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Memory Kits: 1940s

Memory kits are for people with dementia, memory loss, or cognitive impairment. They are intended to stimulate conversation or reminiscence with a person with cognitive issues

Events & Icons of the 1940s

Day of Infamy Speech

The "Day of Infamy" speech, sometimes referred to as just "The Infamy speech", was delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, to a joint session of Congress on December 8, 1941. The previous day, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States military bases at the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the Philippines, and declared war on the United States and the British Empire. The speech is known for its first line: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy..."

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in the Territory of Hawaii was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service aircraft in a surprise military strike, destroying various American ships and aircraft, and killing over 2,400 civilians and military personnel. After consulting with his cabinet, Roosevelt decided to deliver an address before the joint session of the Congress the next day.

Roosevelt's speech was worded to reinforce his portrayal of the United States as a victim of unprovoked Japanese aggression and appealed to patriotism rather than to idealism. Roosevelt employed the idea of kairos, which relates to speaking promptly. It made the speech powerful and rhetorically important. According to author Sandra Silberstein, Roosevelt's speech followed a well-established tradition of how "through rhetorical conventions, presidents assume extraordinary powers as the commander in chief, dissent is minimized, enemies are vilified, and lives are lost in the defense of a nation once again united under God."; accessed June 29, 2023.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombing

On 6th August, 1945, American bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb, called as Little Boy, was equivalent to the power of 15,000 tons of TNT and left a terrifying mushroom cloud. This was the first time that atomic weapons had been used in war. This changed the world. Watch how the atomic bombs ended the World War 2.; accessed on September 16, 2022.

The Yalta Conference

The Yalta Conference occurred when World War 2 was near an end with the inevitable victory of the Allied powers led by the so-called "Big Three" - the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. Formed by the end of 1941, the Big Three, also called the Grand Alliance, played the largest role in prosecuting the war against the Axis powers led by Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy. The Yalta Conference was the second of these three wartime conferences. The first meeting gathering the Big Three Allied leaders: Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill was the Tehran Conference, codenamed 'Eureka.' Following the Tehran Conference, in February 1945, the trio met again at the Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference, taking place at Yalta in Crimea. One of the conference’s biggest outcomes was the division of Germany into four controlled zones, occupied by the US, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Berlin, Germany’s capital, was further divided into four similar occupation zones. The status of Poland was also put on the table. Although pledging to permit free elections in Poland, Stalin did not agree to return the Poland territory it had annexed in 1939. He used the Curzon Line as Poland’s eastern border, thereby keeping all Ukrainian and Belorussian territories within the USSR’s sphere of influence. During the conference, the Soviet Union agreed to join the war against the Empire of Japan and committed to participating in the United Nations which was officially established on October 24, 1945. After the Yalta Conference, tension over European issues deteriorated the relations between the United States (and Great Britain) and the Soviet Union.; accessed September 16, 2022.

India-Pakistan Partition

In 1947, the British Raj was partitioned into two independent states, India and Pakistan. Partition led to the migration of an estimated 15 million people and left up to two million dead.; accessed September 16, 2022.

Creation of the State of Israel

On May 14, 1948, a new state appeared on the world map - Israel. Finally, after two thousand years of exile, the Jews could reunite in the Promised Land. The new episode of ‘How It Was’ is dedicated to the dramatic history of the creation of Israel. We will recall when and why the mass migration of Jews to Palestine began and how Theodor Herzl managed to inspire Jews worldwide to create their own country. You will learn how the post-war superpowers decided the fate of Jews and Arabs in Palestine; how it turned out that, despite the irreconcilable hostility, the positions of the USSR and the United States regarding Israel suddenly coincided. We will discuss why Stalin, being a fierce opponent of Zionism, supported the creation of Israel; and why the very next day after David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish state, five neighbors at once declared war on the newly born country.; accessed September 16, 2022.

Rosie the Riveter


Rosie the Riveter

Mae Krier, 93, an original Rosie the Riveter, worked at Boeing aircraft, producing B-17s and B-29s for the war effort from 1943 to 1945 in Seattle. She is advocating Congress for getting March 21 recognized annually as a Rosie the Riveter Day of Remembrance. Saying she wants to inspire a "We Can Do It!" attitude among young girls everywhere, she also is advocating that Congress award the Rosies the Congressional Gold Medal for their service.

  • The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in the 1990s featuring the image of Rosie the Riveter.
  • In 1942, Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb composed a song called "Rosie the Riveter."
  • Artist Norman Rockwell’s cover for the May 29, 1943, issue of The Saturday Evening Post magazine was an illustration of a female riveter with the name "Rosie" painted on the lunch pail.
  • Women who worked to produce tanks, ships, planes and other materiel during World War II called themselves "Rosies."

American women played important roles during World War II, both at home and in uniform. Around 5 million civilian women served in the defense industry and elsewhere in the commercial sector during World War II with the aim of freeing a man to fight.; accessed October 24, 2022.

Image:; accessed October 24, 2022.


D-Day Invasion or Operation Overlord

By dawn of June 6, U.S., British, and Canadian forces simultaneously landed on five separate beachheads of Normandy, France. The British Army landed in the east on the code-named beaches Sword and Gold. The Canadians invaded Juno beach. The American Army captured Omaha and Utah beach. In those fateful 24 hours of June 6, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy beaches, and Allied casualties were at least 10,000 with more than 4,000 confirmed dead. Meanwhile, German casualties numbered at least 4,000 but some other documents claimed statistics of more than 9,000. Although all of the Allies’ objectives have not been completed on the first day of D-Day, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the ensuing months. On June 12, the key town of Carentan was captured by US troops, allowing five Allied beachheads to be connected for the first time. A week after D-Day, the Allies had landed 327,000 troops, 54,000 vehicles and 103,000 tons of supplies in Normandy. On June 26, the Allies captured the French port of Cherbourg. A month later, the city of Caen was captured. On August 15, the Allies launched Operation Dragoon, the code name for the landing operation of the Allied invasion of Provence and liberated most of Southern France in just four weeks. 10 days later, the French capital of Paris was liberated. And just 5 days after that, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division crossed the Seine as the Germans continued to fall back, marking the close of Operation Overlord. On April 30 of the following year, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. On May 7, less than a year after D-Day, Germany signed its unconditional surrender. The day after that, the Allies accepted Germany’s surrender, marking the official end of World War II. This day was also announced VE Day - Victory in Europe to celebrate the end of the Second World War.; accessed September 16, 2022.

Battle of Iwo Jima

The battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 was one of the most brutal battles of the WW2 Pacific Campaign. The small volcanic island of Iwo Jima had an important strategic position for the US military. But the Japanese Army had learned how to defend in previous hard fought battles on other islands like Guam, Peleliu or Guadalcanal.; accessed September 16, 2022.

From World War to Cold War

The epic struggle between Soviet communism and Western democracy and capitalism. Part 1 - "From World War to Cold War" 1945. Potsdam, near Berlin, in defeated Germany. Truman, Churchill, and Stalin. The "Big Three" - allies in war, they would be rivals in the coming Cold War.; accessed September 20, 2022.

Cold War Containment Policy

Chapter 2 of our documentary, 'Cold War' uploaded today to mark the 69th anniversary of Churchill's speech, 'Sinews of Peace'—better known as the 'Iron Curtain' speech—March 5, 1946.; accessed September 20, 2022.

House Un-American Activities Committee

A short review video lecture outlining the development of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Developed by a teacher for kids, lifelong learners and the cray cray on the internet. Visit to explore #teachertips, the video arsenal and more!; accessed September 16, 2022.