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BOOMERNET Chronicle: 1946

1946

Baby Boomer Births The Baby Boom begins with the end of World War II. As the nation transitions to a more peaceful world, the economic and social pressures on families from both the Depression and the war years finally diminish. The troops come home and their wives and sweethearts switch from producing war-related goods to raising babies.

The size of America's armed forces rapidly falls from 12 million in June 1945 to 1.5 million in June 1947. The end of the war also sparks huge consumer demand after years of restrictions, even though supply lags behind. Farm prices reach the highest levels since 1920. Labor strikes spread across the country, as workers demand higher wages, too, resulting in the worst work stoppages since 1919. President Truman threatens government seizure of vital industries, if labor unrest is not settled.

In the entertainment worlds, stars also return from overseas services. The Best Years Of Our Lives, a movie about returning vets, wins seven Academy Awards. USO entertainers like Bob Hope dominate the radio airwaves and veterans Stan Musial and Ted Williams lead their teams to baseball's World Series. Joe Louis returns from Europe to continue his many heavyweight boxing title victories.


U.S. Facts

  • President: Harry S Truman (D)
  • Population: 141,389,000
  • Life Expectancy: 66.7 years
  • Unemployment: 3.9%
  • Average Annual Salary: $3,150
  • Minimum Wage: $0.40 per hour
  • Inflation Rate: 8.3%

What Things Cost

  • Automobile: $1,400
  • Gasoline: $0.21 per gallon
  • House: $12,500
  • Bread: $0.10 per loaf
  • Milk: $0.70 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: $0.03

Major U.S. Events

  • Shift to peace-time production
  • Consumer demand hi/supply uneven
  • Labor unrest leads to many strikes, w/coal, electric & steel hit hardest
  • Union wage raises avg $0.18/hour

Major World Events

  • War crime trials, Japan & Germany
  • Many former colonies independent
  • Mao leads civil war in China
  • Stalin leads Russia in "Cold War"

January

  • 1st mtg. of U.N. General Assembly

February

  • Trygve Lie first U.N. Sec. Gen.
  • ENIAC, first general-purpose computer, weighs in at 30 tons

March

  • Winston Churchill speaks of "Iron Curtain" descending on Europe

April

  • Last meeting of League of Nations

May

  • Commercial TV broadcasting begins in U.S.

July

  • Philippines gains independence from U.S.

August

  • Atomic Energy Commission established

September

  • First game in AAFC (later merges w/NFL)

October

  • Nazi leaders hanged at Nuremberg

November

  • First game played in BAA (later NBA)
  • Republicans gain control of Congress
  • Wage/price freeze ends

December

  • War against France begins in Indochina

Top Songs

  • Prisoner of Love by Perry Como
  • To Each His Own by Freddy Martin (or) Eddy Howard (or) the Ink Spots
  • The Gypsy by the Ink Spots (or) Dinah Shore
  • Five Minutes More by Frank Sinatra
  • Rumors Are Flying by Frankie Carle

Other New Songs

  • MacNamara's Band by Bing Crosby
  • (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons by Nat King Cole
  • Oh! What It Seemed To Be by Frank Sinatra (or) Frankie Carle
  • Personality by Johnny Mercer
  • Ole Buttermilk Sky by Kay Kyser

Top Movies

  • The Best Years Of Our Lives
  • Anna And The King Of Siam
  • It's A Wonderful Life
  • The Big Sleep
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice

Top Books

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock
  • Hiroshima by John Hersey
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Top Radio Shows (1945-46)

  • Fibber McGee & Molly
  • The Bob Hope Show
  • Lux Radio Theater
  • Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy
  • The Red Skelton Show

Top TV Shows (1945-46)

  • The World In Your Home
  • The Voice of Firestone Televues

Major League Baseball: World Series

  • St. Louis Cardinals d. Boston Red Sox

Pro Football: Championships

  • NFL: Chicago Bears d. New York Giants
  • AAFC: Cleveland Browns d. New York Yankees

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup

  • Montreal Canadiens d. Boston Bruins

NCAA Champions

  • Football: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • Basketball: Okla. A & M Cowboys

Other Champions

  • Boxing: Joe Louis defends heavyweight title twice
  • Golf: Ben Hogan wins PGA Tour
  • Tennis: Jack Kramer and Pauline Betz win U.S. Open
  • Horse Racing: Assault wins Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown
  • Auto Racing: George Robson wins Indianapolis 500

Note: You may click on the images above to visit Amazon.com for souvenirs of the era


Inventions, Fads, & Fashion
  • String bikini is introduced at a Paris fashion show
  • Strapless bra becomes popular, leading to bare-shouldered women's fashions
  • First detergent is marketed for automatic washing machines (Tide)
  • Electric clothes dryer is introduced
  • Frozen foods become popular, including French's instant potatoes, Minute Maid frozen orange juice, and Mrs. Paul's frozen fish
  • Suntan lotion, used by troops in WWII, is marketed to consumers
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