Adult Decades Reading Challenge

Mjor World Events of the 1940s

  1. Aggression in World War Il, which officially began in 1939, continued. Germany expanded their aggression into Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany also began “The Blitz,” bombing London in an attempt to weaken the British Royal Air Force.
  2. During 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt won an unprecedented third term as the U.S. president. The same year, President Roosevelt instituted the first military draft in the United States during peacetime.
  3. In the early 1940s, the Tuskegee Institute was at the forefront of preparing young African-American pilots to fight for freedom in the skies.
  4. During 1941, Soviet Russia and Japan signed a non-aggression pact, becoming allies with Germany. The Siege of Leningrad began as German troops entered the Soviet Union and lasted until 1944.
  5. On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This act of war finally brought the United States to the front lines. Italy and Germany also declared war on the U.S.
  6. The Battle of Midway between Japan and the U.S. began in 1942. Fearing they would become a security threat during wartime, the US government began the internment of Japanese-Americans.
  7. The same year, the U.S. Congress created several branches of the armed forces for women to join the war effort.
  8. On June 6, 1944, famously known as D-Day, more than 150,000 Allied troops successfully stormed the beaches of Normandy in France. Shortly thereafter, the Allies liberated Paris.
  9. FDR began his fourth term as President of the United States. However, he unexpectedly died in April of 1945, moving VP Harry Truman to the Oval Office.

0 1945 brought the end of WWII, as Allied and Soviet forces liberated concentration camps on their way toward Germany.

  1. In August 1945, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, ending the war in the Pacific Theatre. In the aftermath of the war, fifty nations signed the charter to create the United Nations.  In 1945, Vietnam declared its independence from France under Ho Chi Minh.
  2. During 1947, India became independent from the United Kingdom. The same year, the country instituted the tragic policy of partition. Leaders carved out Pakistan for Muslim citizens, with Hindu citizens assigned to reside in India.
  3. In 1947, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson and other black athletes during the 1940s, including boxer Joe Louis and Olympian Jesse Owens. These athletes became popular heroes and paved the way for future generations.
  4. In 1948, Indian independence leader and pacifist Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on his way to a prayer meeting, after achieving independence for India.
  5. Following the continued growth of Jewish refugees and settlers to Israel during WWII, Israel was created as an independent Jewish state in 1948.
  6. Following the Chinese Civil War, Mao Zedong’s Communist forces declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

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