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The Home Front. American Society during WWII. The Armed Forces. Young men were eager to volunteer. 5 million men volunteered Draft: mandatory recruitment for military service. 10 million men drafted. The Armed Forces cont’d.

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the home front

The Home Front

American Society during WWII

the armed forces
The Armed Forces
  • Young men were eager to volunteer. 5 million men volunteered
  • Draft: mandatory recruitment for military service. 10 million men drafted
the armed forces cont d
The Armed Forces cont’d
  • The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) is established in May 1945 [just WAC in July 1943]
  • 350,000 women served in the auxiliaries

“There are innumerable duties now being performed by soldiers that can be done better by women” -General George Marshall

Nurses, drivers, electricians, pilots…; non-combat

the armed forces cont d1
The Armed Forces cont’d
  • “Just carve on my tombstone, ‘Here lies a black man killed fighting a yellow man for the protection of a white man.’” –African-American draftee
  • “Why die for democracy in another country when we don’t even have it here?” –African-American newspaper editorial
  • Minorities treated unequally in the United States at this point: segregation, racism, discrimination
  • Japanese-American were put in concentration camps during WWII
the armed forces cont d2
The Armed Forces cont’d

Navajo Code Talkers

Tuskegee Airmen

American Latinos


production and rationing
Production and rationing

World War II ended the Great Depression

American factories were converted to produce the tools and supplies for war

~instead of making consumer goods, factories were making supplies for the armed forces

 rationing




zoot suit riots
Zoot Suit Riots

"Marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a mob of several thousand soldiers, sailors, and civilians, proceeded to beat up every zootsuiter they could find […] Mexicans, and some Filipinos and Negroes, were jerked from their seats, pushed into the streets and beaten with a sadistic frenzy.“

-C. McWilliams

Los Angeles, 1943: For 5 days, Sailors and Marines attacked young men who wore the zoot suit

-more than 150 injured

-500 arrested for “rioting” or “vagrancy”

zoot suit riots cont d
Zoot Suit Riots cont’d
  • "The question goes deeper than just suits. It is a racial protest. I have been worried for a long time about the Mexican racial situation. It is a problem with roots going a long way back, and we do not always face these problems as we should." – First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The L.A. Times responded by accusing Mrs. Roosevelt of having communist leanings and stirring "race discord".