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Chapter 35 America in World War II 1941-1945 p. 821-828. “Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1942. Pearl Harbor Memorial. 2,887 Americans Dead. The Allies Trade Space for Time.

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chapter 35 america in world war ii 1941 1945 p 821 828
Chapter 35

America in World War II1941-1945

p. 821-828


Pearl Harbor Memorial

2,887 Americans Dead

the allies trade space for time
The Allies Trade Space for Time
  • When Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, millions of infuriated Americans, especially on the west coast, instantly changed their views from isolationist to avenger.
  • However, America, led by the wise Franklin D. Roosevelt, resisted such pressures, to attack Japan 1st, instead taking a “get Germany first” approach to the war, for if Germany were to defeat Britain before the Allies could beat Japan, there would be no stopping Hitler and his men.
    • Meanwhile, just enough troops would be sent to fight Japan to keep it in check.
  • America had the hardship of preparing for war, since it had been in isolation for the preceding decades, and the test would be whether or not it could mobilize quickly enough to stop Germany and make the world safe for democracy (again).
the allies trade space for time1
The Allies Trade Space for Time

Time was the most needed munition.

America, led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, took a “get Germany first” approach to the war. (If Britain fell to Germany before the Allies beat Japan, Hitler and his men would be unstoppable.)

A few troops would be sent to fight Japan to keep in check while the Allies battled Germany.

Once at war, America’s greatest challenge was to retool itself for all-out war production, while hoping that the dictators would not meanwhile crush their adversaries.

The U.S. had to feed, clothe, and arm itself, as well as transport its forces to far away regions.

The U.S. also had to provide excessive amounts of food and munitions to it's hard-pressed allies.

the shock of war
The Shock of War

The attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor increased national unity. Americans clamoured for an assault on the Axis powers.

The few Axis supporters in the U.S. melted away, while many Americans and German Americans loyally supported the nation's war program.

The newly elected conservative Congress (1942) wiped out many New Deal programs, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and the National Youth Administration.

“Dr. New Deal” was replaced by “Dr. Win-the-War.”


WWII was no idealistic crusade. Most Americans didn't even know what the Atlantic Charter (declaration of U.S. goals going into the war such as to fight Germany first, and Japan second) was.Overall, most ethnic groups in the United States during WWII were further assimilated into American society.Unfortunately the Japanese Americans were an exception to this concept.

japanese internment camps
Japanese Internment Camps
  • Japanese Americans were placed concentration camps during WWII as a result of anti-Japanese prejudice and fear.
  • President Roosevelt, fearing that some Japanese Americans might act as saboteurs for Japan in case of invasion passed Executive Order #9066.
  • On the Pacific Coast, 110,000 Japanese Americans were taken from their homes and herded into internment camps.
  • Many Japanese Americans lost hundreds of millions of dollars in property and foregone earnings while in the camps.
  • The 1944 Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. U.S., upheld the constitutionality of the Japanese relocation.
  • It took the U.S. government more then four decades, in 1988, to officially apologize for its actions and approve the payment of reparations of $20,000 to each camp survivor.
the japanese
The Japanese

Between 1885-1924, about 200,000 Japanese migrated to Hawaii, and around 180,000 to the U.S. mainland.

Due to Japan's system of compulsory education, Japanese immigrants were on average better educated and more literate than European immigrants.

Many Japanese immigrants moved quickly into farming. Many white workers and farmers were jealous of Japanese success.

1908- President Roosevelt negotiated the “Gentlemen's Agreement,” which limited Japanese emigration.

1913- Japanese immigrants already living in the U.S. were denied the right to own land by the California legislature.

Legally barred from becoming citizens, Issei became more determined than ever for their American-born children , Nissei, would reap the full benefits of their birthright.

Japanese parents encouraged their children to learn English, to excel in school, and to get a college education.

  • “Issei”- Japanese word for first
  • “Nissei”-Japanese word for second
building the war machine
Building the War Machine

Massive military orders-over $100 billion in 1942 alone-ended the Great Depression by creating demand for jobs and production.

Farmers rolled out more food, but the new sudden spurt in production made prices soar-a problem that was finally resolved by the regulation of prices by the Office of Price Administration.

The War Production Board halted manufacture of nonessential items such as cars, and when the Japanese seized vital rubber supplies in British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, the U.S. imposed a national speed limit and gasoline rationing to save tires.

Many essential goods were rationed

The War Labor Board (WLB) imposed ceilings on wage increases.

  • Shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser was dubbed “Sir Launchalot” because his methods of ship assembly churned out one fully assembled ship in 14 days.
labor unions
Labor Unions

Labor unions pledged not to strike during the war. Some did.

June 1943- Congress passed the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act. Allowed the federal government to seize and operate industries threatened by or under strike.

Strikes only accounted for less than 1% of the total working hours of the U.S. wartime laboring force.

The United Mine Workers who were led by John Lewis, was a union group that did strike during the war.

manpower and womanpower
Manpower and Womanpower
  • The armed forced had nearly 15 million men and 216,000 women and some of these “women in arms” included the WAACS (Army), the WAVES (Navy), and SPARS (Coast Guard).
  • Due to an insufficient supply of workers (both men and women were fighting in the war), the Bracero Program was introduced. Mexican workers were brought to America as resident workers.
  • The employment of more than 6 million women in American industry during the war led to the establishment of day-care centers by the government.
  • Upon the war’s end, many did not return to their homes, though ultimately 2/3 of women did return home due to family obligations.
  • The servicemen that came home to them helped produce a baby boom that is still being felt today.