Converting the Economy. The United States’s industrial output during World War II was twice as productive as Germany and five times that of Japan. . This turned the tide in favor of an Allied victory.
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Destroy this Mad Brute
U.S. Navy Recruiting Booklet
"MEN MAKE THE NAVY…" proclaims this U.S. Navy recruiting booklet, which encourages men to enlist by highlighting the good pay, food, and shipmates, as well as the possibility of "fighting action." One hundred thousand women also responded to the navy's recruiting efforts by joining the WAVES.
Col. Benjamin Davis, Jr., WWII pilot
A leader of the Tuskegee airmen, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. was the fourth African American to graduate from West Point. During the war, Colonel Davis commanded the 332d Fighter Group, which destroyed over two hundred enemy planes in southern Europe.
The pilots of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first African American aerial fighting unit, trained at a field adjacent to Alabama's all-black Tuskegee Institute and became known as the "Tuskegee Airmen." They entered combat over North Africa in June of 1943 and won much praise for their battles against the Luftwaffe. However, most blacks throughout the war were confined to noncombat service.
Women in the service: black nurses
Lining the rails of their ship, African American army nurses arrive at the European theater of operations in August 1944. These nurses, like their white counterparts in America's segregated army, served in field and base hospitals, often right behind the fighting front.
Hazel Ah Ying Lee, Women's Air Force Service Pilot
More than 350,000 women served in the military during the war, including Lt. Hazel Ying Lee, a Women's Air Force Service Pilot. WASPs flew "noncombat," ferrying planes and supplies across the United States and Canada. Already an experienced pilot in China, Lt. Lee is seated here in the cockpit of a trainer. Lt. Lee died in 1943, when her plane crashed.
Millions of American homes proudly displayed banners such as these during the war. The blue star on the flag indicated that a family member was serving in the military. A gold star proclaimed that an individual had been killed. Many homes displayed banners with several stars, indicating the family had sent many members off to war.
It is not uncommon for Americans to display symbols to signify their support for family and friends who serve in the military. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, many Americans tied yellow ribbons on trees and poles to show their support for the American troops.
Rosie the Riveter
Memorialized in song and story, "Rosie the Riveter" symbolized the women war workers who assumed jobs in heavy industry to take up the slack for the absent 15 million men in the armed services. Here a very real Rosie the Riveter is doing her job in April 1943 at the Baltimore manufacturing plant for Martin PMB mariners. Although sometimes scorned by male workers, the dedication and efficiency of most female workers won them the praise of male plant supervisors.
Women workers mastered numerous job skills during the war. In 1942 crews of women cared for Long Island commuter trains like this one.
One hundred people were injured during the 1943 "zoot-suit riot" in Los Angeles, when white mobs attacked Mexican American men and tore off their zoot suits. During the riot, Los Angeles police arrested Mexican Americans for wearing such attire in violation of a city ordinance. These men in chains were headed to jail.
Mexican-American platoon in training at Fort Benning, Georgia (February 18, 1943).
Japanese American teens, 1942
In February of 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered that all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast be rounded up and placed in prison camps. These families were awaiting a train to take them to an assembly center in Merced, California; from there, they would be sent to relocation camps in remote inland areas.
He CAN'T Forget Pearl Harbor--Can You?
This World War II poster encourages support for the U.S. war effort by pointing to one soldier's disabilities that resulted from Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.
Poster by Thomas Hart Benton: "Back Him Up"
This poster by the famous artist Thomas Hart Benton emphasized the need for all Americans to do their part in winning the war by buying war bonds and laboring in factories and fields, as well as by fighting in the armed forces and, not incidentally, contributing their artistic talents.