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The Brief American Pageant Seventh Edition

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1 The Brief American Pageant Seventh Edition
Chapter 35 America in World War II

2 The Allies Trade Space for Time
Pearl Harbor served as the most devastating military defeat in US history, however it did not destroy America’s resolve. Many Americans cried for the US to “get Japan first,” however US officials saw Hitler as the more dire threat and set out to “get Germany first.” Before war could occur, the primary challenge face by the US was having enough time to re-focus on a total war effort. The US had to move quickly for fear of the collapse of Britain and the Soviet Union to Hitler and the Germans. Participation in WWII was a logistical nightmare for the US since she would be asked to feed and supply the Allies as well as feed and supply her own soldiers.

3 The Shock of War The attack at Pearl Harbor galvanized America’s will to fight as most all segments of the population were resolved to fight. One group within America’s population that did not fare well was those with Japanese heritage. Much like the German witch hunt in WWI, Japanese Americans were subject to harassment in the form of internment camps. This action was sanctioned by the US government out of fear that Japanese people living in the States might be plotting for an invasion. The internment camps were a stain on American history born out of fear and hysteria created following the attack on Pearl Harbor. (The camps were challenged in the courts but the Supreme Court upheld their use in 1944, however in 1988 the US apologized and provided payments of $20,000 to each survivor.) The war also brought about an official end to the New Deal. The Congress, more focused on the war, abandoned many of the New Deal programs. FDR himself even declared the New Deal dead and stated his primary focus was on winning the war.

4 Building the War Machine
The war was good for business in the US and almost single-handedly brought the Great Depression to an end. In 1942 US factories received over $100 billion in orders for war materials. Struggling farmers benefitted from the war as well. While many of the farm hands were off at war, mechanization allowed fewer people to perform great amounts of work. US factories produced 40 billion bullets, 300,000 aircraft, 76,000 ships, 86,000 tanks, and 1 ½ million machine guns. Farmers produced over 1 billion bushels of wheat in 1944 and 1945.

5 Building the War Machine
Consumer goods became scarce as factories focused on war materials. Therefore inflation took hold forces prices for those items upward. Unemployment was low as a result of the war effort as well. In order to support the war effort, rationing of items such as meat and butter was used. During the war, the government regulated wages placing ceilings on how high pay could go. Labor unions were none too pleased with this action and despite promises not to strike, some workers walked off the job slowing productivity. Fear of strikes resulted in the passage of the Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act (1943) which granted the government the authority to seize and operate any industry slowed by a strike.(two instances of this occurring were coal mines and railroads)

6 Manpower and Womanpower
The armed forces mobilized 15 million men for WWII and over 200,000 women for non-combat duty. Civilian women played an important role on the home front however as war absent men were replaced in the field and the factories by their female counterparts. All total over 6 million women took jobs, many of whom had never worked for a wage before. Since many of these women were mothers, the government established over three thousand day care centers to watch over their children. Immigrants also played an important part in domestic agriculture as the US government arranged for “braceros” to come across the border to help harvest in the fields. At the conclusion of the war, 2/3 of those wage earning women left the workforce. Some were forced out by unions or employers, but many desired to return to their more traditional domestic roles. Another lasting legacy of WWII on the family unit was the post-war development of suburbia and the “baby boom” which resulted millions of births in the decade following the war.

7 Manpower and Womanpower
Following the war a demographic shift in population occurred as cities like Los Angeles, Detroit, and Seattle all grew as a result of war time industry. The South enjoyed an economic stimulus during and after the war as many of the defense contractors located there. The Southern population changed as well as 1.6 million blacks left the region to go North and West in search of wartime factory work. Even after the war blacks continued to migrate north. This was due in large part to the mechanical cotton picker which replaced Whitney’s cotton gin. The South’s desire for cheap labor in the fields was no longer there, and as a result blacks were forced to look elsewhere for gainful employment. (By 1970 over half of all blacks lived outside of the South) Native Americans also moved about as a result of war, seeking work in the wartime factories.

8 Holding the Home Front Compared to other nations involved in the war, American citizens were impacted relatively little by the conflict. While Europe was left in ruin, the US prospered in a new booming economy. The GDP of the nation doubled between 1940 and 1945 to $200 billion. Men and women alike, attained jobs working for the government whether it be in the armed forces or in the defense sector. Academia and the government entered into a co-existing agreement as the government pumped millions of dollars into university research projects. The cost of the war for the US was over $330 billion, which ballooned the national debt to $259 billion in 1945. The national debt had been $41 billion in 1941.

9 The Rising Sun in the Pacific
At the same time of the Pearl Harbor attacks, the Japanese launched offensives all over the Pacific in locations such as American outposts at Guam, the Philippines, and Wake Island. The Japanese also sought to stop the flow of American munitions into China and its resistive general Chiang Kai-shek. In order to fulfill their need for oil, the Japanese captured the oil fields in the Dutch East Indies. Americans were no longer able to use the famous Burma road to deliver supplies to the Chinese, rather they were forced to fly them in over the Himalayas.

10 The Rising Sun in the Pacific
American General Douglas MacArthur was stationed in the Philippines and was able to hold off the Japanese for 5 months. A huge offensive by the Japanese against the American/Filipino position at Bataan was too much to withstand and MacArthur withdrew to Australia. (“I shall return.”) Those members of MacArthur’s force that were left behind surrendered and were forced into the now infamous 80-mile “Bataan Death March” to prisoner of war camps. By May of 1942 the Philippines were controlled by the Japanese.

11 Japan’s High Tide at Midway
Following their success at Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, and other locations in the Pacific, the Japanese turned south and invaded New Guinea and the Solomon Islands putting Australia within their crosshairs. The swift Japanese advance was halted finally in May 1942 by American forces in the Coral Sea. The Battle of Coral Sea was a military first as all the fighting was done by carrier-based aircraft. (The battle was won by the Americans.)

12 Japan’s High Tide at Midway
Following their defeat at Coral Sea, the Japanese sought to seize Midway Island which was about one thousand miles northwest of Hawaii. If the Japanese could have controlled the island, it would have been a critical strategic point from which they could have launched offensives against Hawaii. In June 1942, Japanese plans to invade were stopped at the Battle of Midway where Americans aircraft and carriers inflicted heavy damages on the Japanese fleet. The Americans were outnumbered at Midway but skillfully commanded by Admiral Chester Nimitz. Later in 1942 the Japanese found success uncomfortably close to the US. The Japanese seized the islands of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutian Archipelago off the coast of Alaska. News of the capture of the two islands caused widespread panic of a Japanese invasion of American and as a result a greater focus was placed on the defense of Alaska. In the end, Coral Sea and Midway served as the turning point in the Pacific theater. Also, the desire to “win” overcame the Japanese causing them to lose sight of their most realistic strategy which was to hunker down and fight a defensive war to maintain what gains they had achieved.

13 American Leapfrogging Toward Tokyo
After Coral Sea and Midway, the US took to the offensive stringing together impressive victories including Guadalcanal Island in February 1943 (Solomon Islands), which kept supply lines between the US and Australia open. General MacArthur with assistance from the Australians re-conquered New Guinea in August 1944. The greater US strategy in the Pacific involved the Marines, the army, and navy in a process known as “leapfrogging.” The island-hopping campaign called for the US to bypass heavily fortified islands and instead claim the less defended islands to use as airfields for an air raid against the Japanese strongholds. American military commanders figured if the heavily fortified islands were choked off from the outside world they would eventually die on the vine. The plan was a success. In May and August 1943 the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska were reclaimed by US forces. In November 1943 despite suicide attacks by the Japanese the US were able to retake the Gilbert Islands. In January and February the US was able to defeat the Japanese at the Marshall Islands. August 1944 Guam was reclaimed by the US and this opened up airfields for the new American B-29 Superbomber aircraft. These planes could travel greater distances and carry heavier payloads. The B-29’s were used to carry out bombing raids against the Japanese mainland, which began in ‘round the clock fashion in November 1944.

14 The Allied Halting of Hitler
In the Atlantic theater, the Germans had the distinct advantage of the modern submarine. The Germans inflicted heavy damage against Allied merchant ships sinking 500 in The Allies finally gained an upper hand against the U Boats in the spring of 1943. The turning point in Europe however came late in 1942 when US and British aircraft unleashed thousands of bombs on German cities. In North Africa, the German army was commanded by Marshal Erwin “Desert Fox” Rommel. The Germans threatened to seize the Suez Canal in Egypt, however in October 1942 at the Battle of El Alamein, the British under the command of General Bernard Montgomery halted the German advance. On the eastern European front, the Soviet Red Army had great success against the Germans stopping their invasion of Russia at Stalingrad where they captured over 250,000 German troops. As a matter of fact, the British with the assistance of American made Sherman tanks drove Rommel a thousand miles backward across the Sahara to Tunisia.

15 A Second Front from North Africa to Rome
Despite the successes of the Soviets, they had endured heavy losses and demanded of the Allies another front in the east to divert the German’s attention away from Russia. FDR and other Allied leaders were impatient to start a European invasion out of fear that the Russians might negotiate a separate peace with Germany and leave them alone to face Hitler. Rather than attack Hitler’s strength which lie in France, Allied military planners sought to attack what they called the “soft underbelly” of Europe by way of the Mediterranean. In order to invade Europe from the south, the Allies first had to succeed in conquering the Germans in North Africa which they did in 1942 under the command of American General Dwight D. Eisenhower. From there the Allied plan morphed into an invasion of Sicily, then Italy, and the ultimate demand for unconditional surrender by the enemy. The Allied invaded Sicily and seized the island in August It was during the fight for Sicily that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was deposed and Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943. Despite the surrender by Italy, the Germans continued to defend the “boot” sending thousands of troops into Italy. From the southern tip of the peninsula to the mountainous north, the fighting that took place between the Allies and the Germans was the fiercest of the war. The Allies were successful in their invasion however toppling Rome in June The entire country of Italy was defeated in May 1945.

16 D-Day: June 6, 1944 Meeting in Tehran, Iran; Stalin, Churchill, and FDR agreed upon a massive European invasion in the west. The plan called for an all out blitz against the Germans from both directions. (British and Americans from the west, Soviets from the east) On the British isle, over 3 million men were posed to strike against Hitler. Many of these soldiers were American, therefore supreme command of the operation was left to General Eisenhower. General Eisenhower elected to launch his invasion at Normandy, France due to its less than stellar fortifications. D-Day as the operation was called, was ordered for June 6, 1944 and demanded 4,600 vessels to bring the massive force across the English Channel into France. The assault on Normandy was met with heavy resistance and desperate fighting finally resulted in a break through by Allied forces. Once the Allies were through the German defenses on the beach, the American General George S. Patton led the force across France with their eyes set on Paris. Those forces, along with reinforcements finally reclaimed the capital in August 1944. From there the Allies continued to push toward the east capturing the German city of Aachen in October 1944.

17 FDR: The Fourth-Termite of 1944
As the war in Europe continued on the burdensome prospect of a presidential election came about in the US. The Republicans desperate for victory nominated Thomas Dewey as their candidate. The Democrats once again turned to FDR despite his progressing age and declining health. The biggest controversy of the nominating convention for the Democrats was the decision regarding a running mate for FDR. The third term vice president for FDR, Henry Wallace demanded to be placed on the ticket once more. However a conservative movement within the party sought to dump him in favor of Harry S Truman. The campaign saw Dewey condemn the New Deal and plead with Americans for change after what he called “twelve long years.’ In the end, despite the rumors about his health FDR was elected to an unprecedented fourth term by a wide margin of in the electoral college. Popular vote- FDR 25,606,585 Dewey 22,014,745

18 The Last Days of Hitler By the end of 1944 the Hitler’s hopes of a “thousand year Reich” appeared bleak. The Russians had penetrated through German lines into eastern Germany. The Allies had also entered western Germany in addition to the punishing bombing raids that targeted factories, transportation networks, and cities. The last successful German offensive came in December 1944 in the Ardennes forest. Hitler had held some troops back in reserve and unleashed them on the Allies in an event known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans forced the American troops backward creating what appeared to be a “bulge” in their line. After ten days of fighting the Germans demanded the Americans surrender, however Brigadier General A.C. McAuliffe responded calling the Germans, “nuts.” Reinforcements came to the Americans and the last gasp effort by Hitler to turn the war back in his favor had failed.

19 The Last Days of Hitler By March 1945 the Americans reached the Rhine River in Germany. They were fortunate to find one bridge left undestroyed and continued their march toward the Elbe River just outside of Berlin. Along their path into Germany, the Americans found a horrific site, dozens of concentration camps where the Nazis had carried out mass genocide against those they considered “undesirables.” As news of the shear horror of the Holocaust spread, people the world over were aghast at the numbers of individuals murdered at the hands of the Nazis.

20 The Last Days of Hitler The Soviets reached Berlin first in April 1945 and entered into house-to-house combat that included massive amounts of pillaging and rape. Rather than face surrender, Hitler and his bride of only one day, Eva Braun committed suicide on April 30, 1945. As the US made its way into Berlin tragedy struck when news spread of FDR’s death as a result of a cerebral hemorrhage. As the war appeared to be nearing a conclusion in Europe, Harry S Truman was quickly ushered in as the new president. Despite the loss of the president, the Americans marched into Berlin and accepted the surrender of the remaining German government on May 7, 1945. The next day, May 8, 1945 was officially declared “V-E” Day. (Victory in Europe)

21 Japan Dies Hard The US deployed its “silent service” against the Japanese merchant fleet. American submarines sank so many merchant vessels they ran out of targets. The US continued air raids against the Japanese as well pummeling their cities. On March 9-10, 1945 American bombers destroyed over 250,000 buildings and killed 83,000 people. General MacArthur made good on his promise to return to the Philippines when he arrived with 250,000 men and 600 ships. Before the Philippines were re-conquered in July 1945, the US armed forces suffered 60,000 casualties. Another epic battle was waged at the tiny Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, and then the Americans claimed Okinawa. While supporting the operations, the US navy suffered heavy losses as the Japanese fighter pilots resorted to “kamikaze” suicide missions aimed at sinking American naval vessels. American submarines sank over 1000 vessels, which equaled about 50% of the life sustaining fleet of the Japanese. MacArthur declared upon re-entering the Philippines, “People of the Philippines, I have returned…..Rally to me.”

22 The Atomic Bombs As the American military marched closer to Japan, plans were being made for an invasion of the island nation that estimates said would cost 300,000 American casualties. At the Potsdam Conference in Germany, President Truman met with Soviet and British leaders demanding they surrender or be destroyed. An alternative to a D-Day style invasion of Japan was available to the Americans. FDR had commissioned a study, led by many scientists (most notably Albert Einstein) to develop an atomic weapon. The secret plan, called the Manhattan Project, cost over $2 billion. In July 1945, the developers of the weapon successfully detonated the weapon in New Mexico’s desert. The Japanese refused to surrender, therefore Truman decided to make good on his promise to destroy them.

23 The Atomic Bombs A single American B-29 bomber (“Enola Gay”) dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima on August 6, The explosion instantly killed 70,000 people and all total inflicted 180,000 casualties. On August 8, 1945, the Soviets declared war on Japan by attacking the Japanese controlled Chinese Manchuria and Korea. On August 9, 1945 a second atomic weapon was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. A total of 80,000 people were killed or missing. The following day the Japanese pleaded for peace, asking only that their emperor Hirohito be allowed to remain in his ancestral role as ruler. On September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri, the US accepted Japan’s surrender thus ending WWII and bringing about “V-J” Day (Victory in Japan). Another 60,000 people in Hiroshima died from radiation poisoning as time passed.

24 The Allies Triumphant The US suffered over 1 million casualties, about 1/3 of those being deaths. America was fortunate, despite the attack at Pearl Harbor, the nation was left unscathed by the direct impact of the war. The war created a new breed of American heroes: Eisenhower, Patton, Marshall, and MacArthur.


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