The United States in the War 1941-1945
Wartime Diplomacy • Get Germany First • America’s initial shock and anger were directed at JP • Outraged Americans demanded a strategy designed to first defeat JP and then crush Hitler • FDR realized that Hitler posed the greatest threat to America’s long-term security • If Hitler succeeded in defeating both the SU and GB he could transform Europe into an unconquerable fortress • The U.S. and GB therefore agreed upon a military strategy to defeat Hitler first
Wartime Diplomacy • The Big Three • The Big Three referred to FDR, Churchill, and Stalin • The Big Three first met in Nov 1943 at Tehran, Iran • The meeting confirmed that the U.S. and GB would open a second front by invading FR • The Big Three also reaffirmed their demand for the unconditional surrender of Ger. and IT • The Big Three held their second and final meeting at Yalta in Feb 1945 • Churchill and FDR agreed to a temporary division of Ger. • In return Stalin agreed to join the war against JP 3/mo after the Nazis surrendered
The Home Front • The production miracle • When Stalin met FDR in Tehran, the Soviet dictator offered this admiring toast: “To American production, without which this war would have been lost” • Stalin was right, U.S. industry crushed the Axis powers beneath a weight of weaponry • Prior to WWII, airplanes and ships had been built one at a time • Led by Henry Ford and Henry J. Kaiser, U.S. companies learned how to use assembly line techniques to mass produce these and other weapons • By 1944, round-the-clock shifts were turning out a new bomber every hour and a cargo ship every 17 days • 1940-1945, factories in the U.S. produced a 296,429 warplanes, 5,425 cargo ships, and 102,351 tanks and self-propelled guns
The Home Front • Rosie the Riveter • WWII created new job opportunities for women • As their husbands left to serve in the military about five million additional women joined the nation’s workforce • The popular song “Rosie the Riveter” celebrated the women who worked in factories • Rosie the Riveter soon became more than a nickname for women who performed industrial work • For millions of American women, Rosie was a proud symbol of their patriotism and determination to contribute to the war effort
The Home Front • The African American experience • About one million AAs served in the armed forces during WWII • These black soldiers and sailors continued to serve in segregated units
The Home Front • The African American experience • During the war over one million S blacks moved to industrial cities in the N and W Coast but war industries continued to discriminate against black workers • In 1941 A. Philip Randolph, the head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, organized a March on Washington Movement to protest discrimination • FDR wanted to prevent a highly visible protest march • Supported by Eleanor, FDR issued an executive order banning discrim. in defense industries and gov’t agencies • The order established the Fair Employment Practices Commission to monitor and enforce the directive • AAs were keenly aware of the contradiction between fighting for democracy abroad while enduring racial discrimination at home • Blacks enthusiastically supported a “Double V” campaign to win victory over fascism and victory over discrimination in the U.S. • This new assertive attitude helped to spark the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s
The Home Front • The zoot suit riots • By the late 1930s about 3 million Mex-Am lived in the U.S. • LA had the highest concentration of Mexicans outside of MX • The pop influx created rising tension between Mex-Am and local authorities • Young Latinos in LA enjoyed a youth culture that included a distinctive zoot suit featuring a long coat and baggy trousers fitted snugly at the ankles
The Home Front • The zoot suit riots • The armed forces’ demand for textiles led to shortages of wool and rayon • The War Production Board then issued ration orders restricting the yardage in clothes • Although the regulation effectively forbade the manufacture of zoot suits, bootleg tailors continued to manufacture the popular garments • Sailors and soldiers stationed in LA resented the baggy zoot suits • They accused Mex-Am youth of being unpatriotic by deliberately flouting the rationing regulations • In 1943, a series of incidents between young Mex-Am and off-duty servicemen escalated into riots that lasted a week
The Home Front • The internment of Japanese Americans • Following the attack on Pearl Harbor frightened and angry Americans displaced their rage against JP to the 110,000 people of JP descent who lived on the West Coast • The army insisted that evacuation was a necessary precaution to prevent Jap-Am from posing a threat to nat’l security • On Feb 19, 1942 FDR issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the military to evacuate all people of JP ancestry from the West Coast • About 110,000 Jap-Am were interred, or kept confined, in 10 detention camps located on desolate lands owned by the fed gov’t
The Home Front • The internment of Japanese Americans • No specific charges were ever filed against the Jap-Am and no evidence of subversion was ever found • Constituted the most serious violation of civil liberties in wartime in U.S. history • Fred Korematsu was a Jap-Am who knowingly violated the internment order • In Korematsu v. United States he argued that Executive Order 9066 deprived Jap-Am of life, liberty, and property without due process of law • In a controversial decision the SC upheld the constitutionality of the gov’ts evacuation policy citing the existence of “the gravest imminent danger to the public safety” • The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 granted reparations to Jap-Am who had been interned by the U.S. gov’t during WWII • The Act granted each surviving internee about $20,000 in compensation
The Manhattan Project and the Atomic Bomb • The Manhattan Project • On Oct 11, 1939 FDR received a letter from the world famous physicist Albert Einstein explaining the destructive potential of nuclear fusion • Einstein warned that if the U.S. did not act quickly, the Ger. might develop an atomic bomb first • FDR responded by approving the $2 billion top secret Manhattan Project • Nuclear scientists constructed 3 atomic bombs in a laboratory at Los Alamos, NM • The scientists tested the first bomb on July 16, 1945 at a desolate stretch of desert called Alamogordo • The blast created a fireball with a core temperature 3x hotter than the sun
The Manhattan Project and the Atomic Bomb • The decision to use the atomic bomb • FDR died on April 12, 1945 • 2 weeks later Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson informed President Truman about the new atomic bomb • Truman learned about the Manhattan Project as American forces closed in on the JP home islands • His generals warned that an invasion of JP would be a desperate struggle that would inflict heavy casualties on both U.S. forces and JP civilians • On July 26, 1945 Truman, Churchill, and Stalin issued the Potsdam Declaration calling upon JP to surrender unconditionally or suffer “the utter devastation of the JP homeland” • The JP gov’t ignored the warning as “unworthy of public notice”
The Manhattan Project and the Atomic Bomb • The decision to use the atomic bomb • President Truman authorized the use of the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki • At least 4 factors seemed to influence Truman’s decision • Avoid a costly invasion of JP • Shock the JP gov’t into an immediate surrender • End the war before SU could gain any influence over the postwar settlement with JP • Convince Stalin to be more cooperative in formulating postwar plans • The atomic bombs destroyed both Hiroshima and Nagasaki • Aghast at the horrible loss of life, Emperor Hirohito told his war council, “I cannot bear to see my innocent people suffer any longer” • The formal surrender ceremony took place on Sep 2, 1945 on the deck of the U.S. battleship Missouriin Tokyo Bay • WWII was now over, but the atomic age and the Cold War were about to begin
Hiroshima Enola Gay and crew members. Paul Tibbets in the middle.
August 6th • Population: 350,000 • 4.7 square miles of the city were destroyed • 69% of the buildings were destroyed • Another 6-7% damaged • 70,000–80,000 people, or some 30% of the population of Hiroshima were killed immediately • Another 70,000 were injured • Over 90% of the doctors and 93% of the nurses in Hiroshima were killed or injured • Some estimates state up to 200,000 had died by 1950, due to cancer and other long-term effects.
Nagasaki The Bockscar and its crew
August 9th • Population: 240,000 • The radius of total destruction was about 1 mile, followed by fires across the northern portion of the city to 2 miles south of the bomb • Immediate deaths range from 40,000 to 75,000 • Total deaths by the end of 1945 may have reached 80,000
Prompt #8 • In what ways did World War II change American society?