Chapter 26

America during the Second World War

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The Road to War: Aggression and Response
• International political instability arose from:
– Built-up resentments from WWI – Worldwide depression of the 1930s – Ultra-nationalist movements in Japan, Italy, Germany

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The Rise of Aggressor States
• Manchuria (1931)
– Manchukuo

• Hoover-Stimson Doctrine • National Socialist (Nazi) Party
– Adolf Hitler

• Benito Mussolini

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Isolationist Sentiment and American Neutrality
• Nye committee
– Gerald P. Nye – “Merchants of Death”

• Neutrality Acts (1935, 1936, 1937) • “Cash and carry” • Spanish Civil War

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Growing Interventionist Sentiment
• Spanish Civil War precipitated a debate over foreign policy
– General Francisco Franco – “Abraham Lincoln Battalion”

• Americans increasingly separated into interventionists or isolationists • Roosevelt tilts cautiously toward intervention
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The Mounting Crisis
• • • • • • Marco Polo Bridge incident East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere Panay (1937) Nanjing Axis Powers Sudetenland

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The Outbreak of War in Europe
• • • • Munich Conference (1938) Germany annexes Czechoslovakia Stalin-Hitler Pact World War II
– Occupation of Poland (1939) – sitzkrieg

• Blitzkrieg: Hitler moves to take Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France
– Dunkirk
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America’s Response to War in Europe
• Roosevelt tries to mold American opinion against Axis • “Cash and carry" • Selective Training and Service Act (1940) • Destroyers for bases deal • Robert Wood and the America First Committee • American Anti-Semitism • White Committee • Election of 1940: Roosevelt vs. Wendell Willkie
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An “Arsenal of Democracy”
• • • • • Lend-Lease Act (1941) Germany attacks Soviet Union U.S. occupies Greenland and Iceland Atlantic Charter (1941) Undeclared naval war vs. German “Wolf Packs”
– Reuben James
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The Attack at Pearl Harbor
• U.S. begins trade embargo against Japan (1940) • Japanese assets in U.S. frozen (1941)
– Petroleum issue

• • • •

Pearl Harbor: Japan’s gamble (December 7, 1941) MAGIC December 8, 1941: U.S. declares war on Japan December 11, Germany and Italy declare war on the United States

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Fighting the War in Europe
• • • • Axis doing well in 1942 Joint Chiefs of Staff Pentagon ENIGMA and Ultra
– Ultra precursor to computers

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Campaigns in North Africa and Italy
• • • • Europe first Soviets and “second front” Casablanca Conference North African operation (1942)
– TORCH – Dwight D. Eisenhower

• Stalingrad • The Italian Campaign
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Operation Overlord
• D-Day (June 6, 1944)
– Normandy

• • • • •

Liberation of Paris Elbe River Holocaust Hitler’s suicide Europe split
– Eastern Europe Soviet – Germany and Austria Divided – Western Europe British and American

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The Pacific Theatre
• Fall of the Philippines • Bataan Death March

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Seizing the Initiative in the Pacific
• • • • Coral Sea (1942) Midway Island (1942) Guadalcanal “War without mercy”

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China Policy
• Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) • Mao Zedong • "China lobby"

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Pacific Strategy
• • • • • • • • Douglas MacArthur Chester Nimitz Iwo Jima Okinawa Strategic bombing Blockade “Unconditional surrender“ Japan’s 3rd party peace “feelers”

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A New President
• Roosevelt’s death • Harry S Truman
– “A little man from Missouri”

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Atomic Power and Japanese Surrender
• Manhattan Project
– Albert Einstein – Los Alamos, New Mexico

• Bomb decision
– Save lives compared to invasion – End war before Soviets enter

• Hiroshima (1945) • Nagasaki (1945) • V-J Day
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The War at Home: The Economy
• Success for U.S. military efforts depended on mobilization back home in America • Great Depression finally came to a close • The war transformed America’s political economy
– Government, businesses, financial institutions, and labor force

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Government’s Role in the Economy
• • • • • War Production Board War Labor Board War Manpower Commission Office of Price Administration Office of Scientific Research and Development (R & D)

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Business and Finance
• • • • Increased government war spending War bonds Rationing and shared sacrifice Social programs withered as big businesses flourished under government subsidies
– Cost plus contracts

• Anti-trust suits and legal challenges fell by the wayside
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The Workforce
• Labor shortage gives opportunities to minorities and women • Bracero program • Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) • African-Americans move North • Wages of workers and farm income increases
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Labor Unions
• Unions discriminate against minorities and women • Racial conflict in the worklpace • Smith-Connally Act (1943)

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Assessing Economic Change
• Workplace became more inclusive • Jobs seemed plentiful and personal savings grew • Big business, big government, big labor expanded during war years
– Science and technology: linked mutual interests among these 3 sectors

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The War at Home: Social Issues
• By war’s end: 16 million Americans had served • Many people left their traditional homes • Sacrifices on the home front

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Wartime Propaganda
• War to preserve the “American way of life” • Norman Rockwell
– Four Freedoms

• Frank Capra
– Why We Fight

• “Freedom” advertising • Office of War Information (OWI)
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Gender Equality
• WASPS (Women's Airforce Service Pilots) • Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) considered • “Pin up” mentality

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Racial Equality
• • • • Fighting Fascism challenges segregation "Double V" campaign A. Philip Randolph Military segregation and discrimination

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Racial Tensions
• • • • Racial discrimination in housing “Zoot suit" incidents Native-Americans and the war Committee (later, Congress) on Racial Equality (CORE) • Executive Order 9066: Japanese internment • “Melting pot” • Population movements erode regional distinctions
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Shaping the Peace
• • • • Harry S Truman (1945-1953) Builds on Roosevelt’s legacy United Nations New international economic institutions created • Important global political issues settled

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International Organizations
• United Nations (UN)
– – – – General Assembly Security Council Economic and Social Council Eleanor Roosevelt

• Bretton Woods Conference
– International Monetary Fund (IMF) – World Bank

• General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

© 2003 Wadsworth Group All rights reserved.

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Spheres of Interest and Postwar Settlements
• Stalin and Churchill’s agreement • Teheran Conference (1943) • Yalta Conference (1945)
– Germany – Berlin – Poland

• U.S. and the question of colonies
– Support Britain and France retaking control – Philippine independence

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• Latin America • Question of a Jewish homeland

Conclusion
• Wartime mobilization led to the end of the Great Depression and shifted the New Deal away from social reforms and toward international issues • U.S. most preeminent power • 1940s: debates over nature of liberty and equality • Questions of post-war policies
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