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How different was life in the 1930's/1940's REALLY?


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#1 marloes

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 03:05 PM

When reading books about life in the 1930s/1940s, seeing movies, talking to people, etc, one sometimes gets a very positive view of how things were like back then.
Somehow nostalgia sets in and one starts to think that people were better back then, more polite, friendlier, etc.
Life wasnt easier but it was calmer, quieter, etc.

I wonder how much difference there really is between daily life back then and now, and Im not talking about the poverty and harshness, but the attitudes, how people behaved, how streets looked, how people dated, etc.
Behaviour in general, was the thin layer of farnish we call civilization thicker back then?
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#2 Martin Bull

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 03:17 PM

It's easy to look back through 'rose-tinted-glasses' as the saying here goes.

But my Mother, who lived through the 'Blitz' in London, certainly maintains that people were generally more open to each other's needs and problems.

There was a strong feeling of National unity of purpose ( 'we're all in it together' ) and a greater willingness to help strangers while expecting nothing in return.

She very much regrets that in the society of today people seem more self-centred with little concern for others, and appear obsessed with trivial things.
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#3 TA152

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 04:53 PM

In this country blacks and whites did not mix and there was a large membership in the KKK to discourge this. Rich and poor did not mix. People from the north were not welcome in general in the south due to attitudes left over from the civil war. There was more corrucption in politics than today on all levels of government. Women could not vote and blacks and hispanics were discourged from voting. Women,blacks and hispanics did not hold polictical offices in general.
And there was no TV, computers, VCR's, microwaves,air conditioning,and education levels were lower as most did not complete high school and women, blacks and hispanics did not go to college in general. Also Catholics and Jews were looked down on by Protestants. Oriental people also lived in a lower standard of living than whites and did manual labor type jobs.
Medical services were not avaible to blacks at white hospitals and medical service in general was much poorer than today. People used to die from appendiciced on a regular basis due to no antibiotics back then. Women died in child birth due to infection and blood loss. Children died due to direrria as well as adults.
Other than all of that things were just fine. :rolleyes:
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#4 Military History Network

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 12:44 AM

All generalizations are untrue, including this statement.

Notwithstanding that, during World War II I lived in New York, New Jersey, Alabama. and Texas. During those years, I remember the name and person of only one schoolmate.

Kenneth Harper. He was my best friend. He was a Negro, I was a 'white'. Kenny lived in an alley near the school. I lived in a reasonably well-off neighborhood some distance away. I was always welcome in his home after school.

It was Kenny's example that led me to always answer my mother with "Yes, Ma'am" or "No, Ma'am". And, for that, the Harpers had my mother's thanks and respect as well.

'marloes' asks, "was the thin layer of [varnish] we call civilization thicker back then?" I believe so. When, other than in major cities, did you start locking your doors at night?

#5 Friedrich

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 03:07 PM

For a very interesting insight within the 1940s United States I'd recommend you to read The Golden Age by Gore Vidal. Very good novel which describes the New Deal, Pearl Harbour, Victory, Korea, MacCarthism, etcetera. smile.gif
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#6 Kai-Petri

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 08:07 AM

What I´ve read about the times some 50-70 years back I always am fascinated how people went to see competitions and to the cinema etc in big numbers. I guess television has done alot of damage as you need not go anywhere to see these performances, just stay home and open the tv. As well people are more happy with staying home and not going out to talk to other people somehow. I am myself trying to create local activity so that we could have meetings, travelling to places etc and I am amazed that people are willing to pay the membership but they are not coming to the meetings...Very strange.


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FA cup Wembley Final 1923
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#7 marloes

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 11:37 AM

Yes some things were better then, others were worse then they are today.
Every age has its pros and cons.
I can give you a long list of things that are wrong with todays world!

But yes from talking to people who lived back then and from simply listening to old radio, watching old news programmes, etc.
One does get the idea that people back then were more polite, less hurried, less spoiled, more social towards eachother, etc.
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#8 Kai-Petri

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 05:57 AM

Oh yeah, BTW, I think the thing about the FA cup final 1923 was that there was just one policeman ( the one on the horse ) if I remember correct and he took care of all the security measures. Not enough today, I think.

Actually in 1998 I was in an Arsenal-game in London and all the way to the sub the road was lined by Police men and I definitely had no thoughts of starting a riot....I think if I had even looked at a police man they would have arrested me...
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#9 marloes

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Posted 16 April 2005 - 10:38 AM

well there were football riots back then but they didnt compare to today.
Fans had a good fight and then all went home, I think none of them even would dream of bothering people in the area around the football field, destroy trains or even be drunk out of their minds.
A bit of fisty-cuffs and then off to the pub.
The proper scum that wanted to cause real trouble would simply join one of the extreme parties and go march.
When I see hooligans today I often think, thats the kind of bastards you would have seen in the SA or the blackshirts and the likes of that.
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#10 urqh

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 10:09 AM

Ah..But no Internet!!!!

Saying that, I think even with all the diseases of the time not then conqured (then again we have made new ones for ourselves today) the threat of war even between Britian and Turkey at one stage, the lifespans, the smogs, poverty, lack of technology etc, on and on and on....I cannot help but think socially, in what we probably called the civilised nations, civilised by us of course....all others were not civilised because they were not us....nationalism everywhere....the folk of the 30's and 40's were probably living a better life than us today. I suppose having to live with all the threats around at the time, made them live for the day if they could?

My parents would agree with Martins perception, and the stories from my own mum, of the Blitz in Liverpool, and the crowds exiting the city at night, to the outskirts where she lived, slepping in the roads and fields for safety, and what the people of the suburbs did to help them prove to me their society was much stronger than ours today

British Army 1939-1945 - World War II Tribute Video

 

 

[URL="http://youtu.be/Zbp_4XBmD4w"]

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 





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