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American troops prepare to land at Normandy, World War II.

American troops prepare to land at Normandy, World War II.

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

American troops prepare to land at Normandy, World War II.

Images of the Era: 1913-1945

Most Americans greeted the 20th century with optimism. The early decades saw economic growth and the expansion of democracy as women gained the vote. But two world wars, the Great Depression, and the nuclear age later tested such confidence.