July 24, 2017
After seeing the new movie DUNKIRK directed by Christopher Nolan last night, I wanted to recommend it to you readers. Like the top film critics, I found this film technically flawless and emotionally extremely powerful. The film’s soundtrack by Hans Zimmer kept me on the edge of my seat. In September 1939, Nazi Germany’s invasion of […]
November 21, 2016
Vichy France propaganda cartoon about the allied bombings of France. A Jewish radio announcer in London broadcasts the imminent arrival over France of Allied Liberator aircraft. US planes, flown by Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Popeye, Goofy and Felix the Cat, drop bombs killing innocent French civilians.   Vichy France Between June 1940 and May 1945, 1,570 […]
July 28, 2016
In April 1940 Nazi Germany invaded Norway and, after a brief period of resistance, began an occupation that lasted until the end of the war. Norway subsequently became the most heavily fortified Axis-occupied country during the war with a ratio of one German soldier for every eight Norwegian citizens. Civil rule by a pro-German collaborationist government led by […]
December 21, 2015
Similar to their Japanese and American counterparts, Nazi propagandists populated their wartime cartoons with animal characters. Here in der Störenfried (the troublemaker), when the rabbit father finds the fox threatening his children, the Luftwaffe (wasps) and Wehrmacht (dogs?) come to the rescue.      
July 2, 2015
via:Duke Libraries Although this is a Westinghouse ad, the first radio receiver/transmitter to be widely nicknamed “Walkie-Talkie” was the backpacked Motorola SCR-300, created in 1940.  
June 25, 2015
The name Auschwitz , referring  to a network of concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland, evokes the memory of the holocaust, one of the most evil episodes in history. Auschwitz I was constructed to meet the influx of Polish political prisoners in May 1940. Auschwitz II-Birkenau, was a concentration/extermination camp beginning in September 1941. Auschwitz III–Monowitz was a factory labor camp for IG Farben, and 45 […]
June 18, 2015
German victory and occupation in June 1940 “entangled France and the French in a web of cooperation, resistance, accommodation, and, later, of defensiveness, forgetfulness, and guilt from which they are still trying to escape.” – Ronald Rosbottom, professor of French and European studies at Amherst _________________________________________ Click this link for fascinating photos by André Zucca that were taken for the German […]
December 19, 2014
In September 1940 the U.S. Congress passed the Burke-Wadsworth Act,  the first peacetime draft of men aged 21-36 years in the history of the United States. In November 1942 the draft ages were extended to ages 18-37 years for the war effort. Until 1943, due to racist concerns about a mixed-race military, blacks were not drafted. In […]
October 20, 2014
The Foreign Agents Registration Act 1938 provided severe penalties for anyone deemed a “foreign agent” without registering with the Secretary of State. The 1938 Special House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities (Dies committee) was a reformulation of activity during the “red scare”  of the 1920s. The Hatch Act of 1939, restricted the political freedom of government employees and prohibited Communists from […]
June 6, 2014
As I learn more about the firebombing in WWII, I realize that I haven’t given the November 1940 Luftwaffe Blitz of Coventry adequate attention. It is important because it seems to have been the first instance where a new type of tactic was used. As an industrial city, Coventry was a genuine military target for the Luftwaffe during the […]
April 14, 2014
When  Nazi Germany occupied the country in June 1940, there were ~ 350,000 Jews living in France, ~ 200,000, resided in and around Paris. Several ordinances published by the occupation force during 1940-41 defined who was a Jew, what business activities they were allowed, confiscated their radios & bicycles, disconnected their telephones, set curfews just for […]
April 9, 2014
This lovely, lyrical animated film by the Japanese manga artist and film director Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of a boy fascinated by flight and aircraft design who grows up to conceive the famous Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” fighter. Not a war story, rather the story of passion, romance and loss, the Wind Rises captures the grace (and […]
February 12, 2014
Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels established a film department in 1930 to ensure that the German film industry promoted Aryan philosophy. In 1937, the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) hosted an exhibition of ‘degenerate art” in Munich entitled Der ewige Jude (The eternal Jew).  Shortly thereafter,  a book  of 265 photographs captioned with […]
May 15, 2013
image via: tumblr_kxqjyiaO7Y1qaz1ado1_500.jpg 500×697 pixels. Low-priced monthly magazines were very important in Imperial Japanese culture with over 3,000 periodicals published for all age groups (60 for women). By 1940,  leading intellectual publications such as Chuo Koron (中央公論 Central Review) were forced to abandon their former (liberal) stand and align themselves with the current conservative political reform Shintaisei (New National […]
May 10, 2013
Former Foreign Minister of Imperial Japan from 1939-1940,  Admiral Kichisaburō Nomura  became Ambassador to the USA in November 1940. Through much of 1941, Nomura and United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull attempted to resolve issues including the Japanese conflict with China, the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, and the United States oil embargo against Japan. Nomura’s recommendations for meaningful concessions were […]
May 8, 2013
Time Magazine named British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as 1940 Man of the Year for his stirring oration and tough leadership during the Battle of Britain during the summer and autumn of that year.
May 6, 2013
The Imperial Rule Assistance Association, a loose framework of various volunteer organizations, was initiated in October 1940 by  Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe to promote his Shintaisei (New Political Order) movement. Neighborhood associations (under the ultimate control of centralized bureaucracy) were formed to ration food, collect donations, train civilians in defense, distribute official  proclamations, provide send-offs for soldiers heading to […]
May 1, 2013
Fumimaro Konoe served as Japan’s 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister and was in power during the period leading up to World War II. Against the advice of the Emperor and political allies, Konoe appointed the fiery military advocate Yosuke Matsuoka as his Foreign Minister. In a 1941 New Year’s message Matsuoka said: “It may sound unlucky, but in […]
April 29, 2013
  FDR’s  run for a third term was a major issue in the 1940 Presidential campaign. The Republican candidate Wendell Willkie claimed FDR failed to end the Depression and was leading the USA into another war. Roosevelt promised not to involve the USA in foreign wars if re-elected. Although Willkie revived Republican strength in some areas […]
April 26, 2013
  Link to a discussion and illustrations of Imperial Japanese military ranks during WWII
April 24, 2013
Wikimedia Commons While Japan had legalized prostitution (and by extension, comfort stations for its troops), the USA outlawed the oldest profession at home and urged its troops to avoid it overseas as well.
April 19, 2013
Shifting a manual transmission involved a complicated sequence of pressing the clutch, matching engine revolutions and the shifting gear lever. The HydraMatic transmission combined hydraulic operation of a planetary gearbox (allowing much shifting to be automated) with a fluid coupling instead of a friction clutch, eliminating the need for de-clutching.
April 17, 2013
In 1940, Japanese audiences could still view Western films like this story of a dancer and a British army captain starring Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Soon Hollywood films would be banned, as Japan turned toward Axis nations for European films.  
April 15, 2013
The Alien Registration Act of 1940 (Smith Act) established criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government and required all adult non-citizen residents to register with the government.
April 8, 2013
Pearl Harbor mock-up Japan 1941; Wikimedia Commons After Japan fortified the Marshall Islands in early 1940, FDR ordered the United States Pacific Fleet to move its main Pacific base from California to Pearl Harbor. This show of strength had its risks however: the American Pacific fleet was now within striking distance of the powerful Imperial Japanese […]
April 5, 2013
AIR DEFENSE COMMAND In 1940, the United States Air Defense Command was established by the War Department and placed under the control of the First Army Commander.  
April 3, 2013
2600th anniversary celebration of the empire; Wikimedia Commons. Following the cancelation of the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games, the anniversary of the founding of Japan by the mythical Emperor Jimmu was seen as an opportunity for a great celebration.
April 1, 2013
  Ida May Fuller was the first beneficiary of recurring monthly Social Security payments.  
March 29, 2013
In 1936 the International Olympic Committee agreed to hold the 1940 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo, but, in the midst of war with China, Japan withdrew in 1938. It wasn’t until 1964 that the games were played in Tokyo.  
March 27, 2013
The 1940 Destroyers for Bases Agreement  transferred fifty US Navy mothballed destroyers to Great Britain in exchange for military land rights in Newfoundland, Bermuda and the West Indies. The destroyers were named for cities common to both countries (e.g., Montgomery, Lancaster).  
March 25, 2013
In this 1940 film directed by Shimizu Hiroshi, renowned actress Takamine Mieko plays Nobuko, a spirited young teacher who challenges a conservative school administration with her liberal teaching ideas.
March 22, 2013
Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were the most popular comedy team of the 40s and early 1950s. Their routine “Who’s on First?” was one of their classic comedy routines.  
March 20, 2013
“We have had the lesson before us over and over again-nations that were not ready and were unable to get ready found themselves overrun by the enemy. So-called impregnable fortifications no longer exist. A defense which allows an enemy to consolidate his approach without hindrance will lose. A defense which makes no effective effort to […]
March 18, 2013
In 1940, the Japanese Diet announced a record high budget with over half its expenditures being devoted to the military.
March 15, 2013
WavingGirls1940; Wikimedia Commons. In contrast to their Japanese counterparts, these American school girls on the way to a WPA camp in Louisiana wore no uniforms.
March 13, 2013
Japanese school uniform – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fashioned after Western style naval uniforms in the late19th century, many such uniforms are still worn in Japan today.
March 6, 2013
Historical population of japan Year Pop. ±% 1910 50,984,840 — 1915 54,935,755 +7.7% 1920 55,963,053 +1.9% 1925 59,736,822 +6.7% 1930 64,450,005 +7.9% 1935 69,254,148 +7.5% 1940 73,075,071 +5.5% Demographics of Japan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
March 4, 2013
Beginning in 1940, listeners sent in questions to the popular NBC Quiz Kids show.  
March 1, 2013
The fall of France to German forces in June 1940, and subsequent establishment of the Vichy government, weakened French colonial rule of Indochina (modern day Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). Soon France permitted the establishment of Japanese military bases in Indochina. In October 1940, Thailand attacked across the border of Indochina, launching the  Franco-Thai War. Although the French won important victories, […]
February 27, 2013
Scored with classical music, Fantasia received mixed reviews on release. Perhaps some felt Walt Disney had gone too “highbrow.” Over time, this film has been reevaluated  as classic, though some have questioned Disney’s politics – fueled by his early interest in the German American Bund and support of Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and rumors of anti-semitism in the […]
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February 25, 2013
www.heritagedaily.com According to testimony by veterans of the notorious Unit 731, in 1940 the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force dropped ceramic bombs containing fleas infected with the bubonic plague over Ningbo China. It was reported that over 100 people subsequently died of plague. The mastermind of this plan, Dr. Shiro Ishii  showed a film of the operation to the imperial princes […]
February 22, 2013
In this classic satire, Charlie Chaplin plays a poor Jewish barber who is mistaken for the dictator Adenoid Hynkel.  
February 20, 2013
In the midst of war, Imperial Japan continued to produce romantic dramas. In Totsugu hi made 嫁ぐ日まで (Wedding Day) directed by Yasujirō Shimazu, sisters Yoshiko and Asako struggle to accept changes in their home brought about by their widowed father’s remarriage to a woman who in turn, is anxious about her new role.
February 18, 2013
The Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge, crossing the Puget Sound to the Kitsap peninsula, opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and collapsed due to wind-induced flutter on November 7. The only fatality was Tubby, a cocker spaniel who tumbled into the Tacoma Narrows along with his master’s car.
February 15, 2013
Mitsubishi A6M Zero 0 Fighters, the world’s most maneuverable fighter to date, were made of lightweight duralumin alloy. With a relatively weak 950-horsepower engine, armor plating and self-sealing fuel tanks were deleted to save weight. Escorting bombers against Chungking China on their first mission in August 1940,  Zero fighters downed 27 Chinese and Russian-made fighters […]
February 13, 2013
Yōsuke Matsuoka, Imperial Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs 1940-41 under Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe, was a strong advocate of the Tripartite Alliance with Germany and Italy, but not Nazi anti-semitism: “…nowhere have I promised that we would carry out (Hitler’s) anti-semitic policies in Japan. This is not simply my personal opinion, it is the opinion of Japan, and […]
February 11, 2013
From 1935-1956, NBC’s  America’s Town Meeting of the Air reached ~ 3 million listeners and more than 1,000 discussion groups debating the issues across the nation. Listen here    
February 8, 2013
In August 1940,  Luftwaffe night bombers aiming for RAF airfields, accidentally bombed London killing civilians. The British responded by bombing Berlin. From September 1940 to May 1941 the Luftwaffe attacked 16 British cities. London was attacked 71 times in 37 weeks. More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and more than 40,000 civilians were […]
February 4, 2013
In 1940, women’s fashion  attempted to emphasize an hour glass figure, broad shoulders, tiny waists and full hips. Dresses featured wide padded shoulders, nipped in high waist tops, and A-line skirts down to the knee.  
February 1, 2013
After the fall of Paris, Marshal Henri Petain, a military hero during World War I, was appointed to boost morale as France was falling under the force of the Nazi invasion. Instead, Petain immediately arranged an armistice with the Nazis. The armistice, signed by France in June 1940, ceded more than half of France to occupation […]
January 30, 2013
    Merging with the pacifist Keep America Out of War Committee in 1940, the America First Committee vigorously opposed U.S. entry into world conflict. Among the 800,000 members were Walt Disney, Gerald Ford, Sinclair Lewis, Charles Lindbergh, Sargent Shriver, Norman Thomas and Frank Lloyd Wright. The group disbanded after the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941.
January 28, 2013
  The Imperial Rule Assistance Association was created by Prime Minister (Prince) Fumimaro Konoe in 1940 to promote the goals of his Shintaisei (New Order) movement. It evolved into a ruling right wing political party aimed at removing sectionalism in the Empire of Japan to create a totalitarian single-party state.  
January 25, 2013
Artist Song Title Year Chart Entries 1 Glenn Miller In the Mood 1940 US Billboard 1 – Oct 1939 (30 weeks), Australia 1 for 5 months – Jan 1942, Europe 1 of the 1940s (1940), Grammy Hall of Fame in 1983 (1939), nuTsie 1 of 1930s, ASCAP song of 1940, Library of Congress artifact added […]
January 23, 2013
  In 1940, after Nationalist Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi, and with her lines of communications stretched deep into the Chinese interior, Japan had reached a stalemate in the war with China. Although the Japanese ruled the large cities, they were unable to control the countryside. Japanese forces were also unable to defeat the Chinese communist guerilla […]
January 18, 2013
Literacy in Imperial Japan Illiteracy Rates USA
January 16, 2013
This book by Professor Kenneth Ruoff of Portland State University’s Center for Japanese Studies, is a fascinating account of a culture based on heroic mythology that promoted an intense nationalism and belief that Japan was truly the light of Asia.
January 14, 2013
  See black & white photos of Daily Life in 1940s New York
January 11, 2013
KABEI (our mother) In this beautiful, touching movie set during the rise of ultranationalism,  a mother holds her family together after her husband is jailed for dissident scholarship.
August 25, 2011
In contrast with Japan’s graceful homogeneity, American culture was diverse and comparatively unrefined .  
June 8, 2011
The population of Japan proper in 1940 was 73,114,305. Estimated population in the exterior provinces of Korea, Formosa, Karafuto, Kwantung and the South Seas Mandate was an additional 32,423,893. Total: 105,538,198. While the USA was still deep in economic depression, Japan had essentially lifted out of it by the mid-1930s. But the 1930’s were marked by […]
June 7, 2011
At the turn of the 20th Century, Japan admired and emulated the West in many ways. In return, it’s probably fair to say that Americans found Japanese culture quaint and exotic. But, with the rise of militarism and Japan’s expansion into East Asia, relations with the USA became strained as Western hegemony was challenged. Still, […]

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