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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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America in World War II1941-1945
2,887 Americans Dead
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 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.
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.
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.
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.