2 Women on the Home FrontIn 1940 (prior to U.S. involvement in WWII) there were approx. 9 million women in the workforceBy 1944 there were more than 20 millionFDR encouraged women to join the workforce, claiming that working in a war production factory was as important as being a soldier
3 The term “Rosie the Riveter” became a popular description of women working in wartime factories. Throughout the war, women proved that they could do the same work as their male counterparts.
4 Women didn’t always receive equal pay Women didn’t always receive equal pay. The average weekly pay for a man in a wartime factory was $54.65 while for a woman it was $31.50.
5 Emma Belle Petcher: Working on airplanes VideoEmma Belle Petcher: Working on airplanesWomen Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)
6 African Americans on the Home Front African Americans had been dealing with segregation and racism since the end of the Civil War. Jim Crow laws in the south had kept life much the same as before the war.Almost a million African Americans entered the industrial labor force during the warRace-related riots occurred in 47 cities during the war
7 Black workers were often shut out of defense plants, and when they could find work, it was often in the most menial, dangerous, and low-paying jobsOne aviation executive stated, “While we are in complete sympathy with the Negro, it is against company policy to employ them as aircraft workers or mechanics… regardless of their training.” The Standard Steel Company declared, “We have not had a Negro worker in twenty-five years, and we do not plan to start now.”
8 Many African Americans had mixed feelings about supporting the war effort when their own country did not offer them the freedom America was fighting for overseasThe “Double V” campaign pushed for a double victory – against the Axis as well as a victory for equal rights for African Americans at home.
9 African Americans in World War II VideoAfrican Americans in World War IIJohn Hope Franklin: Only color matteredVanport Documentary Part IVanport Documentary Part II
10 Mexican Americans on the Home Front Mexican Americans had dealt with decades of de facto segregationThe government spent $100 million on recruiting workers by the thousands from Mexico.Workers were recruited in Mexico and brought to the U.S. where they were provided housing, food and wages in exchange for their work in American agricultureThis was known as the Bracero ProgramOPB Video:Bracero Program
11 Tension had gradually risen between Navy sailors on leave in Los Angeles and “zoot-suiters” – hip, young teens dressed in baggy pants and long-tailed coatsIn June of 1943, violence broke out between the two groups
12 Sailors cruised Mexican-American neighborhoods and ruthlessly attacked anyone wearing a zoot suit, tearing the clothes off their bodies and viciously beating them
13 Some Latino youth fought back, and when the violence ended, many Mexican Americans and Anglo servicemen were in hospital bedsThe police force turned a blind-eye and refused to stop the violence, and in some cases helped the white sailors in the beatings. Hundreds of zoot-suiters were arrested, in most cases for no reason at allVideo:Zoot Suit Riots
14 Japanese Americans on the Home Front In February of 1942, just two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 9066 forced 110,000 Japanese Americans into internment camps located throughout the western United States.
15 Pearl Harbor had given whites the opportunity to renew their discrimination against the Japanese Americans living on the west coast. Very few non-Japanese protested the government action, but some questioned why their friends were being taken away.
16 Many Japanese Americans were forced to leave most of their possessions in their homes – after the war, many returned to homes that were looted or destroyed.
17 There were 10 internment camps located throughout the western United States. Camps were usually located in remote desert areas
18 Internees lived in poorly built rickety barracks Guards in gun towers watched the camp and shot those who tried to escapeMost internees learned to live in the camps. Many camps started:Fire departmentsBaseball leaguesNewspapersSchoolsCommunity gardens