December 24, 2014
1938 “Strength through Joy” (Kraft durch Freude) automobile In the early 1930s, most cars manufactured in Germany were luxury models and the average German worker with a monthly income of ~ 32 Reichsmarks could afford nothing more than a motorcycle. In 1933 Adolf Hitler demanded the production of an inexpensive automobile capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/hr. When it […]
November 14, 2012
In a 1938 public opinion poll, 60 percent of  American respondents held a low opinion of Jews, labeling them “greedy,” “dishonest,” and “pushy.” Right-wing demagogues linked the Great Depression, the New Deal, President Roosevelt and the threat of war in Europe to the machinations of an imagined international Jewish conspiracy that was both communist and capitalist. Prominent […]
October 31, 2012
On the night before Halloween 1938, a radio drama by the Mercury Theatre on the Air (styled as a newscast)  reported that a Martian invasion of earth was taking place. Countless frightened  listeners who thought that Martians had actually attacked, panicked. Was this a commentary on public anxiety regarding impending world war?   Listen to […]
October 29, 2012
Long-standing tension  between Japan and the USSR erupted into a battle along the Soviet-Korean border in July 1938. Utilizing rapid infantry deployment and transportation in a skilled frontal assault, Japanese forces had initial success, but were defeated soundly in August by larger Soviet forces.
October 24, 2012
This song was first published in 1938 and sung in the short-lived musical Right This Way. During WWII the emotional lyrics sung by English woman Vera Lynn were beloved by American & British soldiers. I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places That this heart of mine embraces all day through In that small café, the park across […]
October 22, 2012
Imperial Japanese postcards and cartoons in the 30s and 40s often depicted children with playful attitudes about war.       
October 19, 2012
Two heavyweight boxing events in the 1930s represented a contest between the USA and Nazi Germany, as well as black vs. white fighters. In 1936, former world heavyweight champion Max Schmeling defeated the previously unbeaten African-American rising star Joe Louis in the 12th round. In the second match in 1938, Louis won  with a first round […]
October 17, 2012
Japan weathered the Great Depression through exploitation of captive East Asian markets and a dramatic acceleration of rearmament. In1938 government spending on the military exceeded 70%, far more than wealthier democracies of the world.
October 15, 2012
Increasing sympathy for China after Japan launched a major war in 1937 led to a boycott of silk products. Although a general boycott on all goods imported from Japan was proposed, raw silk was defined as “the lifeline of the Japanese militarists.”
October 8, 2012
In December 1937, the Chūōkōron magazine sent Tatsuzō Ishikawa to Nanking just after it fell to the Imperial Japanese army. Embedded in a squadron of soldiers that later would participate in the Nanking Massacre, Ishikawa wrote a harsh, but sympathetic fictionalized account (Soldiers Alive) of the pessimistic attitudes of young Japanese soldiers and the atrocities they committed. Although many of the […]

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