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World War II Home Front


World War II: The Home Front – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: World War II Home Front

World War II The Home Front
Essential Questions
  • How did America initially respond to the events
    leading to WWII?
  • How did the war change the American home front,
    both culturally and socially?
  • How did the war transform the U.S. economy both
    immediately and in the long term?
  • How did the war affect minority groups during the
  • What effect did the war have on American
  • How did the war unify America in a common purpose?

The War Powers Act
  • Gave the president sweeping powers to conduct the
  • President allowed to initiate and terminate war
  • Government agencies set for wartime priorities
  • Foreign assets also frozen
  • Censorship allowed, though media generally
    censored themselves

New Recruits
  • Over 60,000 enlisted immediately after Pearl
  • Military training facilities overwhelmed
  • Not enough barracks or materiel
  • Recruits processed, then sent to basic training
  • Recruits broke down cultural and class barriers

Recruits arriving at the naval training center in
San Diego
Women in the War Effort
  • Took over many jobs for servicemen, most notably
    in heavy industry
  • Some joined the military
  • Altered family life, brought several drawbacks

A poster urging women to take manufacturing jobs
to help the war effort
Women in the Workforce
  • Women were encouraged to work in defense plants
  • Others grew Victory Gardens and helped with
    recycling for the war effort
  • Generally earned less than male workers

Factory workers polish Plexiglas nose cones for
A-20 attack bombers
Rosie the Riveter
  • A symbol of working women during the war
  • Based on factory worker Rose Will Monroe
  • Miller and Rockwell both created iconic Rosie

This poster for the Westinghouse Corporation is
frequently associated with Rosie the Riveter
Office of War Information
  • Established in 1942
  • Coordinated release of war news
  • Promoted patriotism
  • Tried to recruit women into factory work
  • Propaganda program abroad
  • The Voice of America

Patch worn by Office or War Information personnel
Wartime Propaganda Posters
Government propagandists sometimes used fear and
racial slurs in order to convey their message
Mobilization of Industry
  • Dr. Win the War replaced Dr. New Deal
  • Many civilian industries converted to war
  • Manpower needed for defense plants
  • Scarce goods rationed and price controls
  • Disputes between management and labor to resolve

Workers assembling an aircraft
A Production Miracle
  • Axis Powers underestimated American production
  • Many factories and businesses converted to war
  • New industries emerged
  • Output significantly increased

Financing the War
  • U.S. spent more than 321 billion (more than 3
    trillion today)
  • National debt increased dramatically
  • More Americans required to pay income taxes
  • War-bond sales raised needed revenue

War Bonds
  • Used to help finance the war
  • More than 185 billion sold
  • Bought by businesses, banks, and civilians
  • Celebrities helped with bond drives
  • High interest rates

An example of a 100 war bond
War Bonds Posters
Posters such as these sought to convince
Americans that they should help the war effort
and stop the enemy by buying war bonds
  • Way to allocate scarce goods
  • Included meat, butter, sugar, coffee, shoes
  • Stamps and points system
  • Gasoline rationing particularly complex
  • Black market emerged

Children learning to tally points and ration
Rationing Books and Stamps
Each family received ration books (left) and
stamps (above) for determining its monthly
Victory Gardens
  • Government urged citizens to grow fruits and
  • Eased food shortages caused by rationing
  • Nearly 20 million started gardens
  • More than nine million tons of produces

A government poster promoting Victory Gardens
The Wars Economic Impact
  • Nominal GDP more than doubled
  • Wages and salaries nearly tripled
  • Federal civilian employment more than tripled
  • Female employment up by a third
  • Labor union membership grew by over 50 percent
  • National debt ballooned by over 600 percent

Japanese American Internment
  • FDR issued Executive Order 9066
  • Removed more than 110,000 Issei (Japanese
    nationals) and Nisei (Japanese Americans) from
    the West Coast
  • About two-thirds were citizens

A map of relocation centers in the western U.S.
I Am an American
  • Some Nisei tried to demonstrate patriotism
  • Interned regardless
  • Most Japanese accepted internment
  • Wanted to show their loyalty to the U.S.

Despite this Oakland, California, grocers sign,
he was interned and his business sold
Life in the Camps
  • Nisei forced to sell homes, businesses, property
  • Lost an estimated 2 billion
  • Poor conditions
  • Barbed-wire enclosures
  • Barracks with cots and no plumbing
  • Meager food budget
  • Low temperatures

Korematsu v. U.S. (1942)
  • Korematsu refused to obey the relocation order
  • Appealed conviction on constitutional grounds
  • Supreme Court ruled the order a valid use of
    presidential power in wartime
  • Decision vacated in 1984, due to
    government-withheld evidence in the first trial

Discussion Questions
  1. Why did the government feel it necessary to
    relocate both Issei and Nisei? What was the
    purpose of Executive Order 9066?
  2. What kinds of stereotypes did white Americans
    tend to hold about Japanese Americans?
  3. Do you think that the government was justified in
    interning Nisei, even though they were American
    citizens? Why or why not?

Internment of Other Groups
  • German Americans and nationals, and Italian
    Americans and nationals
  • More than 10,000 Germans and 3,000 Italians
  • Camps similar to those for Nisei
  • No evidence of espionage or treason

German American and Italian American internees at
Ellis Island, 1943
African Americans and the War
  • The irony of fighting a racist regime in Europe
    while experiencing racism at home
  • Blacks found limited employment in defense plants
  • Race riots broke out in many cities
  • African Americans looked for equality in the
    workplace and in the military

The Tuskegee Airmen
  • All-black combat unit formed in 1941
  • 99th Fighter Squadron formed in AL
  • Commanded by Davis
  • Escorted bombers over central Europe
  • Proved superior or equal to white pilots

Airmen Marcellus G. Smith and Roscoe C. Brown in
Italy, 1945
The Navajo Code Talkers
  • Used to transmit messages in the Pacific Theater
  • Based on the Navajo language
  • Navajo words frequently substituted for military
  • Code never broken

Code Talkers Henry Bake and George Kirk send
messages in the Pacific Theater, 1943
The Flying Tigers
  • 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese
    Air Force
  • Composed of pilots from the US Army Air Forces,
    Navy Marine Corps (mostly Chinese)
  • Saw action against Japan after Pearl Harbor
  • The shark faced planes became the most
    recognizable fighter planes in history.

3rd Squadron Hell's Angels, Flying Tigers over
China, photographed in 1942 by AVG pilot Robert
T. Smith.
Discussion Questions
  1. What groups other than Japanese Americans did the
    government relocate? Why?
  2. How did the war impact African Americans? In what
    ways did African Americans prove themselves as
    capable of serving as other groups?

The Election of 1944
  • FDR practically assured a fourth term
  • Truman selected as running mate
  • Defeated NY governor Thomas Dewey

This map of electoral votes indicates Dewey in
red and FDR in green
Roosevelt Dies
  • April 12, 1945
  • At his retreat in Warm Springs, GA
  • Only a few weeks before the end of the war in
  • Widely mourned

FDRs funeral procession moves down Pennsylvania
Avenue in Washington D.C.
Truman Takes Office
  • Vice president for only 82 days
  • Oversaw last months of the war
  • Authorized use of the atomic bomb
  • President during the early Cold War

Truman takes the oath of office shortly after
FDRs death
V-E Day and V-J Day
  • Victory in Europe, May 67, 1945
  • Victory Over Japan, Sept. 2, 1945
  • Celebrations marked the end of the war
  • Nation still had to deal with postwar issues

Tens of thousands crowd Times Square to celebrate
the Japanese surrender, New York City
The GI Bill
  • Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944
  • An attempt to thwart a social and economic crisis
  • Stalled in Congress as House and Senate hammered
    out a compromise
  • Bill provided for education and training,
    low-cost loans, unemployment benefits

Stamp commemorating the GI Bill
Discussion Questions
  1. How did people on the home front show that they
    had family members who were in the service or
    were killed in action?
  2. How did FDRs declining health affect both the
    election of 1944 and the end of the war?
  3. How did the government try to help returning
    servicemen readjust to civilian life?