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America in the Forties

Ronald Allen Goldberg is professor of history and chair of the history department at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia. He is the author of America in the Twenties.

Publication Year: 2011

America in the Forties is a readable and concise narrative that tells the story of the forties in the United States. The book argues that the forties were an important period in American life, shaped by charismatic, brilliant, and sometimes controversial leaders. It traces the entire decade from the first stirrings of war in a nation consumed by the Great Depression to fights with Europe and Japan and through the start of the Cold War and the dawn of the atomic age.

Published by: Syracuse University Press


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pp. c-c

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

“THERE JUST NEVER SEEMS TO BE ENOUGH TIME.” “The textbook is so bland, the students won’t read it.” “Don’t teachers ever write?” “If I could only fi nd more than one book that I feel good about assigning.”
These complaints are endemic to those of us who teach survey American history courses. The book series America in the Twentieth Century was...

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pp. xi-xii

“BE NOT AFR AID OF GREATNESS: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” These famous words from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night aptly apply to the three outstanding Allied leaders of the 1940s: Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman....


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pp. xiii-xvi

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A Prelude to War

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pp. 1-23

IN THE TWO YEARS before Pearl Harbor, a steady drift of events threatened to involve the United States in a war with the Axis powers. For western Europe, including the main U.S. allies, England and France, World War II officially began in September 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. The United States now had to consider how involved it would become in...

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Life on the Home Front

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pp. 24-46

FOLLOWING PEARL HARBOR, the United States faced the monumental task of preparing for war. President Roosevelt put the economy on a war footing and production of war materials soared, eventually outproducing the economies of all the Axis combatants combined. Although the wartime mobilization...

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The War Against Germany

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pp. 47-70

THE JAPANESE ATTACK on Pearl Harbor led the United States into war with Germany and Italy as well as Japan. In honoring his alliance with Japan, Hitler declared war on the United States only one day after the attack. His decision spared the United States from having to decide whether Pearl Harbor meant America should also declare war on Japan’s allies. After Pearl Harbor,...

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War in the Pacific

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pp. 71-93

VICTORY OVER GERMANY was merely a partial triumph over the Axis powers, and only after a defeat of Japan in September 1945 was the world fi nally at peace. The war in the Pacifi c represented the culmination of a series of controversies between the United States and Japan dating back to the early 1900s. Even though U.S.–Japanese relations improved after World War I,...

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Postwar America

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pp. 94-113

DESPITE A HOST OF PROBLEMS at home and abroad, life in postwar America was better than ever for most Americans. In the first few years after World War II, the United States experienced a strong economy, a consumer buying spree, and a home-buying splurge. In sharp contrast to the Depression-era 1930s, the war had made America a richer, more powerful nation. Americans...

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pp. 114-136

HARRY TRUMAN rose from a working-class background to become president during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. He was a much embattled president, facing strong opposition from labor, civil rights groups, Republicans, the American public, and even fellow Democrats. Lacking a college education and moving from one low-level job to another, he...

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The Rise of the Cold War

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pp. 137-159

AS WITH DOMESTIC MATTERS, President Truman also had a much-troubled presidency in foreign affairs. During his administration, the nation went from concluding World War II to entering into the Cold War with Soviet Russia. Old fears of revolutionary communism were reawakening in the West, while suspicion and xenophobia surfaced in Russia. He engaged in a...

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pp. 160-170

THE 1940S WAS A DECADE OF WAR, one of the most troubled periods of the twentieth century. It included World War II, the bloodiest conflict in world history, and the beginning of the Cold War, with the great powers seemingly poised to plunge the world into another catastrophe. It ended with the onset of the Korean War, a struggle that resulted in the loss of 38,000 lives in the...


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pp. 171-178

Selected Readings

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pp. 179-186


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pp. 187-190


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pp. 191-213

Back Cover

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pp. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9780815650614
E-ISBN-10: 0815650612
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632924
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632924

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 8
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1

OCLC Number: 821725608
MUSE Marc Record: Download for America in the Forties

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Nineteen forties.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1945-.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1933-1945.
  • United States -- History -- 1945-1953.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- United States.
  • United States -- History -- 1933-1945.
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