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The Home Front during WWII- Ch 17 Sec1. Mobilizing for Defense. Ch 17 Sec1- Essential Ques. How did the US expand its armed forces? How was the mobilization of industry, labor, scientists, and the media achieved?

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Ch 17 sec1 essential ques
Ch 17 Sec1- Essential Ques.

  • How did the US expand its armed forces?

  • How was the mobilization of industry, labor, scientists, and the media achieved?

  • What steps did the government take to control the economy and deal with alleged subversion?


  • After Pearl Harbor Americans jammed recruiting offices

  • 5 million volunteered for service

  • The Selective Service System was expanded and another 10 million were drafted (GI’s)

  • Women’s Army Corps (WAC’s) 350,000 women served as nurses, ambulance drivers, radio operators, electricians, parachute riggers, photographers, mechanics, and clerks (WAVES, WASPS)

Diversity in the armed forces
Diversity in the Armed Forces

  • 300,000 Mexican Americans served

  • 25,000 Native Americans Served (Navaho Code Talkers)

  • 1 million African Americans served

  • At first blacks were given supporting roles in segregated units, by 1942 they were given some combat opportunities

  • The Tuskegee Airman, Dr. Charles Drew

  • By 1944 some African Americans served in white combat units

  • 33,000 Japanese and 13,000 Chinese served

A production miracle
A Production Miracle

  • The Ford Motor Company made a new factory to make B-24 bombers

  • Henry Kaiser used new techniques to build Liberty ships in 40 days down from 200 days

  • By 1944 US Production Levels doubled those of the Axis Nations put together

  • By the middle of 1945 the US produced 300,000 airplanes, 80,000 landing craft, 100,000 tanks, 5,600 merchant ships, 6 million rifles and 41 million rounds

The war powers act
The War Powers Act

  • FDR gained power to reorganize the federal gov. and create new agencies

  • Office of Price Adm. (OPA) Price Controls

  • National War Labor Board (NLRB) Halted Strikes, Negotiated disputes

  • Office of War Mobilization (OWM) Coordinated all operations

  • Office of War Information (OWI) Sell the War

  • Office of Scientific Research and Development – Radar, Sonar, Manhattan Project (atomic bomb)

New workers
New Workers

  • By 1944 nearly 18 million workers were laboring in wartime industries ( The female overall workforce reached 19.5 million)

  • More than 6 million in wartime jobs were women

  • They were only paid 60% as much as men

  • Women mined coal, repaired aircraft engines, cut and wielded sheet metal and operated forklifts and drill presses

  • “Rosie the Riveter” Campaign helped recruitment

Minority workers
Minority Workers

  • Defense plants hired more than 2 million minority workers

  • A. Phillip Randolph’s proposed March on Washington forced FDR to call on employers and labor unions to hire without discrimination for war industries (Created the Fair Employment Practices Commission)

  • The Bracero Program brought Mexican legally into the US to help in industries ( Ex. Shipbuilding)

  • 200,000 Mexican Americans entered the US legally to harvest crops

War time strikes
War Time Strikes

  • 17million new jobs were created but economic gains were unevenly distributed

  • Major Unions agreed to no-strike pledges in exchange for higher wages and pensions

  • Union member ship rose from 10.5 million to 14.7 million members

  • Unions enrolled 1.25 million blacks

  • 1943 – US Rubber Company Factory in Detroit staged a “Hate Strike”

  • 1943 – United Mine Worker (John L. Lewis)

    Minors won, Smith-Connally Act Passed

Financial costs of wwii
Financial Costs of WWII

  • WWII cost $1.15 a day for every man, woman, and child

  • Federal Spending rose from $8.9 billion in 1939 to $95.2 billion in 1945

  • The GNP more than doubled

  • From 1941-1945 the Gov. spend $321 billion

    • 10X that of WWI

    • More than all gov. expenditures from 1789 to 1940

Paying for the war
Paying for the War

  • The US Government added millions of taxpayers to the rolls through lowering the minimum tax-exempt income

  • Raised personal income tax rates

  • Held excess profits from corporations

  • US borrowed the $ from banks, private investors, and the public

  • War bond sales brought in $186 billion

  • Deficit Spending – The Nat . Debt rose from $43 billion in 1940 to $259 billion in 1945

Economic conversion
Economic Conversion

  • In January 1942 the government set up the War Production Board (WPB) to direct the conversion of peacetime industries to the production of war goods

  • The WPB decided which companies received defense contracts

  • It set priorities and allocated war materials

  • It used the Cost Plus System to allocate profits to companies

  • “Dollar a year” executives came to Washington to contribute while staying on their Co. payrolls

Rationing and nation wide drives
Rationing and Nation Wide Drives

  • The OPA set up a system for rationing through rationing/coupon books

  • Scare items: meat, shoes, sugar, coffee, gas, butter, and canned fruit

  • Metal went for guns, rubber for tires, cloth for uniforms, nylons for parachutes

  • Scrap metal Drives and “Victory Gardens” were publicized

  • Civilian Defense conducted “Blackouts”

  • USO Clubs entertained departing soldiers

Ch 17 sec 4 the homefront
Ch 17 Sec 4- The HomeFront

  • What were the economic and social changes that reshaped American Life during the war?

  • What economic opportunities and discrimination did African Americans and other minorities experience during the war?

Family life on the home front
Family Life on the Home front

  • Between 1940- 1943 more than a million more couples married than if had there been no war

  • By 1946 divorces skyrocketed

  • Housing Shortage-Federal Gov. build 2 million new homes

  • Juvenile Delinquency increased during the war

  • By 1944 High School enrollments decreased by 1.2 million “Back to School Campaign”

  • More books, magazines and baseball

  • 60% of Americans viewed movies per week

The gi bill
The GI Bill

  • To ease entry into Civilian Life and provide opportunity for serviceman Congress passed in 1944 the GI Bill of Rights ( GI Bill)

  • It provided education and training for veterans

  • College Tuition and Low Cost Mortgages

  • 7.8 million veterans attended colleges or technical schools under the GI Bill

  • Low cost loans for starting businesses

Discrimination and reaction
Discrimination and Reaction

  • Between 1940 and 1944 the % of African Americans working in skilled or semi-skilled jobs rose from 16% to 30%

  • In 1942 civil rights leader James Farmer founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to combat urban segregation

  • Detroit Race Riot of 1943 – 3 days, 9 whites, and 25 blacks were killed, FDR sent in troops

  • A. Phillip Randolph’s efforts resulted in the FEPC

  • “Double V Campaign” started in Pitt. Pa

Zoot suit riots
Zoot Suit Riots

  • 200,000 Mexican Americans were legally brought to the US to work – Braceros

  • Many Mexican Americans lived in barrios

  • In 1943 Mexican Americans wore “Zoot Suits” as a symbol of rebellion

  • On June 4th, 11 sailors claimed they were attacked, mobs violence erupted between servicemen and Zoot Suits, many young Mexican were beaten and jailed unjustly with 700 injured

Japanese internment
Japanese Internment

  • After Pearl Harbor many Americans feared an invasion of the US, and it was thought that the Japanese could be loyal to the enemy (0.1% of US Pop.)

  • In Feb. 1942 FDR signed Executive Order 9066 in which civil rights were suspended and the army began rounding up Japanese citizens

  • Japanese on the West Coast were given one week, then they were transported to camps in UT, CO, AK, ID,AZ,WY, and CA. (120,000 people)

Results of internment
Results of Internment

  • Japanese Americans lost homes and businesses valued at $500 million

  • Korematsu vs the US ( 1944) The Supreme Court upheld the relocation on the grounds of national security

  • In 1988 the US Congress gave reparations of $20,000 to each internee and a public apology to each of the 60,000 surviving victims