Iowa History Timeline: Text Version

 


B.C.E. = Before Common Era
C.E. = Common Era
1940s:
U.S. Event

Farmers No Longer Use Horses

During the 1940s and early '50s farmers made the transition from using horses to tractors. By 1954 more farmers used tractors than horses. The production of crops consumed by horses, such as oats, declined also.

Find out about tractors on Iowa farms.

1940s:
U.S. Event

Food Rationing

During America's involvement in World War II (1941-45), food rationing occurred. Products such as sugar, eggs and butter were rationed to conserve supplies.

Find out more about life during World War II in Iowa.

1940:
Iowa Event

Iowa's population: 2,538,268

Federal Census of Iowa's population: 2,538,268

Find out more about the people of Iowa.

1940:
Iowa Event

Henry A. Wallace Elected Vice President of United States

Henry Agard Wallace is the first Iowan to be elected to the office of vice president of the United States. He served with Franklin D. Roosevelt's third term. Roosevelt's vice president during the first two terms was John Nance Garner of Texas. He refused to run again because of the tradition of George Washington only running for two terms. Wallace served only one term, and was replaced for Roosevelt's fourth term by Senator Harry S. Truman of Missouri.

Find out more about Henry A. Wallace.

1940:
Iowa Event

Surprising Blizzard

On November 11 the day started with temperatures in the 40s and 50s in Iowa. Soon a cold front moved in causing a blinding blizzard. The storm caused 154 deaths.

Find out more about natural disasters in Iowa.

1940-1952:
U.S. Event

Polio Strikes

Between these years polio caused fear across the country. Scientists knew of no cures or ways to prevent the disease.

Find out more about polio in Iowa.

1941:
U.S. Event

First Television Broadcasts

The first television broadcasts were made.

Find out about television in Iowa.

1941:
Iowa Event

United States Enters World War II

Entry into World War II contributed to the end of the agricultural depression in Iowa as the country geared up for a war economy. Thousands of Iowans served in the armed forces during the war, and Iowans at home supported the war effort in factories and on the farms.

Find out more about Iowa's role in WWII.

1941:
U.S. Event

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) Formed

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was formed. It was a unit of the U.S. Army during World War II. About 100,000 women served during the war. The name of the corp was changed to Women's Army Corp (WAC) in 1943


1941-1945:
U.S. Event

America in World War II

The United States joined the war in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan. In August 1945 the war ended.

Find out more about World War II.

Top

1942-1946:
Iowa Event

Suspension of State Fair

Because of World War II, the State Fair was cancelled in 1942 and did not resume until 1946.

Find out more about the Iowa State Fair.

1942:
Iowa Event

Fort Des Moines Trains Women's Auxiliary Army Corps

Women were first accepted into military service in the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs), and the first training center for them was in Des Moines. Oveta Culp Hobby was the first director of the WAAC at Ft. Des Moines in WWII appointed with a relative rank of major (women in the WAAC did not initially receive the same rank titles as men) on May 14, 1942. She had been a newspaper editor before the war.

Find out more about Fort Des Moines.

1942:
Iowa Event

Iowa's Sullivan Brothers Killed in WW II

Five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo were killed in action in the same engagement when their ship is sunk in the Pacific. The deaths of the brothers was the greatest single casualty disaster for one family in the entire war. Because of this incident the already existing rule against brothers serving in the same unit was always thereafter enforced.

Find out more about Iowa's World War II experiences.

1943:
U.S. Event

George Washington Carver Dies

Scientist George Washington Carver died and was buried at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Find out more about George Washington Carver.

1944:
U.S. Event

Ku Klux Klan Disbands

The Ku Klux Klan officially disbanded when the federal government demanded more than $600,000 in back taxes. It reorganized in 1946.

Find out more about the Ku Klux Klan in Iowa.

1945:
U.S. Event

Racism in Baseball

Until 1945 baseball was racially segregated. Black and white players had separate teams.

Find out more about baseball in Iowa.

1945:
U.S. Event

Atomic Bomb Dropped

The United States dropped atomic bomb on Japan.


1945:
Iowa Event

Henry A. Wallace Appointed Secretary of Commerce

Henry A. Wallace was appointed secretary of commerce by Franklin D. Roosevelt after Wallace lost the nomination for vice president for Roosevelt's fourth term. Wallace served in this post from March 1945 to September 1946, when he was fired by Harry S. Truman, who had become president upon Roosevelt's midterm-death.

Find out more about Henry A. Wallace.

1945:
U.S. Event

President Dies

President Franklin D. Roosevelt died on April 14, 1945.

Find out more about main street festivals.

1945:
World Event

World War II Ends

In August World War II ended.

Find out more about World War II.

Top

1946-1961:
U.S. Event

Baby Boomers Born

Between 1946-1961 there was a boom in births. Over 65 million babies were born. They became known as the "Baby Boomers" generation.


1948:
Iowa Event

Henry A. Wallace Nominated for President

Nominated by the Progressive Party, Wallace's campaign for president was unsuccessful. He joined James Baird Weaver as another Iowan who ran for president as a candidate of a third party.

Find out more about Iowa's presidential hopefuls.

1948:
U.S. Event

Israel Becomes Nation

The nation of Israel was established in the Middle East.

Find out about Jewish immigrants in Iowa.

1949:
Iowa Event

First Television Broadcast in Iowa

WOC-TV in Davenport signed on for its first official telecast day on October 31, 1949, becoming the first television broadcast in the state. The first broadcast reached the approximately 400 homes with television sets in the Quad-Cities. WOI-TV, then based out of Iowa State University, would become the second station in Iowa when it began broadcasting in central Iowa in 1950. Television revolutionized the communications industry, as radio had done 30 years before.

Find out more about the communications industry in Iowa.

1949:
Iowa Event

Effigy Mounds National Monument Established

Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa was established by presidential proclamation in 1949. Prehistoric peoples built mounds at various times and places throughout the Americas. Only in the upper Mississippi River valley, however, was there a culture that specialized in ceremonial mounds called effigies. Effigies are representations of living creatures such as eagles, falcons, bison, deer, turtles, lizards and, in particular, bears.

Find out more about early people of Iowa.



Questions to Consider:
When viewing information in the timeline, consider the following questions:

  • What time in history did this event occur? What else was happening at that time?
  • What events led to this event? What events followed it? Does this event begin or end something? Is this event part of a sequence of other events?
  • How did this event influence the present? How might it influence our future?


 

Sources:
Several entries for this timeline were adapted from Prairie Voices Iowa Heritage Curriculum, Annotated Iowa History Timeline, State Historical Society of Iowa, 1995. Used with permission.

Additional Sources:

  • Agriculture in the Classroom: Growing a Nation: The Story of American Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Discovering Historic Iowa Transportation Milestones, Iowa Department of Transportation, 2000.
  • Downey, Mathew T. American History 1 and 2. Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
  • History and Life: The World and Its People. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1980.
  • Keenan, Sheila. Scholastic Encyclopedia of Women in the United States. New York: Scholastic Reference, 1996.
  • National Standards for History, UCLA National Center for History in the Schools, 1996.
  • Randy Lyon, This Month In Iowa History, State Historical Society of Iowa.
  • The Challenge of Freedom. River Forest, Illinois: Laidlaw Brothers, 1982.
  • William Kovarik, Ph.D., Environmental History Timeline, Radford University,
  • World Adventures in Time and Place. New York: Macmillan McGraw-Hill, 1997.

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