Project Homepage

Project Description




Timeline Home


Project Description




1940 - 1950


1939 - World War II begins with the invasion of Poland by Germany. Britain, France, America and Russia unite to fight Germany and Adolf Hitler. Japan attacks America in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour. America drops a new type of bomb - an atomic bomb - on two Japanese cities and thousands of people are killed.

Ireland declares itself to be neutral and declares that it is not taking sides in the war. However, there are fears that Ireland might be invaded by either Germany or Britain. Bombs are dropped in Belfast, Dublin and Wexford. The war finally ends in 1945 and peace is restored to Europe. Millions of people die and there is great suffering during World War II.

Dublin Airport opens in 1940. In 1942, Aer Lingus begins scheduled flights from the airport. Shannon Airport is built in 1942 and scheduled flights by Aer Lingus begin in 1945. 

O Connell Street 1944

Talking Points

Why is there so little traffic on O Connell Street?
What effect is rationing having on everyday life?
Why are the trams given priority in terms of fuel/power?
Where is tram no. 15 going to?
What advertisements can you see?
How do fashions of the time compare with those of today?

Home Life

During the war, there are shortages of imported items such as coal, sugar, tea, flour and petrol. Rationing is introduced and people are allowed only a certain amount of these products each month. Because of the petrol shortages, there are very few cars on the roads. People either walk, cycle or travel on trains which now run on turf. At night, special measures are taken to block out house lights in case aircraft see them.

There is great relief when the war ends. Gradually Europe starts to recover. However, there are still shortages of many items.

1944 - The first Dunnes Stores opens in Patrick Street, Cork. Huge crowds gather outside the shop.

1945 - The microwave oven is invented in America. However, it will be many years before they become popular and are found in homes.

1947 - The first Airport Duty-Free shop in the world opens at Shannon airport.

1948 - In America the McDonald brothers open their first self-service hamburger restaurant called McDonalds. In time, McDonalds will become the world's largest fast food company.

1949 - Ballpoint pens becomes popular and start to replace fountain pens.


Achievements and Discoveries

1940 - School boys discover Stone Age cave paintings in a cave at Lascaux, France.

1941 - The first jeep is built. After the war, jeeps are used for many different purposes.

1944 - Howard Aitken builds the first programme-controlled computer. It measures 15m long and 2.4m high. Simple multiplication takes 4 seconds and division takes 11 seconds!

1947 - US test pilot Major Chuck Yeager is the first to fly faster than the speed of sound when his jet reaches 1,207 kph or 750 mph.

1947 - The Dead Sea Scrolls are found in a cave in Palestine near the Dead Sea. The scrolls were stored in earthen jars and date from the mid 3rd century BC to 68 AD.



During the war, many games are cancelled because of transport problems. It is not uncommon for people to cycle 10 miles or more to see a game!

1944 - Cork hurlers win four-in-a-row All-Irelands. The team includes Jack Lynch, later to become Taoiseach.

1947 - Cavan beat Kerry in the All-Ireland football played in the Polo Grounds, New York. The match is broadcast on radio in Ireland.

1948 - The Olympic Games are held in London. They are broadcast on BBC radio for the first time.


Fashion and Entertainment

The shortage of materials during the war means that clothes are drab and unexciting. Clothes and shoes are regularly patched and repaired. With the end of the war, Paris is re-established as a fashion centre.

1948 - Long Playing (LP's) records go on sale. Records are now made of plastic and are more durable than before.

1949 - Enid Blyton publishes the first of her Noddy children's books.



To learn more about .......

Anne Frank

The Dead Sea Scrolls www.centuryone.com25dssfacts.html

Lascaux Cave Paintings