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152X%20-%20World%20War%20II%20Homefront%20and%20Early%20Cold%20War

152X%20-%20World%20War%20II%20Homefront%20and%20Early%20Cold%20War

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World War II on the Homefront Building a Citizen Army: 1940: FDR encouraged Congress to pass the Selective Service  Act in the event of war. 16 million Americans served in the war, most between the ages of  18 and 26.  Almost everyone had a family member in the military. 2/3 of American military men were drafted. 350,000 women served in the Nurse’s Corps and women’s military  units. Conversion to a War Economy: 1940: America remained mired in the Great Depression – 1 in 7  still without a job. Factories converted from making passenger cars to assembling  tanks and airplanes – production ramped up to record levels.
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Federal budget went from 10 to 100 billion. Creation of the War Production Board headed by the Government.  Set production priorities and pushed for maximum output. Union workers pledged not to strike. U.S. became the “arsenal of democracy” – supplying the U.S. and  the Allies with military goods. Women and World War II: Millions of American women left home toting a lunch pail and  changed into overalls and work gloves to work on assembly lines. Before the war, 25% of American women worked outside of the  home, most as teachers, nurses, social workers, or domestic  servants. Few women worked in the factories.
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Government ads urged women to take industrial jobs, to take their  place on the “Victory Line.” By 1945, 18 million women worked outside of the home, a 50%  increase from 1939. Women earned an average of $31 a week, men received $54. Women who stayed at home grew “Victory Gardens,” saved tin  cans and newspaper for recycling, and purchased war bonds. Buying a washing machine or a new car out of the question. Items rationed: tires, gasoline, shoes, and meat. African Americans and the War: Between 1915 and 1920, half a million blacks had left the rural  South for industrial jobs in Northern cities: Chicago, Cleveland,  Detroit, Gary, etc. Once the war ended, many blacks lost their jobs.
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Blacks served in the military during World War I but faced  widespread racial discrimination – Separate officer training school  for blacks in Iowa. Only forces to serve under foreign (French) command during WWI  were black. USO shows bypassed blacks.  Troops segregated. Some black leaders questioned military service – Why should  blacks fight and die for America without equal rights at home?
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