May 16, 1940, was officially declared called “Nylon Day,” after four million pairs of nylons were stocked in stores and sold out within two days! A year later, this revolutionary product became extremely scarce when the American economy directed all nylon into manufacturing parachutes, rope and netting for the war.
Women still desired to keep up with the fashion, but all the nylon had been rationed for the war, completely disappearing from department store shelves. So they got resourceful, and began to cover their legs with nude-colored makeup, and line the back of each leg with a back “seam” drawn with an eyebrow pencil topped. Viola, paint-on hosiery!
Off With Her Hair!
During la Libération, French woman's heads were shaven bald as punishment for collaboration horizontale, which referred to women who were accused of having sexual intercourse with German soldiers. In many of the 20,000 documented cases, the suspected women had only performed professional services for the occupying Germans, rather than engaging in sexual relationships with them.
It's estimated that "Collaboration horizontale" produced 200,000 French babies with German fathers. In 2009, Germany offered these children citizenship, after French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner had lobbied for their recognition as German descendants.
The Battle of Britain
On the night of October 14 1940, German forces air raided London during the battle of Britain. The bomb went through a road and exploded in Balham Underground station, killing 68 people, and destroying part of the tube station underneath.
Tragically a No 88 bus travelling in black-out conditions fell into the huge crater left after the bombing. This is what the scene looked like the morning after.
During World War II Japan attacked nearly all of its neighboring Asian countries, allied with Nazi Germany and later launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The Japanese were infamous for being ruthless. In the photo above you can see officer Yasuno Chikao moments before beheading the captured Australian pilot, Leonard Siffleet in Aitape, New Guinea, on October 24, 1943. While on mission in Papua New Guinea, Siffleet and two Ambonese companions were captured and handed over to Japanese forces. All three of the men would be interrogated, tortured and later beheaded.
Women's Army Corps
In 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was formed. It was the only all African-American and all-female battalion during World War II. Working in France and England, made them the first black female battalion to serve overseas. The battalion was commanded by Major Early (in the photo below) and composed of 30 officers and 800 enlisted women.
During World War II African American women struggled to find jobs in the defense industry, and when they did, white women were often unwilling to work beside them. Factory work allowed black women to escape domestic servant jobs during the period of the war, and they earn better wages; however, most were fired after the war and forced to resume work as maids and cooks.