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The Homefront

The Homefront

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The Homefront

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  1. The Homefront World War II- 1939-1945

  2. Franklin D. Roosevelt: The Roosevelt Rap • “ We are fighting to cleanse the world of ancient evils, ancient ills. That is the conflict that day and night pervades our lives. No compromise can end that conflict. There has never been – there never can be- a successful compromise between good and evil. Only total victory can reward the champions of tolerance and decency and freedom and faith.”

  3. America in 1939 • US army was ranked 49th in the World. • US army cavalry of 50,000 soldiers with horses that still pulled artillery • Patton: “Against Europe’s total war, the US Army looked like a few nice boys with BB guns.”

  4. New York World Fair- 1939 • Time capsule to be opened in 6939: contained writing by Einstein, Thomas Mann, copies of Life magazine, dollar in change, kewpie dolls, Camel cigarettes, seeds of food in common use (plaque marks the position in NY. (40 degrees, 40 minutes) • Magna Carta on display and kept in US until after the war • Food zone and wonder bread: wheat field where bread was baked daily • 44 million attended

  5. The Forties • Population: 132, 122, 000(1940)- 140 M (1945) • Unemployed in 1939- 17% unemployed • National debt: $43 billion • Average salary: $1,299- teacher: $1,441 • 55% of homes had indoor plumbing ; 50% no central heat • Of 74 million Americans 25 years and older, only 2/5 had gone beyond the 8th grade; 1/4 had graduated from high school and 1/20 from college 7. Majority of Americans lived in towns of fewer than 25,000

  6. The Forties 1. Life expectancy: 68.2 female and 60.8 male 2. TV made its debut in 1939 World Fair: by war’s end only 5000 sets in US homes 3. The digital computer names ENAIC was completed in 1945

  7. The Forties The arts: Abstract Expressionism: Pollock, de Kooning, Mondrian, Calder Dream home was the Cape Cod : lawn became a symbol of pride of ownership Music: Aaron Copeland: Rodeo and Appalachian Spring; the Big Bands, and Jazz of Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald Radio was the medium for news and entertainment: Kate Smith, Arthur Godfrey, Red Skelton. Bob Hope

  8. The Forties Literature: JFK: Why England Slept Richard Wright: Native Son; Spock: Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead St. Exupery: the Little Prince Dr. Seuss: Horton Hatches the Egg Janette Lowery: Pokey the Puppy; Anais Nin; Under a Glass Bell George Orwell: Animal Farm E.B. White: Stuart Little Steinbeck:Cannery Row;

  9. The Forties • Newberry Winners began in 1922- Johnny Tremain (1944) • Caldecott winner began in 1938- Make Way for Ducklings (1942)

  10. The Forties 1. Fads: Jitterbug, Vargas girls, Kilroy, Slinky (1945), frozen dinners,, Seventeen magazine (1944), swallowing goldfish, skimpy bathing suits 2. Theater and Film: Wilder’s The Skin of our teeth; Musicals: Oklahoma, Carousel, Annie get your gun (1946) 3. Movies: Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Disney’s, Fantasia (1940) Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942) 4. Firsts: synthetic tire, first African American on a stamp: Booker T. Washington; Black General: B. O. Davis; transatlantic airmail, postal zones, income tax withholding, women slacks 5. Greyhound busses transported between 1941-45: 3 billion passengers

  11. 1939-1940: War • By 1940 there was dissent in Congress about the New Deal: vetoing of many additional programs (southern Democrats and Republicans) • At the outset of war in 1939, FDR asked the nation to produce 50,000 planes a year- why this figure? for whatever reason, it galvanized American and “caught the imagination of the American people.” • “FDR had so passionate a faith in the future which implies an exceptionally sensitive awareness. This awareness was the source of his genius.” Isaiah Berlin • FDR: Needed to get business on his side if he wanted to produce defense equipment: set up a committee represented by New Dealers and businessmen; National Defense Advisory Commission • Selective Service Act of 1940: 12 months

  12. Dunkirk • May 26- June 4th -Churchill: “Never has a nation been so naked before her foes” • FDR: “ If Britain goes down all of us in the Americas would be living at the point of a gun." America was taking sides • FDR: “ I never let my right hand know what my left hand does.”- In 1940 – FDR had to juggle- he had to deal with Britain’s request for destroyers, deal with the passage of a tax law, of a selective service bill, and an election • Lend lease- gave Britain 50 destroyers and we got 9 strategic bases for 99 years; “We haven’t had a better bargain since the Indians sold Manhattan Island for $24 in wampum and a demi-john of hard liquor” • Frances Perkins called Lend Lease “ a flash of almost clairvoyant knowledge and understanding. Arsenal for Democracy Speech • General public saw lend lease as a substitute for war

  13. Getting ready • Labor union leader Walter Reuthers suggested that car factories should be converted to plane factories. • “It took Hitler more than five years to get ready for this war. We’ve got months, not years in which to prepare. And the battle could only be won if this nation produces more and faster than any other nation has ever produced before.”

  14. Getting ready • With attacks on British ships in the spring of 1941, American convoys were sent to accompany them. “We know enough now to realize that it would be suicide to wait until they are in our front yard. When our enemy comes at you in a tank or a bombing plane, if you hold your fire until you see the whites of his eyes, you will never know what hit you. Our Bunker Hill of tomorrow may be several thousand miles from Boston.” • Goebbels calls the speech demagogic and aggressive, “What can the USA do faced with our arms capacity? They can do us no harm. They will never be able to produce as much as us, who have the entire economic capacity of Europe at our disposal.”

  15. Pearl Harbor • In mid-July , 1941, 40,000 Japanese invaded rubber rich Dutch East Indies: (US source of 90% or rubber) Japanese assets frozen Panama Canal closed and cutting of gasoline to Japanese: Japanese refused to leave China • Same time: Draft extended ( by 1 vote) from 1 year to an additional 18 months: OHIO • After hitting Pearl Harbor, Japanese attacked Philippines,Malasia, Guam, Wake Island, Hong Kong

  16. Rationing • Even before Pear Harbor, Eleanor suggested that Americans save their money and put these savings in to government bonds • Rationing came under Office of Price management (OPM- John Kenneth Galbraith): in spring of 1941, OPM announced a 2-week scrap drive to collect worn out pans, pots for remelting: collected 5000 dishpans,10,000 coffee percolators200 roasters, 2500 double boilers = one plane – eventually scrap metal drive made 2000 • Price Control Bill (1/42): set prices for selected raw materials • Eleanor set example for housewives: silk needed for parachutes not for hose so wore cotton stockings; sugar was replaced corn syrup in White House

  17. Rationing • “use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without” • Gas, grease, tin cans, rubber, chewing gum wrappers, sugar, stoves, shoes, cheese, typewriters, coffee, meats, processed foods, canned fish and milk, fats • Golf ball production halted due to rubber inside; girdles • If drove too fast (waste of gas) victim of Victory Honk (3 taps, one blast – morse code for V): speed limit of 35 mph • Some baseballs were stamped 25 cents to $150- if caught it redeem for a War Bond • No Indie 500 from 1942-45 • Also rationed tires, cars, bikes

  18. Rationing • A sticker on cars would get 4 gallons/week; non-essential use • B (green) tickers used for essential cars: defense workers could buy 8 gallons per week • C (red) stickers for ministers, physicians, mail carriers railroad workers • T= truckers • X= members of Congress • Misrepresentation of one’s status was $10,000 fine and 10 years in jail: OPA investigators

  19. Rationing • Butter scarce: add yellow dye to margarine • Sugar substituted by corn syrup and saccharine • Kitchen fats exchanged for butcher shop points • Kraft macaroni and Cheese ( 1 coupon) made many a meal: 80 million sold in 1943; cottage cheese replaced meat • 20 million victory gardens produced 40% of needed vegetables in US

  20. Rationing • Coffee; I cup of day for each person over 15 (ships needed) • By 1942: shortage of iron and steel, prohibition of frig., vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, irons, radios, no stainless steel for table ware • By 1944 no more whisky being distilled because distilleries turned to production on industrial alcohol • 37% of all cigarettes were allocated for service men Victory suit for civilians was mandated: cuff less trousers, narrower lapels, shorter skirts, pleat less skirts, two-piece bathing suits (girdles= WPB: announced that foundation garments were an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe) Victims of fashion rationing- no flared skirts, leather shoes only came in 6 colors – husbands- no double –breasted suits • Blood drives: Americans in just D.C. donated 13 ½ million pints of blood during war: surprise of Pvt. Starner wounded on Tarawa, found a plasma bottle with his name on it!

  21. Black Market • History of widespread distrust of economic regulations: Gov’t wanted to control inflation • Gasoline; voluntary decrease in consumption did not work: Flowback system initiated- consumers paid with coupons- the retailer replenishes his stock by sending his coupons to an intermediate distributor who sends his coupons to primary distributor who deposits ration coupons in a ration bank account.

  22. Black Market • Counterfeiting of coupons began right away: estimate of 15-50% counterfeit • Meat black market: 1.2 billion industry • At all levels there was graft: Senate hearing: ‘If what you say is correct, does that not mean that the farmers or the sellers of the cattle first violate the law, second, the buyers of the cattle from the farmers violate the law, then the slaughterers who kill the animals ..violate the law, and eventually, the consumers who pay the black market prices violate the law”’ • “Yes, it takes people at every level.”

  23. Others… • Many jobs for marginal workers: convicts, teenagers, handicapped • Farming hit hard during the Depression but there was a turn around with the war • “Food will win the war and write the peace.” Farmers fed Americans, the military and allies; increase production by 50%

  24. Women’s Land Army

  25. Defense industry • FDR’s production goals for 1942; 60,000 planes, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 anti-aircraft guns; 1 plane every 4 minutes,1 tank every 7 minutes, 2 seagoing ships a day • “ No one understood better than he the inner dynamics of American strength, how to mobilize it, how to draw on it, how to gauge its limits. Once mobilized, it did not need to be drive; it only needed to be steered.” (. E.Larrabee) • After Pearl Harbor, 20 million moved to find employment: 15% of population: west coast population increased by 34%

  26. Big vs. Small industries • 1940: small companies were producing war industry, large (30%); by 1943, large companies dominated (by 70%) • In 1942 there were 2,267,700 accidents in factories and 19,900 deaths: 100 liberty ships could have been built if just 15% fewer accidents • Due to third shift and fatigue • Also safety regulations still in hands of management: diminished when goggles, face shields and finger guards on power shears were adopted

  27. Homefront as an economic army of Women • “ It is for the women of America to say whether Americans shall live slave or free” (War guide supplement for Confession magazine) • Most jobs for women were in manufacturing- low-paying and non-unionized: also telephone operators, clerical ( not African A.) waitresses ,laundries

  28. The myth • Myth that women entered the workplace in droves to help their men and for purely patriotic reasons • Those who entered the work force were not middle class but working class, wives, students, divorcees who needed money: only 1/8 new workers had men in military • Most had worked before the war: in 1944 survey, 25 % had less than 2 years experience, 50% had been working for more than 5 years and 30% for at least 10 • Also only 10% of these women had graduated form college and 54% had not graduated from h.s. • Many had withdrawn from the labor force because of the Depression and the jobs that were available in the Depression were given to men

  29. The reality: Defense industry • By 1943: 40% in aircraft industry; 34% in ammunition; 10.6 % in steel; 10% in shipping; 8% in RR: 6 million entered/11.5 before war • Wages were 40% higher than traditional female fields • Agriculture: 22.4% • Gov’t saw women’s work as temporary and suggested that best female worker was married w/no children ( younger should remain home with kids) • Opposition form Catholic Church: weakening family life • War Depart. Brochure:”Woman is a substitute. like plastic for steel” • If women wanted to be treated as individuals, the war industry was not the time or place. • Posters: Rosie the Riveter: “Amazonian”: attractive with huge muscles: can’t equate it to what men were doing on the battlefield

  30. Women and the defense industry • High absentee rate so creation of day care centers in some cities and on site in many industries • In 1942 ER urged FDR to create first gov’t sponsored day care centers under Communities Facilities Act • Without daycare, there was a danger for the defense industry, but also of child neglect; Kaiser Shipyards built a model day care for all other defense industries ( open 6 days a week at price of $.75 • By the end of the war, more defense industries built day care and 1,500,000 children had been served)

  31. Women’s contributions • Women built 87,000 warships, 300,000 aircraft, 41 billion rounds of ammo, 107,000 tanks, B-24 built every 63 minutes • 649,000 Jeeps (G.P.= general purpose)1 jeep every 80 seconds • Worked in other arenas; lumberjills, newspapers, radio, stock exchange, cowgirls • “war would create a new amazon who would out drink, out swear, and out swagger the men.”