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With men away fighting in World War II, millions of women entered the workforce in the 1940s.

With men away fighting in World War II, millions of women entered the workforce in the 1940s.

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

With men away fighting in World War II, millions of women entered the workforce in the 1940s.

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.