It’s a common misconception that it is just now that divorce has been on the rise. We have always thought that no matter what hardships were faced the older generation just sucked it up and made it work. The high number of divorces particularly in 1946 post-war America, is something that history has completely overlooked.
A look at US marriage rates in the 20th century shows how history influenced couples’ decisions to wed. One of the biggest factors in a strong incline in the number of marriages straight after World War Two was a rush of couples who had been apart for so long, patiently waiting tying the knot. A lot of couples had postponed their nuptials awaiting the day the war ended to run down the altar and make their relationship official.
Another reason the number of marriages increased was a sudden rush of emotion felt by both halves of the couple as the other half was shipped sometimes kicking and screaming to war. “It’s a great line if you’re a guy: ‘Hey baby, I’m gonna go fight Hitler. Want to get married?” said Nick Wolfinger, a professor of family and consumer studies at the University of Utah. (As data scientist Randal Olson has pointed out, there was a similar uptick in US weddings at the start of World War I.)
Marriage rates stayed low during the war picking up in 1945, shortly followed by the baby boom which still has effects on today’s generation. But 1946 is also the year of a demographic blip often overlooked in the history of postwar America: an unprecedented spat of divorces.
Just like the number of marriages tapered off due to lack of resources so did the number of divorces during the war. This is because substantial life changes were very difficult to make when resources were already so scarce and day to day life so difficult. Following the war 1945 saw a huge spike and increase in the number of divorces that occurred showing the halt that was imposed by World War Two was lifted. This sudden surge in divorces was unmatched until the babies from the baby boomer generation grew up.
One of the big reasons for these divorces was a huge strain that distance and war put on a relationship. Many women left husbands while they were away to pursue other men, whereas men found comfort in the arms of other women during the testing times of fighting in a war. The couples who married due to the impulse of the other half being deployed and risking their lives also found that after the romanticism of the war died down they, in fact, were far from compatible.
Marriage is a big commitment and getting divorced is an even greater decision. You may not want to be in this fight alone, which is where a Salt Lake City divorce attorney comes in. For support and guidance from an experienced divorce lawyer in Salt Lake City call our offices at 801-804-5152.