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World War II at Home. The Shift to Wartime Production. Overview. Selling weapons to the Allies and buying weapons for ourselves will bring our economy out of the Depression. Ultimately, success depends upon our ability to produce. Mobilizing the Economy for War. Government Action

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Selling weapons to the Allies and buying weapons for ourselves will bring our economy out of the Depression. Ultimately, success depends upon our ability to produce

Mobilizing the economy for war
Mobilizing the Economy for War

  • Government Action

    • Office of Price Administration (OPA)

      • Kept prices from going up

      • Oversaw Rationing

    • War Production Board

      • Oversaw conversion of peacetime industries to wartime industry.

World war ii at home

  • Industrial Conversion

    • Shirt Factories--mosquito netting.

    • Typewriter plants--machine guns

    • Auto factories--bombers (cars were rationed)

    • Ford built the Willow run Plant--produced 340 planes / month on a mile long assembly line.

    • Henry J. Kaiser

      • Revolutionized ship building by building sections of the ship in different parts of the shipyard.

      • Liberty Ships in 1941 took 150 days to build. Kaiser built them in 4.

World war ii at home

  • Coca Cola

    • Promised “We will see that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca Cola for 5¢

    • Sold over 5 million

  • The “Great Arsenal of Democracy”

    • By mid 1945 the US had made:

      • 300k planes

      • 80K landing craft

      • 100K Tanks and Armored Cars

      • 5,600 Merchant ships

      • 6 million rifles, carbines and machine guns.

      • 41 billion rounds of ammunition

Ss robert e peary completed in 4 days
SS Robert E. PearyCompleted in 4 days

Financing the war 1939 1945
Financing the War 1939-1945

  • 1939 Spending was $9.4 billion; 1945 $95.2 billion

  • GNP more than doubled

  • 41% of the war has financed by higher taxes

  • The remainder was borrowed from banks, private investors and the public.

  • Deficit spending boosted the economy, but the accumulated debt caused problems later on.

Pop culture
Pop Culture

  • Books and Movies

    • The paperback book market skyrocketed

    • 60% of Americans went to the movies every week.

  • Baseball

    • 4K of the 5,700 players were in the war.

    • Women’ professional ball

      • Organized by Phillip Wrigley

      • All American Girls Softball League / Baseball

World war ii at home

  • Popular Music

    • “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

    • “White Christmas” Bing Crosby

Shortages and controls
Shortages and Controls

  • Unavailable Goods

    • Metal for zippers made guns

    • Rubber for girdles made tires

    • Nylon was used for parachutes not stockings

World war ii at home

  • Rationed Goods

    • Sugar was scarce b/c of the fall of the Philippines

    • Rationing of food and clothes was based on a point system issued in ration books. Once points were used, could not buy more

    • Gas was rationed

Enlisting public support
Enlisting Public Support

  • Office of War Mobilization

    • Purpose--get the public to support the war in every way

    • Examples

      • Victory Gardens

        • by 1943 produced 1/3 of fresh vegetables in the US

      • Air Raid blackouts on the coasts

      • VA--volunteers raised sunken ships in the James River for parts and scrap.

World war ii at home

  • Metal Drives

  • Rubber drives

  • Saved kitchen grease to collect glycerin to make powder for bullets

  • Slogans

    • “Play your Part”

    • “Conserve and Collect”

    • “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

Women and the war rosie the riveter
Women and the War“Rosie the Riveter”

Changes for women
Changes for Women

  • The government actively recruited women for the workforce.

  • Married women entered the work force and for the 1st time outnumbered single women.

  • At one point women made up 35% of the workforce.

Benefits for women
Benefits for Women

  • More money to pay off debts incurred during the depression.

  • Had challenging and interesting work opportunities.

  • Percentage of African American women working went from 6.8% to 18 %.


  • Hostile reactions from other workers.

  • Less pay than men for the same job.

  • Worried about leaving children at home.

After the war
After the War

  • Industry and government encouraged women to leave their public jobs.

  • Were encouraged to focus on homemaking.

Discrimination against african americans
Discrimination against African Americans

  • Economic Discrimination

    • 1941-- 1/5 were unemployed

    • Limited housing available

    • Limited opportunities to advance in the workplace

    • The Jim Crow System remained strong in the South.

World war ii at home

  • Military

    • Whites and African Americans were strictly segregated.

  • African Americans pushed the “Double V” campaign

A phillip randolph
A. Phillip Randolph

  • Pushed for Black rights in the labor movement

  • Helped the “Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters” railway union gain successes.


  • Bracero Program

    • Agreement b/w the US and Mexico

    • >200K workers allowed to enter the US and work on farms

Japanese americans
Japanese Americans

  • 1941--127K in the US, mostly on the west coast.

  • 2/3 were Nisei

  • Relocation

    • Feb. 19, 1942 FDR issued Executive Order 9066

    • The War Relocation Authority removed all persons of Japanese ancestry inland to internment camps.

World war ii at home

  • Most could not secure their property before leaving for the camps

  • Many lost businesses, farms, homes and other property.

  • Court Challenges

    • 4 cases went to the US Supreme Court and in each the Constitutionality of internment camps were upheld.

    • 1988 Congress awarded each surviving Japanese American who’d been interned $10K tax free

    • The government also officially apologized.