17 photos that will make you see the 1940s differently

Fours DIY divers 1940s

With much of the decade dominated by World War II, the 1940s have not gone down in history as the happiest of times. But the 40s had much more to them than war. Swing dancing, jazz, fabulous fashion, classic film, and even the first computer all helped to define the decade as well.

People of the 1940s did the best they could to smile through the tough times. Take a look at these photos from 40s to see what we mean.

Miss America contestants in 1945

Miss America contestants in 1945.

1940s couple

1940s sweethearts


Trying to stay cool in the summer, NYC, 1943

Two Sailors celebrating the end of WWll

Two sailors celebrating the end of WWll.

Trendy 1940's ladies on their bikes

Ladies looking fabulous on their bikes.

dali painting

Salvador Dalí painting “The Face of War”, 1941.


Skate to work, save gas!

Red cross girls dancing with soldiers

Red Cross women dancing with soldiers.

Film players at the Venice Pier Fun House in 1940. As the bowl spins, people fight for leverage to stay in the center.

At the Venice Pier Fun House in 1940. As the bowl spins, people fight for leverage to stay in the center.


Swing dancing in the 1940s

cool swimsuits in the 1940s

1940s men hamming it up in Victorian bathing suits

A group of 1940s female students doing their schoolwork while drinking some Coca Cola

A group of 1940s students doing their schoolwork while drinking some Coca Cola.


1940s Navy diver

1940s forced perspective

Cool camera trickery in 1945

Peter Freuchen

Danish explorer Peter Freuchen and his wife Dagmar Freuchen Gale, 1947


Tattoo parlor, 1942


Marlyn Wescoff and Ruth Lichterman reprogramming ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, in 1946.

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8 replies

  1. I especially love the ones of the Danish explorer and his wife. I do wonder if the one of the sailors is staged though. It seems just too perfect.

  2. ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, in 1946? Carefully worded to make it appear like the first computer which was actually BRITISH, and you know it was. We just didn’t tell the USA for years after we shortened the war in Europe by two years with it. Still, the USA knows best, again.

    • This has to be the most pompous comment I’ve ever seen on a website. You seem really salty and I hope that attitude goes away with time, you give british people a bad name when you act like such a prick.

    • Depends on how you want to define a computer. Alan Turings first computer that cracked the Enigma code was not turing complete. What he built was more of a machine.

  3. These photos are an amazing trip back in time. That Danish explorer though was something else…a bit scary. Got here from my friend Pacific Paratrooper.

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