America in WWII (June 2012)

The United States in WWII is the one journal that tells the tale of american citizens battling global struggle II on the conflict entrance and at the domestic entrance. It’s a time tablet of background and nostalgia that places readers shoulder-to-shoulder with the best iteration, successful the great struggle. choked with energetic articles and wide-ranging departments—richly illustrated with actual interval artifacts, crisp warfare images, and vibrant Nineteen Forties posters and ads—our nationwide bimonthly journal immerses readers within the American adventure of worldwide struggle II.

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At some point—and to this day scholars are not certain when it happened—the elements of drape, longer coat hem, and roomy pants with a tight cuff all came together. According to historian Kathy Peiss of the University of Pennsylvania, more than a half-dozen tailors and clothiers from New York City to Memphis at one time or another claimed to have invented the zoot suit. She found that in the 1930s, Los Angeles residents started noticing that young Filipino men in the city’s Little Manila neighborhood were sporting something they called “McIntosh suits,” the outstanding feature being an outsized coat.

Meanwhile, their pants developed the telltale shiny seat that comes with wear. Tailors and clothing salesmen reported customers coming to them asking for a longer coat, something that would cover their tails. Over time, this preference for a longer coat melded with the popular drape styling. There was yet another parallel development, this one in music. By the mid-1930s the trend in popular music was swing—hot rhythms played by a large ensemble. The athletic jitterbug style of dance replaced the Lindy Hop, and in the years leading up to the war, men who enjoyed dancing and wanted more freedom of movement on the floor looked for a looser cut in their trousers.

And then there’s the mystery of the suit’s improbable resilience in the face of inexplicable official government sanction and putdowns from squares and authority figures. In America in the war years, when every commodity and earthly comfort was rationed, music sometimes seemed the only limitless, permissible enjoyment. When movie theaters closed for the day, big bands still cranked out swing music on the radio. In industrial towns where essential wartime factory work carried on 24 hours a day, there were nightclubs and dance halls that didn’t even open their doors until the swing shift knocked off late at night.

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