World War II

  • Nancy A. Walker
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


Before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—the event that brought the United States into the Second World War—American women’s magazines were publishing articles about the war in Europe and the possibility of America’s involvement in it. In fact, as a letter to the editor of Redbook in January 1940 makes clear, some readers wished that the magazines would devote less attention to war and return to their perceived functions of entertaining and providing advice. Articles about war before the attack on Pearl Harbor tended either to applaud the heroism of European women as they coped with wartime conditions or to propose that women’s influence could keep America out of the war. Even as more and more American men were sent to military training camps, women were viewed as the peace-loving sex whose instinct was to protect their husbands, sons, and brothers from combat. As soon as the United States formally entered the war, however, the magazines adopted a pro-war effort stance that seldom wavered. Doubtless influenced in some measure by the Magazine War Guide virtually all aspects of magazine content—including advertising, fiction, and editorial columns as well as nonfiction articles—instructed readers on ways to assist in the war effort: planting “victory gardens” to counteract food shortages, writing encouraging letters to absent husbands, and coping efficiently and cheerfully with product rationing and shortages.


Juvenile Delinquency Foster Home Pearl Harbor Child Care Program Home Front 
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Copyright information

© Bedford/St. Martin’s 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy A. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Vanderbilt UniversityUSA

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