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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Soviet anti-aircraft gunners on the roof of the Moskva hotel

The Battle of Moscow (Russian: Битва за Москву, Romanized: Bitva za Moskvu, German: Schlacht um Moskau) is the name given the Nazi strategic offensive Operation Typhoon, and a series of Soviet strategic and smaller operations executed during the defense of Moscow, and the subsequent Soviet counter-offensive that occurred between October 1941 and January 1942 on the Eastern Front during World War II as a response to the Hitler's strategy that considered Moscow, capital of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the largest Soviet city, to be the primary military and political objective for Axis forces in their invasion of the Soviet Union. In August 1941, German forces captured the city of Smolensk, an important stronghold on the road to Moscow. Smolensk was historically considered as the "key" to Moscow because it controlled a landbridge located between the Dvina, Dnieper, and several other rivers, allowing for a fast advance by ground troops without the necessity of building major bridges across wide rivers. (Read more...)

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The British Army in France 1939-40 O838.jpg
Credit: Imperial War Museum

Morris-Commercial CS8 truck and other vehicles at a Light Aid Detachment (LAD) set up in a garage in Bucquoy, 5 January 1940

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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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