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World War II

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  1. World War II Unit Overview

  2. Organizing Principle • The 1930s began with a Great Depression that kept all American eyes fixed on domestic affairs. However, the isolationism of the 1920s waned as a new international menace threatened the future of democracy. At the close of the decade, the United States was on the brink of war. Japan’s decision to bomb Pearl Harbor pushed us over the brink and dragged the U.S. into the conflict. During World War II, America experienced changes that reached into virtually every corner of the country. The conflict revamped the economy and pulled us out of the Depression. While the war effort started off as cumbersome, America shaped up and prevailed on both fronts and redefined America’s position in the world.

  3. Trading Space for Time • Pressing issues • Retooling for all-out war production • Government and big business • German advancements • Rocket bombs • Atomic bombs? • Einstein’s letter • Allied survival—US readiness • Selective Service • 5 million volunteer • 10 million drafted • Distances to ship goods and troops • Winning the minds: • Hollywood • Propaganda

  4. The miracle of Production • Economic Recovery • Industry awakens • Unemployment—decreases drastically • $100 billion in military orders • R.I.P. Great Depression • Farmers • European demand • Labor • Opportunities in manufacturing • Discrimination in hiring • Unions • Membership up 3 million (13 million total) • Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act (1943)

  5. Economic Planning • Office of Price Administration (OPA) • Battled inflation • Taxes • Rationing • War bonds • National War Labor Board (NWLB) • Ceilings on wage increases • Restrictions on unions • War Production Board • Halted the manufacture of nonessential items • Tanks, planes, boats, bomb parts, jeeps, liberty ships etc… • Dictated transportation and access to raw materials • Rationing • Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) • Manhattan Project

  6. Women and WWII • Rosie the Riveter • 6 million women working • Wage prejudice • “Men’s work” • WAACs, WAVEs, SPARs, WAFs • “Auxiliary”—non combat • Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force • Clerical work • Ambulance drivers • Radio operators • Electricians • Pilots

  7. African Americans • A. Philip Randolph • March for integration of workforce • Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) • Military • Black servicemen: 700,000 plus • Served in segregated units • Noncombat roles until 1943 • Double “V” • Tuskegee Airmen • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) • Sit-ins and demonstrations • Chicago, St. Louis

  8. Japanese Americans • Discrimination • 135,000 Japanese • Issei • Nissei • “Conspirators” • Relocation Centers • Executive Order 9066 • Prison camps in mountains and deserts • Korematsu v. U.S. • Supports internment

  9. Minority Wartime Experience • Mexican-Americas • 300,000 served • High casualties • Bracero program • Contract laborers • Zoot-Suit Riots • Asian-Americans • 13,000 Chinese serve • 30,000 Japanese serve • Native Americans • 25,000 served • “Windtalkers” • African-Americans • Second Great Migration • Detroit

  10. Holding the Home Front • Economic gains • Inflation, wage ceilings, expansive income tax • Disposable personal income doubled (GD!) • Check please! • $ 330 billion • Note WWI cost 32 billion! • 2/5 of war costs paid by revenues • National debt rose from 49 billion to 259 billion • GDP • $100 billion to $200 billion in 4 years

  11. Halting Hitler • The Battle of the Atlantic • U-Boat hunting • Convoys, depth charges, air patrol, radar and code breaking • Kept Britain alive—allied springboard • Cologne • 1,000 plane bombing raid • North Africa • The “Desert Fox” Erwin Rommel • Nazi sought the Suez Canal • Allies drove them back to Tunisia • Stalingrad • The tide turns on the eastern front

  12. Italian Campaign • The “soft underbelly” • Sicily falls in August 1943 • Mussolini deposed • Italy joins the allies • German occupied Italy • Rome was taken 04 June 1944 • Campaign diverts Nazi troop strengths

  13. Reopening the Western Front • Teheran Conference (11/28-12/1/1943) • Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin • Coordinating attacks • D-Day 06 June 1944 • Allied invasion of Nazi occupied Europe • Led by Eisenhower • Began the decline of German dominance on the Western front • “Lafayette, we are here again.”

  14. Reopening the Western Front • Teheran Conference (11/28-12/1/1943) • Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin • Coordinating attacks • D-Day 06 June 1944 • Allied invasion of Nazi occupied Europe • Led by Eisenhower • Began the decline of German dominance on the Western front • “Lafayette, we are here again.”

  15. V-E Day • Germany collapsing • Soviets were closing on East • British and Americans closing in on West • Battle of the Bulge • Last German offensive • Winter of 1944—allies push them back • Unveiling the genocide • Nazi death camps exposed • Russians capture Berlin • April 1945 • FDR passes • Hitler takes his own life • V-E Day (07 May 1945)

  16. The Rising Sun in the Pacific • Japanese imperialists • Guam, Wake, Philippines, Hong Kong, British Malaya, and Burma • Strategic locations and natural resources • Struggle in the Philippines • Bataan defensive • MacArthur evacuated—“I shall return” • Bataan Death March • POWs

  17. The Sun also Sets…Leapfrogging to Checkmate • Japan sets its eyes on Australia • Battle of the Coral Sea • Carrier based aircraft—Allied victory • Midway • The tide turns—1,000 miles NW of Hawaii • Admiral Nimitz out maneuvers Japanese • Japan loses three carriers • “Island-Hopping” • U.S. strategy—capturing nearby islands to weaken fortified ones

  18. V-J Day • American Submarines • Sank 50% of Japanese merchant marine • Firebombing in Tokyo • March 9-10, 1945 • Killed 83,000 • Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa • Crippled Japanese fleet • “kamikazes” • Little Boy and Fat Man • Hiroshima—06 August 1945 • Nagasaki—09 August 1945 • V-J Day • 10 August 1945— “unconditional” surrender