A.P. U.S. History Notes
Chapter 38: “America in World War II”
~ 1941 – 1945 ~
The Allies Trade Space for Time
When Japan attacked the United States at
, millions of infuriated Americans,
especially on the west coast, instantly changed their views from isolationist to avengist.
However, America, led by the wise
Franklin D. Roosevelt
, resisted such pressures, instead
taking a “get Germany first” approach to the war, for if Germany were to defeat Britain before
the Allies could beat Japan, there would be no stopping Hitler and his men.
In the mean time,
troops would be sent to fight Japan to keep it in check.
America had the hardship of preparing for war, since it had been in isolation for the preceding
decades, and the test would be whether or not it could mobilize quickly enough to stop
Germany and save the world for democracy (again).
The Shock of War
After the attack at Pearl Harbor, national unity was strong as steel, and the few Hitler
supporters in America faded away.
Most of America’s ethnic groups assimilated even faster due to WWII, since in the decades
before the war, few immigrants had been allowed into America.
Unfortunately, on the Pacific coast, 110,000 Japanese-Americans were taken from
their homes and herded into relocation camps, where their properties and freedoms
were taken away from them.
The 1944 case of
Korematsu vs. U.S.
affirmed the constitutionality of this terrible act.
It took more than 40 years later before the U.S. admitted fault and
began to make $20,000 reparations to camp survivors.
With the war, many
programs were wiped out, such as the
Works Progress Administration
, and the
National Youth Administration
WWII was no idealistic crusade, as most Americans didn’t even know what the
(declaration of U.S. into the war and to fight Germany first, and Japan second) was!
Building the War Machine
Massive military orders (over $100 billion in 1942 alone) ended the
creating demand for jobs and production.
Henry J. Kaiser
was dubbed “Sir Lauchalot” because his methods of ship
assembly churned out one ship ever 14 days!
War Production Board
halted manufacture of nonessential items such as passenger cars,
and when the Japanese seized vital rubber supplies in British Malaya and the Dutch East
Indies, the U.S. imposed a national speed limit and gasoline rationing to save tires.
Farmers rolled out more food, but the new sudden spurt in production made prices soar—a
problem that was finally solved by the regulation of it by the
Office of Price Administration