So I am currently being caught up in 1940s culture and World War II stories. It all started after reading the novel Dream When You’re Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg this summer. Then this fall I was handed a copy of one veteran hero’s self-published booklet revealing his wartime memories in Germany. My curiosity kept thirsting for more and led me to the library to pick up The Greatest Generation, a touching book of so many people’s stories and written by TV anchor Tom Brokaw. I only read the first chapter so far, but it looks like it will be an unforgettable read.
So what’s the big deal? Everything! Here are just some bits and pieces of what I find most intriguing about the culture of the 1940s and the generation that survived the Great Depression, fought earnestly and won World War II, and taught America what it means to go where duty calls and honor beckons, to sacrifice, to be patriotic, and to love.
I admire the unity between the soldiers fighting abroad and the families on the home front, united in the war cause and equally sacrificing their lives so that we could win the war. I admire the willingness to make sacrifices for a common cause and for their loved ones. Marriages stayed together. Families were large, close-knit, and they stayed together (this was the era when kids actually slept two or three in a room – gasp!) And the country stood together. I really believe this was because they were eager to make sacrifices for each other. I’m touched by the power of handwritten letters from girlfriends, parents, little siblings, and strangers to keep up the morale of our soldiers. I admire the girlish fashion of the 1940s - so classy. In fact, what wasn’t classy about the ‘40s? I admire the men and am inspired by the women. Even with women entering the workforce (to support the war and their men), there was respect for masculine and feminine roles. Most of all, I admire our grandparents who are men and women of this generation. We have not respected and honored them enough. We have a lot to learn from them.
So, my readers, I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories. Do you have any good book recommendations or favorite World War II films?