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The US in WWII. Dec. 7, 1941: Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. How ready were we to respond?. Preparedness:. Since WWI: Isolationist The Great Depression Unemployment down, but when programs were cut in 1937, went up. Programs had to be restored. (WPA) Attack on Pearl Harbor

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the us in wwii

The US in WWII

Dec. 7, 1941:

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

How ready were we to respond?

preparedness
Preparedness:
  • Since WWI:
    • Isolationist
    • The Great Depression
      • Unemployment down, but when programs were cut in 1937, went up.
      • Programs had to be restored. (WPA)
    • Attack on Pearl Harbor
      • Wiped out the Pacific Fleet
        • Unified Americans
        • Created Anti-Japanese feeling, esp. on West Coast
mobilization
Mobilization
  • How will the US convince businesses to retool for war equipment?
    • Huge expense!
  • What sacrifices will civilians be willing to make?
  • How will the US put together both a military force (enough to fight two fronts at once) and build a navy, tanks, planes… fast?
    • Is there enough manpower for both??
selective service
Selective Service
  • 5 million rushed to enlist
    • Conscription still needed
      • 8 weeks basic training
  • Work force needs demanded more:
    • WAAC created to supplement
      • Driving, pilots, nurses, radio ops, clerical work
      • Women get official status, salary; no benefits
minorities
Minorities:
  • Blacks had no equal rights in the US
    • Were drafted in large #s
  • Chinese Exclusion Act barred immigration
    • Chinese already here had no rights
    • But enlisted, served
      • Chinese Exclusion Act repealed 1943
  • Japanese enlisted (not allowed until after 1943)
  • Native Americans & Mexican Americans enlisted in large numbers
production
Production
  • Auto production stopped 1942
    • Converted to tanks, boats, planes , command cars
  • Shipyards, defense plants grew, multiplied
  • 18 million workers filled jobs
    • More than 6 mill women
    • In defense plants, women, minorities faced prejudice
      • Many refused to hire African Americans, except for janitorial work
        • A. Philip Randolph organized march on Washington
        • FDR issued executive order for equal hiring
          • Randolph cancelled the march
science
Science
  • Office of Scientific Research & Development
    • Improved radar and sonar
    • Developed miracle drugs (penicillin)
    • Atomic Bomb
  • Learning that Germany was splitting Uranium Atoms-
    • OSRD set up Manhattan Project at Columbia U
government control
Government Control
  • Danger of inflation
    • Supplies of consumer goods declined
    • Demand increased
      • OPA (Office of Price Control) froze prices, wages
      • Rationing: coupon books issued for scarce goods
        • Shortages existed on rubber goods, meat, shoes, sugar, coffee, gas
  • Congress raised, extended income tax
    • Encouraged buying war bonds
      • Result: inflation stayed below 30%
  • WPB War Production Board
    • Decided which plants built which products, got them the raw materials
    • Launched nationwide drives for scrap metals, paper, rags, cooking fat