Top News Stories from 1940

World Events

World Statistics

Population: 4.378 billion
population by decadeMore World Statistics...

U.S. Events

U.S. Statistics

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
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
Indiana d. Kansas
NCAA Football Champions
Minnesota (8-0-0)



  • 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
More Nobel Prizes in 1998...
  • Freeze drying is adapted for food preservation.
  • Plasma is discovered to be a substitute for whole blood in transfusions.
  • Karl Landsteiner and Alexander Weiner discover the Rh factor in blood.
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