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Prelude to War (1933-1937)
• German leader Adolf Hitler believed that only
the “Aryans” were capable of building a great
civilization
• Hitler wanted revisions on the Versailles treaty
to achieve Germany’s rightful place among the
European states
• Hitler broke the rules of the treaty which did
not please the French or British
The Path to War in Europe,
1938-1941
• Austria is taken over by the Nazis
• Blitzkrieg (lightning war) proved to be efficient
for Germans
• France and Britain declare war on September
3, 1939
• The problem of Britain
• Invasion of the Soviet union
The U.S. Position on War
• Franklin Roosevelt’s position on international
affairs
• The U.S. watched from the sidelines German
and Japanese aggression
• The Good Neighbor Policy
• Most Americans condemned German
aggression and favored Britain and France, but
isolationism remained powerful
• Lend-Lease Act (1941)
• Attack at Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941)
The U.S. Enters the War
• More than 16 million men and women served
in uniform during the war
• Women were barred from combat duty but
worked at every non combatant task
• Conversion to a war economy
• The war effort mobilized Americans as never
before
Women’s Role During the War
• The tapping of millions of men into the armed
forces left factories begging for women
workers
• The title of the song “Rosie the Riveter” was a
catch phrase that represented all women war
workers
• During WWII, more than 6 million women
joined the workforce
• Women Air Force Service Pilots
• The WASP Program
• By the end of the war, women working outside
the home numbered 18 million
• Contributing to the war effort also paid off in
wages to women
• The war influenced how families spent their
earnings
Coast Guard SPARs (United States Coast Guard Women's
Reserve) recruiting pamphlet
The American Magazine of 1945 shows that
women can be soldiers and feminine
Women were initially barred from supervisory positions, jobs requiring physical strength,
or work in conditions "improper for women." But as the first recruits proved their worth,
the Army tried to enlist as many as 1.5 million women. These ambitious recruiting goals
were never met despite an intensive public education program to prove to a skeptical
public that servicewomen were pretty, feminine, capable, and absolutely necessary to
help the men and the nation win the war.
Members of the Nurse Corps served in the United
States and throughout the world wherever American
soldiers were
"Your Country Needs You: Women Wanted for the
Essential Civilian Industries," published by the Women’s
Bureau of the Department of Labor 1943
Women on the
assembly lines
produced aircraft,
engines, tanks, and
trucks