In 1928, D. H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover gained notoriety for its frequent use of the words f**k, f**ked, and f**king. Perhaps the earliest usage of the word in popular music was the 1938 Eddy Duchin release of the Louis Armstrong song "Ol' Man Mose". The words created a scandal at the time, resulting in sales of 170,000 copies during the Great Depression years when sales of 20,000 were considered blockbuster. The verse reads:
(We believe) He kicked the bucket,
(We believe) Yeah man, buck-buck-bucket,
(We believe) He kicked the bucket and ol' man mose is dead,
(We believe) Ahh, f**k it!
(We believe) Buck-buck-bucket,
(We believe) He kicked the bucket and ol' man mose is dead.
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger featured an early use of f**k you in print. First published in the United States in 1951, the novel remains controversial to this day due to its use of the word, standing at number 13 for the most banned books from 1990–2000 according to the American Library Association. The book offers a blunt portrayal of the main character's reaction to the existence of the word, and all that it means.
One of the earliest mainstream Hollywood movies to use the word f**k was director Robert Altman's irreverent antiwar film, MASH, released in 1970 at the height of the Vietnam War. During the football game sequence about three-quarters of the way through the film, one of the MASH linemen says to an 8063rd offensive player, "All right, bud, your f**kin' head is coming right off." Also, former Beatle John Lennon's 1971 release "Working Class Hero" featured use of the word, which was rare in music at the time and caused it to, at most, be played only in segments on the radio.
In 1965, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson said to the Greek ambassador Alexandros Matsas when he objected to American plans in Cyprus, "F**k your parliament and your constitution."
During the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Chicago mayor Richard Daley became so enraged by a speech from Abraham A. Ribicoff that he shouted "Fuck you!"
The films Ulysses and I'll Never Forget What's'isname (both 1967) are contenders for being the first film to use the word 'f**k,' although the word 'f**king' is clearly mouthed silently in the film Sink the Bismarck! (1960), and the title character says it in the cartoon Bosko's Picture Show (1933).
In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the mere public display of f**k is protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and cannot be made a criminal offense. In 1968, Paul Robert Cohen had been convicted of "disturbing the peace" for wearing a jacket with "F**K THE DRAFT" on it (in reference to conscription in the Vietnam War). The conviction was upheld by the Court of Appeals and overturned by the Supreme Court. Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971).
None of that says anything about how much people used it, but I can't believe that if movie-makers, musicians and authors were trying to slip it in, with censorship being as bad as it was back then, that Marines in WWII weren't swearing constantly.
Your knowledge in the historical use of expletives is quite fascinating.