News and Events of 1940

World Events

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

President: Franklin D Roosevelt
Vice President: John N. Garner
Population: 132,122,446

More U.S. Statistics...
  • Selective Service Act signed. Background: conscription

  • The first Social Security benefit checks are paid out (Jan 30).

  • The Pennsylvania Turnpike opens. It is the first multilane U.S. superhighway. The first Los Angeles freeway opens.

  • The first McDonald's hamburger stand opens in Pasadena, Calif.


Federal spending:   $9.47 billion
Federal debt:   $50.7 billion
Consumer Price Index:   14
Unemployment:   14.6%
Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.03


World Series
Cincinnati d. Detroit (4-3)
Stanley Cup
NY Rangers d. Toronto (4-2)
Women: Not held (World War II)
Men: Not held (World War II)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
Indiana d. Kansas (60-42)
NCAA Football Champions
Minnesota (8-0-0)


Entertainment Awards

Pulitzer Prizes
Fiction: The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Drama: The Time of Your Life, William Saroyan

Oscars awarded in 1940
Academy Award, Best Picture: Gone With the Wind (Selznick International Pictures; MGM)

Miss America: Frances Marie Burke (PA)

More Entertainment Awards...


  • CBS demonstrates color television in New York.
  • WNBT, the first regularly operating television station, debuts in New York with an estimated 10,000 viewers.
  • It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! The radio show debuts.
  • The first Bugs Bunny cartoon.


Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: None awarded

Physics: None awarded

Physiology or Medicine: None awarded

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