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Megan Pavel

May 2012
PreAP English-2nd
Effects of World War II on America

One event can affect the entire world. When World War II began, America was just
emerging from the Great Depression, a stock market crash during the 1930s. During this time, in
Germany, the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party was occurring because Hitler claimed to
be able to transform Germany into an individualistic military with economic power that could in
fact control Europe. Germany eventually invaded Poland in 1939, beginning World War II. In
1941, however, Japan attacked U.S. Naval base, Pearl Harbor, thus entering America into the
war. World War II represented a social and economic revolution in America.
Although China and Japan were already at war in 1937, World War II is said to have
begun when "Germany invaded Poland" on September 1, 1939 (World War II par. 1). "Adolf
Hitler and his Nazi party" were gaining political power in Germany when they claimed they
could create a German empire in all of Europe (American Economy during WWII par. 2). In
doing this, Hitler wanted to eliminate all people who did not have pure German blood; therefore
he killed many Jews in an event now known as the Holocaust. He set up concentration camps
where he burned Jewish women, children, and men who could not work. Able-bodied men were
sent to work in different places like the infirmaries or factories and they did not get proper
nourishment. On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed the American Naval base, Pearl Harbor, in
Hawaii and the United States joined the war. In this event, 2,403 people died and 3 ships, the
Oklahoma, Utah, and Arizona sank. The countries eventually divided into two teams during the
war: the Axis and the Allies. The main countries in the Allies were the U.S., Great Britain, and
the Soviet Union. On the Axis side was Germany, Italy, and Japan. The war went on until May 7,
1945, when Nazi Germany surrendered and the remaining Jews were released from
concentration camps. Later, on August 6, a "nuclear bomb" was dropped on Hiroshima, then on

Megan Pavel
May 2012
PreAP English-2nd
Nagasaki in Japan and its empire surrendered on September 2, ending the war (World War II
par. 3).
One of the largest changes America faced were advancements in society. The most
surprising of these was fashion. People began to conserve cotton and wool by making "shorter
dresses" and stop making vests and cuffs on shirts.(Social Changes during WWII par. 1).
Thick suits and ruffles disappeared as well. Women also joined the war effort by being nurses to
injured or ill men in the armed forces, and "replaced men" who didnt fight in combat (Social
Changes during WWII par. 4). Women also took the mans role at home. 6.3 million women
entered the work force during WWII. Many people blamed working mothers for the rise of
"juvenile delinquency" during the war (Social Changes during WWII par. 5). African
Americans and Mexican Americans were also affected during the war. More than two million
African Americans found work in defense industries in the north. However, segregation was still
a part of the war; the Marines excluded blacks, the Navy used them as servants, and the Army
created a completely separate black regiment commanded by white officers. About 400,000
Mexican Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII. By 1945, hundreds of
thousands of Mexican Americans had immigrated to the southwest due to the increased need for
farm workers. Commercial farm workers welcomed them while labor unions discriminated
against Mexican Americans. The war also increased urbanization, moving families off of farms
and into the cities. During the war, city populations grew from 46% to 53% because of an
increased need of supplies and industry.
Likewise, World War II also helped the American economy. In 1929, the U.S. stock
market crashed, beginning the Great Depression during the 1930s. During this time, the
American unemployment rate averaged 13.3% (American Economy during WWII par. 4).

Megan Pavel
May 2012
PreAP English-2nd
When World War II began, weapons and machinery were needed to carry out battles, so northern
industries rose dramatically in order to "produce the goods needed for war" (American
Economy during WWII par. 11). The number of jobs available grew tremendously as did the
number of employed Americans. The unemployment rate shrunk from "14.6% in 1940 to 1.9%
in 1945" (American Economy during WWII par. 27). With more people at work, the more
income Americans had, and therefore the more they could spend, overall improving the economy
World War II is an important aspect in American history. The U.S. was emerging from an
economic tragedy known as the Great Depression while Hitler and Nazi Germany began rising to
the top, gaining great amounts of European political power. Japan invaded Pearl Harbor, sending
the United States into the war as well. This war aided America out of the Great Depression by
creating jobs in industry and balancing the economy. The war also brought changes in society;
women entered the work force, and clothing styles changed. All in all, World War II represented
an economical and social revolution in the United States. Just one event can change a nation.