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The United States during
World War II
How did the Second World War
affect life in the United States?
Selective Service Act (1940)
registered men (18-26) for the draft
10 million served in armed forces during war,
including women, African Americans,
Mexican Americans, Native Americans,
Chinese Americans, and homosexuals.
African Americans were forced to train in
segregated camps and serve in segregated
units (ended by Truman in 1948)
Conversion to War Economy
Factories were converted for wartime
supplies and munitions
Put people to work; ended the
War Production Board – managed
war industries
National War Labor Board
Waste Helps the Enemy
Citizen Contributions to War Effort
Citizens contributed
to the war effort by
rationing consumer
recycling materials
purchasing war
working in war
Women and the War
“We Can Do It” – Women Defense Workers
Over 200,000 served in
military (noncombat)
Number of women
workers in the United
States grew from 14
million to 19 million.
Women made up about
35 percent of the
civilian labor force.
“Rosie the Riveter”
Demands for Equality
African Americans fought in segregated units
Wartime migration - majority of African Americans
moved to cities
A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of
Sleeping Car Porters union, planned a 100,000 person
march on Washington
Executive Order 8802, authorizing Committee on
Fair Employment Practices to investigate and
prevent racial discrimination in employment.
Double V Campaign, supported by NAACP, asserted
African Americans’ demands for the rights and
privileges enjoyed by all other Americans
Japanese Internment
After the Japanese bombing of
Pearl Harbor, JapaneseAmericans encountered strong
hostility, prejudice, and
Over 100,000 Japanese
Americans living on the West
coast were rounded up and
confined to internment camps
located inland.
Executive Order 9066, signed
by Franklin D. Roosevelt on
February 19, 1942, allowed
authorized military
commanders to designate
"military areas" at their
Korematsu v. U.S. (1944)
In a 6-3 decision, the Court
sided with the government,
ruling that the exclusion order
was constitutional
But, in Ex parte Endo the
Supreme Court ruled that the
government was not permitted
to continue detaining loyal
In 1988, Ronald Reagan
signed the Civil Liberties Act
of 1988, which provided
redress of $20,000 for each
surviving detainee.
The Manhattan Project
June 29, 1943
My dear Dr. Oppenheimer:
I have recently reviewed with Dr. Bush the highly important
and secret program of research, development and
manufacture with which you are familiar. I was very glad to
hear of the excellent work which is being done in a number of
places in this country under the immediate supervision of
General L.R. Groves and the general direction of the
Committee of which Dr. Bush is Chairman. The successful
solution of the problem is of the utmost importance to the
national safety, and I am confident that the work will be
completed in as short a time as possible as the result of the
wholehearted cooperation of all concerned.
The End of World War II
D-Day – June 6th, 1944
Battle of the Bulge – December, 1944
V-E Day – May 8, 1945
Island Hopping
Atomic Bombs
Hiroshima (8/6/45)
Nagasaki (8/9/45)
Japan surrenders to Gen. MacArthur (9/2/45)
The End of World War II
American Costs
1.1 million casualties
$320 billion
National debt quintuples to $250 billion
300,000 dead; 800,000 injured
Casablanca (1943)
Teheran (1944)
Yalta (February 1945)
Potsdam (Summer 1945)
U.N. (1945)
Nuremburg Trials – prosecuted Nazis