The Home Front in WWII
The Home Front in WWII HIST 2112
Popular in American History Since 1865
Popular in History
This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Wednesday March 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2112 at University of Georgia taught by Dr. Rohrer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see American History Since 1865 in History at University of Georgia.
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Date Created: 03/16/16
The Home Front in WWII I. Introduction – The Lead up to WWII • New country after the war • One of the world’s 2 greatest powers – Soviet Union • War changes US politically, culturally, socially and economically • True global war; largest in history; most widespread • >100 million people from >30 countries • fought in Europe and Asia • Fall 1939 – Summer 1945 • US: December 1941 – Summer 1945 o No fighting in US • 30’s was not a good time due to Great Depression o Worldwide event – especially in industrial nations o Millions out of work o Leaders like Hitler offer “simple solutions” § Racial superiority, military, etc. • Rise of Germany, Italy and Japan (1930’s) o Germany is in economic depression after WWI o Holding grudges from war o Had to de-militarize with Treaty of Paris o Jews (less than 5% of population) became scapegoats o 1933: Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany § fascist state: conservative, police centered, military § Renounce treaty obligations from WWI § Begin rapid arm build up § Initiate anti-Jewish campaign § Territorial demands § Join with Italian dictator Mussolini to become military union o Japan § Hyper-militarized country wants to expand borders and raw materials § Wants to become a modern world power § Overcrowded and dependent on foreign imports § Seizes Manchuria to help with problems § Look to further expansion § Military dominates economy and government § Real military threat • United States o Wants to stay out/ remain isolationist § Nation and individuals want to stay out of war § Japan, Germany and Italy (imperialistic emerging powers) together build war machines and threaten countries § US had small army at the time – don’t want to be drawn into conflict § Content with isolation; still worrying about Great Depression § Impossible to ignore events § FDR signs neutrality act 4 times to keep US in passive position § 1939: Great military disadvantage • our only strength is tied to our navy st • War beings on September 1 , 1939 when Germany invades Poland o War is a quest for power and territory by Germany, Italy and Japan o AXIS POWERS (Germany, Italy, Japan) VS ALLIED POWERS (Great Britain, France, Soviet Union, United States) o First years are good for Axis powers § Gained Poland § France defeated § Great Britain driven off continent § Axis have major success § Hitler make error 2 years in • June 1941: Hitler invades Soviet Union • Significant oppressors on each side: France and Great Britain à Germany ß Soviet Union o December 7, 1941 § Japan attacks American, British and Dutch territories in Pacific § Pearl Harbor • “A date which will live in infamy” – FDR § US declares war on Japan • December 11, 2941: Italy and Germany declare war on US • True global war; largest in history; most widespread o >100 million people from >30 countries o fought in Europe and Asia • Allies win o Ended with invasion of Germany § May 8, 1945: Germany unconditional surrender • VE Day: Victory in Europe Day § Holocaust officially ends § Death of: • 6 million Jews • 2.5 million ethnic pols • 4 million others “unworthy of life” – disabled, ill, homosexual, Jehovah’s witnesses, etc. § deliberate extermination o Asian theater continues until August, 1945 § US drops bomb on August 6 on Hiroshima § US drops bomb on August 9 on Hagasaki § Surrender August 15, 1945 • VJ Day: Victory in Japan Day II. World War II and US Economic Recovery • Not entirely bad for US • Ends the Great Depression o FDR spends a great deal of money to help in the short term, but WWII brings us out of depression o 2 major factors end Great Depression § 1. Elimination of competition in Europe and Asia • increased demand of goods overseas • near monopoly of major items • build up capacity • used to our advantage after war • lasts several decades while countries re-build • head-start to establish markets abroad • leads to… § 2. More jobs • approach full employment • job for anyone who wanted on o so different from 33% unemployment during Great Depression • During WWII o 10.5 million Americans gain jobs § women, teens, African Americans o 2 million women work in war industries, 1 million of which working in Aero Space o even older women are needed in jobs III. African Americans During WWII • Serving in every department of WWII • African Americans in Armed forces o Still segregated and discriminated • 1941: fewer than 4,000 African Americans in military o only 12 had ever become officers • 1945: more than 1.2 million in military at home and in Europe/Asia o African American women in women’s armed forces • Most assigned to non-combat at beginning o Supply/maintenance/transportation • By 1945: war front positions o Because we desperately needed bodies • Still discriminated o Not welcome at white restaurants in South – yet they would serve German prisoners • Southern continue to move North o Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore o Detroit Race Riots • Segregation and discrimination in employment o More dangerous jobs and excluded from labor unions • Form their own unions, political parties and newspapers • Experiences during WWII make them think and act on discrimination o Urban places – meaningful dialogue – organization • Double V campaign o Fighting for democracy at home and abroad o 1950’s-1960’s • Sparked civil rights movement IV. Women During WWII • Gave away their family, time, energy and their own lives to war • Axis was slow to exmploy women o Hitler mocked us • Quick marriages before they went – teenagers • Men abroad and women on home front with organizations and managing households o Finances o Fix car o Defense plants o Letters to husbands • Female Participation in Industrial jobs o Rosie the Riveter § Iconic women factory workers § Assure the materials would be made to defeat the Axis powers • 350,000 serving in uniform o Auxiliary core – women o WACS – army o Waves – navy o WASPS – air force o SPARS – coast guard o Nurses • Could not win war without women • No longer secretaries § Driving trucks § Fix cars § Fly aircraft § Test planes § Train anti-aircraft scanners § Spies • After war, women are expected to return back home o Wanted to keep jobs o Many forced out o Downturn in demand for war materials o Not ready for social equality o Spark women’s movement V. Japanese-Americans and “Racial Hysteria” *TEST* • December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor o Weeks following – greater fear from Japanese and communities in US o Similar to Muslim scare after 9/11 • 110,000 Japanese forced into internment camps for the rest of WWII o war re-location camp o isolated places to keep Japanese from acting as spy/ possible threats o 62% were citizens o mostly in the West (most Eastern was Arkansas) o Kept very quiet • February 19, 1942: FDR signs executive order 9066 o Gave war department authority to declare any part of the country a restricted military are o California, Oregon, Washington, South Arizona § Japanese-Americans not allowed to live here o Japanese-Americans ordered to evacuate § Take what you can carry § Businesses, houses and possessions had to be sold or left behind § 2/3 were first generation American § 1/3 born in Japan • October 1942 o All Japanese Americans were houses in 10 internment camps o Isolated and desolate location o Barbed wire and police o Single room for family o Communal dining halls o No running water/plumbing o Nutrition, health care and education were poor from government o Establish school, recreation, governing bodies, baseball teams, music and art, religious services, gardens to make life bearable o Attempt to challenge camps § Fred Korematsu • Challenge constitutionality of 9066 o Supreme court case o Rights violated by 9066 § Challenged overrule 6-3 • Military necessity and national security > civil rights of Japanese Americans VI. End of WWII • World politics and balance of power change • 1945: Europe is a mess o takes a generation to rebuild it • US and Soviet Union to ermerg as global super powers o Cold War 1947 § 45 years
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