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America's History Chapter 26: The World at War, 1939-1945

America's History Chapter 26: The World at War, 1939-1945

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Published by irregularflowers
Notes on America's History Chapter 26: The World at War, 1939-1945
Notes on America's History Chapter 26: The World at War, 1939-1945

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Published by: irregularflowers on Sep 14, 2009
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Chapter 26: The World at War, 1939-1945American Neutrality, 1939-1941I.WWII officially began when German troops attacked Poland on Sep 1, 1939, and 2 days later Britainand France declared war on Germany. For more than 2 years the US debated its course of action.A.Most Americans held 2 contradictory positions. The overwhelming majority supported the Allies.Even so, most Americans did not want to be drawn into another European war.B.This strong isolationist sentiment severely limited President Roosevelt’s options.The Road to War I.Because the US had become a major world power, whatever stand the country adopted after 1939would affect the course of the European conflict. 2 days after the outbreak of the fighting, the USofficially declared its neutrality.II.At first the need for American intervention seemed remote. Many Americans initially believed thatarming the Allies would be enough to defeat Germany.Support for Intervention GrowsI.During the summer and fall of 1940 German planes bombarded Britain mercilessly in the Battle of Britain, destroying the myth of its island invincibility. In America the debate over the nation’sneutrality intensified.A.Isolationists formed the America First Committee in 1940 to keep the nation out of the war. Theyattracted the support of the Chicago Tribune and other conservative publications—especially thosein the Midwest.II.Despite the efforts of the America First Committee, in 1940 the US moved closer to involvement in thewar.A.In May, Roosevelt created the National Defense Advisory Commission and the Council of  National Defense to advise on strategies for putting the economy and government on a defensefooting.B.During the summer the president traded 50 WWI destroyers to GB in exchange for the right to build military bases on British possessions in the Atlantic, thereby circumventing the nation’sneutrality laws by executive order.C.In October a bipartisan majority in Congress approved a large increase in defense spending andinstituted the first peacetime draft registration and conscription in American history. Another draftlaw lengthened draftees’ service.The 1940 ElectionI.The platforms of the two parties differed only slightly. Both pledged to aid the Allies but stopped shortof calling for American participation in the war.A.Roosevelt won the election by promising that “your boys are not going to be sent into foreignwars.”The Lend-Lease ActI.With the election behind him, Roosevelt concentrated on persuading the American people to increaseaid to Britain, whose survival he viewed as the key to American security.A.In November FDR had won a bitter battle in Congress to amend the Neutrality Act of 1935 toallow the Allies to buy weapons from the US—but only on the cash-and-carry basis established for nonmilitary goods in 1937.B.When Britain could no longer afford to pay cash for its goods, FDR convinced Congress to passthe Lend-Lease Act. The legislation authorized the president to “lend, lease, or otherwise disposeof” arms and other equipment to any country whose defense was considered vital to the security of the US.
C.
To administer the program, Roosevelt turned to the former relief administrator Henry Hopkins.
 
D.After Germany invaded the Soviet Union the US extended lend-lease to the Soviet Union, which became part of the Allied coalition.II.In his State of the Union address to Congress in jan 1941, Roosevelt had connected lend-lease to thedefense of democracy at home as well as in Europe. He spoke about what he considered the 4 essentialfreedoms—freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedomfrom fear. Although Roosevelt avoided stating that America had to enter the war to protect thesefreedoms, he intended to justify exactly that, for he now regarded US participation as inevitable.
A.
In the implementation of lend-lease marked the unofficial entrance of the US into the Europeanwar.The Atlantic Charter I.The US became even more involved in Aug 1941, when Roosevelt and the British prime minister conferred secretly aboard a battleship to discuss goals and military strategy.A.Their joint press release, which became known as the Atlantic Charter, provided the ideologicalfoundation of the Western cause and of the peace to follow.
B.
The charter called for postwar economic collaboration and guarantees of political stability toensure that “all men in all lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.” Thecharter also supported free trade, national self-determination, and the principle of collectivesecurity.II.When America started supplying the Allies, Germany attacked American and Allied ships. BySeptember 1941 Nazi submarines and American vessels were fighting an undeclared naval war in theAtlantic, unknown to the American public.The Attack on Pearl Harbor I.The final provocation came from Japan. Tensions between Japan and the US had been buildingthroughout the 1930s.A.The Japanese advances in China had upset the balance of political and economic power in thePacific, where the US had long enjoyed the benefits of the open door policy, especially access toChina’s raw materials and markets.B.It was the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 that caused Roosevelt to suggest that suchaggressors be “quarantined” by peace-loving nations.C.The US still avoided taking a stand, mainly because isolationism was still strong in the country.II.With the attention of the major powers focused on Europe, Japans imperial intentions became moreexpansionist. In 1940 Japan signed the Tri-Partite Treaty with Germany and Italy that extended theAxis into Asia, and in the fall of 1940 Japanese troops occupied the northern part of French Indochina.A.The US retaliated by effectively cutting off trade with Japan, including vital oil shipments thataccounted for almost 80% of Japanese consumption.B.When Japan occupied the rest of Indochina, Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the US andinstituted an embargo on trade with Japan.III.In Sep 1941 the government of Hideki Tojo began secret preparations for was against the US. Talks between the 2 nations continued without progress. By Nov American military intelligence knew thatJapan was planning an attack but did not know where it would occur.A.On Dec 7, 1941, Japanese bombers attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor.B.Although the attack was devastating, it united the American people in anger and a determination tofight.C.The next day Roosevelt went before congress and asked for a declaration of war against Japan.Organizing for Victory
I.
The task of fighting a global war accelerated the growing influence of the state on American life.Coordinating the changeover from civilian to war production, raising an army, and assembling thenecessary work force taxed government agencies to the limit.
 
A.Mobilizing on such a scale required cooperation between business executives and political leaders,solidifying a partnership that had been growing since WWI.B.The most dramatic expansion of power occurred at the presidential level when Congress passedthe War Powers Act, giving Roosevelt unprecedented authority over all aspects of the conduct of the war.Mobilizing for DefenseI.Defense mobilization had a powerful impact on the federal government’s role in the economy. Alongwith huge federal budgets came the acceptance of Keynesian economics, the use of government fiscal policy to stimulate economic growth.A.The war also brought significant changes in the federal bureaucracy.Financing the War I.Taxes paid about half the cost of the war. The Revenue Act of 1942 continued the income tax reformthat had begun during WWI by taxing not just the wealthy individuals and corporations but averagecitizens as well.A.The mass-based tax system, a revolutionary change in the financing of the modern state, was soldto the taxpayers as a way to express their patriotism.B.War bond drives also gave people a patriotic opportunity to put their savings at the disposal of thegovernment by buying long-term Treasury bonds, which financed the remaining cost of the war.War bonds had the additional benefit of withdrawing money from circulation, which helped holddown inflation.Running the EconomyI.Roosevelt turned to business leaders to run the war economy.
A.
In 1941 Roosevelt developed the Office of Production Management. After the attack on PearlHarbor he disbanded the agency and replaced it with the War Production Board. The WPBawarded defense contracts, evaluated military and civilian requests for scarce resources, andoversaw the conversion of industries to military production.B.To encourage businesses to convert to war production, the board granted generous tax write-offsfor plant construction and approved contracts with cost-plus provisions that guaranteed a profitand promised that businesses could keep the new factories after the war.II.In the interest of maximum efficiency and production, the WPB preferred to deal with largecorporations rather than with small businesses. This system of allotting contracts, along with thesuspension of antitrust prosecution during the war, hastened the trend toward large corporatestructures.A.Large businesses would form the core of the military-industrial complex that came to link thefederal government, corporations, and the military in an interdependent partnership.III.The Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply supervised the domestic economy, allocatingspecific resources and trying to keep inflation down.A.In Oct 1942 the OPA froze most prices and rents at their March 1942 levels. When loopholes,especially regarding food prices, undermined that effort, congress passed the Anti-Inflation Act,which stabilized prices, wages, and salaries.IV.Roosevelt remained unsatisfied with the mobilization effort; there were too many governmentagencies, and their actions often overlapped.A.James Byrnes finally brought order to production goals for civilian and military needs, first ashead of the Office of Economic Stabilization and then at the Office of War Mobilization.V.The peak of mobilization occurred in late 1943, when 2/3 of the economy was directly involved in thewar effort.VI.Although not all industries could boast of freedom from snafus, business and government compiled animpressive record. Industry played a significant role in the military victory.

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