After World War II ended a wave of consumerism swept the nation. This wave carried forward the business of most American firms. A period of over fifteen years of deprivation ended with Japan's surrender in August of 1945. Over a decade of depression and four years of war meant that people went without many of the products they wanted. Although prosperity returned to the U.S. during war-time, the shift of the economy from civilian to war production forced Americans to wait and save for the consumer goods they craved. With the end of World War II this pent-up demand was released and people rushed out to buy homes, appliances, cars, and other big ticket items that they had been forced to go without for so long. 1