Some History from the 1920s - 1940s

Slang of the 1920s

All Wet -
describes an erroneous idea or individual, as in, “he’s all wet.”
And How - I strongly agree!
Applesauce - an expletive same as horsefeathers, as in “Ah, applesauce”
Attaboy - Well done; also Attagirl
Baloney - Nonsense!
Bee’s Knees - an extraordinary person, thing, idea; the ultimate
Beef - a complaint or to complain
Bronx Cheer - a loud sputtering noise used to indicate disapproval; same as raspberry
Carry a Torch - to have a crush on someone
Dolled up - dressed up
Don’t take any wooden nickels - don’t do anything stupid
Dry up - shut up, get lost
Ducky - very good

History of the 1930s

In the Great Depression the American dream had become a nightmare. What was once the land of opportunity was now the land of desperation. What was once the land of hope and optimism had become the land of despair. Between 1929 and 1932 the income of the average American family was reduced by 40%, from $2,300 to $1,500. Instead of advancement, survival became the keyword. Institutions, attitudes, lifestyles changed in this decade but democracy prevailed. Democracies such as Germany and Italy fell to dictatorships, but the United States and its constitution survived.

Economics dominated politics in the 1930's. The decade began with shanty towns called Hoovervilles, named after a president who felt that relief should be left to the private sector, and ended with an alphabet soup of federal programs funded by the national government and an assortment of commissions set up to regulate Wall Street, the banking industry, and other business enterprises. The Social Security Act of 1935 set up a program to ensure an income for the elderly. The Wagner Act of 1935 gave workers the legal right to unionize. John L. Lewis founded the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and conditions for blue-collar workers improved. Joseph P. Kennedy, a Wall Street insider, was appointed Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commissions. The Presidents of the 1930s were Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

History of the 1940s

The 40’s were a time of little luxury People helped the war effort every way they could and rarely had the time or money to see movies or enjoy other costly events. When people did see a movie, Germans and Japanese were usually stereotyped as either stupid or evil. Nevertheless, some of the best movies appeared in the theaters in the ‘40’s. Casablanca is an example of one.

On the sports scene Ted Williams was a huge baseball star that had a few record-breaking games for the Boston Red Sox. Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier.

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