World War II brought profound changes to Birmingham. Some of these were part of a natural evolutionary cultural process in which the first American-born generation breaks away from the ways of their parents, while their children, reconciled to the past but fully "Americanized," move more smoothly into mainstream, Anglo society. More of Birmingham's citizens began to go through the procedure of naturalization during the war years. In 1941, the year of America's entry into the war after Pearl Harbor, the number of Birmingham residents becoming citizens doubled from the previous year. The numbers remained high throughout the war years. While the old Hungarian traditions did not die out, a marked community reaction against 'old country' ethnic consciousness did set in. This was no doubt due in part to Hungary's status once again as an enemy country, but also by the general groundswell of American patriotism generated by the war. This attitude is apparent in a series of articles in Toledo. They were sponsored by the Common Council for American Unity and designed to give guidelines on raising children who would not be hindered by local, parochial attitudes, but who viewed issues globally. The articles warned against being "hamstrung by ethnic or neighborhood loyalties."
The socioeconomics of the war years also played a part in Birmingham's changes. Young women, housewives, and mothers moved out of the home for the first time to "man" the war industries while their boyfriends and husbands were drafted into the armed forces and were shipped to far-off locales. These experiences re-oriented both groups, giving them connections to different ethnic peer groups in the military and in the workplace. The family and the local community were no longer their only social influences, and a wider view of the world inevitably resulted.
This broadened horizon and the attitudinal changes accompanying it were accelerated by the general technological transformation of American life in the post-war period. Like most Americans, Birmingham residents were moving up and out, and the automobile and the television were the major spurs to the move. Cars were the means by which people could leave their neighborhoods and shop elsewhere, or even move to other parts of the city. This newly found mobility facilitated a migration to the suburbs, particularly to nearby Oregon and Rossford. The June 15, 1945, headline of Toledo proclaimed the departure of one of Birmingham's foremost citizens: "Strick János kiköltözik a magyar negyedünkböl" [John Strick is moving out of our Hungarian neighborhood].
Television's effect was more subtle. Its premiere in the neighborhood was a communal event. Toledo's August 13, 1948, headline read "Television a Monoky-Arvai üzletben" [The Monoky-Arvai bar now boasts a television]. At this juncture, TV was still a novelty and was viewed in a community context. Although TV switched public discourse from Hungarian (or Hunglish) to English, it still brought people in the neighborhood together. Only as television moved into individual homes did its full force begin to be felt in the erosion of Birmingham's sense of community. Television began to replace grandmothers as babysitters and thereby lessened the Hungarian-language link between the generations. It also provided free entertainment at home, which lessened the importance of group activities in the community.
The cumulative effect of the war, mobility, and the rise of a television culture was a decline in Hungarian consciousness in Birmingham between 1945 and 1965. This is apparent in the increasing number of English language articles appearing in Toledo, the extensive coverage given to campaigns such as "Loyalty Day" and "I am an American" celebrations, and the Anglicization of many first and last names. Kigyossy's Funeral Home became Kinsey's. Tony Paczko's Restaurant dropped the "z," becoming Tony Packo's. Another telling example is Toledo's dropping of advertisements for the summer Hungarian language school at St. Stephen's Church. In 1948, the only summer notice was for a New York school offering training in "democratic citizenship."