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World War II on the Home Front


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Title: World War II on the Home Front

World War II on the Home Front
  1. U.S. Isolation and the Surprise Attack on
    Pearl Harbor
  2. The Wartime Socialist Economy
  3. Role of Minorities in WWII
  4. African-Americans
  5. Mexican-Americans
  6. Native Americans
  7. Role of Women in WWII
  8. Japanese American Internment
  9. U.S. Propaganda in Machine WWII
  10. The Bombs

The first casualty of war is the truth.
  • U.S. Isolationism
  • Incremental steps towards intervention

U.S. Isolationism
  • Nye Committee - 12 April 1934(1) The
    anti-business climate caused Senator Gerald P.
    Nye (ND) to investigate armament sales and
    manufacture during WWI, revealing that huge
    profits had been made by American financiers and
    munitions manufacturers(2) Confirmed views of
    some that wars were fought to profit a small
  • (3) Set the stage for the rise of isolationist
    sentiment in the US
  • Johnson Debt Default Act - 13 April 1934 - Banned
    loans to foreign governments in default to the US
    on their WWI debts (Finland was the only nation
    not in default).
  • Ludlow Amendment - high point of isolationist
    sentiment(1) Amendment offered by Rep. Louis
    Ludlow (IN) was narrowly defeated by a vote of
    202-200 in the 75th Congress.(2) If passed, the
    US Congress could not have declared war without a
    nationwide public referendum, unless the US or
    one of its possessions were directly
    attacked.(3) Showed depth of isolationist
    sentiment among Americans

U.S. Isolationism
  • FDRs Chicago Quarantine Speech - 5 Oct 1937 -
    FDR's trial of collective security(1) "When an
    epidemic of physical disease starts to spread,
    the community approves and joins in a quarantine
    of the patients in order to protect the health of
    the community against the spread of the
    disease."(2) FDR had moved ahead of public
    opinion polls that revealed a growing fear that
    the US might be moving toward entanglement in
    another European war.(3) 21 Mar 1938 - Hoover
    took issue with FDR, speaking before the Council
    on Foreign Relations, arguing against US
    involvement in collective security arrangements.

U.S. Isolationism
  • USS Panay Incident - 12 Dec 1937(1) Japan, at
    war with China, attacked a river gunboat, the USS
    Panay on the Yangtze River, killing two US
    citizens.(2) Although the US government
    immediately protested Japanese actions, instead
    of demanding action against Japan, US public
    opinion demanded to know what the Panay was
    doing, escorting Esso oil tankers to China in a
    war zone.(3) 14 Dec - Japan officially
    apologized for the attack, agreed to pay damages
    and promised to avoid such attacks in the
    future.(4) US public reluctant to risk any
    actions which might involve the US in another
  • FDR began private correspondence with Churchill,
    promising to aid Britain in whatever capacity he
    legally could.
  • 1938 State of the Union Address - FDR noted a
    need for adequate strength in self defense.

U.S. Isolationism
  • in response to German invasion of Poland (Sept
  • 3 Sept - During his "fireside chat," FDR stated
    that the US would remain neutral, and he
    partially limited travel to Europe.
  • 5 Sept - FDR ordered the reconditioning of 40
    destroyers, beginning a neutrality patrol around
    the Western Hemisphere.
  • 8 Sept - A limited national emergency was
  • 27 Sept - A special session of Congress
    considered repealing the arms embargo of the
    third Neutrality Act
  • By May 1940 Germany had captured Norway, Denmark,
    Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium.
  • By June 1940, Vichy gov in France
  • Sept 1940 - Tripartite Pact - Germany, Italy and

U.S. Isolationism
  • First Neutrality Act - 31 Aug 1935 - Feb 1936(a)
    Created a federal agency to consider arms sales.
    Still an arms embargo(b) US citizens could
    travel on belligerent vessels or into war zones
    at their own risk.(c) First used in Oct 1935
    when Italy attacked Ethiopia.
  • Second Neutrality Act - Feb 1936 - 1 May 1937 -
    extended the first act(a) It added a prohibition
    against extending loans or credit to
    belligerents(b) US stated that it would not
    interfere in Spain's civil war. US recognized the
    new government of Spain.
  • Third Neutrality Act - 1 May 1937 - revised the
    provisions of 1st 2 acts.(a) Est. cash-and-carry
    system, effectively limiting US ships from
    carrying goods into war zones.(b) The US shipped
    much aid to China
  • (c) Est. embargo on armaments, and not to raw
    materials which could produce munitions, allowing
    Japan to continue to purchase from US sources
    such items as scrap iron, copper, and oil.
  • Fourth Neutrality Act - 4 Nov 1939(a) After
    Germany invaded Poland, Congress repealed the
    arms embargo(b) It allowed belligerent nations
    to purchase munitions on the same cash-and carry
    basis, which obviously favored the sea power,

U.S. Isolationism
  • FDR added two interventionists to his cabinet.a.
    Henry L. Stimson Secretary of War.b. Frank Knox
    Secretary of the Navy.
  • Alien Registration Act - 28 June - required
    registration and finger printing of aliens
  • Declaration of Havana - 30 July - To ensure that
    European colonies in the Western Hemisphere would
    not be taken over by Germany, if the mother
    country fell to Germany, affected colonies would
    be administered by other Western hemisphere
  • First Peace Time Draft - 16 Sept 1940
  • a. Burke-Wadsworth (Selective Training and
    Service ) Act -- registering all men aged 18-35,
    and authorized training of 1,200,000 over a
    1-year period with 800,000 reserve forces.b. 16
    Oct - The first registration began - 16,400,000
    registered.c. 29 Oct - The first draft numbers
    were selected
  • Destroyers for Bases Deal - 3 Sept - The US
    transferred 50 destroyers to the British, in
    exchange for 99-year leases on naval and air
    bases in British possessions in the Western
    Hemisphere Newfoundland, West Indies, Bermuda,
    the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad,
    Antiqua and British Guiana.
  • Pittman Resolution permitted the US arms sales to
    Latin America.

U.S. Isolationism
  • Committee To Defend America By Aiding the Allies
    - Chaired by William Allen White , favored aid to
    the Allies short of American combat forces.
  • Friends of Democracy, stressed that fascism was a
    greater threat than communism.
  • Non-Interventionists America First Committee
  • Formed by Sears executive Gen. Robert Wood,
    peaked at 800,000 members including Henry Ford,
    Alice Roosevelt Longsworth and Charles Lindbergh
  • Lindbergh made several speeches for the committee
    which stressed(1) Impossibility of a German
    attack across the Atlantic(2) Wealth of nations
    like Britain was acquired at the expense of
    poorer European nations like Germany(3)
    German-dominated post-war Europe was not
    detrimental to our hemisphere(4) Lindbergh used
    Nazi themes, like the Jewish press conspiracy,
    and the public linked the organization to Nazism
    and it lost popularity.
  • Election of 1940
  • Dems in Chicago nominated FDR for an
    unprecedented third term. Henry A. Wallace VP
  • Republicans nominated Wendell L. Willkie (IN),
    corporate lawyer, who had never held public
    office and Sen Charles McNary VP
  • Both Willkie and FDR supported building up
    America's defenses and aiding the Allies, short
    of combat troops, thus providing no referendum on
    this issue.
  • Republicans attacked the New Deal, but favored
    most of its reforms, while the Democrats stood on
    FDR's record.
  • FDR won 449 electoral (27,244,160 popular) votes
    to Willkie's 82 electoral (10 states) (22,305,198
    popular) votes.

U.S. Isolationism
  • Lend-Lease HR 1776 - "An Act to Further Promote
    the Defense of the US
  • 17 Dec 1940 - In a fireside chat, FDR proposed
    what became known as "Lend-Lease" illustrated by
    his garden hose analogy"Suppose my neighbor's
    house catches fire, and I have a length of garden
    hose four or five hundred feet away. If he can
    take my garden hose and connect it up to his
    hydrant, I may help him to put out the fire. Now
    what do I do? I don't say to him before that
    operation, 'Neighbor, my garden hose cost me 15.
    You have to pay me 15 for it.' What is the
    transaction that goes on? I don't want 15 - I
    want my garden hose back after the fire is over.
  • 11 Mar - Congress approved Lend-Lease,
    appropriation of 7 billion
  • Lend-Lease terminated in Sept 1946 after
    expending 50.6 billion.
  • 29 Dec - A poll revealed that 39 believed that
    the US had made a mistake participating in WWI,
    down from 64 in 1937.
  • 6 Jan 1941 - State of the Union Address
    enunciated his Four Freedoms Speech - Freedom of
    speech and expression, of worship, from want,
    from fear

U.S. Isolationism
  • U.S. Occupation of Countries 1941
  • 9 April - The US occupied Greenland as a result
    of a joint agreement between the US and the
    Danish government
  • 7 July - US Marines occupied Iceland to keep the
    Germans from using it as a strike base
  • 18 Aug - The Selective Service Bill was extended
    for 18 months by a vote of 203-202
  • Atlantic Charter 14 Aug 1941. Provided a purpose
    for fighting the war including
  • a renunciation of all aggression
  • self-determination of peoples
  • equal access to raw materials
  • guarantees for freedom from want and fear
  • freedom of the seas
  • disarmament of aggressor nations.
  • became a blueprint for the UN

U.S. Isolationism
  • Battle of Britain - 10 July - 31 Oct 1940
  • German Violation of Non-Aggression Pact with USSR
    22 June 1941
  • Immediate aid to the USSR 24 June 1941
  • 25 Nov - the Germans inside USSR were almost
    entirely surrounded and the turning point of the
    European war, the Battle of Stalingrad, began.

Surprise Attack on Pearl Harbor
  • FDR's Quarantine Speech, Oct. 1937, called for
    Japan to be treated like a disease
  • Economic sanctions designed to stop Japanese war
  • Trade treaty with Japan not renewed in January,
  • Aviation fuel, scrap iron, and steel embargoed,
    September, 1940
  • Japanese assets in American banks frozen, July,
  • Aid to China
  • 125 million lent to China in 1940
  • U.S. fleet to Pearl Harbor in 1940
  • Lend--Lease" extended to China , April, 1941
  • The "Flying Tigers" arrived in China, April, 1941
    (Claire Chennault)
  • With Japan's occupation of Indochina in the
    summer of 1941, FDR froze all Japanese credits in
    the US, nationalized forces in the Philippines
    under Gen Douglas MacArthur's command and warned
    Japan against further aggressive actions in the
  • By Oct 1941 signs appeared that Japan might
    attack an US Pacific possession
  • 3 Nov - US Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew,
    warned of a possible attack on US positions, but
    the general consensus suggested the Philippines,
    not Hawaii.

Entry into the War
  • The Attack
  • Sunday 7 Dec 1941 at 755 A.M. Honolulu time
  • 19 ships were sunk or disabled, 170 planes lost
    and 2,403 civilian and military personnel killed
    and 1,178 wounded.
  • Simultaneous attacks on Philippines, Wake Island,
    Guam, Midway Islands and on British forces at
    Hong Kong.
  • That evening Japan officially declared war on the
  • 8 Dec - FDR asked Congress to declare war on
  • Senate - 82-0.
  • House - 388-1, lone dissenter vote, Jeannette
    Rankin (R-MT), who had voted no to war in WW I,
    making her the only person to vote against both
  • 11 Dec - Under the terms of the Tripartite Pact,
    Germany and Italy declared war on the US.
    Reciprocated w/o debate in Congress.
  • 19 Dec - Military conscription was extended to
    all men aged 20-44.

  • The
  • Socialist
  • Wartime
  • Economy

The Socialist Wartime Economy
  • War Resources Board (1939)
  • To allocate resources for production
  • Inefficient and slow
  • Office of Production Management William Knudsen
    of GM and Sidney Hillman of CIO.
  • War Production Board (1942)
  • Regulated the use of raw materials
  • Inefficiency and big profits hurt US production
  • 1/2 of factory production went into war
  • Produced twice as many goods as all the enemy
    countries combined.

The Socialist Wartime Economy
  • Office of Price Administration (1941). Designed
    to control inflation by
  • fixing prices
  • high taxesCorporate taxes set at 40.
  • Taxes raised 46 of the cost of the war
  • 1939 -- 4 million filed tax returns
  • in 1945 --50 million!
  • selling war bonds
  • encouraging Victory Gardens

The Socialist Wartime Economy
  • Office of Economic Stabilization of the Office of
    Price Administration (OPA)
  • Replaced all other agencies
  • Complete control of the economy
  • Solved America's production problems
  • Froze prices and rents at March 1942 levels
  • Rationing
  • Certificate Plan buy cars, tires, typewriters,
  • Coupon Plan more widely used. Family issued book
    of coupons for the purchase of meat, coffee,
    sugar, gas, etc.
  • Anti-inflation measures successful
  • WWI cost of living up 170
  • WWII was less than 29
  • Beginning of National Debt
  • 1941 49 billion 1945 259 billion
  • 2/5 was pay as we go 3/5 was borrowed
  • New Deal WWII "warfare welfare" state.

War Production BoardExecutive Order 9024
OPA Executive Order 8734
War Bond Propaganda
Rationing in Propaganda
Rationing in Propaganda
The Role of Minorities During World War II
Minorities in the Armed Services
  • African Americans- 1,000,000. Segregated units
    and did not see much front-line action.
  • Mexican Americans- 500,000 Saw a lot of
    front-line action. 1/10 of the population of Los
    Angeles, yet accounted for 1/5 of the casualties.
  • Native Americans- 25,000 By enlisting, they were
    able to leave reservations. Code talkers.
  • Asian Americans - 46,000 Many Asians became spies
    and translators

Minorities in the Armed Services
  • Why did they fight?
  • Most minorities determined their lives would be
    worse if under Axis Powers control. Germany,
    Italy, and Japan were more racist than the United
  • U.S. increasingly tolerant of racial differences.
  • Many minorities saw their commitment to the US
    war effort as a means to the end of equality.
  • Propaganda works

African-Americans Tuskegee Airmen
  • "A couple of our fighters rescued a
  • crippled bomber and brought them back to
  • base. The bomber's flight crew came over
  • to look us up and when the pilot
  • discovered there was nothing but black
  • faces, he turned around and walked
  • away."
  • "We shared the sky with white pilots, but
  • that's all we shared. We never had contact
  • with each other. German prisoners lived
  • better than black servicemen...and the
  • Germans treated us better than the
  • Americans did. Our service is something
  • that just never got into history books. It
  • was just ignored."
  • --Joseph Gomer

African-Americans Civil Rights
  • During WWII, massive migration of Blacks to
    industrial centers.
  • Competition for scarce resources (e.g. housing)
    tension in the workplace.
  • Blacks struggled against racism
  • Many whites rallied to the defense of the
  • Mass Violence plagued 47 cities
  • Detroit Race Riot June, 1943
  • Detroit's population had grown by 350,000 since
  • 6,000 federal troops needed to restore order
  • 2 million in property damage
  • 25 blacks dead, 9 whites 433 wounded

African-Americans Civil Rights
  • A. Philip Randolph, President of the Brotherhood
    of Sleeping Car Porters
  • African-Americans excluded from well-paying jobs
    in war-related industries.
  • Randolph made three demands of the president
  • Equal access to defense jobs
  • Desegregation of the armed forces
  • End to segregation in federal agencies
  • March on Washington Movement -- Randolph proposed
    a black March  on Washington in 1941 if his
    conditions were not met.

African-Americans A. Philip Randolph
  • FDR issued Executive Order 8802 in June, 1941
    stablishing the Fair Employment Practices
    Committee (FEPC) to investigate violations in
    defense industries.
  • FDR did not agree to other two demands
  • Randolph canceled the March
  • Result Govt agencies, job training programs,
    and defense contractors ended segregation
  • Randolph dubbed Father of the Civil Rights

African-Americans Civil Rights
  • Congress of Racial Equality (1942) est. 1942 by
    Chicagoan James Farmer- nonviolent action to
    promote better race relations and end
  • Most minorities came home to pre-war racial
  • NAACP grows from 50,000 before the war, to
    500,000 by wars end

Black Nurses preparing to land in Greenock,
Scotland. August 15, 1944

Black men constructing an aircraft
Negro League All Star Team During WWII
  • Zoot Suit Riots L.A (1943)
  • Young Mexican-Americans became object of frequent
    violent attacks in LA.
  • Sailors on leave roamed streets beating
    "zooters," tearing their clothes, cutting their
  • War Frauds Division got an injunction forbidding
    one shop to sell any of the 800 zoot suits in
    stock. Claiming that the shopkeeper had
    contributed to "hoodlumism
  • Radio reports blamed zooters but a city committee
    under Earl Warren revealed the truth and need for
    improved housing.

(No Transcript)
Mexican AmericansThe Bracero Program 1942
  • During the war, the need for increased farm
    production led to a U.S. government policy for
    short-term work permits to
  • be issued to Mexican workers
  • It was a dirty, miserable job that gave real
  • to the term "backbreaking" labor. The work was
  • done with two "instruments of horror" designed by
  • the devil, according to one worker. One was the
  • infamous "short shoe," which had a handle twelve
  • to eighteen inches long. A regular long-handled
  • hoe could have been used, but it was considered
  • harmful to the plants. With the short hoe, there
  • less margin for error. However, the modified hoe
  • required the user to work in a bent over position
  • and crawl along the dusty rows of beets for ten
  • twelve hours a day. At the end of the shift, it
  • nearly impossible to stand up straight. For young
  • bodies, it eventually meant assuming a partially
  • stooped position and suffering painful backaches
  • for life. The other tool, more rightly called a

Native Americans
-The Navajo code talkers took part in every
assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific
between 1942-1945. -Navajo languages extreme
complexity made it perfect for code talk.
-As of 1945 about540 Navajos, out of about
50,000 tribe members, served as Marines.
  • Japanese American
  • Internment

Japanese American Internment
  • Background 1942 was a critical year for Allied
  • Japan controlled SE Asia and most of China
  • Germany controlled W. Europe, N. Africa, and were
    deep inside USSR.
  • 23 Feb - Oil refinery near Santa Barbara, CA was
    shelled by Japanese sub.
  • June 1942- Japan occupied Aleutian Islands, Attu
    and Kiska
  • Japanese troops on US soil had great
    psychological effects for Japan and US

Japanese American Internment
  • 29 Feb 1942 - To counter fears of a Japanese
    invasion, FDR authorized EO 9066 removing
    Japanese-Americans from the Pacific coast states.
  • FDR authorized the War Dept. to declare the West
    Coast a "war theater".
  • 110,000 forcibly interned.
  • 1/3 were Issei -- foreign born
  • 2/3 were Nisei -- American born usually too young
    to vote
  • Given 48 hours to dispose of their belongings.
    Most families left most stuff behind.

Japanese American Internment
  • Camps in desolate areas
  • Conditions harsh, yet many remained loyal to US
  • 17,600 Nisei fought in US Army.
  • Relocation became "necessary" when other states
    would not accept Japanese residents from CA
  • Although govt considered relocation of Germans
    and Italians, the Japanese were the only ethnic
    group singled out by the govt for action.

Japanese American Internment
  • 8 March 42 - War Relocation Authority created.
    General John DeWitt organized removal of people
    of Japanese ancestry to 10 locations in 7 states

Japanese American Internment
Japanese American Internment
Japanese American Internment
  • Supreme Court upheld internment
  • Hirabayashi v. US - 21 June 1943 - unanimously
    upheld internment citing the authority to wage
    war successfully.
  • Could not second-guess military decisions
  • Court also ruled that persons couldnt be held
    once loyalty was established.
  • Korematsu v. US - 18 Dec 1944 - 6 to 3 upheld the
    exclusion of the Japanese from the West Coast (a
    military decision).
  • FYI The rulings of the US Supreme Court in the
    Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases, specifically in
    its expansive interpretation of government powers
    in wartime, have yet to be overturned.

Japanese American Internment
  • 105 mil of farmland lost
  • 500 mil in yearly income unknown personal
  • No act of sabotage was ever proven against any
  • Camps closed in March, 1946
  • 1988, President Reagan officially apologized for
    its actions and approved in principle the payment
    of reparations to camp survivors totaling 1.25
  • In 1990 Congress appropriated funds to pay
    20,000 to each internee.

Women in WWII
Women in WWII
  • More than 5 million women joined the labor force
    during the war, often moving to new communities
    to find jobs in the aircraft, munitions, and
    automobile industries.
  • Propaganda campaigns worked
  • Films characterized "Rosie the Riveter" as an
    American heroine
  • Womens magazines and newspapers discussed the
    suitability of womens smaller hands for
    "delicate" tasks.

Women in WWII
  • Womens increased wages from jobs in industry
    helped to swell family incomes and pave the way
    for postwar consumer demand.
  • Despite these gains, in 1945 an average womans
    pay was still less than 2/3 that of a male worker
  • At wars end, pressures increased on women to
    return to homemaking rather than to stay in the
    work force.

Women Airforce Service PilotsWASP
  • To free male pilots for combat roles by employing
    qualified female pilots on missions such as
    ferrying aircraft from factories to military
    bases, and towing drones and aerial targets
  • 25,000 women applied for WASP service, less than
    1,900 accepted.
  • After completing four months of military flight
    training, 1,078 of them earned their wings and
    became the first women in history to fly American
    military aircraft.
  • No gunnery training and very little formation
    flying and acrobatics
  • 38 WASP fliers died11 in training and 27 on
    active duty

Women Airforce Service PilotsWASP
Women in Propaganda
Women in Propaganda
Our women and children MUST be protected!
(No Transcript)
Other focuses of U.S. Propaganda During WWII
Patriotic PropagandaThe Four Freedoms, Norman
Patriotic PropagandaThe Four Freedoms, Norman
Security Concerns in Propaganda
Anti-Axis Propaganda
Anti-Axis Propaganda
Anti-Axis Propaganda
Pro-Allied Propaganda
Look familiar?
The End?
  • The Atomic Bombs

Developing the Bombs
  • Office of Scientific Research and Development was
    established by executive order with J. Robert
    Oppenheimer as chief scientist
  • Primary purpose to coordinate the American effort
    to develop radar, proximity fuses, sonar against
    submarinesand an atomic bomb.
  • 1 May 43 - Development of the atomic bomb was
    transferred to the US Army and placed in the care
    of a unit known as the "Manhattan Project" for
    security reasons.
  • 16 July 45 - First atomic bomb, code named
    Trinity, was exploded in Alamogordo, NM

Dropping the Bombs
  • At the Potsdam conference, Allies demanded the
    unconditional surrender of Japan
  • 26 July - The Allies warned Japan that they must
    surrender or face sudden destruction from a newly
    developed weapon.
  • 29 July - Japan formally rejected the Allied
  • When realizing a land assault on mainland Japan
    would likely result in untold 1000s of Allied
    casualties, Truman's decided
  • Revenge for Pearl Harbor sneak attack
  • To speed up the end of the war without thousands
    of Allied casualties
  • To serve as a warning to the Soviet Union of US

Dropping the Bombs
  • 6 Aug - An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima
    resulting in over 70,000 dead and 110,000 wounded
    or missing
  • 8 Aug - USSR declared war on Japan, 90 days after
    VE Day
  • 9 Aug - A second bomb dropped on Nagasaki -
    80,000 casualties.
  • 1/7 of victims were Korean conscript workers
  • 10 Aug - Japan surrendered asking to let emperor
    Hirohito keep his throne.
  • 14 Aug - Japan accepted the Allied terms of
    surrender and its troops in Korea surrendered to
    the Soviets above the 38th parallel and to Allied
    forces below it.
  • 15 Aug - VJ Day was declared.