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America and the Second World War History 17B Lecture 9 A World Transformed From economic fears in Great Depression to fears of personal loss during World War II. America emerged from war stronger. Lecture Goals Analyze economic, social, and international changes of the war.

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a world transformed
A World Transformed
  • From economic fears in Great Depression to fears of personal loss during World War II.
  • America emerged from war stronger.
  • Lecture Goals
    • Analyze economic, social, and international changes of the war.
fascism in italy and germany
Economic discontent and desperation breeds nationalism and xenophobia.

Hitler calls for lebensraum (living space) in the East.

Blitzkrieg into Poland, September 1, 1939.

France falls, June 22, 1940

Hitler invades USSR in Spring 1941.

Two-Front War.

Fascism in Italy and Germany
militarism in japan
Militarism in Japan
  • Japan expands colonial empire into China (1931, 1937)
  • Rape of Nanking
    • 200,000-300,000 killed
  • Unspeakable horrors committed in China
    • 10-30 million deaths.
american isolation
American Isolation
  • Disillusionment after WWI
  • “America First” and Neutrality Acts
    • Bans economic and military aid to nations at war.
  • Roosevelt recognized threat and began rearming in 1940
war in the pacific
Roosevelt’s hard line with Japan to protect U.S. economic/strategic interests in Asia:

Economic and oil embargo.

Why Pearl Harbor?

Japanese hope to knock out U.S. navy and force negotiations.

2,400+ Americans killed in December 7 attack.

War in the Pacific

General Tojo

the world at war
The World at War

Japan, Germany, Italy (Axis Powers)


U.S., Great Britain, U.S.S.R. (Allies)

the home front

Work was plentiful.

Overtime mandatory in many industries.

Prosperity and Sacrifice(?)

Domestic consumption doubles during time of rationing. (Black market?)


Corporate profits up 68%.

The Home Front
home front unity
Home front participation in war effort to promote unity:

Victory gardens, war bond drives, scrap metal drives.

Posters promoted sentiments that united Americans

Willingness to sacrifice

Urge to participate

Fostering of a sense of peril and hatred of enemy.

Home Front Unity
ethnic racial tension
Ethnic/Racial Tension
  • Outpouring of loyalty by minorities and white ethnic groups (i.e., Italian and German Americans).
    • Navajo code talkers
    • 442nd Japanese American Battalion most highly decorated during WWII.
ethnic racial tension17
Ethnic/Racial Tension
  • Closer contact between whites and minorities leads to tension and violence.
  • Detroit riots (June 1943)
    • 34 dead, $2 million property damage
  • Los Angeles Zoot-Suit Riots (June 1943)
a racial war
A Racial War
  • Soldier Perceptions
    • Dehumanized American GIs kill Japanese without remorse (even POWs)
      • Military indoctrination
    • Collection of body parts.
  • “Yellow Peril”
    • “Asian hordes” overrunning the West?
    • Japanese propaganda: Whites vs. Asians
chinese allies
Chinese Allies
  • Filipino- and Chinese-American advances.
  • Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 partially repealed.
    • Chinese residents allowed U.S. citizenship.
african american soldiers
African American Soldiers
  • Discrimination in military but still showed bravery in combat.
  • Executive Order 8802 (June 24, 1941)
    • A policy of non-discrimination in federal employment.
    • Defense contracts with government required to contain nondiscrimination clauses.
japanese internment
Japanese Internment
  • 120,000 Japanese Americans relocated.
    • 2/3 were American born citizens.
  • Why?
    • Racism and War Hysteria.
early discrimination
Nativist movement arises in early 1900s against influx of Japanese laborer.

Family communities form businesses that compete with white Americans.

Alien Land Laws and citizenship exclusion.

Had to be white for naturalized citizenship.

Early Discrimination
mass hysteria and racism
Mass Hysteria and Racism
  • A Presidential Commission and the FBI both concluded that Japanese Americans posed no security threat.
    • Yet racist assumptions that “racial characteristics” defined American born Japanese as disloyal guided policy.
  • Economic opportunism.
  • Executive Order 9066 signed by Roosevelt (February 1942)
  • Japanese descent (neither German nor Italian) to be relocated.
  • Army emptied orphanages and removed Japanese American children from foster homes from Alaska down to San Diego.
    • Kids with as little as 1/8th ancestry relocated.
  • War had a tremendous effect on American confidence.
    • Nazi death camps and extent of Japanese atrocities strengthened idea of an American moral crusade.
  • Most Americans agreed:
    • Could never return to isolationism.