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World War II: Americans at War


World War II: Americans at War 1941-1945 Mobilizing the Armed Forces Well before Pearl Harbor, FDR and the US had begun preparing for war FDR realized the first step ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: World War II: Americans at War

World War II Americans at War
  • 1941-1945

Mobilizing the Armed Forces
  • Well before Pearl Harbor, FDR and the US had
    begun preparing for war
  • FDR realized the first step in preparing was to
    strengthen the military in September 1940,
    Congress passed the Selective Training and
    Service Act required all males (12-36) to
    register for service

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The GI War
  • WW2 greatly changed the lives of the men and
    women who served more than 16 million served
    they called themselves GIs, an abbreviation of
    Government Issue
  • Soldiers knew that they would be fighting to
    preserve the freedoms they held dear

  • There was also great diversity in the armed
    forces 300,000 Mex-Am, 25,000 Native Americans
    (Navajo Code-Talkers), and a million A-As
    although this last group still served primarily
    in segregated groups
  • One group of A-A, called the Tuskegee Airmen,
    became the first AA flyers in the armed forces
  • Women also served, but in non-combat roles

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War Production
  • The US also needed to prepare the economy for war
    and gather a new labor force
  • FDR created the War Production Board to set
    priorities and allocate raw materials halted
    production of consumer goods to make war
  • Also created the Office of War Mobilization to
    centralize the nations resources and maximize

War Production
  • Ford auto switched to producing B-24 Liberator
    bombers, while Henry Kaiser introduced assembly
    line work into shipbuilding producing Liberty
    Ships in just 40 days (had been 200)
  • To motivate businesses, the US used cost-plus
    system US paid for cost plus a little extra
  • Super-economy for war materials

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Financing the War
  • To help pay for the war, the govt raised TAXES
    and also began to offer war bonds again brought
    in 316 billion combined
  • A high level of deficit spending also enabled the
    armed forces to be well-equipped and helped make
    workers prosperous as defense-related industries
    hummed at full capacity

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The Home Front
  • On the Home Front, food and products that were
    needed for the war effort were rationed, and the
    price of consumer goods was monitored by the
    Office of Price Administration to keep inflation
    under control
  • Morale was high, and as war became part of
    everyday life, Americans did their part for the
    war effort - patriotism

Public Support of the War
  • Americans increased their war efforts by
    recycling products (scrap-metal drives), planting
    victory gardens home vegetable gardens, and by
    participating in blackouts (protections from
  • Americans also spend their on other things
    baseball and movies (60 of population went every

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  • The govt also began using sponsored propaganda to
    help boost morale and enlist citizens support for
    helping the war effort
  • Citizens were called on to sacrifice some of the
    stuff they were accustomed to buying to help the
    soldiers fighting overseas

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Atlantic Charter
  • Although not officially at war in Aug. 1941, FDR
    and Churchill met in secret to develop a plan
    for the Allied war
  • At this meeting, both nations made declarations
    of principles known as the Atlantic Charter
  • This Charter declared that the first main war
    effort, when the US entered, was to focus on the
    war in Europe

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  • When the US enters in 1941, Germany had conquered
    most of Europe and N. Africa, and German subs
    were sinking Allied ships US again uses convoy
    system (success)
  • American and British troops land in North Africa,
    and by 1943 the Allies had defeated the Germans
    Erwin Rommel (AKA Desert Fox)
  • US forces were under leadership of Dwight D.

Casablanca Conference
  • Churchill and FDR met again in Casablanca in Jan
    1943 to set strategy for the retaking of Europe
  • They decided to maintain approach of dealing with
    Europe first, before turning attention to the
  • They also agreed to accept nothing less than
    unconditional surrender of Italy, Germany, and

Italian Campaign
  • To begin the retaking of Europe, US and UK forces
    invaded Italy in July 1943 under leadership of
    George Patton
  • Once the Allies move into Italy, Mussolini is
    overthrown (executed and displayed) and a new
    Italian govt surrenders to Allies
  • Germans still control most of Italy and put up a
    great fight until finally surrendering in 1945

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Germany Turns on Ally
  • In 1941, Hitler turns on his ally the Soviets and
    suddenly invades the SU
  • Hitler wanted the great farmland and oil supplies
  • By 1942, Germany controlled most of W. SU, and
    was closing in on Moscow
  • With no aid from the Allied forces, the Red Army
    held at Stalingrad the turning point of the
    eastern European war

Battle of Stalingrad
  • Stalin wanted Allied invasion of Europe to take
    the heat off Russia
  • The Red Army made last ditch hold at Stalingrad
    for 4 months
  • Russia suffered more casualties than the US did
    ALL during the war Stalin never forgave US/UK
    but had forced surrender of 90,000, with over
    330,000 Germans killed Soviets lost 1.1 million

D-Day Invasion
  • After victories in S Europe and N Africa, Allies
    could focus attentions on FR and GER
  • Began carpet bombing of German targets, but
    needed ground forces
  • On June 6, 1944, D-Day, in the worlds largest
    amphibious invasion, the Allies landed on the
    coast of France at Normandy, and began fighting
    their way inland

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Battle of the Bulge
  • On August 25th, US forces entered Paris and by
    Sept, 1944, they had pushed the Germans back into
  • The Germans counterattack in the Battle of the
    Bulge in mid-December this push by the
    Germans marked both the largest battle ever
    fought by US, and marked the end for Germany when
    they were defeated

Battle for Berlin
  • Most German leaders realized the war was lost,
    but still Hitler held out and forced troops to
    fight a retreating war toward Berlin
  • The Soviets from the east were also pushing
    Germans back and this eastern front was a
    bloody place over 11 million Soviets killed and
    3 million Germans with over 7 million Soviet
    civilians killed

V-E Day
  • As the Soviets surrounded Berlin, Hitler
    committed suicide in his underground bunker on
    April 20, 1945
  • And on May 8, 1945, Germany agreed to an
    unconditional surrender
  • The world rejoiced on V-E Day, but only for a
    moment, for there was still another war to fight
    in the Pacific

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Yalta Conference
  • In Feb, 1945, FDR, Churchill, and Stalin, now
    allies, met in Yalta, and agreed that with
    France, would divide and occupy Germany at the
    end of the war 4 zones created
  • But Stalins desire for land in Eastern Europe
    would fuel a future European conflict

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  • For centuries Jews in most of Europe had faced
    anti-Semitism discrimination or violent
    hostility directed at Jews (WHY??)
  • When Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, he
    made anti-Semitism an official Germany policy
    (Mein Kampf)

The Holocaust
  • Determined to rid Germany, and Europe, of Jews,
    Hitler eventually launched the Holocaust the
    systematic murder of European Jews
  • In Germany, Nazi policies began with stripping
    Jews of citizenship and their right to marry
    non-Jews, but quickly began to become more violent

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Persecution of the Jews
  • Germans began forcing Jews out of business,
    doctors and lawyers were forbidden to serve
    non-Jews and Jewish students were expelled from
    public schools
  • All of these were attempts to encourage the Jews
    to leave Germany, many do escape, but many
    nations were not ready to welcome refugees

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  • Eventually, Jews are forced to sew yellow stars
    marked Jew on their clothing
  • Despite the ever increasing restrictions, most
    Jews believe they could outlast Hitler their
    illusions were destroyed on Nov. 9, 1938, when
    Nazis throughout Germany destroy stores, houses,
    and synagogues Kristallnacht Night of the
    Broken Glass

Concentration Camps
  • The Germans arrested thousands of Jews and sent
    them to concentration camps
  • Worse was the outcome for Jews living in
    German-occupied nations
  • In Poland, Nazis sealed off the Warsaw Ghetto,
    dooming thousands of Jews to starvation and death

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The Final Solution
  • In Jan 1942, German officials met at the Wannsee
    Conference and agreed to a new approach for the
    Jewish problem called the final solution,
    the plan called for the genocide of the European
  • This new approach called for the use of death
    camps when Jews were sent and were used for labor
    and then killed

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Hitlers Enemies
  • Jews were not the only enemy of the Nazis Nazis
    also targeted homosexuals, Jehovahs Witnesses,
    Gypsies, and the physically and mentally
    handicapped those whom Hitler believed were the
    cause of German problems and the loses during WW I

Fighting Back
  • Even in the face of certain death, many Jews
    fought back through resistance groups or through
    rebellion in the camps these proved ineffective
  • The US government knew of the murders as early as
    1942, but showed little interest until 1944

War Refugee Board
  • In 1944, FDR created the War Refugee Board (WRB)
    created to try to help people threatened by
  • With the help of the US, an organized movement to
    rescue Jews in Eastern Europe finally took hold
    with the US public little success

The Holocaust
  • Despite these efforts, millions of Jews had been
    killed by the time the Allies liberated Europe
  • Horrified by the killing of 6-7 million Jews, the
    Allies conducted the Nuremberg Trials in Germany,
    where Germany officials and common soldiers were
    prosecuted for crimes against humanity

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Nuremberg Trials
  • Two major things came out of the Nuremberg Trials
  • 12 of the 24 leaders were sentenced to death for
    their crimes
  • Most importantly, the trials established the
    important principle that individuals must be
    responsible for their own actions even if
    following the orders of superiors

Japanese Brutality in War
  • Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese
    forces advanced throughout the Pacific, seizing
    American colonies and capturing the Philippine
  • The brutal treatment of US prisoners of war by
    the Japanese during the Batann Death March went
    against the standards of conduct set out in the
    Geneva Convention
  • 10,000 of the 76,000 died on the forced march in
    early 1942

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Battle of the Coral Sea
  • Japanese battleships also advanced across the
    Pacific Ocean but meet resistance from the
    remains of the US Pacific Fleet
  • In the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, the
    US sees its first victory as they prevent Japan
    from establishing bases to attack Australia

Battles of Midway/Guadalcanal
  • The war in the Pacific reached a turning point in
    June 1942 with the US victory at the Battle of
    Midway effectively turns the tide of war in the
    Pacific as the US sinks 4 aircraft carriers and
    250 Japanese planes
  • And the US gained control of the first piece of
    Japanese-held territory at the Battle of

  • With the defeat at Guadalcanal, the US begins an
    offensive campaign centered on the policy of
    island-hopping attacking and capturing
    strategic islands while bypassing other
    Japanese-held islands
  • Under the leadership of General Douglas
    MacArthur, the US fought to regain the
    Philippines and do in 1945

Kamikazes Divine Wind
  • In the greatest naval battle in history, the
    Battle of Leyte Gulf, the US emerges victorious
    as most of the remaining Japanese naval forces
    are destroyed
  • Despite the use of kamikazes suicide planes
    the US forces begin to draw closer to Japan
    fighting becomes deadlier (desperation on both

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Iwo Jima and Okinawa
  • In the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of
    Okinawa, Japanese troops fiercely resisted US
    forces, and both side suffered grotesque
  • The photo of soldiers raising the US flag over
    Iwo Jima came to symbolize the struggles,
    sacrifices, and eternal optimism of US troops
    during WW II
  • With the capture of IJ and O, the US has a clear
    path to Japan

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Manhattan Project
  • At the same time, late 1944 and early 1945, in
    the top-secret Manhattan Project, scientists were
    developing a new weapon an atomic bomb
  • On July 16, 1945, scientists test-fired the first
    atomic bomb at Alamogordo, NM
  • One of the developers remarked now I am become
    Death, the destroyer of worlds.

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Decision to Drop the Bomb
  • The decision to use the bomb came down to a few
    alternate possibilities
  • Invasion of Japan cost over 1 million soldiers
  • Naval Blockade to starve Japan
  • Atomic Bomb on a deserted island to pressure
    Japan into surrendering
  • Softening of unconditional surrender

Harry S Truman
  • The final decision to use the bomb came down to
    the newly appointed President Harry S Truman,
    who had taken office just 3 months before, after
    FDRs sudden death in April 1945
  • Truman never hesitated and instructed critics
    with this quote You should do you weeping at
    Pearl Harbor.

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  • On Aug. 6, 1945, a lone American plane, the Enola
    Gay, flew its final wartime mission, to drop a
    single bomb over Hiroshima, Japan.

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Death Toll
  • Over 90 percent of the buildings were destroyed,
    over 80,000 died instantly, with thousands to die
    from the radiation and the fires that spread
  • Still Japan refused to surrender and on Aug. 9,
    1945, another atomic bomb was dropped on
    Nagasaki, Japan, where close to 120,000 died
    instantly.with over 100,000 more to die by 1950
    in both towns

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Unconditional Surrender
  • On Aug. 14, 1945, Japan agreed to unconditional
    surrender terms (V-J Day) and on Sept. 2, 1945,
    Japan signed the formal surrender agreement on
    board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay
  • The long and destructive World War had finally
    come to an end

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Social Impacts of the War
  • What were major social impacts of the War?
  • Ethnic and racial minorities in the US did not
    always benefit from the opportunities offered by
    the war
  • African-Americans still suffered prejudice in the
    workplace, as did women

A-A Migration to the North
  • To end such discrimination, FDR, in 1941, signed
    an Executive Order stating that jobs and training
    be given to A-A in defense plants
  • As a result, more than 2 million A-A migrated
    from the South to cities in the North
  • Even so, the armed forces remained segregated,
    but groups began to protest

  • Groups like the Congress of Racial Equality
    (CORE) protested and demonstrated, using
    nonviolent techniques
  • This group would lead the way for the civil
    rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s
  • Other racial groups suffered as well, none more
    than Japanese Americans

  • Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans
    began to distrust and fear the Japanese Americans
    living on the West Coast
  • Although most were American citizens, Nisei
    second-ones, native-born citizens feared they
    might be spies for Japan

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Exclusion Zone
  • As a result of this fear, FDR signed Executive
    Order 9066 in Feb. 1942
  • It authorized the establishment of military zones
    on the West Coast and the removal of any or all
    persons from the zones Italians, German, and
    Japanese were ordered to relocate, but only
    Japanese were forced

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Japanese Internment Camps
  • Over 110,000 people, both citizens and non, were
    relocated and interred confined in internment
    camps in remote inland areas
  • Families were uprooted and their businesses and
    homes were taken from them, without payment
  • A few challenged and the Supreme Court made a
    decision in 1944

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Korematsu v. USA
  • In Korematsu v. US (1944), the S.C. ruled that
    the relocation was not based on race, and that
    the urgency of war demanded that these be
    segregated temporarily
  • As time passed, Americans came to realize that
    the internment, which ended in 1945, was

Official Apology
  • And in 1988 the govt awarded surviving Jap-Am a
    tax-free payment of 20,000 and made on official
  • What lessons can you learn from this persecution??

Women in the Workforce
  • Women found new work outside the home as men went
    off to war
  • Women, too, often faced hostility and resentment
    for taking these jobs, and they received less pay
    then men
  • A popular propaganda idea for women was Rosie the
    Riveter she was a home front hero, trading
    cooking for welding

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  • The govt drive to bring women to work assumed
    that women would leave their jobs and return home
    at the end of the war soldiers expected their
    jobs back
  • While many women wanted to continue, the
    pressures to return home were intense and many
    women had found new satisfaction in the workplace
    and wanted to continue over 2/3 of women were
    forced out of their jobs!!

The Sheer Size of War
  • In all of the theaters of conflict, the US had
    suffered 405,400 military deaths
  • Soviet Union 17.7 million
  • Germany 5.6 million
  • Japan 2.1 million
  • China 9.4 million (mostly civilians)
  • For all nations, the loss was 36.5 million deaths
    (not counting injuries and property destruction!!)