All discussions of the Forties in America, whether in books or conversations, tend to separate into two parts: "during the war" and "after the war." It is a decade that seems to split neatly down the middle, divided by the atomic blast at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, which, for good or ill, ushered the United States into the nuclear age. American teens shared in the wartime patriotism and seriousness, and then in the postwar euphoria and economic boom, just as they shared family and community life with adults. Whereas Willam Graebner, in his study of the decade, called it the Age of Doubt, finding Americans tortured by uncertainty about the future, teens seemed to enjoy life with increasing confidence in themselves, especially during the postwar period. After 1944 the culture of the teenager, just like the term teenager, moved rapidly into the public spotlight, as if during the war it had only been waiting impatiently to become a star.
By 1940 Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France had all been seized by Germany or the Soviets. Only Britain held out, but as news reached Americans about the daily bombing raids on England, the antiwar sentiment in the States began to shift. Japan also threatened America's power in the Pacific, and when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, America declared war on Japan. Germany, Italy, and Japan then declared war on the United States. By March 1942, Japanese people living in the United States were being "interned"--taken from their