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Chapter 25
Americans and a World in Crisis
• 1.) How did President Roosevelt’s Good
Neighbor Policy affect U.S.-Latin American
• 2.) How did the American people and their
govt. respond to the international crises of the
• 3.) How did President Roosevelt and Congress
mobilize the country for war?
Introduction (cont.)
• 4.) What impact did the war have on the U.S.
• 5.) How did the war change American society and
affect minorities and women?
• 6.) What were the different goals of the U.S.A., G.B.
and the U.S.S.R. and how did these goals affect their
combat strategies?
• 7.) Why did President Truman decide to drop atomic
bombs on Japan, and was he justified in doing so?
The United States in a Menacing
World, 1933-1939
• Introduction
– During FDR’s fist 2 terms, he improved relations with Latin
– Meanwhile, aggressive, militaristic fascist regimes came to
power in Italy, Germany, and Japan
– The U.S.A. reacted to these developments abroad
• Torn between dislike of fascism and even stronger desire for peace
Nationalism and the Good
• The Good Neighbor policy
– Agreed that no state has the right to intervene in the
affairs of another
• Applied in Latin America
– Withdrew forces from Haiti and Dominican Republic
– Ended the Platt Amendment
– Refrained from using force against left-wing govts. in Cuba
and Mexico
• FDR did apply economic pressure to influence events
• FDR’s restraint in using military force improved U.S.Latin American relations
The Rise of Aggressive States in
Europe and Asia
Benito Mussolini
Took control in 1922
The Rise of Aggressive States in
Europe and Asia (cont.)
Adolf Hitler
Became chancellor of
• Absolute dictatorship
• Preached racism,
aggressive nationalism,
and anti-Semitism
The Rise of Aggressive States in
Europe and Asia (cont.)
• Hitler (cont.)
– Persecuted the Jews
– Military buildup
– Conquest of other countries
• 1936--Rhineland
• 1938--Austria
• 1938--Sudetenland
– Munich Conference--appeasement by France and Great
Map of Europe up to 1938
The Rise of Aggressive States in
Europe and Asia (cont.)
• 1931--Japanese imperialists seized Manchuria
from China
• 1937--began a war of conquest to take over all
of China
The American Mood: No More
• Americans disliked these actions in Europe and Asia
but were determined not to be pulled into another
• U.S.A. participation in WWI as a mistake
• Nye Committee
– Reveled the roles played by bankers and weapons
suppliers in WWI
• In the 1930’s, novelists and playwrights condemned
The American Mood: No More
War (cont.)
• Neutrality Acts
– 1935
– Prohibited the U.S. from making loans or selling
arms to “belligerent nations”
– Banned Americans from traveling on the ships of
nations at war
– U.S. Dept. of State link
The Gathering Storm, 1938-1939
• Hitler seized the remainder of Czechoslovakia
• Threatened to attack Poland
• Signed the German-Soviet Non-Agrresion pact
– Ensured Russian neutrality during the planned
German invasion of Poland
• Mussolini took over Albania
The Gathering Storm, 1938-1939
• Many Americans grew alarmed and started to feel
that the U.S.A. should take a more active role
• FDR sent messages to Hitler and Mussolini asking
them to pledge not to invade any other nation
• They were responded with ridicule
• Roosevelt asked Congress to appropriate much more
$$$$ to build up U.S. defenses
America and the Jewish Refugees
• Throughout the 30’s, German persecution of the
Jews intensified
• 1935--Nuremberg Laws
– Stripped German Jews of citizenship and rights
• 1938--Kristallnacht
– A wave of Nazi violence against Jews
– Attacked their homes, synagogues, and businesses
America and the Jewish Refugees
• Tens of thousands of European Jews fled and seek
countries that would admit them
• Among the refugees were:
Distinguished musicians
• Many would enriched the cultural life of their
adopted nation
– Physicists Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi would play key roles
in developing the atomic bomb for the U.S.
America and the Jewish Refugees
• Congress would not amend discriminatory laws to
offer a haven to hundreds of thousands of additional
Jews needing a safe home
• FDR did not exert pressure on Congress to do so
• The majority of Americans opposed letting in more
– Isolationist
– Anti-immigrant
– Anti-Semitic attitudes
America and the Jewish Refugees
• 1939--the U.S. stopped a ship carrying Jewish
refugees and forced it to return to Europe
• There the countryless refugees were soon
murdered by the Nazis
Into the Storm, 1939-1941
• The European War
– Sept. 1, 1939
• WWII began
– Hitler attacked Poland
– GB and France declared war on Germany
• They were committed by a treaty to defend Poland
The European War (cont.)
• The U.S.A. revised the Neutrality Acts
• Now permitted was the sale of weapons to
“belligerents” on a cash-and-carry basis
• Many saw this as a way to help Britain and
France without having to fight
The European War (cont.)
• April 1940--German armies turned on
Denmark and Norway
• May 1940--they conquered Netherlands and
• mid-June 1940--they captured France
The European War (cont.)
The Battle of Britain
July 10 to Oct. 31, 1940
German bombing raids over cities in England
Prime Minister Winston Churchill appealed to FDR
for help
– The majority of Americans favored a stepped-up weapons
shipments to GB
– An articulate minority feared that such aid would weaken
U.S. defenses and needlessly pull the U.S.A. into war
From Isolation to Intervention
• In 1940, FDR decided to run for a 3rd term because
of the situation in Europe
• Republican opponent was Wendell Willkie
• During the campaign, Roosevelt continued his
interventionist position
– Signed an executive agreement with Churchill
• Gave Britain 50 overage U.S. destroyers in exchange for leases on
air and naval bases in British possession in the Western
From Isolation to Intervention
• America First Committee
– Organized by isolationists
– Preached that we must not give any aid to
“belligerents” or become involved in the struggle
against Hitler
• Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented
3rd term
From Isolation to Intervention
• Lend-Lease Act
– Passed Congress in March 1941
– Permitted the president to lend or lease military
equipment to any country whose defense he thought vital
to American security
• June 1941--Hitler attacked U.S.S.R.
• Roosevelt gave lend-lease aid to the Soviets and
From Isolation to Intervention
• Constant sinking by German U-boats sent most of
the supplies to the bottom of the Atlantic
• To prevent such losses, the U.S.A.:
– Began to convoy British ships as far as Iceland
– tracked German submarines
– Notifying the British of the location of Germany
From Isolation to Intervention
• By the fall of 1941, the U.S. and Germany were
engaged in an undeclared naval war
• Atlantic Charter
Summer of 1941
Meet off the coast of Newfoundland
Moved Roosevelt and Churchill closer to an alliance
A joint proclamation declaring that they were fighting the
Axis powers to “ensure life, liberty, independence and
religious freedom and to preserve the rights of man and
Pearl Harbor and the Coming of
• Japan expanded its aggression from China to
the resource-rich British, Dutch, and French
colonies in Southeast Asia
• Japan wanted to dominate all of Asia
• This clashed with the Open Door policy
• Roosevelt applied economic pressure on Japan
Pearl Harbor and the Coming of
War (cont.)
• By 1940, Washington prohibited the sale of aviation
gasoline to Japan
• Tokyo occupied northern Indochina and signed the
Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy=Roosevelt
placed an embargo on all items Japan needed
• July 1941--Japan seized the rest of Indochina=U.S.
froze Japanese assets in the U.S.=ended all trade
Pearl Harbor and the Coming of
War (cont.)
• Japan made a last-ditch effort to persuade
Washington to reopen trade and recognize Japan’s
• If that failed, Japan would attempt to destroy the
U.S. Pacific fleet with a surprise attack on Pearl
• Washington knew its refusal would provoke an attack
somewhere in the Pacific
• Roosevelt would not yield
• He sent warnings to all base commanders
Pearl Harbor and the Coming of
War (cont.)
• Dec. 7, 1941
– Japan struck Pearl Harbor
– History Channel video
• Dec. 8
– Congress recognized that a state of war existed with Japan
– Roosevelt speech
• Dec. 11
– Japan’s 2 allies (Germany and Italy) declared war on U.S.
and the U.S reciprocated
Pearl Harbor and the Coming of
War (cont.)
• In the months after Pearl Harbor, the United
States faced a bleak situation
– Nazi submarines prowled off the east coast and
took a heavy toll on Allied ships
– Hitler’s armies had pushed to the outskirts of
Leningrad and Moscow
– Germany was launching new offensives in the
Crimea, Caucasus, and North Africa
Pearl Harbor and the Coming of
War (cont.)
• Japan took over:
– Philippines, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, Guam,
Wake, Singapore, Dutch East Indies, and most of
the island chains in the Western Pacific
America Mobilizes for War
• Organizing for Victory
– To plan the military effort FDR created:
• the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of Strategic Services (would
later become the CIA)
– To mobilize the economy Roosevelt:
• Established hundreds of special wartime agencies
– War Production Board
» Allocated scarce materials, limited manufacture of civilian
goods, and awarded military production contracts
Organizing for Victory (cont.)
• The U.S. produced more armaments than Germany,
Italy, and Japan combined
• Govt. contracts guaranteed handsome profits to the
giant corporations that received most of the defense
• Federal authority and the federal budget grew
• The influence of the military and big corporation on
American life grew also
The War Economy
• Between 1941 and 1945, the U.S. govt. spent nearly
twice as much as it did from 1789 to 1940
• Fueled by this expenditure, the economy boomed
• During the war:
– Purchasing power of industrial workers went up 50%
– Corporate profits climbed by 70%
– Unemployment vanished as 17 million new jobs were
The War Economy (cont.)
• Many of the poor moved into the middle class
• Most labor leaders gave no-strike pledges
– John L. Lewis led his miners on repeated work stoppages
– An increasingly conservative Congress retaliated with the
antilabor Smith-Connally Act
• Office of Price Administration imposed price controls
and rationing
– Done to curb inflation
– As a result, the cost of living only rose by 8% during the
last 2 years of the war
The War Economy (cont.)
• The govt. raised the huge sums needed to
fight the war with:
– the sale of bonds
• Provided half the money
– Steeply increased federal taxes
• Provided the rest of the $$$
“A Wizard War”
• The govt. also employed thousands of scientists
• Manhattan Project
– A secret project
– Designed to beat the Germans in the race to develop
nuclear weapons
– Led by physicist Robert Oppenheimer
– Spent about $2 billion
– July 16, 1945--tested the first nuclear bomb
Propaganda and Politics
• Office of War Information and the Office of Censorship
• Jobs were to unify Americans and prevent dangerous
security leaks
Propaganda and Politics (cont.)
• Full employment and prosperity led to a politically
conservative trend
• In 1942--more Republicans and conservative
Democrats were elected to Congress
– Cut welfare programs
– Abolished New Deal agencies
– Halted any further reforms
• The role of the federal govt. in people’s lives grew
– Supervised the economy
– Funded research
– Molded public opinion
The Battlefront, 1942-1944
• Liberating Europe
– The British and Americans concentrated on beating Hitler
first, then Japan
– Stalin pressed his 2 allies to launch an invasion of Europe
as quickly as possible
– Churchill convinced Roosevelt that they should land in
North Africa first
• By May 1943--they had defeated German and Italian armies
– Soviets turned the tide of the war in the east
• Won at Stalingrad
• Held out at Leningrad
• Attacked the German invaders along a thousand-mile front
Liberating Europe (cont.)
• The British and Americans then captured Sicily
and started a slow march up the Italian
• Mussolini was deposed in July 1943
– The new Italian govt. surrendered
• Allies encountered stiff opposition from
Germany troops
Liberating Europe (cont.)
• 1944-1945--the Soviets cleared the Germans out of
the U.S.S.R.
• The Soviets continued to pursue them across eastern
• June 1944--British and Americans landed on the
beaches of Normandy
• Battle of the Bulge
– Dec. 1944-Jan. 1945
– Nazis temporarily stopped the Allied drive
• By early 1945, the Americans and British reached the
War in the Pacific
• The Japanese advances in the Pacific were first
halted in the spring and summer of 1942
– Battle of Coral Sea and Battle of Midway
• U.S.A. Navy and Army assaulted Japanese
strongholds in:
Solomon Islands
Gilbert Islands
Marshall Island
Mariana Island
War in the Pacific (cont.)
• The U.S. Navy largely destroyed what was left
of the Japanese fleet at the Battles of the
Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf
The Grand Alliance
• Great Britain, Soviet Union, and the U.S.A.
• Created out of military necessity
• All 3 had different goals for the postwar period
– Roosevelt wanted to:
defeat fascism
Establish a new world order strong enough to keep the peace
Open trade
Protect national self-determination
The Grand Alliance (cont.)
• Churchill hoped to:
– Keep the British colonial empire
– Maintain a balance of power in Europe against the
• Stalin hoped to:
– Weaken Germany permanently
– To protect his country against any future attack
from the west
• Impose Soviet domination over eastern Europe
The Grand Alliance (cont.)
• FDR attempted to reconcile these differences with
personal diplomacy
• He held top-level wartime conferences with the
Allied leaders at:
– Casablanca
– Cairo
– Tehran
• The first meeting between the Allied leaders concerned the details
of the Normandy invasion and other military and political
problems were discussed
The Grand Alliance (cont.)
• Roosevelt was reelected
to a 4th term in 1944
– Harry S Truman was his VP
• Republicans nominated
Thomas E. Dewey
• FDR won by the smallest
margin of his career
War and American Society
• Introduction
– About 15 million Americans served in the armed
– Another 15 million moved from one place to
– More women than ever before entered the paid
labor force
The GI’s War
• GIs saw death and brutality all around them
• Some troops in all of the armies committed
• Some suffered lasting psychological damage
• Others became hardened and cynical
The GI’s War (cont.)
• For many their war service opened new vistas
• They experienced foreign cities and countries
• Learned to be more tolerant of other Americans
– Different religions, classes, ethnicity, regions, etc.
• About 1 million of them married women they met
The Home Front
• 15 million Americans moved from one location to
another for family and economic reasons
• People left rural areas to seek jobs in war-production
– Terrible shortages of housing and other facilities
– Urban blight and many social problems
• The West grew in population
The Home Front (cont.)
• High school enrollment dropped
– More teenagers took full-time jobs
• The armed forces sent nearly a million people to
college campuses for special training
• Americans went to the movies to watch films that
entertained them
• The public received war news from periodicals and
the radio
The Home Front (cont.)
• Millions of women
went to work in
defense plants
– High wages
– Patriotism
– Govt. encouragement
The Home Front (cont.)
• By 1945--women constituted over 1/3 of the labor
• Took on formerly male-dominated work:
Operating cranes
Running lathes
• They only earned about 65% of what men received
for the the jobs
The Home Front (cont.)
• More than 1/3 of the women had children under 14
• There were few day-care centers
– Children were often left on their own
– Juvenile delinquency increased alarmingly
• Marriage, birth, and divorce rates soared
• About 300,000 women joined the armed forces
The Home Front (cont.)
• After 1945, most women left their wartime
• Women gained a new sense of their own
Racism and New Opportunities
• During WWII, African-Americans demanded that the
nation fight racism at home as well as abroad
• NAACP and CORE led the struggle for civil rights
• 1941--A. Philip Randolph planned a massive march
on Washington
– FDR signed an executive order prohibiting racial
discrimination in hiring and promotion by govt. agencies
and defense contractors
Racism and New Opportunities
• The Fair Employment Practices Commission
– Created by FDR
– Actually had very little power
• Wartime labor shortages opened many new jobs for
• About 1 million African-Americans served in the
armed forces
– Generally in segregated units commanded by white
Racism and New Opportunities
• In civilian life, tensions developed between AfricanAmericans demanding equality and resistant whites
– Race riots erupted in dozens of cities
• More than 700,000 African-Americans left the South
to settle in cities of the North and West
– The move opened up greater opportunities and potential
political power
War and Diversity
• 25,000 Native Americans served in the armed forces
• Another 50,000 left reservations to work in defense
– Many returned to the reservations after the war
• Conditions on reservations had deteriorated badly
because Congress had slashed appropriations for
Indian programs
War and Diversity (cont.)
• Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans entered
the United States during WWII
– Some legally, some illegally
• Worked on the big farms in the western states
• Mexican-Americans left migratory farm labor
to seek better jobs in cities
War and Diversity (cont.)
Zoot-suit riots
During WWII
Between sailors and
soldiers and Hispanic
War and Diversity (cont.)
• About 350,000 Mexican-Americans served in
the armed forces
• Emerged from the War with a heightened
consciousness and demands for equality
The Interment of JapaneseAmericans
• The govt.’s treatment of Japanese-Americans during
WWII was one of the worst violations of civil liberties
in U.S. history
• The govt. uprooted 112,000 Japanese-Americans
living on the West Coast and placed them in
internment camps in remote interior regions
– Atmosphere of hysteria over Pearl Harbor
– Fear of Japanese invasion of the mainland
– Traditional prejudice against Asian-Americans
The Interment of JapaneseAmericans (cont.)
• Korematsu v. United States
– 1944
– Supreme Court case
– Upheld the constitutionality of evacuation
– Korematsu decision
The Interment of JapaneseAmericans (cont.)
• In the 1980’s, the govt. finally admitted that
its actions had been unjustified
• The govt. apologized to Japanese-Americans
• The govt. agreed to pay compensation to
them for property losses they suffered when
they were detained
Triumph and Tragedy, 1945
• The Yalta Conference
– Feb. 1945
– The Big Three all meet
– Roosevelt and Churchill had to make concessions
to Stalin
• Stalin promised to declare war on Japan shortly after
Germany’s surrender
• Western leaders agreed to the Soviets regaining the
territory Japan had taken from them in 1905
The Yalta Conference (cont.)
• Roosevelt and Churchill settled for Stalin’s vague
promise to allow free election in Eastern Europe
– He never allowed them
• Stalin agreed to the formation of the United Nations
in April 1945
• History Channel video--Yalta Conference
Victory in Europe
• April 1945--American and Soviet troops met at the
Elbe River
– History Channel audio--Elbe River report
• April 12--FDR died
– History Channel speech--Truman on FDR's death
• April 30--Hitler committed suicide
• May 2--Berlin fell to the Soviet
• May 8--Germany unconditionally surrendered
– V-E Day
Victory in Europe (cont.)
• Harry S Truman
became the new
• Truman distrusted the
• He accused them of
breaking their Yalta
promise to allow free
elections in Eastern
Victory in Europe (cont.)
• Stalin responded angrily and tightened his hold on
eastern Europe
• April to June 1945--San Francisco conference
– Framed the United Nations Charter
– History Channel speech--United Nations formed
– High tensions between Big Three
• July 1945--meeting at Potsdam
– The Big Three agreed on very little at the meeting
The Holocaust
Nazi genocide of Jews during WWII
Extermination camps
Mass murders and torture
Roosevelt administration was more concerned with
winning the War as quickly as possible rather than
destroying the camps
• Very little attempts to rescue European Jews
• Congress and the public did not want to admit large
#s of Jewish refugees to the U.S.A.
The Holocaust (cont.)
• By 1945--Nazis murdered:
– 6 million Jews
– About 3 million gypsies, communists,
homosexuals, etc.
• Allies liberated the death camps in the last
months of the War
– Took pictures of the horror they saw
The Atomic Bomb
• The fighting in the Pacific continued in 1945
– U.S. captured Iwo Jima and Okinawa
– U.S. suffered heavy causalities at both battles
The Atomic Bomb (cont.)
• July 1945--U.S. successfully tested an atomic bomb
• History Channel video--atomic bomb tested
• Truman issued the Potsdam Declaration
– Called on Japan to surrender unconditionally or face
“prompt and utter destruction”
• Japan rejected the warning
• Truman ordered the use of nuclear bombs
The Atomic Bomb (cont.)
• Aug. 6--Hiroshima
– History Channel video--Hiroshima
• Aug. 9--Nagasaki
• Japan then surrendered
• Many historians have debated if the U.S.A.
needed to use the atomic bombs
• Was it justified?
• Motives?
The Atomic Bomb (cont.)
• Fifty million people died in WWII
– More than 1/2 were civilians
Soviet Union lost 20 million
About 400,000 U.S. servicemen died
Much of Europe and Asia was ruined
U.S. was physically undamaged
There were profound changes had occurred in
American life
• The U.S. used isolationism in the the 1930’s as
a response to the aggressions of Germany,
Italy, and Japan
• After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Congress
voted for war on Japan
• Hitler and Mussolini then declared war on the
Conclusion (cont.)
• Once in the War, the country engaged in total war
• The powers of the federal govt. (especially the
president) expanded mightily to mobilize the
American economy fully
• U.S. became more productive and prosperous than
ever before
• The Depression ended
• Fully employment returned
• The majority of people earned good $$$$
Conclusion (cont.)
• Allied armies defeated the enemy
• Americans’ faith in “capitalism and democratic
institutions” rebounded
• Confidence and optimism about our future
and national strength grew
• America then locked horns with its former ally
the Soviet Union in a Cold War