. Classic sportswear styles took hold on college campuses and were soon adopted by all levels of society and all age groups. Dresses and suits became slimmer and shorter; most skirts were only as wide as was needed to walk and sit, and hem lengths rose to the knee. Padded, square shoulders imitiating a military uniform were popular, and a common dress style buttoned down the front of the bodice and was trimly belted at the waist.

Many bodices and blouses had gathers or darts at the shoulder and waist to give shape and fullness at the bust but still keep a trim waistline. Suits remained popular, with padded, square shoulders and fitted skirts. Dress and suit styles were simple and practical with clean lines. "Air force blue" becomes the popular colour. Slim tubular look in knitted dresses or chemises with cinch belts also became popular. Another popular style was the one strap dress with an un-even hemline.

The Allied landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944

The Allied landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944 were among the most desperate undertakings in the history of war. Amphibious operations against an enemy in a strong defensive position will almost always lead to heavy casualties.

In November 1943, the United States Marine Corps' capture of the tiny atoll of Tarawa in the central Pacific had cost more than 3,000 casualties. American censors banned a public screening of the US Navy film of this event, arguing that its shocking images of a lagoon red with soldiers' blood would undermine the morale of US forces and the Home Front. The British and Canadians had suffered their own disaster at Dieppe on 18 August 1942.

More than two thirds of a 6,000-man raiding force had been left behind on the shingle beach, dead, wounded and prisoners. by the time you wake up in the morning twenty thousand men may have been killed... On the eve of D-Day the Allied leadership was in a state of neurotic anxiety.

Just after midnight on 6 June, a restless Churchill, haunted by memories of the disastrous Allied landings at Gallipoli 29 years earlier, bade his wife goodnight with the words, 'Do you realise that by the time you wake up in the morning twenty thousand men may have been killed?' The same night, the chief of the imperial general staff, General Alan Brooke, confided to his diary that '... it may well be the most ghastly disaster of the whole war. I wish to God it were safely over.

Ddwight Eisenhower

At about 22.00 the supreme allied commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, had made an impromptu visit to paratroopers of the 101st Airborne at Greenham Common airfield near Newbury. His driver, Kay Summersby, recorded that the general, overwhelmed by emotion, climbed back into the car with his shoulders sagged.

Eisenhower had already written a letter accepting full responsibility if D-Day turned out to be a disaster. Churchill had assured him that they would go together. The Allied high command anticipated that a successful landing would cost 10,000 dead and perhaps 30,000 wounded, but were steeling themselves for much heavier casualties.

The Invasion of Poland begins at 4:30 a.m. with the German Luftwaffe attacking several targets in Poland. The United Kingdom and France demand Germany's immediate withdrawal. The United Kingdom home front is opened as the government declares general mobilization of the British Army and begins evacuation plans in preparation of German air attacks.

France, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and New Zealand declare war on Germany after German refusal to withdraw from Poland. Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber Command launches a raid on the German battleship Admiral Scheer in the Heligoland Bight. Six of the 24 attacking aircraft are lost, and while the German vessel is hit three times, all of the bombs fail to explode. French patrols enter Germany near Saarbrücken. Canada declares war on Germany.  

German Luftwaffe

The German Luftwaffe was one of the most powerful, doctrinally advanced, and battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II started in Europe in September 1939. Officially unveiled in 1935, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, its purpose was to support Hitler's Blitzkrieg across Europe. The aircraft that were to serve in the Luftwaffe were of a new age and far superior to that of most other nations in the 1930s. Types like the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka and Messerschmitt Bf 109 came to symbolize German aerial might. The Luftwaffe became an essential component in the "Blitzkrieg" battle plan.

Operating as a tactical close support air force, it helped the German armies to conquer the bulk of the European continent in a series of short and decisive campaigns in the first nine months of the war, experiencing its first defeat during the Battle of Britain in 1940 as it could not adapt into a strategic role, lacking heavy bombers with which to conduct a strategic bombing campaign against the British Isles. Despite this setback the Luftwaffe remained formidable and in June 1941 embarked on Adolf Hitler's quest for an empire in eastern Europe by invading the USSR, with much initial success.

However, the Luftwaffe's stunning victories in the Soviet Union were brought to a halt in the Russian winter of 1942-1943. From then on, it was forced onto the strategic defensive contesting the ever increasing numbers of Soviet aircraft, whilst defending the German homeland and occupied Europe from the growing Allied air forces pounding all aspects of German industry.

Hitler speaks before the Reichstag

The Soviet Union began talks with Finland to adjust the border between the two countries. Polish resistance in the Polish September Campaign comes to an end. Finland begins mobilizing its army; Hitler speaks before the Reichstag, declaring a desire for a conference with Britain and France to restore peace. Hittler issues orders to prepare for the invasion of Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The German navy suggests occupying Norway to Hitler.

The British battleship HMS Royal Oak is sunk in Scapa Flow harbour by U-47. Portions of Poland are formally inducted into Germany; the first Jewish ghetto is established at Lublin. November The Soviet Union invades Finland in what would become known as the Winter War. December Jews are forced to wear the emblem of the Star of David.


Adolf Eichmann 1945

During World War II, ghettos were established by the Nazis to confine Jews into tightly packed areas of the cities of Eastern Europe. Starting in 1939, Adolf Eichmann, head of the Final Solution program, began to systematically move Polish Jews into designated areas of large Polish cities.

The first large ghetto at Tuliszkow was established in December 1939 or January 1940, followed by the ód Ghetto in April 1940 and the Warsaw Ghetto in October 1940, with many other ghettos established throughout 1940 and 1941. The Ghettos were walled off, and any Jew found leaving them was shot.

The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of these Ghettos, with 380,000 people and the ód Ghetto, the second largest, holding about 160,000. At the start of World War II, there were 60,000 Jews living in Cracow, one-fourth of the entire population.

The German occupation began on September 6, 1939. The Germans dismantled the Jewish community organization and appointed a Judenrat to administer to Jewish affairs. An order was given in April 1940 for Jews to evacuate Cracow within four months. In that period, 35,000 Jews left the city and 15,000 were allowed to remain. Cracow became the capital of Nazi-occupied Poland.

Ghettos ww2 Jews

In March 1941, a ghetto was built and housed 20,000 Jews, including 6,000 Jews from neighboring communities. Deportations began in June 1942; 5,000 Jews were sent to the Belzec death camp. In October 1942, 6,000 Jews were deported to Belzec. Patients at the hospital, residents of the old age home and 300 children at the orphanage were killed in the aktion. Another several hundred Jews were put to death in the ghetto itself.

The Jewish Combat Organization was active in organizing resistance in the ghetto. A Zionist resistance group, Akiva, and a leftist group, joined together to form the ZOB. Their group ceased to function after the ghetto was liquidated and the remaining Jews were sent to the Plaszow labor camp in March 1943. In the Zablocie district of Cracow, Oscar Schindler had a factory, which he used to save 1,098 Jews from Plaszow. His factory became a subcamp of the Nazi concentration camp system. He paid the German Reich for their labor. The film, Schindler’s List, was filmed on site in the Cracow ghetto.

Only 2,000 Jews from Cracow survived the war. Some Jews who lived in Russia during the war returned to Cracow in 1945-46. A Jewish community was not re-established because of a fear of progroms. The last Jew left Kazimierz in 1968.

About 700 Jews remained in Cracow after 1968. Today, approximately 1,000 Jews live in Cracow, but only about 200 identify themselves as members of the Jewish community. Despite the dwindling population, interest in preserving Jewish history has been rekindled. A new Jewish research institute was established in Jugiellonian University and a Jewish Cultural Center was set up in Kazimierz. Every two years, Kazimierz hosts a Jewish cultural festival that has music, dance, film and theater.

Miles Davis

By the mid-1950s musicians (Miles Davis and John Coltrane among others) began to explore directions beyond the standard bebop vocabulary. Simultaneously, other players expanded on the bold steps of bebop: "cool jazz" or "West Coast jazz", modal jazz, as well as free jazz and avant-garde forms of development from the likes of George Russell. Bebop style also influenced the Beat Generation whose spoken-word style drew on jazz rhythms, and whose poets often employed jazz musicians to accompany them.

The bebop influence also shows in rock and roll, which contains solos employing a form similar to bop solos, and "hippies" of the 60s and 70s, who, like the boppers had a unique, non-conformist style of dress, a vocabulary incoherent to outsiders, and a communion through music. Fans of bebop were not restricted to the USA; the music gained cult status in France and Japan.

1940s bebop jazz

More recently, Hip-hop artists (A Tribe Called Quest, Guru) have cited bebop as an influence on their rapping and rhythmic style. Bassist Ron Carter even collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest on 1991's The Low End Theory, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers and trumpeter Donald Byrd were featured on Jazzmattazz, by Guru, in the same year. Bebop samples, especially bass lines, ride cymbal swing clips, and horn and piano riffs are found throughout the hip-hop compendium.

Bebop jazz standards are jazz tunes from the 1940s and 1930s that are widely known, performed, and recorded among jazz musicians.

Bebop is a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and improvisation based on harmonic structure rather than melody, that was developed in the early and mid-1940s. Hard bop later developed from bebop combined with blues and gospel music.

There is no definitive list of Bebop jazz standards, and the list of songs deemed to be Bebop "jazz standards" changes over time. Nevertheless, the songs commonly included in jazz fake books (books containing the melodies and chords to jazz songs) and those that have been widely recorded are a rough guide to the list of Bebop jazz standards.

The Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter, used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during the Second World War, and into the 1950s.It was produced in greater numbers than any other Allied design. The Spitfire was the only Allied fighter in production at the outbreak of the Second World War that was still in production at the end of the war.

Produced by the Supermarine subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrongs, the Spitfire was designed by the company's Chief Designer R. J. Mitchell, who continued to refine the design until his death from cancer in 1937; the position of chief designer was then filled by his colleague, Joseph Smith.

Its elliptical wing had a thin cross-section, allowing a higher top speed than the Hawker Hurricane and many other contemporary designs. The distinctive silhouette imparted by the wing planform helped the Spitfire to achieve legendary status during the Battle of Britain.

There was, and still is, a public perception that it was the RAF fighter of the Battle, in spite of the fact that the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a great deal of the burden against the potent Messerschmitt Bf 109. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire saw service during the whole of the Second World War and subsequent years, in most theatres of war, in several roles and in many different variants.

The distinctive silhouette imparted by the wing planform helped the Spitfire to achieve legendary status during the Battle of Britain. There was, and still is, a public perception that it was the RAF fighter of the Battle, in spite of the fact that the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a great deal of the burden against the potent Messerschmitt Bf 109. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire saw service during the whole of the Second World War and subsequent years, in most theatres of war, in several roles and in many different variants.

cold war propaganda poster

The Cold War was the period of conflict, tension and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s. Throughout the period, the rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in multiple arenas: military coalitions; ideology, psychology, and espionage; sports; military, industrial, and technological developments, including the space race; costly defence spending; a massive conventional and nuclear arms race; and many proxy wars. The events that took place in a remote area of New Mexico during the predawn hours of July 16, 1945 forever changed the world.

In the early morning darkness the incredible destructive powers of the atom were first unleashed and what had been merely theoretical became reality. The test was the culmination of three years' planning and development within the super secret Manhattan Project headed by General Leslie R. Groves. Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer directed the scientific team headquartered at Los Alamos, New Mexico.

An isolated corner of the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range located 230 miles south of Los Alamos was selected for the test that was given the code-name "Trinity." Even before the bomb was tested, a second bomb was secretly dispatched to the Pacific for an attack on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.


During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. After six months of intense strategic fire-bombing of 67 Japanese cities the Japanese government ignored an ultimatum given by the Potsdam Declaration. By executive order of President Harry S. Truman the U.S. dropped the nuclear weapon "Little Boy" on the city of Hiroshima on Monday, August 6, 1945, followed by the detonation of "Fat Man" over Nagasaki on August 9.

These are the only use of nuclear weapons in war. The target was chosen as Hiroshima was a city of considerable military importance, containing Japan's Second Army Headquarters, as well as being a communications center and storage depot.

Glenn Miller

Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – missing December 15, 1944), was an American jazz musician, arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known "Big bands". Miller's signature recordings include In the Mood, American Patrol, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Tuxedo Junction, Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug and Pennsylvania 6-5000. While traveling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Miller's plane disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel.

His body has never been found. Miller was born on a farm in Clarinda, Iowa, to Mattie Lou (née Cavender) and Lewis Elmer Miller. He went to grade school in North Platte in western Nebraska. In 1915, Miller's family moved to Grant City, Missouri. Around this time, Miller had finally made enough money from milking cows to buy his first trombone and played in the town orchestra. In 1918, the Miller family moved again, this time to Fort Morgan, Colorado, where Miller went to high school.

During his senior year, Miller became very interested in a new style of music called "dance band music." He was so taken with it that he formed his own band with some classmates. By the time Miller graduated from high school in 1921, he had decided he wanted to become a professional musician.

In 1923, Miller entered the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he joined Sigma Nu Fraternity, but spent most of his time away from school, attending auditions and playing any gigs he could get, most notably with Boyd Senter's band in Denver. He dropped out of school after failing three out of five classes one semester, and decided to concentrate on making a career as a professional musician. He later studied the Schillinger technique with Joseph Schillinger, under whose tutelage he composed what became his signature theme, Moonlight Serenade. In 1926, Miller toured with several groups, eventually landing a good spot in Ben Pollack's group in Los Angeles.

During his stint with Pollack, Miller wrote several musical arrangements of his own. In 1928, when the band arrived in New York City, he sent for and married his college sweetheart, Helen Burger. He was a member of Red Nichols's orchestra in 1930, and because of Nichols, Miller played in the pit bands of two Broadway shows, Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy (where his bandmates included Big Band giants Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa). During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Miller managed to earn a living working as a freelance trombonist in several bands.

On November 14, 1929 , an original vocalist named Red McKenzie hired Glenn to play on two records that are now considered to be jazz classics: "Hello, Lola" and "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight." Beside Glenn were clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, guitarist Eddie Condon, drummer Gene Krupa and Coleman Hawkins on tenor saxophone.

Dorsey brothers

In the early-to-mid-1930s, Miller also worked as a trombonist and arranger in The Dorsey Brothers, first when they were a Brunswick studio group and finally when they formed an ill-fated co-led touring and recording orchestra. Miller composed the song "Annie's Cousin Fanny" and "Dese Dem Dose" for the Dorsey Brothers Band in 1934 and 1935. In 1935, he assembled an American orchestra for British bandleader Ray Noble, developing the arrangement of lead clarinet over four saxophones that eventually became the sonic keynote of his own big band. Members of the Noble band included future bandleaders Claude Thornhill, Bud Freeman and Charlie Spivak.

Grapes of wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their Oklahoma home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry.

In a nearly hopeless situation, they set out for California along with thousands of other "Okies" in search of land, jobs and dignity. The Grapes of Wrath is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes. A celebrated Hollywood film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford, was made in 1940; the endings of the book and the movie differ greatly.

Igor I. Sikorsky

Igor I. Sikorsky, the legendary aviation pioneer, will long be remembered as the man who gave the world its first practical helicopter. This achievement alone was significant enough to ensure the gentle Russian immigrant's place in the history books, but it was only one facet of an extraordinary man's remarkable career ... a career that paralleled the history of powered flight. Often described as a humble genius, Mr. Sikorsky had already achieved worldwide recognition in two other fields of aviation before he built and successfully flew his VS-300 helicopter in 1939. Born in Kiev, Russia, on May 25, 1889,

Mr. Sikorsky developed an early interest in aviation, thanks largely to the influence of his mother, who was a doctor, and his father, a psychology professor. A youthful tour of Germany in the company of his father, during which he first heard of the Wright brothers and came in detailed contact with the work of Count Zeppelin, more or less settled the question of what career the youthful Sikorsky was to follow.

He graduated from the Petrograd Naval College, studied engineering in Paris, returned to Kiev and entered the Mechanical Engineering College of the Polytechnical Institute in 1907. But in 1909, his young mind full of aviation, Mr. Sikorsky went back to Paris, then the aeronautical center of Europe, to learn what he could of the embryo science.

Igor I. Sikorsky,

While in Paris, he became known to many of the men who later were to make great names in aviation - Bleriot, Ferber, and others. Despite advice to the contrary from these and other experienced men, Mr. Sikorsky announced plans to build a helicopter. Having learned all he could of aviation as it was then known in Europe, he bought a 25 h.p. Anzani engine and went home to Kiev to begin building a rotary-wing aircraft. The helicopter failed, as did its successor due to a lack of power and understanding of the rotary-wing art. Undiscouraged, Mr. Sikorsky then turned his attention to fixed-wing aircraft.

First success came with the S-2, the second fixedwing plane of his design and construction. His fifth airplane, the S-5, won him national recognition as well as F.A.I. license Number 64. His S-6-A received the highest award at the 1912 Moscow Aviation Exhibition. and in the fall of that year the aircraft won for its young designer, builder and pilot first prize in the military competition at Petrograd. Mr. Sikorsky's success in 1912 led to a position as head of the aviation subsidiary of the Russian Baltic Railroad Car Works.

In this position, as a result of a mosquito-clogged carburetor and subsequent engine failure, he conceived the idea of an aircraft having more than one engine -a most radical idea for the times. With the blessings of his parent company, he embarked on an engineering project which gave the world its first multi-engine airplane, the four-engined "The Grand."

The revolutionary aircraft featured such things as an enclosed cabin. a lavatory, upholstered chairs and an exterior catwalk atop the fuselage where passengers could take a turn about in the air. His success with "The Grand" led him to design an even bigger aircraft, called the Ilia Mourometz, after a legendary 10th Century Russian hero. More than 70 military versions of the Ilia Mourometz were built for use as bombers during World War 1.

The Revolution put an end to Mr. Sikorsky's career in Russian aviation. Sacrificing a considerable personal fortune, he emigrated to France where he was commissioned to build a bomber for Allied service. The aircraft was still on the drawing board when the Armistice was signed and Mr. Sikorsky, after casting about in vain for a position in French aviation, traveled to the United States in 1919. After another fruitless search for some position in aviation.

Mr. Sikorsky resorted to teaching. He lectured in New York, mostly to fellow emigres. Finally, in 1923, a group of students and friends who knew of his reputation in prewar Russia pooled their meager resources and launched him on his first American aviation venture, The Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corp.

deadly attack on the US Pacific Fleet

It all happened so quickly. At 7.55am on Sunday 7 December 1941, the first of two waves of Japanese aircraft began their deadly attack on the US Pacific Fleet, moored at Pearl Harbor on the Pacific island of Oahu. Within two hours, five battleships had been sunk, another 16 damaged, and 188 aircraft destroyed. Only chance saved three US aircraft carriers, usually stationed at Pearl Harbor but assigned elsewhere on the day. The attacks killed under 100 Japanese but over 2,400 Americans, with another 1,178 injured. ... the attacks had been slowly brewing for years.' Although swift in execution, the attacks had been slowly brewing for years.

The US had once looked upon Japanese ambitions with a level of sympathy, even indulgence. Hit hard by the Great Depression of the early 1930s, however, Japanese disillusion with party government grew and moderates gave way to militants. In 1931 Japan occupied Manchuria in northern China. Over the decade conflict intensified and in July 1937 war was declared. As Japanese aggression increased, its relations with the US deteriorated.

Occupied Manchuria was rapidly exploited with the establishment of heavy and light industries. This was a practical necessity for Japan. Lacking in natural resources itself, the search for alternative supplies underpinned foreign and military policy throughout the decade and led to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War. On top of practical economic considerations, early military success and an inherent sense of racial superiority led Japan to believe that it deserved to dominate Asian politics.

As with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, this combination bred an aggressive and neo-colonial foreign policy, the 'Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere'. Higher birth-rates and economic considerations required more land; the gene-pool justified it.

British Expeditionary Force in France

British anti-invasion preparations of World War II entailed a large-scale division of military and civilian mobilization in response to the threat of invasion by German armed forces in 1940 and 1941. The army needed to recover from the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in France, and 1.5 million men were enrolled as part-time soldiers in the Home Guard. The rapid construction of field fortifications transformed much of Britain, especially southern England, into a prepared battlefield.

Short of heavy weapons and equipment, the British had to make the best use of whatever was available. The German invasion plan, Operation Sealion, was never taken beyond the preliminary assembly of forces. Today, little remains of Britain's anti-invasion preparations. Only reinforced concrete structures such as pillboxes are common, and until recently, even these have been unappreciated as historical monuments.

Operation Sealion

Operation Sealion (German: Unternehmen Seelöwe) was Nazi Germany's plan to invade the United Kingdom during World War II, beginning in 1940. The operation was postponed indefinitely on 17 September 1940. Following swift victory in the Battle of France, Germany believed the war in the west was won, but sought direct measures to break British resistance.

Under Großadmiral Erich Raeder of the Kriegsmarine, numerous studies for a German naval assault across the English Channel were produced, identifying several conditions for invasion, including the elimination of the Royal Navy and the air strength of the Royal Air Force, as well as destruction of British coastal defences. The Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) originally planned an invasion on a vast scale, extending along most of the English Channel, from Dorset to Kent.

This was far in excess of what the Navy could supply transportation for and final plans were more modest, calling for nine divisions to land by sea with around 67,000 men in the first echelon and an airborne division to support them.The chosen invasion sites ran from Rottingdean in the west to Hythe in the east.

Warsaw ghettos

The situation in the ghettos was brutal. In Warsaw, 30% of the population were forced to live in 2.4% of the city's area, a density of 9.2 people per room. In the ghetto of Odrzywol, 700 people lived in an area previously occupied by 5 families, between 12 and 30 to each small room. The Jews were not allowed out of the ghetto, so they had to rely on replenishments supplied by the Nazis: in Warsaw this was 181 calories per Jew, compared to 669 calories per non-Jewish Pole and 2,613 calories per German.

With crowded living conditions, starvation diets, and little sanitation (in the ód Ghetto 95% of apartments had no sanitation, piped water or sewers) hundreds of thousands of Jews died of disease and starvation. In 1942, the Nazis began Operation Reinhard, the systematic deportation to extermination camps during the Holocaust. The authorities deported Jews from everywhere in Europe to the ghettos of the East, or directly to the extermination camps -- almost 300,000 people were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto alone to Treblinka over the course of 52 days. In some of the Ghettos the local resistance organizations started Ghetto uprisings, none were successful, and all the Jewish populations of the ghettos were almost entirely killed.

Dunkirk evacuation June 1940

The Dunkirk evacuation, codenamed Operation Dynamo by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, between May 26 and June 4, 1940, when British and French troops were cut off by the German army during the Battle of Dunkirk in the Second World War. Winston Churchill called it the greatest military defeat for many centuries, warning that "the whole root, the core, and brain of the British Army" was stranded in Dunkirk. He hailed their subsequent rescue as a "miracle of deliverance. In nine days, 331,226 soldiers 192,226 British and 139,000 French were rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of 860 boats.

Many of the troops were able to embark from the harbour's protective mole onto 42 British destroyers and other large ships, while others had to wade toward the ships, waiting for hours to board, shoulder deep in water.

Others were ferried from the beaches to the larger ships, and thousands were carried back to England, by the famous "little ships of Dunkirk," a flotilla of around 700 merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft and RNLI lifeboats the smallest of which was the 15-foot fishing boat, Tamzine, now in the Imperial War Museum whose civilian crews were called into service for the emergency. The "miracle of the little ships" remains a prominent folk memory in Britain.

1940s radio

Many musical styles flourished and combined in the 1940s and 1950s, most likely because of the influence of radio had in creating a mass market for music. World War II caused great social upheaval, and the music of this period shows the effects of that upheaval. In the 1940s, the major strands of American music combined to form what would eventually be coined as rock and roll.

Based most strongly off an electric guitar-based version of the Chicago blues, rock also incorporated jazz, country, folk, swing, and other types of music; in particular, bebop jazz and boogie woogie blues were in vogue and greatly influenced the music style. The style had developed by a1949, and quickly became popular among blacks nationwide (see 1949 in music). Mainstream success was slow to develop, though (in spite of early success witah Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock"), and didn't begin in earnest until Elvis Presley ("Hound Dog") began singing rock, R&B and rockabilly songs in a devoted black style. He quickly became the most famous and best-selling artist in American history, and a watershed point in the development of music.

Chamberlain peace in our time

Arthur Neville Chamberlain (18 March 1869 9 November 1940) was a British Conservative politician and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. Chamberlain's legacy is marked by his policy regarding the appeasement of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany with his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding Czechoslovakia to Hitler. In the same year he also gave up the Irish Free State Royal Navy ports. After working in business and local government and a short spell as Director of National Service in 1916 and 1917, Chamberlain followed his father and older half-brother in becoming a Member of Parliament in the 1918 general election at age 49.

He declined a junior ministerial position, remaining a backbencher until he was appointed Postmaster General after the 1922 general election. He was rapidly promoted in 1923 to Minister of Health and then Chancellor of the Exchequer but presented no budget before the government fell in 1924. He returned as Minister of Health, introducing a range of reform measures from 1924 to 1929. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in the coalition National Government in 1931 and spent six years reducing the war debt and the tax burden. When Stanley Baldwin retired after the abdication of Edward VIII and the coronation of George VI, Chamberlain took his place as Prime Minister in 1937.

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, FRS, PC, PC (Can) (30 November 1874 24 January 1965) was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of Great Britain during World War II. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also known as an officer in the British Army, a historical writer, and an artist. During his army career Churchill saw combat on the Northwest Frontier, in the Sudan and during the Second Boer War, during which he also gained fame and notoriety, as a war correspondent. He also served in the British Army on the Western Front and commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

At the forefront of the political scene for almost sixty years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade and Home Secretary during the Liberal governments. In the First World War he served as First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air and during the inter-war years, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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