Women and minorities in wwii
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Women and Minorities inWWII

  • Following the United States' entry into World War II in 1941, millions of American women answered the government's call to enter the work force and fill traditionally male jobs left vacant by those who had gone off to fight. Above all, women's labor was urgently needed to help fill shortages created by the expanded wartime economy, especially in the production of military hardware. These women who wore hard-hats and overalls and operated heavy machinery represented a radical departure from the traditional American feminine ideal of housewife and mother.


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Norman Rockwell portrayed Rosie as a monumental figure clad in overalls and a work-shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal her powerful, muscular arms

"Do the Job He Left Behind" was a campaign slogan that emphasized women’s patriotism for the war effort.



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Rose Will Monroe, riveter at the Ford Willow Run airplane factory, became a "Rosie the Riveter" icon by starring in a film campaign to increase the sale of war bonds.


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Women Produced Wartime goods factory, became a "Rosie the Riveter" icon by starring in a film campaign to increase the sale of war bonds.


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Millions of women nationwide joined the work force both as a matter of patriotic duty and to support their families.


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Rosies worked on all phases of manufacturing, from electrical wiring to putting the finishing touches on a bomber.

The government attempted to alleviate some of this stress between two demands--country and home--by creating federally funded daycare centers.  There were about 130,000 children in over 3,000 daycare centers at the height of the War


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Nurses in the army electrical wiring to putting the finishing touches on a bomber.


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  • Rosie the Riveter electrical wiring to putting the finishing touches on a bomber.

    • All the day long,

    • Whether rain or shine,

    • She's a part of the assembly line.

    • She's making history,

    • Working for victory,

    • Rosie the Riveter.

    • Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage,

    • Sitting up there on the fuselage.

    • That little girl will do more than a male will do.

    • Rosie's got a boyfriend, Charlie.

    • Charlie, he's a Marine.

    • Rosie is protecting Charlie,

    • Working overtime on the riveting machine

    • When they gave her a production "E",

    • She was as proud as she could be,

    • There's something true about,

    • Red, white, and blue about,

    • Rosie the Riveter.


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Did women stay in the workforce?? electrical wiring to putting the finishing touches on a bomber.

  • Soldiers began returning home and they wanted their jobs back. By late 1944, magazines were advertising "after-victory" homes, hoping to promote women’s return to their previous role as homemaker. Some women, who needed to work in order to survive, were forced back into lower-paying jobs consisting mostly of the stereotypical female occupations. The labor division between men and women was never totally eliminated, and attitudes returned to their original position that women’s first priority should be as homemakers.


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The reversed strategy was to push the women back into the home with promise of new and wonderful consumer goods to make their housewife role easier and to ensure that their real happiness was in caring for their men and children


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Propaganda to move women back into the home home with promise of new and wonderful consumer goods to make their housewife role easier and to ensure that their real happiness was in caring for their men and children

  • The message that women should quit their jobs "for the sake of their homes as well as the labor situation" overwhelmed women. The company newspaper at Kaiser shipyards in the Pacific Northwest proclaimed in May 1945, "The Kitchen-Women's Big Post-War Goal." Putting words into the mouths of Kaiser's female employees, the article asserted, "Brothers, the tin hat and welder's torch will be yours! ... The thing we want to do is take off these unfeminine garments and button ourselves into something starched and pretty."

  • A General Electric ad predicted that women would welcome a return to "their old housekeeping routine" because GE intended to transform housework with new appliances.


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Critical thinking question home with promise of new and wonderful consumer goods to make their housewife role easier and to ensure that their real happiness was in caring for their men and children

  • Women gained a position of great importance during WWII; Did another minority gain prestige?

  • Was any minority group victimized?


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  • Amendment V home with promise of new and wonderful consumer goods to make their housewife role easier and to ensure that their real happiness was in caring for their men and children“No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”


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  • Imagine you are living in the United States during World War II. The United States government feels that your ethnic group is a threat to national security. The president issues an order that states, “If you are of Japanese ancestry, you must report to a ‘relocation camp’ with only the belongings you can carry.” You can no longer report to your job, attend school, or worship at your usual place of worship. You are given a place to sleep in a barracks with hundreds of others now interned with you. You must eat and sleep at scheduled times, and you are restricted to the perimeter of the camp, which is guarded by armed military personnel.

  • This scenario was reality for Japanese-Americans during World War II as a result of Roosevelt issuing Executive Order 9066.


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The Plight of Japanese Americans II. The United States government feels that your ethnic group is a threat to national security. The president issues an order that states, “If you are of Japanese ancestry, you must report to a ‘relocation camp’ with only the belongings you can carry.” You can no longer report to your job, attend school, or worship at your usual place of worship. You are given a place to sleep in a barracks with hundreds of others now interned with you. You must eat and sleep at scheduled times, and you are restricted to the perimeter of the camp, which is guarded by armed military personnel.

  • After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, fear of a Japanese invasion and of subversive acts by Japanese Americans prompted the government to move more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry to 10 relocation camps. Those forcibly removed from their homes, businesses, and possessions included Japanese immigrants legally forbidden to become citizens (Issei), their American-born children (Nisei), and children of the American-born (Sansei)


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First hand accounts II. The United States government feels that your ethnic group is a threat to national security. The president issues an order that states, “If you are of Japanese ancestry, you must report to a ‘relocation camp’ with only the belongings you can carry.” You can no longer report to your job, attend school, or worship at your usual place of worship. You are given a place to sleep in a barracks with hundreds of others now interned with you. You must eat and sleep at scheduled times, and you are restricted to the perimeter of the camp, which is guarded by armed military personnel.

  • "I remember the soldiers marching us to the Army tank and I looked at their rifles and I was just terrified because I could see this long knife at the end . . . I thought I was imagining it as an adult much later . . . I thought it couldn't have been bayonets because we were just little kids."

  • "When we first arrived at Minidonka, everyone was forced to use outhouses since the sewer system had not been built. For about a year, the residents had to brave the cold and the stench of these accommodations."


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More than 120,000 Americans of Japanese Ancestry were incarcerated in 10 camps scattered throughout Western states during World War II


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  • These Japanese Americans, half of whom were children, were incarcerated for up to 4 years, without due process of law or any factual basis, in bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.

  • They were forced to evacuate their homes and leave their jobs; in some cases family members were separated and put into different camps. President Roosevelt himself called the 10 facilities "concentration camps."

  • Some Japanese Americans died in the camps due to inadequate medical care and the emotional stresses they encountered. Several were killed by military guards posted for allegedly resisting orders.



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Korematsu v. United States in the background

Fred Korematsu  was arrested and convicted for not reporting to an assembly center in May 1942

The court ruled during WWII, that the internment of Japanese Americans such as Fred Korematsu was legal because the posed a potential threat to the United States. This illustrates the idea that freedoms of liberty and speech can and have been restricted during the extreme cases, such as wartime.


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What about Native Americans; in the background

How were they affected by WWII?


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Navajo Code Talkers in the background

The Code used by the Navajo Code Talkers created messages by first translating Navajo words into English, then using the first letter of each English word to decipher the meaning. Because different Navajo words might be translated into different English words for the same letter, the code was especially difficult to decipher

Navajo Code Talkers were used in Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and were a major reason for the success of the U.S. Marines. According to Major Connor, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."


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