Precious Little Pre-WWII Graphs

I got my paws on a December 1939 Fortune magazine this week, which contained several interesting graph results of a readers’ poll. Keep in mind that there was no television then, no internet, no means of learning up-to-date war information other than radio or newspaper.

This question was: Which statement best represents your idea of Germany? 


Most Americans believed that Germans were peace-loving, misled by ruthless rulers. Understanding that Hitler was the most ruthless of rulers, impending war led to this question.


I love the body language on these little black bodies. Yes, maybe, and hell to the no.

At this point, the four-term FDR was only in his second term, and readers had no way of knowing if he would go on to serve again. Look how cute they made the innacurately non-wheelchair-bound but accurately chainsmoking president look. Reports say he smoked 20-30 cigarettes per day! And as you recall, he did have polio, so he could not walk unassisted.


The last question simply asked if those polled wanted to keep FDR in the White House at all, which nearly half the readers did. And why not? Did you ever see a happier horse with a cigarette holder, swimming away from a crocodile?



16 thoughts on “Precious Little Pre-WWII Graphs

  1. Great finds, Kerbey!!! Your commentary makes them all the better. Scary, really, the “ruthless ruler” thing. Hell to the no–I’ll have to remember that next time Anna asks me if she can stay up past her bedtime on a school night. You’re always cracking me up. And the Negros? Today we say African-American and also add Latinos, etc. What do we call “Poor”? Crazy stuff and I wish for a Crystal Ball to see what things are like 50 years out and how we laugh mercilessly at the naivete of us now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I wonder all these things as well. And if you say “H to the no,” you have to say it just like Whitney Houston used to when she screamed at Bobby Brown before she died in a tub from taking cocaine, marijuana, flexeril, benadryl, and Xanax.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They didn’t have the luxury of going on facebook to find out “what Disney character are you?” and “what color is your soul?” to discover how very very important they were. 🙂


  2. You sure have have lucky paws. That is a great find. I like these better than the ones from today. I still must ask: How can you not know what you think about things that truly are a mater of your life or death? That holds for then as well as now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great discovery, Kerbey. With no distractions of the pop life, do you think mainstream America paid more attention to the hard news and were able to answer these questions with conviction more ably than most would today? Even thougth the don’t know percentages are quite high, I think they aren’t uneducated don’t know’s. I think they’re I haven’t figured out what I want don’t knows. Today, I fear more people know about the Kardashians and such that world matters of import.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Weren’t they all milling about and listening to Fireside Chats in the evening? I’d only need an hour to listen to a politician before I started making up my mind, right or wrong. But it’s too hard to know, without an onslaught of needless information coming at your face in jpgs and gifs and ticker tapes across the bottom of the screen. And surely there was more respect for the office then, and ignorance of who the POTUS really was. FDR was a master of illusion.


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