1940s Online Resources - History and Primary Documents

++Forties Overview

  • The 1940s — A comprehensive look at the events, styfles, and culture of society in the 1940s, focused largely on England. Sound clips and informative articles are also available.
  • American Cultural History - 1940s —This Kingwood College Library site showcases the art, literature, historical background, cultural trends, and fashion of the decade. Links to more information about the 40s are also included.
  • The Authentic History Center A collection of primary source materials related to the history and popular culture of the decade, including images and audio.

World War II

  • Roosevelt's War Address— The National Archives and Records Administration website provides the text of Roosevelt's speech to the nation declaring war.
  • Rosie the Riveter— This site, sponsored by the city of Richmond, examines the origin and role of "Rosie the Riveter." The site maintains curent news about the "Rosie" memorial and the history of the popular World War II figure.
  • U.S. Military in World War II— The site contains excerpts and entire documents important to the military history of World War II. The site focuses almost entirely on military history. It explores the role of the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and non-U.S. forces during the war. An extensive collection of links to other resources is also available on the web site.
  • The Holocaust This About.com website features links to various holocaust resources and provides detailed information about Anne Frank, Nazi ideology, and other topics. The site also features a useful timeline and glossary of World War II related terms.
  • Holocaust Timeline A timeline, created by the Public Broadcasting Service, detailing the events of the Holocaust. Links at the bottom of the page lead to the various years of the timeline. Short biographies can be found on the site as well.
  • World War II Timelines A website providing extensive, detailed timelines of the events of World War II.
  • Women Air Force Service Pilots —A hobbyist's site detailing the efforts of Women Air Force Service Pilots during World War II. Short biographies are included of several women pilots. Helpful timelines identify important war dates and the status of the women pilots.
  • German Propaganda The site, developed by a faculty member at Calvin College, features actual translations of German documents during the early 40s. Pamphlets, letters, and other written works are featured according to the year of their release.
  • War Crimes and Criminals— A University of the West of England Site dedicated to the Nuremberg trial. Links to other aspects of World War II are also included.
  • Images and Documents related to Japanese Relocation—Primary source material on the Japanese Internment from the National Archives.
  • Rutgers University Archive of World War II. Collection of interviews with men and women who served in World War II.
  • After the Day of Infamy Library of Congress collection of interviews after Pearl Harbor attack.
  • The Perilous Fight - America's World War II in color, a site sponsored by PBS, includes images and correspondence from the front.

Additional Historical Information

  • Documents Related to Development of the Atomic Bomb Sponsored by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the site explores the origins and use of the Atom Bomb.
  • Detroit Race Riots-This Detroit News Site offers an informative presentation of the 1943 riots. Several pictures are also included.
  • Riots— Another site detailing the events of the Detroit Riots. This PBS produced site features a brief overview of the racial tension leading up to the riot.
  • Inflation Calculator A useful tool that determines the value of money in a specific year.
  • United Nations History A pictorial history of the United Nations during the decade provided on the United Nations website. Pictures of key conferences including the 1945 Yalta Conference (Attended by Churchill and Stalin).
  • Marshall Plan Speech— This site features the text of Secretary of State George Marshall's speech at Harvard University in 1947. This speech started the post-war European effort known as the Marshall Plan.
  • Marshall Plan— A Library of Congress site dedicated to the origin and effects of the Marshall Plan.
  • ENIAC Exhibit— This University of Pennsylvania site details the origins and impact of the first major computer. Photos and references to additional research are included on the site.
  • Zoot Suit— This informative article from the History Workshop Journal discusses the impact of the "zoot suit" riots. Additional references are included at the end of the article.
  • Prelinger Archive— A fascinating collection of over 45,000 digitized ephemeral films in education, advertising, and industry.
  • American Social Hygiene Posters The University of Minnesota provides this searchable database of posters on health, family, and women's issues covering the mid-20th century.

Popular Culture Resources - 1940s


  • Ad Access This site sponsored by Duke University contains over 7000 advertisements originally published from 1911 through 1955.
  • Ad Flip An enormous database of advertisements dating back to 1940
  • Medicine and Madison Avenue Duke University site examining the connection between advertising and medicine in advertising. Site includes a large database of health-related ads.

Popular Art and Literature

  • 1940s Bestsellers— the Cader Books site offers a year-by-year listing of 1940s fiction and non-fiction bestsellers.
  • Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art of World War II— This The National Archives and Records Administration site features several propaganda posters circulated during the war. General descriptions of the posters and common U.S. themes are included as well.
  • Posters on the American Home Front— Another poster site, created by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, displays more propaganda art. Popular themes such as the encouragement of women to produce goods are discussed.
  • Political Cartoons by Dr. Seuss— A site, created by the University of Calfornia, San Diego, details the work of Dr. Sauss between 1941 and1943. During this time, Dr. Seuss worked as a cartoonist and developed several political cartoons. His little known work in this area is presented in three galleries on the site.


  • Fashion of the 1940s— A site created by Tara Maginnis, an Associate Professor/Costume Designer at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Theatre Department. This site displays fashions for men and women during the 1940s. There is even a link to an article about dating attire.
  • Ladies' Fashion— A site published by TravelAssist, an online magazine. It includes a brief article summarizing the fashion trends for women during the decade.
  • Men's Fashion— An article detailing the clothing of men during the 1940s. This site is also published by TravelAssist, the online travel magazine.
  • Bissonnette on Costume: A Visual Dictionary of Fashion Kent State University Museum site created by Anne Bissonnette providing a large database of images documenting the history of fashion.


  • Great Film Scene Tributes: the 1940s— A detailed site created by a hobbyist. It is endorsed by film critic Roger Ebert. The site examines the successful movies of the decade. The films are also presented in a year-by-year format for research purposes.
  • 1940s Film History and Academy Awards— The site presents the Academy Award winners for the decade. A commentary describing the movies and stars is also available at the bottom of the page.

Media and Print

  • Media History Timeline of the 1940s— This University of Minnesota site offers a look at changes in media across the decade.
  • Television History An extensive site documenting the history of television with images, advertising, and programming information from the T.V. Guide.


  • 1940s music —A site containing audio clips of 40s hits
  • Songs of Woody Guthrie —A hobbyist site devoted to the music of Woody Guthrie. Guthrie wrote several popular folk songs including "This Land is Your Land." Links to the lyrics of his songs are displayed chronologically at the bottom of the page.


  • Bob Hope and American Variety— This Library Congress online exhibit examines the career of comedian Bob Hope. A section devoted to his work during the 1940s and World War II is included. Actual transcripts of his show are featured as well.


  • Baseball Highlights— This online exhibition, created by the Library of Congress, details the signficance of Jackie Robinson in baseball history.
  • Sporting News Archives - Jackie Robinson— The Sporting News site features several of its articles published during Jackie Robinson's career. The articles provide useful insight into the cultural reaction to Robinson's baseball career.
  • N.Y. Yankees - History and timeline.

1940s Bibliography

  • Baker, Patricia. Fashions of a decade. The 1940s . New York : Facts on File, 1992.
  • Brandt, Nat. Harlem at War: The Black Experience in WWII. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996.
  • Cronin, James E. The World the Cold War Made: Order, Chaos, and the Return of History. United States: Routledge, 1996.
  • Dempsey, Travis. Views from the Back of the Bus During WWII and Beyond. Chicago, Ill.: Urban Research Press, 1995.
  • Eisinger, Chester. The 1940s: Profile of a Nation in Crisis. New York: Anchor Books, 1969.
  • Feldstein, Ruth. Motherhood in Black and White: Race and Sex in American Liberalism, 1930-1965. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000.
  • Fiell, Charlotte. 30s, 40s Decorative Art: A Source Book. Köln; New York : Taschen, 2000.
  • Goralski, Robert. Oil & War: How the Deadly Struggle for Fuel in WWII meant Victory or Defeat. New York : Morrow, 1987.
  • Groth, Alexander. Democracies Against Hitler: Myth, Reality and Prologue. Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 1999.
  • Halper, Donna. Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting. London: M.E. Sharpe, 2001.
  • Henshall, Philip. The Nuclear Axis: Germany, Japan and the Atom Bomb Race. Stroud: Sutton, 2000.
  • Hoffmann, Klaus. Otto Hahn: Achievement and Responsibility. New York: Springer, 2001.
  • Jones, Nancy. Capitol Women: Texas Female Legislators, 1923-1999. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2000.
  • Kaminski, Theresa. Prisoners in Paradise: American Women in the Wartime South Pacific. Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2000.
  • Kelley, Beverly. Reelpolitik: Political Ideologies in '30s and '40s Films. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998.
  • Laughlin, Kathleen. Women's Work and Public Policy: A History of the Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, 1945-1970. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2000.
  • Litwak, Leo. The Medic: Life and Death in the Last Days of WWII . Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books, 2001.
  • Maki, Mitchell. Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.
  • Morehouse, Maggi. Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.
  • Mosley, Leonard. Battle of Britain. Alexandria, Va. : Time-Life Books, 1977.
  • Ohl, John. Supplying the Troops: General Somervell and American Logistics in WWII. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1994.
  • Peacock, John. The 1940s. New York : Thames and Hudson, 1998.
  • Peterson, Nancy J. Against Amnesia: Contemporary Women Writers and the Crises of Historical Memory. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001.
  • Phillips, Cabell. The 1940's: Decade of Triumph and Trouble. New York: Macmillan, 1975.
  • Pierson, Ruth. Nation, Empire, Colony: Historicizing Gender and Race. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
  • Saunders, Kay. Alien Justice: Wartime Internment in Australia and North America. St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 2000.
  • Scanzoni, John. Designing Families: the Search for Self and Community in the Information Age. California.: Pine Forge Press, 2000.
  • Sova, Dawn. Women in Hollywood: From Vamp to Studio Head. New York: Fromm International, 1998.
  • Szulc, Tad. Then and Now: How the World has Changed Since WWII. New York: Morrow, 1990.
  • Tucker, Sherrie. Swing Shift: "all-girl" Bands of the 1940s. London: Duke University Press, 2000.
  • Umansky, Lauri. "Bad" Mothers: The politics of Blame in Twentieth-Century America. New York: New York University Press, 1998.
  • Weigand, Kate. Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation. London : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
  • White, Geoffrey M. Perilous Memories: The Asia-Pacific War. London: Duke University Press, 2001.

Literature of the 1940s - Selected Bibliography

How to Read a Book (1940)
A Dialectic of Morals (1941)
How to Think About War and Peace (1944)

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941)

And in the Human Heart (1940)
Pilgrim's Progress (1940)
Brownstone Eclogues (1942)
The Soldier (1944)
The Kid (1947)
The Divine Pilgrim (1949)
Skylight One (1949)

Hometown (1940)
Memoirs (1942)

Hamlet Had an Uncle (1940)
The First Gentleman of America (1942)
The St. Johns: A Parade of Diversities (1943)
There Were Two Pirates (1946)
Let Me Lie (1947)
The Devil's Own Dear Son (1949)

Trouble in July (1940)
Jackpot (1940)
Say! Is This the U.S.A.? (1941)
All Night Long (1942)
All-Out on the Road to Smolensk (1942)
Georgia Boy (1943)
Tragic Ground (1944)
A House in the Uplands (1946)
The Sure Hand of God (1947)
This Very Earth (1948)
A Place Called Estherville (1949)

50 Poems (1940)
1 x 1 (1944)
Anthropos: The Future of Art (1945)
Santa Claus: A Morality (1946)

A Southerner Discovers New England (1940)
Tar Heels (1941)
A Portrait of North Carolina (1941)

Father and I (1940)

The Ground We Stand On (1941)
Number One (1943)
State of the Nation (1944)
Tour of Duty (1946)
The Grand Design (1949)

East Coker (1940)
Burnt Norton (1941)
The Dry Salvages (1941)
Little Gidding (1942)
The Music of Poetry (1942)
The Classics and the Man of Letters (1942)
Four Quartets (1943)
What Is a Classic? (1945)
On Poetry (1947)
Notes Toward a Definition of Culture (1948)
From Poe to Valery (1948)
The Aims of Poetic Drama (1949)

The Hamlet (1940)
Go Down, Moses and Other Stories (1942)
Intruder in the Dust (1948)
Knight's Gambit (1949)

The Last Tycoon: An Unfinished Novel (1941)
The Crack-Up (1945)

Watch on the Rhine (1941)
The Searching Wind (1944)
Another Part of the Forest (1946)
Montserrat (1949)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

The Big Sea (1940)
Shakespeare in Harlem (1942)
Freedom's Plow (1943)
One-Way Ticket (1949)

Bethel Meriday (1940)
Gideon Planish (1943)
Cass Timberlane (1945)
Knighthood Royal (1947)
The God-Seeker (1949)

Happy Days (1940)
Newspapers Days (1941)
Heathen Days (1943)

The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944)
Situation Normal (1944)
Focus (1945)
All My Sons (1947)
Death of a Saleman (1949)

Night Music (1940)
Clash by Night (1941)
The Big Knife (1949)

Cantos LII-LXXI (1940)
The Pisan Cantos (1948)
The Cantos of Ezra Pound (1948)
Selected Poems (1949)

Two on an Island (1940)
Flight to the West (1941)
Dream Girl (1945)
The Show Must Go On (1949)

My Name is Aram (1940)
The Ping-Pong Game (1940)
Saroyan's Fables (1941)
Razzle Dazzle (1942)
The Human Comedy (1943)
The Adventures of Wesley Jackson (1946)
Jim Dandy (1947)
Don't Go Away Mad (1949)

World's End (1940)
Between Two Worlds (1941)
Dragon's Teeth (1942)
Wide is the Gate (1943)
Presidential Agent (1944)
Dragon Harvest (1945)
A World to Win (1946)
One Clear Call (1948)
O Shepherd, Speak (1949)

Paris France (1940)
What Are Masterpieces (1940)
Ida, a Novel (1941)
Wars I Have Seen (1945)
Brewsie and Willie (1946)
Four in America (1947)
Blood on the Dining Room Floor (1948)
Last Operas and Plays (1949)

Sea of Cortez (1941)
The Moon is Down (1942)
Bombs Away (1942)
Cannery Row (1945)
The Wayward Bus (1947)
The Pearl (1947)
The Russian Journal (1948)

Trees of Heaven (1940)
Men of the Mountains (1941)
Taps for Private Tussie (1943)
Album of Destiny (1944)
Foretaste of Glory (1946)
The Thread That Runs So True (1949)

Eleven Poems on the Same Theme (1942)
At Heaven's Gate (1943)
Selected Poems (1944)
All the King's Men (1946)
Blackberry Winter (1946)
The Circus in the Attic and Other Stories (1947)

A Curtain of Green (1941)
The Robber Bridegroom (1942)
The Wide Net (1943)
Delta Wedding (1946)
The Golden Apples (1949)

One Man's Meat (1942)
Stuart Little (1945)
The Wild Flag (1946)
Here is New York (1949)

Battle of Angels (1940)
The Glass Menagerie (1945)
You Touched Me! (1945)
Wagons Full of Cotton and Other One-Act Plays (1946)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)
Summer and Smoke (1948)

In the Money (1940)
The Broken Span (1941)
Patterson (1946)
A Dream of Love (1948)
Selected Poems (1949)

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