Happy Halloween, Forties Style!

   There was plenty for American soldiers, sailors, and airmen to be scared of during the war, but Halloween was still a cause for parties during the war on all fronts, including the Home Front. (At left, the November 6, 1943 issue of Liberty shows two fun-loving U.S. Marines scaring the bejeesus out of a Japanese soldier with a jack-o-lantern on the end of an M-1 rifle.). The image is certainly a sharp counterpoint to the horror of jungle-fighting that was raging all across the Southwest Pacific.

   In the ETO on October 31, 1944, Winter was in the air, and many unit histories make reference to Halloween practical jokes being played that night. In occupied Denmark, Gestapo Headquarters, the Shell House in Aarhus, was destroyed by a precision bombing raid by the RAF. The objective of the attack was to destroy as many records as possible, to aid local resistance fighters. In Greece, German forces withdrew from Salonika, trapping the remaining Germans garrisoning the Greek islands. On the Eastern Front, German Army Group North was cut off in the Courland Peninsula in Lithuania. Over Germany, RAF Bomber Command conducted a daylight bombing raid in the Ruhr industrial area, with the Bottrop oil plant as the primary target.

    Among the Allied troops in Northwest Europe, there was a strong hope that the war would be over by Christmas, and American boys used to Halloween hijinx back home were beginning to let off steam. And, of course, the average GI always had a healthy appetite for Halloween cheesecake, as the following collection of vintage period pinup cards shows.

A Collection of WW II Halloween Pinup Cards

betty grable [ enlarge this image ]

grace bradley

nancy carroll

nan grey

unknown starlet

gale robbins

penny edwards & barbara bates

grace bradley (again!)

nancy carroll (again!)

ann rutherford

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