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Building the War Machine
• U.S. in a perfect condition for
amassing arms and supplies
• Massive European orders
ended the depression
• The War Production Board
converted factories to war
• America became the Arsenal of
• Farmers grew large amount of
• Gov’t rationed food to save
things like meat for soldiers
• Gov’t also took control of key
industries such as coal and RR’s
to prevent strikes
Manpower and Woman Power
• Draft called up 15 million men
• Women served in noncombat
positions in Army, Navy, and
Coast Guard
• Draft pulled men from farms, so
gov’t called in Mexican workers
through the Bracero Program
• Millions of women went into
factories, characterized by Rosie
the Riveter
• Many women wanted to keep
their jobs after the war
• Most were forced out after the
• After war, a new women’s
movement begins
Wartime Migrations
• WWII caused massive migrations into
large boom cities (LA, Detroit, Seattle)
• Blacks once again moved out of the
south and into these booming cities
• Philip A. Randolph threatened to
march on Washington to protest
inequality in the workplace
• FDR responded by creating the Fair
Employment Practices Commission to
monitor workplace treatment
• Blacks also were drafted into the
military, but usually served in menial
roles in segregated units
• The Tuskegee Airmen were an
exception (all-black pilot squadron)
• South’s need for cheap labor
disappeared w/ inventions of new
mechanical tools
• Many Native Americans
were drafted too
• Most famous group were
the Navajo Code Talkers
– Important code transmitters,
Japanese and Germans
couldn’t understand their
• All these migrations caused
race riots
• Most infamous were the
Zoot Suit Riots, in which
Mexican males were
The Home Front
• Most Americans in good
shape during the war
• Made lots of money
• After war, Americans go
on spending frenzy
• The war paved the way
even more for big gov’t
• Millions of people now
worked directly for gov’t
• Overall, WWII cost
around $330 Billion
The Asian Theater
• After Pearl Harbor, Japanese had taken
much of the Pacific
• General Douglas MacArthur’s forces
forced to surrender the Philippines
• US POW’s forced on the Bataan Death
• Major turning points in the Pacific were the
Battle of the Coral Sea which 1st stopped
the Japanese advance
• The Battle of Midway, US under command
of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz destroyed all
four Japanese aircraft carriers
• After Midway, Americans Island-hopped to
– Take over less-fortified islands and
build airports
• US eventually take Guadalcanal and
Philippines back
The European Theater
• After Britain’s cracking of German
Enigma Code, U-boat locations were
made known
• Gave the Allies upper hand in
fighting Germans
• Allies first invade N. Africa in
Operation Overlord
• Goal was to protect British oil
shipping through the Suez Canal
• 1942, British defeat Nazi general
Erwin Rommel (The Desert Fox)
• Operation Overlord gave USSR hope
and same year, they defeat Nazis in a
massive Battle of Stalingrad
• Allies next moved to Italy, offering
them unconditional surrender
• Rome was taken on June 4, 1944
• Next, FDR, Stalin, Churchill,
and China’s Jiang Jieshi meet
at Tehran
• At this meeting, Preparations
were made for a joint invasion
of Germany (Soviets from the
East, Br. And US. From West)
• D-Day, The Invasion of
• Allied forces win after brutal
fighting and land millions o
troops and supplies in France
• By October, 1944, Nazis in
Election of 1944
• Roosevelt runs with
vice candidate
Harry S. Truman
• And he wins the
End of Hitler
• Hitler’s last-ditch effort to save
the war was called the Battle of
the Bulge
• By 1945, US and Allied forces
had reached the Rhine River
• Allies began uncovering
concentration camps of the
• Meanwhile, Soviets invading
from the east
• On April 12, 1945, FDR dies and
Truman takes over
• Hitler commits suicide on April
30, 1945
• Germans surrender on May 7,
1945, called V-E Day or Victory
in Europe