Watching, Waiting, and Joining.
As the decade opened, Americans watched uneasily as the war in Europe and the Pacific rim escalated. The Axis countries of Germany, Italy, and Japan seemed to be gaining strength, and many feared that America's allies were being over-whelmed. Yet in 1940, with the war taking place on two fronts, the United States was still ambivalent about entering the hostilities. Henry Ford, the inventor of the automobile, joined with other concerned Americans to form the America First committee in an effort to discourage President Franklin D. Roosevelt from entering the war. It was not until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941 that Americans rallied to defend "freedom, liberty, and democracy" at home and abroad.
War Limits and Restrictions.
In fashion and design—clothing, architecture, furniture, interior design, and automobiles—the war affected not only the production of goods but their style and design. For fashion designers, interior designers, automobile designers, and architects, the war restricted access to certain materials and set guidelines for domestic production and consumption. Raw materials such as silk, metal, rubber, nylon, and wool were in short supply. Steel once used by the auto industry now went to build tanks and ships; cloth that once went to designers now dressed...
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