Mobilizing for War The time had come, Roosevelt announced, for the prescriptions of “Dr. New Deal” to be replaced by the stronger medicines of “Dr. Win- the-War.” Military and civilian leaders rushed to secure the nation against possible attacks, causing Americans with Japanese ancestry to be stigmatized and sent to internment camps. Roosevelt and his advisers lost no time enlisting millions of Americans in the armed forces to bring the isolationist-era military to fighting strength for a two-front war. The war emergency also required economic mobilization unparalleled in the nation’s history. As Dr. Win-the-War, Roosevelt set aside the New Deal goal of reform and plunged headlong into transforming the American economy into the world’s greatest military machine, thereby achieving full employment and economic recovery, goals that had eluded the New Deal. Home-Front Security. Shortly after declaring war against the United States, Hitler dispatched German submarines to hunt American ships along the Atlantic coast, where Paul Tibbets and other American pilots tried to destroy them. The U-boats had devastating success for about eight months, sinking hundreds of U.S. ships and threatening to disrupt the Lend-Lease lifeline to Britain and the Soviet Union. But by mid- 1942, the U.S. Navy had chased German submarines into the mid- Atlantic.
Within the continental United States, Americans remained sheltered from the chaos and destruction the war brought to hundreds of millions in Europe and Asia. Nevertheless, the government worried constantly about espionage and internal subversion. Posters warned Americans that “Loose lips sink ships” and “Enemy agents are always near; if you don’t talk, they won’t hear.” The campaign for patriotic vigilance focused on German and Japanese foes, but Americans of Japanese descent became targets of official and popular persecution because of Pearl Harbor and long- standing racial prejudice against people of Asian descent. About 320,000 people of Japanese ancestry lived in U.S. territory in 1941, two-thirds of them in Hawai’i, where they largely escaped wartime persecution because they were essential and valued members of society. On the mainland, however, Japanese Americans were a tiny minority — even along the West Coast, where most of them worked on farms and in small businesses. Although an official military survey concluded that Japanese Americans posed no danger, popular hostility fueled a campaign to round up all mainland Japanese Americans — two-thirds of them U.S. citizens. “A Jap’s a Jap…. It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen or not,” one official declared. MAP 25.3 WESTERN RELOCATION AUTHORITY CENTERS Responding to prejudice and fear of sabotage, President Roosevelt authorized the relocation of all Americans of Japanese descent in 1942.