Chapter 36: America in World War II 1941-1945

The Allies Trade Space for Time:
  • America needed time! Race against the clock to pump out war materials, transport forces to spaced-out regions, send food and munitions to allies before Germany could take control of Europe and their scientists could make dangerous weapons like the atomic bomb

The Shock of War:

  • America united against Japan (b/c of Pearl Harbor).
  • Immigrants weren't witch-hunted, minorities blended in.
  • Japanese (mostly on Pacific Coast) were feared -> government forcibly herded them in concentration camps (prejudice and post-war hysteria).
  • 1944, Supreme Court declared this constitutional Korematsu v. US
  • Enemy Aliens: Japanese, Germans, and Italians - internment camps
  • 1942 -> Conservative Congress, New Deal retired
  • WWII was no crusade, majority of people couldn't tell you what the Atlantic Charter said, many didn't know what we were fighting for.

Building the War Machine:

  • War Production Board - American factories pumped out weapons, halted manufacture of cars, gas-rationing for rubber.
  • Farmers (using machinery) increased crop output.
  • Scarcity of goods -> inflation. Office of Price Administration kept prices under control w/ regulations like rationing meat and butter.
  • War Labor Board limited wage increases. Labor unions grew; labor walkouts hindered industries
  • 1943 Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act: authorized federal government to seize and operate tied-up industries (took over coal mines and railroads). Strikes against gov-operated industry were criminal offenses.

Manpower and Womanpower:

  • Draft=> 15 million meant, 216,000 women (WAAC, WAVEs, SPARs) (noncombat duties)
  • Industrial and ag workers exempted, but still huge shortages => Mexican agricultural workers "braceros"
  • Women worked in factories (gov daycares established), but many women still stayed home
  • After war 2/3 of women workers returned home for family obligations (to mother "baby boomers"

Wartime Migrations:

  • War industries sucked people into boomtowns (LA, Detroit, Seattle). CALIFORNIA GREW!
  • South given $6 billion for industrial facilities => recovery of the South, became "sunbelt"
  • Blacks went North and West. Tensions over segregation. A. Philip Randolph threated a Negro March on Washington - demanded equal opportunities for black in war jobs and armed forces.
  • =>FDR forbid discrimination in defense industries, established Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) to enforce this.
  • Blacks also drafted, but service branches. -> NAACP membership grew, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) founded 1942.
  • 1944 mechanical cotton-picker invented -no need for blacks in Dixieland - dispersed! Became urban.
  • Native Americans moved from reservations to war industries and even joined the armed forces (code-talkers).
  • Race riots against Mexicans and blacks

Holding the Home Front:

  • The war ended the depression, and double the GNP. Personal income doubled, even with taxes. Prices inflated
  • More government intervention than even the New Deal: people worked for gov. in armed forces, defense industries monitored by FEPC and WLB, gov sponsored day care, health plans
  • Wartime cost: $330 billion. Income tax expanded and tax rates rose up to 90%, but majority of money for war was borrowed -> national debt raised to $259 billion

The Rising Sun in the Pacific:

  • Japan attacked Guam, Wake, British Hong Kong, and Malaya. Blocked Burma road (where US would supply China). Then took Dutch East Indies.
  • Philippines - US General MacArthur- defense at Bataan - held of Japanese until 1942
  • MacArthur ordered to Australia (aww the movieee!!) US surrendered in Philippines -> Bataan Death March to prisoner of war camps
  • Japan took control of Philippines

Japan's High Tide at Midway:

  • Japanese invaded New Guinea, northern Australia, and Soloman Islands
  • May 1942 naval battle - Coral Sea - US and Aust. vs. Jap. (US VICTORY)
  • Japanese seized Midway Island (north of Hawaii). June 1942 battle - Chester W. Nimitz and Raymod A. Spruance - victory!!
  • Japanese took islands Kiska and Attu near Alaska -> US defense at Alaska!
  • 1942, Japan suffered "victory disease."

American Leapfrogging Toward Tokyo:

  • Aug 1942 - US troops successfully drove Japanese out of Guadalcanal (Soloman Islands)
  • Aug 1944 - MacArthur managed to get New Guinea
  • American strategy to bomb Japanese strongholds - under Nimitz, Attu and Kiska retaken 1943, Gilbert Islands 1943, Marshall Islands 1944.
  • Air attacks on Marianas (Guam) and the Philippine Sea
  • US got Marianas => Nov 1944 started round-the-clock bombing of Japan.

The Allied Halting of Hitler:

  • Trouble in Atlantic with German submarines
  • Ally antisubmarine tactics improved - cracked German codes
  • Air bombs on Germany. Germans under Marshal Erwin Rommel went into Egypt, but British Bernard Montgomery drove them back to Tunisia.
  • Russia launched crushing counteroffensive = 1943 Stalin had regained 2/3 of Soviet Union

A Second Front from North Africa to Rome:

  • USSR was getting creamed w/ losses, wanted 2nd front to divert Germans westward
  • Assault on French N. Africa (Nov. 1942) led by Dwight D. Eisenhower -> mighty waterborne attack, German-Italian army surrendered. (May 1943).
  • Jan 1943 FDR and Winston Churchill met in Casablanca, Morocco. Agreed to step up Pacific war, invade Sivily, and insist upon "unconditional surrender" of enemy (controversial).
  • Allies victorious at Sicily, Italy surrendered unconditionally Sept 1943.
  • Germans stayed in Italy and Italy declared war w/ them 1943
  • Rome taken 1944. Italy was a sideshow that distracted both sides.

D-Day: June 6, 1944:

  • FDR stopped in Cairo, talked w/ Churchill and Jiang Jieshi (China) about the war against Japan
  • Nov 28-Dec 1 1943 - Teheran Conference w/ FDR, Churchill, and Stalin: agreed to launch Soviet attacks on Germany from east and Allied assault from West
  • Brits and Americans under Eisenhower attacked French Normandy on D-Day. Sea and air attacks, crippled railroads, bombed gas plants. Lunged across France under George S. Patton. Aug 1944, Paris freed!!
  • Allies move to Germany. Aachen (1st important city) fell Oct 1944.

FDR: The Fourth-Termite of 1944:

  • Republicans nominated Thomas E. Dewey - popular gov. of NY w/ isolationist running mate John W. Bricker. Platform called for prosecution of war and new League of Nation-like organization.
  • Aging FDR nominated for Democrats, but focus was put on VP -> Harry S (his full middle name was the letter S!) Truman. (past VP Wallace ditched b/c he was an unstable liberal)

Roosevelt Defeats Dewey:

  • Dewey made speeches, "time for a change," won't alter basic strategy, but I'll fight the war better
  • CIO assisted in campaigning for FDR. He won 432 to 99 b/c the war was going well and he was experienced.

The Last Days of Hitler:

  • German's last offensive- The Battle of the Bulge, Dec-Jan 1945
  • March 1945, Eisenhower's troops marched through Germany and met up w/ Soviet comrades. Saw the shocking realities of concentration camps.
  • April 1945 captured Berlin -> Hitler committed suicide Apr. 30
  • FDR died Apr. 12 1945 - cerebral hemorrhage -> Truman prez
  • May 7, Germany surrendered unconditionally. May 8, 1945 V-E Day (Victory in Europe).

Japan Dies Hard:

  • US submarines destroyed 50% of Japan's merchant fleet
  • March 1945, fire-bomb raid on Tokyo
  • General MacArthur went to Philippines, huge battle at Leyte Gulf (Oct 1944) - Americans won.
  • Manila fell March 1945, Philippines conquered July.
  • March 1945 island Iwo Jima captured (heavy US losses)
  • Okinawa (Japanese Island) captured next (heavy US losses)
  • US navy damaged from suicide pilots "kamikazes"

The Atomic Bombs:

  • Potsdam Conference (Berlin, July 1945). Truman, Stalin, and British leaders met and came up with ultimatum.
  • America warned Japan: surrender or be destroyed.
  • FDR ot Congress to make $2 billion available for atom bomb project (w/ Albert Einstein) -> feared Germnay would beat them to it.
  • Tested 1st atomic bomb near Alamogordo, NM (July 1945)
  • August 6, 1945 - atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (killed 180,000)
  • August 8, 1945 - Stalin enters war against Japan -> overrun Manchuria and Korea in 6-day victory parade
  • Japanese stilll didn't surrender. August 9, dropped 2nd bomb on Nagasaki (80,000 killed)
  • Aug 10, Japanese said peace on the condition that they keep their emperor, Hirohito; Aug 14 Allies accept
  • Sept 2, 1945 V-J Day

The Allies Triumphant: