1931 IU Professor Rolla N. Harger invents the Drunko-meter, the first successful machine for testing human blood alcohol content. Harger turns over the patent to the IU Foundation, for whom it becomes a surprise moneymaker.
1932 Former IU law school dean Paul V. McNutt '13 is elected governor as part of national Democratic landslide under Franklin Roosevelt. Indiana Memorial Union completed; with later additions, it will become the world's largest college union building.
1933 FDR is inaugurated as U.S. President and initiates a national recovery program. The IU campus will benefit from WPA art and from a federally supported building program partly aimed at helping the local limestone industry. Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
1934 Among the refugees beginning to flee Europe are a number of distinguished scientists and scholars who will eventually join the IU faculty. Great dust storms have destroyed 100 million acres of cropland in the Great Plains; "Okies" and "Arkies" from the Dust Bowl head west looking for work.
1936 Millions of Americans relive the Civil War era through Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Meanwhile, Italians take Ethiopia, Japanese prepare to invade China, and Spanish Fascists begin a successful revolt; famed artist Pablo Picasso will refuse to return to Spain while the Fascists rule.
1937 IU business school dean Herman B Wells begins his 25-year tenure as IU president. Xerography (dry photocopying) is invented.
1939 Germany invades Poland; World War II begins.
1940 Hoosier Wendell L. Willkie, an IU alumnus, carries his native state but loses the Presidential election to FDR.
1941 U.S. enters World War II. Some IU scientists leave for war research elsewhere (including the Manhattan Project), but IU's growing expertise in Asian and East European studies will prove important both to the war effort and to IU's future. Prewar IU growth continues with opening of the Jeffersonville center.
1944 Former IU journalism student Ernie Pyle wins a Pulitzer prize for his combat reporting, along with an honorary doctorate from his alma mater.
1945 End of World War II; the G.I. Bill sends floods of students to IU. Enrollment stands at 7,500 now, will hit 14,000 by 1947.
1946 IU zoologist Hermann J. Muller wins Nobel Prize. With enrollment booming, IU's year-old Kokomo center acquires the historic Kingston-Sieberling mansion.
1947 Indiana Quarry
1948 Alfred Kinsey's best-selling Sexual Behavior in the Human Male unleashes a furious national debate; IU's administration stoutly defends Kinsey's work. Meanwhile, IU unites facilities with Gary College, founded in 1933, and is given Link Observatory.
1949 Passage of Indiana School Desegregation Act, five years before the Supreme Court will make school segregation illegal nationwide. IU is almost completely desegregated, but racism will continue to be an issue.