Portal:1940s

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1940s

The 1940s (pronounced "nineteen-forties" and commonly abbreviated as the "Forties") was a decade of the Gregorian calendar that began on January 1, 1940, and ended on December 31, 1949.

Most of World War II took place in the first half of the decade, which had a profound effect on most countries and people in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. The consequences of the war lingered well into the second half of the decade, with a war-weary Europe divided between the jostling spheres of influence of the Western world and the Soviet Union, leading to the beginning of the Cold War. To some degree internal and external tensions in the post-war era were managed by new institutions, including the United Nations, the welfare state, and the Bretton Woods system, facilitating the post–World War II economic expansion, which lasted well into the 1970s. However, the conditions of the post-war world encouraged decolonization and the emergence of new states and governments, with India, Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam, and others declaring independence, although rarely without bloodshed. The decade also witnessed the early beginnings of new technologies (such as computers, nuclear power, and jet propulsion), often first developed in tandem with the war effort, and later adapted and improved upon in the post-war era.

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United States Marines rest in the field during the Guadalcanal campaign

The Guadalcanal Campaign was fought between August 1942 and February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of World War II. Allied forces, predominantly American, landed on the islands of Guadalcanal, Tulagi, and Florida in the southern Solomon Islands, overwhelming the Japanese defenders and capturing an airfield (later named Henderson Field). The Japanese made several attempts to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, five large naval battles, and continual, almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November 1942. The Guadalcanal campaign was a significant strategic combined arms victory by Allied forces over the Japanese in the Pacific theatre. (Read more...)

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Atomic bombing of Nagasaki

The mushroom cloud caused by the detonation of the "Fat Man" bomb during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan in 1945, rising approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi) above the hypocenter.

On the morning of August 9, 1945, the U.S. B-29 Superfortress Bockscar flew towards its primary target Kokura, but a 7/10 cloud cover had obscured the city, prohibiting the visual attack required by orders. They flew on to Nagasaki, which was likewise obscured. At 11:01, a last minute break in the clouds allowed the bomb to be dropped over Urakami Valley, which protected much of the city from the bomb's effects.

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Photo by Leon A. Perski, 1944

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), commonly known as FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States, from 1933 to 1945. A Democrat, he won a record four presidential elections and dominated his party after 1932 as a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. His program for relief, recovery and reform, known as the New Deal, involved a great expansion of the role of the federal government in the economy. As a dominant leader of the Democratic Party, he built the New Deal Coalition that brought together and united labor unions, big city machines, white ethnics, African Americans, and rural white Southerners in support of the party. The Coalition significantly realigned American politics after 1932, creating the Fifth Party System and defining American liberalism throughout the middle third of the 20th century. (Read more...)

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