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In early December 1941, the U.S. had
engaged in war-like activity but had yet to
commit itself
This would quickly change, and once again,
U.S. involvement in the war would decide the
struggle’s conclusion
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The United States and Japan were WWI allies
Prior to 1941- Conflict over power in Asia and
the Pacific
 Japan resented U.S. presence in Guam and the
Philippines and the U.S. support of China
 BUT Japan relied on trade with the U.S.
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Roosevelt tried to stop Japanese expansion
into Indo-China by placing an embargo on
supplies to Japan such as oil, iron ore, fuel,
steel, and rubber
Japan signed the tripartite Pact in 1940 and
the U.S. placed a more extensive embargo
1941- Hideki Tojo became Prime Ministerfocused on military expansion
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Pearl Harbor- site of the United States Navy’s
main Pacific base
In an attempt to eradicate the U.S. naval and
air presence in the Pacific, Tojo sent…
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6 aircraft carriers
360 airplanes
Battleships and cruisers
Submarines
In a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor
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On December 7, 1941
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Americans lost nearly 2,500 people and a
significant amount of damaged battleships
and aircraft
The U.S. battleship fleet was out of
commission for 6 months
 This allowed Japan to get necessary materials
from their newly conquered territories
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Despite heavy losses, the most important ships,
aircraft carriers, were out at sea at the time and
survived the attack untouched
Only 3 of the battleships left in Pearl Harbor
were unusable
Vice Admiral Nagumo proved too conservative
 Canceled a 3rd wave of bombers
 Refused to seek out aircraft carriers
 And turned back home when he feared a U.S. counter
strike
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As news of Pearl Harbor spread across the
nation Americans rallied together and
anticipated a monumental change
The attack ended any political divisions
between isolationists and interventionists
The U.S. declared war on Japan
 Japan, Italy, and Germany declared war on the
U.S.
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During the course of the war, more than 16
million Americans served in the military
Americans from all ethnic and racial
backgrounds joined the fight
Mexican and Native Americans served in
integrated units, African Americans did not
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Women’s Army Corps (WAC)- provided
clerical workers, truck drivers, instructors,
and lab technicians for the U.S. army
Women also joined the Army Nurse Corps
and cared for the wounded in Europe and
Japan
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Roosevelt knew that American production would
play a key role in an Allied victory
War Production Board- oversaw the conversion
from peacetime production to wartime
production
The massive defense spending finally ended the
Great Depression
 There was job for every worker
 This production gave the allies a crucial advantage

Stalin toasted, “To American production,
without which the war would have been lost.”
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General Douglas MacArthur-commander in
the Pacific-struggled to hold the U.S.
positions in the Philippines
A massive land attack forced the U.S. back
from Manila to Bataan
MacArthur retreated to Australia while other
Americans stayed behind
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The Allied soldiers held out until May 1942
when they surrendered
The Japanese troops forced the remaining
sick and malnourished POWs to march 55
miles to the Bataan Peninsula
More than 7,000 Americans and Filipinos died
on what became known as the Bataan Death
March
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Colonel James Doolittle led a bombing raid
against Tokyo as a way for the U.S. to
retaliate against Japan
 Minimal military gains, but bolstered American
morale
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Battle of Coral Sea- marked a shift in
momentum for the U.S.
 Forced Japan to call off attack in New Guinea