The world in the 1940s:

  • Atomic bombs were first dropped
  • World War II ended
  • First computer was built
  • The United Nations was founded 
  • Juan Perón became president of Argentina
  • The bikini was invented
  • The polaroid camera was invented
  • First non-stop flight around the world

In the 1940s, the South American Handbook continued to be updated annually, despite the difficulties of doing so during World War II, such as paper rationing. Fortunately, sales from the US made up for the loss of sales in Europe: 

In the preface to the 1944 edition of the Handbook, we learn the following: 

"Handbooks, like human beings, have their significant dates. This is the Twenty-First Annual Edition of THE SOUTH AMERICAN HANDBOOK. It has, that is, come of age. Five of its editions have been produced during a world war – no less than a quarter of its existence spent in wrestling with exasperating paper shortages and delay, to which must be added the constant threat to its life-line of necessary information by U-boat pack, and of physical extinction by bomb."

Some other excerpts from the Handbooks in the 1940s:

"Our physical tribulations have been few: some lost panes of glass and a steel framed window buckled, miraculously without loss of glass, is almost all it has amounted to. But the mental worries have been many, ranging from shortage of paper and inevitable delay to a partial black-out on Latin American statistics"

"Many of the republics have excellent systems for motor traffic."

An advert for Philip's maps, still publishers of atlases in the UK, from the 1945 Handbook:

Do you know anyone who travelled to South America in the 1940s? If they'd like to share their experiences, let us know.

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