World War II was already underway by the time the 1940s began, and it was definitely the big event of the first half of the decade. The Nazis established death camps in their effort to murder millions of Jews during the Holocaust, who were eventually liberated as the Allies conquered Germany and the war ended in 1945.
Shortly after World War II ended, the Cold War began between the West and the Soviet Union. The 1940s also witnessed the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and the beginning of apartheid in South Africa.
During the Second World War, pin-up girl photographs reached a wide audience. Unlike earlier erotic photographs, whose subjects were usually anonymous, a number of well-known film stars posed for pin-up photographs and they were promoted as sex symbols. The emphasis was initially on bare legs, short skirts or swim suits and shapely figures; but in the 1950s such photos started to show naked breasts.