Bailey Krasovec
March 19, 2009
Social adjustments and development of new wartime families

It is the year 1944 and America sure is changing after that difficult second world war. Though the wars end comes with difficulty, it’s a happy time for marriage as well. Across the country sweethearts are rushing to get married before soldier and sailor husbands get shipped overseas. Here in Seattle Washington, the number of marriage licensees went up by as much as 300 percent! (The Americans). Young sailors and girls everywhere are marrying left and right since the war has ended, and starting new families. Though these new marriages are cheerful things, the families still recovering from war have been greatly affected. Undoubtedly, the American people have been changed from these emotional times the country has gone through. Although the war had opened up new opportunities, it also brought much sadness and a far more serious reality to the lives of families. Separation from fathers in families has left devastating effects. In some sense, many feel robbed of their childhood, having a father at war and a mother out working. With the family changing roles, each member is shifting gears back to normalcy with mixed emotions. (World War II homefront) Factors like this are also contributing to an upsurge in divorce rates, which result in problems among the torn children. There is an estimated five million “war widows” taking care of children single handedly, which leaves millions of children becoming what is described as “latchkey” children. This means that young children go unsupervised for good portions of the day, while their mother is out working. (World War II homefront) Children have also adapted to estranged relationships with their mothers, as many were used to being left at childcare centers, or with neighbors or relatives, while mothers were again, at work. Many newly reunited families have reported a painful readjustment with getting “reacquainted”, especially war fathers who had missed much of their children’s growing up years. (World War II homefront) Even fathers and men who have returned from war, have often been changed by the wars tremendous affects on soldiers. In war, seeing bombings and deaths day after day; soldiers have been affected by “PTSS” or post traumatic stress syndrome. Post traumatic stress syndrome has affected millions of soldiers; they often have flashbacks of the war, and will maybe never get back to the way they were before war. (Schultz 1) The impact on the family is obvious, and accompanied by much anxiety about the collapse of social values. The war has not only affected young children and parents, but teenagers as well, are feeling the pinch of change after the wartimes. While fathers were at war, and mothers at work, teenagers had entered into negative habits such as leaving home and even ending up in detention centers. (The Americans) For many teenagers, they had had absent parents for impressionable stages in their childhood, and their actions reflected it. The rate of juvenile delinquency rose incredibly, as well as truancy and venereal diseases. (World War II homefront) Jobs and income have also been affected in these post-war times. Despite the increase in rising wages, poverty also increased and some families were forced to move in search of work. Many women still went to work, while some went back to the traditional ways of only the man working. Woman now comprise thirty-six percent of the nations’ workforce, and the work day has become longer since poverty increases as the federal deficit escalates. (World War II homefront) Times and things sure have changed after the second world war; whether they be good or bad, highs or lows, the nation has had a revolution of difference in just a few years.

A couple reuniting after war

1940's family

Work Cited
The Americans. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. 2005

Schultz, Stanley K. “World War II: The Impact at Home.” American History 102. 1999.
19 Mar. 2009

“World War II Home Front.” The American Family in World War II. 19 Mar. 2009