World War II Blog

Darkening Days
What did the war look like to Americans in 1939? What were they thinking as they watched the spreading conflict in Europe and Asia grow ever closer to the U.S.?

Nearly a half-million books have been written about World War II, but they view the events in hindsight. Few histories give a sense of what Americans were experiencing in those uncertain times. With the outcome unknown, the war years were filled with doubts, challenges, fears, and hopes.

Wanting to recover the world they knew, I am starting this weekly blog coinciding with the war’s 75th anniversary. My goal will be to give a personal, real-time account of events, drawing on articles from each week’s issue as they appeared at the time in The Saturday Evening Post. By adding illustrations, advertising, and the occasional cartoon, I hope to give fresh insights into the challenges, and achievements, those Americans knew.

Sullivan, Indiana in 1939

Everyday Life in 1939

European war dominated national front-page headlines in 1939. But on the local front, a vanishing murderer, duck hunting season, and menacing grass fires trumped war-torn stories from overseas.... More

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Milton Mayer, whose outspoken editorials would spur contention for the Post, was one of many students who believed the U.S. should stay out of Europe.... More

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He Saw the War Coming

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Imperial Japanese Army in Manchuria, 1931
Japan’s Bigger Game

With one-sixth the population of China, did Japan really think it could conquer 450 million people and control over 4 million square miles? ... More

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No War Here

When I’m interviewed as the Post’s archives director, I often find myself addressing the misconception that the magazine was a newsmagazine. Actually, it was more... More

Revitalized American workforce
The World War They Knew

I’m interested in seeing how America’s media covers the 75th anniversary of World War II in the coming weeks. Or if they cover it. In... More