Interstate Bus Segregation

In June 1946 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia law requiring racial segregation on commercial interstate buses as a violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The appellant Irene Morgan, riding an interstate Greyhound bus in 1944 had been...

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V-Mail

During WWII, mail, invaluable to the morale of American troops overseas, took up valuable cargo space. In June 1942, the U.S. Postal Service developed a 7 x 9 1/8" paper and envelope Vmail form. Letters written on the standardized form were first censored, then...

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No New American Cars

On January 1, 1942, all sales of American cars were frozen by the government’s Office of Production Management  as auto plants began swiftly converting to military-only production of arms, munitions, trucks, tanks and planes. In April 1942  the Automotive Council for...

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Volkswagen

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...

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Japanese Automobiles

  Cars built in Japan before WWII tended to be based on European or American models. In 1925 the Ford Motor Company of Japan began manufacturing in Yokohama. In 1927 General Motors and Chrysler also established operations in Japan. From 1925-36, these three American...

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Driving In Nazi Germany

This is a great link describing Driver Education in Nazi Germany: Whoa, Driving Around In Nazi Germany Was Super...

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Battle of the Atlantic

  Named the "Battle of the Atlantic,” by Winston Churchill, the course of the WWII six-year U-boat campaign changed constantly, with one side or the other gaining advantage, as each side developed new weapons, tactics, counter-measures and equipment. By the end of...

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Japanese Hell Ships

In May 1942  Japanese "Hell Ships" began transferring Allied prisoners of war to Japan. With conditions not unlike those of the infamous Bataan death march, prisoners were often packed into stuffy cargo holds with little food or water. Many POWs died of thirst,...

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1st Around-the-World Commercial Flight

The Pacific Clipper,  a Boeing 314 flying boat, was preparing to land in New Zealand when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. They backtracked to New Caledonia, then Australia. From there, they flew on to the Dutch East Indies, Ceylon, Pakistan, Sudan, Belgian Congo, Brazil...

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Imperial Japanese Airways

In the late 1930s, Imperial Japanese Airways (大日本航空株式会社 Dai Nippon Kōkū Kabushiki Kaisha) flew extensive domestic and international routes.  At the onset of the Pacific War in December 1941, all commercial operations were suspended, and aircraft  requisitioned for...

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Oldsmobile Hydramatic

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Ue07DdPQv0k Oldsmobile's 1940 hydramatic transmission was the first fully-automatic four speed transmission....

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Pan Am Crosses the Atlantic

On May 20, 1939, after years of political and economic opposition (while dirigibles flew regularly across the Atlantic), Pan American’s B-314 Yankee Clipper flew the first trans-Atlantic mail service from New York to Lisbon....

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Golden Gate Bridge Opens

Funded by a local bond issue, the Golden Gate Bridge over San Francisco Bay opened in May 1937* after 4 years of construction.  

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Amelia Earhart Disappears

At 7:42 A.M. on July 2, 1937 the Coast Guard cutter Itasca, stationed offshore of Howland Island (an uninhabited coral island halfway between Hawaii and Australia) picked up this message: “We must be on you, but we cannot see you. Fuel is running low. Been unable to...

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Hindenburg Disaster

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F54rqDh2mWA The 30-year era of sublime optimism and confidence regarding passenger zeppelins came to an abrupt and tragic end in May 1937 with the fiery crash of the German airship Hindenburg. 13 passengers, 22 crew members and one...

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Works Progress Administration

In 1935, a New Deal agency called the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was initiated with the main intention of employing unskilled workers for public works projects.  Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost eight million jobs. One of the WPA's best known...

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Japanese Tourism

To increase revenue during the Great Depression, the Japanese Government Railways opened overseas offices to promote tourism (primarily to Americans). Scenic spots were maintained, resorts developed and rail and sea transportation was improved. Visits by foreign...

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Japanese Railway

With more than 15,000 kilometers of total operating distance by the mid-1930s, a major role of the Japanese Government Railways was to attract foreign tourists to Japan. Additionally, in 1935 Russia sold the Chinese Eastern Railway in northern Manchuria to Japan....

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Japan Limits Foreign Auto Production

In the mid-1930s, the Japanese Automotive Manufacturing Industries Law was passed, protecting the domestic industry and limiting production by foreign-owned plants. Nissan and Toyota soon became the only authorized domestic...

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Streamlined Automobiles

There actually was quite a difference between earlier automobiles and those of the 1930s. But time still makes these "streamlined" ideas a bit amusing. The principles of reducing aerodynamic drag (streamlining) were well-established in the 1930s. But streamlining of...

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Graf Zeppelin visits Japan

In the first part of the 20th Century, Japan rapidly achieved Western-style industrialization and a high level of literacy. The gulf between the great metropolitan centers and rural Japan...

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Silent Cal & Lucky Lindy

During a time of relative prosperity, many Americans wanted pro-business, conservative leadership. President Calvin Coolidge said little and promoted a laissez-faire form of government. The sky was the limit. Charles Lindbergh became a national hero and symbol of the...

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