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AP US History Chapter 39
World War II
Roosevelt, Truman
Public and Government Response
Public. Americans wanted to beat up Japan. They weren’t thinking about the situation in Europe
or the future of democracies. American Pacific commanders, Australians and the Chinese wanted
to focus on Japan (closer to Japan, everyone cares for themselves).
Government. The government, as usual, knows better than the common citizen. The US made the
ABC-1 agreement with the British, agreeing to, “Get Hitler first” before he could gobble up
Britain and the Soviet Union and become unstoppable. Meanwhile, just enough resources would
be deployed to the Pacific to put Japan on hold. Luckily, Roosevelt was a competent strategist who
understood the importance of this plan.
What America Needed to Do
The United States had the most potential military power on earth. But it was close to losing
the war before fully making use of its power. America had to adjust its industries for all-out war, a
process partially started when providing supplies to Britain. America had to prepare for the skilled
German scientists to come up with a super weapon or an atomic bomb. America had to feed,
clothe, and arm itself, then transport everything across the world. It also had to supply its far-away
US Unity
National unity was not a problem after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Loyal Americans you might not expect to be loyal. American Communists rooted for Hitler
until he attacked Joseph Stalin. Hitler supporters disappeared after the Pearl Harbor attacks.
Millions of Italian-Americans and German-Americans supported the US.
Immigrants. World War I saw the questioning of the loyalty of many immigrants. World War II
was different. Because of the immigration quotas, many of the foreigners in the US had lived in
the US for a long time or were US-born. Foreign votes were important to the Democratic Party.
There was almost no government witch-hunting as there was in WWI.
Japanese internment camps. The US government feared that Japan would invade from the west,
and Japanese-Americans would aid the invaders. This fear, mixed with long history of
anti-Japanese prejudice on the west coast and anger from the attacks on Pearl Harbor, led to the
internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans, 2/3 of who were American-born US citizens. Many
Japanese-Americans fought bravely in WWII. Japanese-Americans were robbed of their basic
rights and hundreds of millions of dollars in property and savings. The Supreme Court upheld the
internment camps in Korematsu v. U.S. in 1944. In 1988, the US officially apologized and
approved payments of $20,000 to each internment camp survivor.
End of the New Deal
A conservative Congress was elected in the 1942 mid-term election, and Congress
therefore wiped out many New Deal programs, such as the CCC, Works Progress Administration,
and the National Youth Administration. The New Deal was over.
The US focused on action rather than propaganda during WWII, unlike WWI. It didn’t
advertise the Atlantic Charter. In 1942, a poll revealed 9/10 Americans couldn’t site even 1 out of
the 6 points of the charter. A majority of Americans in 1942, and almost a majority in 1944 didn’t
even know what the war was about. However, they knew they needed to fight and they did so
efficiently. This makes understandable how so many Germans could support Hitler. Americans
would have too.
Makers of America: The Japanese
Japan changes. From the 1600s to 1853, Japan imposed isolation on itself. In 1853, American
Matthew Perry went to Japan’s Uraga Bay and demanded that they open commercial and
diplomatic relations with the US. Japan, for some reason, listened, ended isolation, overthrew its
last shogun, and restored an emperor. Within 20 years, the new Meiji government launched toward
industrialization and militarization in hopes of becoming like the Western nations.
Leaving Japan. Japan needed to pay for its reforms, so it made a huge land tax that took land
away from 300,000 Japanese farmers. In response, Japan allowed Hawaiian planters to recruit
these displaced farmers in 1884. Then, by 1890s, many Japanese were taking the extra distance to
land on the US mainland.
Entering the US. Between 1885 and 1924, about 200,000 Japanese migrated to Hawaii, and about
180,000 migrated to the US mainland. Japan regulated which people were allowed to leave,
because it saw these migrants as representatives and Japan and wanted them to make a good
impression. Japan chose to send rich people, and so the immigrants were richer than European
immigrants. Also, because of Japan’s mandatory education program, most Japanese immigrants
were more educated than European immigrants.
Men and women. Japanese allowed women to migrate too, fearing there wouldn’t be anyone for
the men to marry, like the Chinese immigrants to the US. Most Japanese immigrants to the US
were men in their 20s or 30s. Thousands of women became “picture brides”—all they did was
trade pictures with a prospective husband before getting married.
Work. Japanese left Japan because of the land tax, expected to make money in the US where
wages were higher than Japan, and return to Japan to continue their life. In Hawaii, most Japanese
worked on sugarcane farms. On the mainland, many initially worked on railroads or in fish, fruit,
or vegetable industries. Later, they owned restaurants, stores, and boardinghouses.
Farmers. Japanese, with experience in farming, became farmers, mostly on the Pacific Coast.
They came just in time, when irrigation made fruits and vegetables practical crops in the west, and
the invention of the refrigerated railcar made customers in the east possible. As early as 1910,
Japanese farmers produced 70% of California’s strawberries, and by 1940 they grew 95% of
California’s snap beans and more than half of its tomatoes. A Japanese farmer known as the Potato
King had his children go to Harvard and Stanford and had a value of $15 million before his death
in 1926.
Discrimination. People in the west didn’t like the Japanese, who faced racism and social
segregation as a result. White workers and farmers were jealous and pushed for immigration
restrictions. In 1908, Roosevelt gave the task to the Japanese through the “Gentleman’s
Agreement,” in which the Japanese promised to limit emigration, rather than the US having to
limit immigration. In 1913, the California legislature denied Japanese already living In the US the
right to own land.
Generations. The first generation Japanese immigrants (called the “Issei,” meaning “first”)
encourage their children (called the “Nissei,” meaning “second) to do well in school and go to
college. This helped the Nissei excel after WWII.
Weapons. The war gave everybody something to do. Over $100 billion in military orders were
made in 1942 alone. The War Pruduction Board was in charge of weapon manufacturing. One
shipbuilder, Henry J. Kaiser was known for his quick ship building (one was producted
completely in 14 days).
Restrictions. Manufacture of nonessential items like cars were restricted. A Japanese attack
stopped US shipment of rubber, so a national speed limit, gasoline restrictions, and 51 rubber
plants were made (tires use rubber). There was far more rubber production after the war than
Farmers. Food was needed, but people were needed too. Many farmers were called to military
service. But the tractor invention and improved fertilizers finally came to use by producing enough
needed food. The years 1944 and 1945 saw record wheat harvests.
Problems. The war made the US economy do a complete 180-degree turn. The depression saw not
enough things to do and too many goods; the war period saw too much to do and not enough
goods. This brought a shart inflationary surge in 1942. The Office of Price Administration
eventually brought price regulation that stabilized things. Critical goods like meat and butter were
rationed. The War Labor Board (WLB) imposed a ceiling on wage increases.
Unions. Labor memborship grew from 10 million to 13 million during the war. In order to give
the government less trouble and to support the war, most major unions made no-strike pledges.
Regardless, some labor walkouts hurt the war effort. For example, the United Mine Workers were
called off the job a couple times by John L. Lewis (remember: labor leader, see last chapter).
Strikes. Congress was so worried of lost production from strikes that in June 1943 it made the
Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act, which authorized the federal government to seize and operate
essential businesses that experienced labor unrests, made strikes against government-operated
industries illegal, and had the federal government take over the coal mines and (briefly) the
However, work stoppages were rare, even rarer than Britain's (and Britain was in more
trouble). Most Americans were committed to the war effort.
Nearly 15 million men were enlisted in the armed forces during WWII. The draft was increased
after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Certain industrial and agricultural workers were exempt from the
draft, in order to keep the industries working.
Imported Mexicans. Farms and factories were drained of workers anyway. In 1942, Mexico
agreed to send thousands of agricultural workers, called braceros to the US to harvest fruit and
grain of the West. They continued to be part of western agriculture even after the war.
Women. Approximately 216,000 women were employed for non-combat duties in the military.
The best known were the WAACS (army), WAVES (navy), and SPARS (Coast Guard). Over 6
million women got jobs, half of which didn't have jobs before. Many were mothers, so the
government set up 3,000 day-care centers. Even after the war, many women continued working.
Therefore, the war permanently contributed to the role of women in society.
Reality on Women. The number 216,000 was not too big, and an easy majority of women did not
work. Way more women in England and the Soveit Union were put to work than in the US. A
majority of American women in 1943 wouldn't take a job if offered. Women gave birth to the
"baby boomers" of 1945-1960. A revolution in women's role occured early in the postwar period,
and not as much during the war.
Regions. People were shuffled into different areas. Many were exported to fight in the war, and
many chose to re-enlist. Industries sucked people into cities like Los Angeles, Detriot, Seattle, and
Batton Rouge. California's population grew by nearly 2 million.
The South had economic problems in 1938. The war gave Roosevelt the opportunity to
help it out. The old Confederate states received a disproportionate share of defense contracts,
including $6 million of federally financed industrial facilities. This was the beginning of the
powertwar boom of the "Sunbelt."
Black rights. About 1.6 million blacks left farms and worked on war plants. Racism and
segregation became a natioan, rather than solely Southern issue. Black leader, A. Philip
Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, threated a massive "Negro March on
Washington" in 1941 to demand equal opportunities for blacks in the war jobs and armed forces.
Roosevelt responded. He issued an executive order forbidding discrimination in the
defense industries. He established the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) that
monitor compliances with this order. Blacks were drafted, but mostly served non-combat positions
and were degraded. Black and white blood banks were separated. Black and white squadrons were
separated. Blacks rallied behind the slogan "Double V", for two victories, one for the war and one
against racism.
Membership in the NAACP shot up to almost 500,000, and the militant organization
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded in 1942.
Black migration. Why did blacks migrate away from the South? The invention of the mechanical
cotton picker, almost as important as the cotton gin in value, was introduced in 1944 and could do
the work of 50 people at 1/8 of the cost. The Southern need for cheap labor almost disappeared.
About 5 million blacks therefore left 1945-1975. This migration is so great, it can be compared t o
the Ireland, Italy, and Poland migrations.
Native Americans. Thousands of Indians left reservations and went to cities to work for the war
industries. More than 90% in 1940 lived on reservations; almost 50% in 1980 lived in the cities.
There were large concentrations in southern California, interestingly enough.
About 25,000 Indians served in the armed forces. European Comanches and Pacific
Navajos served as "code-talkers", who communicated to each other since the Germans and
Japanese couldn't understand their languages.
Racism. With so many people of different races migrating and converging and meeting each
other, there was bound to be racial clashes. This was the era of the "zoot-suit riots," in which
whites would ride the streets of Los Angeles in taxis looking for Mexican victims dressed in
"zoot-suits". The Mexican government asked that the US stop this, and order was restored. About
the same time, a brutal race riot erupted in Detriot, leaving 34 dead.
Domestic Condition
Prosperity. While the war ruined Europe, it made America very prosperous and took it out of the
depression. The gross national product (GNP) went from under $100 billion in 1940 to over $200
billion in 1945. Corporate profits went from $6 billion in 1940 to almost $12 billion in 1944.
Regardless of wage ceilings, overtime pay helped a lot. Disposable personal income, even after tax
deductions, more than doubled. On Dec. 7, 1944 (3-year anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbor),
Macy's recorded its biggest sale. When price controls were lifted in 1946, prices went up 33% in
under 2 years (more people buying, more demand, higher prices).
Government interventionism. If you thought the New Deal had the government interfere with
private affairs too much, the war did much more than ever. The war set the table for
big-government interventionism after the war. Every house was effected by the rationing system.
Many worked for the government through the armed forces or defense industries. Needs were
cared for by government housing projects, day-care centers, and health plans. The Office of
Scientific Research and Development gave lots of money to universities for research, establishing
a government-university partnership that continued after the war.
Wonders of war. War, rather than New Deal reform, got rid of the depression. Many feared that
the government would want war to to keep the economy healthy.
Costs of war. For America, WWII cost $330 billion, 10 times the cost of WWI, and believe it or
not, twice the spending of all the money the federal government had spent since the creation of the
US! Roosevelt didn't want to borrow lots of money, but he had no choice. The income tax was
made to tax more people, somtimes reaching 90%! Regardless, only about 40% of war costs were
paid up front, with the rest being borrowed. The national debt went from $49 billion in 1941 to
$259 billion in 1945! When the war was on a roll, it cost $10 million an hour! I use lots of
exclamation points because this info is all amazing!
Pacific Front
Initial assaults. Japan realized it needed to win quickly or lose slowly. So it attacked quickly and
conquered a lot. This was the fastest conquest with little loss. After the attack on Pearl Harbor,
Japan attacked US possessions in the far East. It seized British Hong Kong and British Malaya, the
latter being extremely important for rubber and tin imports to the US.
Further advances. The US provided Chinese Generalissimo Jian Jieshi (Chian Kai-shek)
munitions in order to resist the Japanese invader. The route through which the munitions were
supplied were west of China, through Burma. But Japan invaded Burma when the war started and
cut the famous Burma road. The US found an alternative over the Himalayas from India.
Japan took the oil-rich Dutch East Indies after an outnumbered combined British,
Australian, Dutch, and American naval force lost to Japan.
Philippines. Operations in the Philippines helped slow down Japan for 5 months. General
Douglas MacArthur retreated on the Philippines to the Bataan Peninsula. About 20,000
American troops, supported by a much larger force of ill-trained Filipinos, help of violent
Japanese attacks until April 9, 1942. They ate mules and monkeys while holding off against
hopeless odds. MacArthur was sent to Australia, and infamously said, "I'll be back." His force
eventually surrendered and was forced to walk the 85-mile Bataan death march under terrible
cruelty. The last American post at Corregidor, in Manila Harbor, fell on May 6, 1942, leaving
Japan with complete control of the Philippines.
South. Japan invaded the island of New Guinea and then took the Solomon Islands north of
Australia. This meant that they could launch an attack on Australia. How did the allies stop them?
This was the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. Americans, with Australian help, crushed the
Japan in this battle in the sea north of Australia. This was the first battle to do all the fighting with
carrier-based aircraft. No two enemy carriers even saw each other.
Midway. Japan next went for Midway Island, in the middle of the Pacific. If Japan got this island,
it could have used it as a base to launch attacks on Pearl Harbor, which would have been so
devastating, the US might have had to negotiate a ceasefire with Japan. Luckily, that didn't
happen, and the US won at the Battle of Midway on June 3-6, 1942. Great naval strategist Admiral
Chester W. Nimitz was in charge of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance and his outnumbered but
skilled carrier force. All fighting in this battle, like the Coral Sea, was done in the air. Japan lost 4
important carriers and left.
Alaska. Success at Midway and the Coral Sea turned the tide in favor the US, but Japan still
advanced in other places. Japan took the islands of Kiska and Attu off Alaska, which threatened an
invasion from the northwest. The US shifted many defenses to Alaska and constructed the famous
"Alcan" highway from the US to Alaska, through Canada.
Japanese flaws. If only Japan held on to the land it gained, and wasn't too excited about
conquering everything, it might have been harder to beat.
American Advance
After its victory at Midway, America was the one advancing.
Guadalcanal. America needed to clear its path to Australia. But Japanese were north of Australia.
So Americans launched an attack on Guadalcanal Island (northeast of Australia), part of the
Solomon Islands, in attempt to dislodge the Japanese. Initially, the Japanese struck hard at the US,
shortening its supplies. The US barely held on to Guadalcanal for weeks. Japan finally left in
February 1943. Japan lost 20,000 men while the US lost 1,700, a ratio of over 10 to 1 that
accurately reflects the entire war against Japan.
New Guinea. So the Japanese kicked the Americans out of the Philippines. The Japanese also
took over much of the land north of Australia. While the US was fighting over Guadalcanal
(northeast of Australia, in the path between Australia and the US, not between Japan and
Australia), General MacArthur was holdingon to the southern tip of New Guinea (north of
Australia), the US barrier between Japan and the Australian mainland. The US wanted to get the
rest of New Guinea, rather than just holding on to the southern tip. By severely damaging Japanese
supply ships and troop carriers, the US did just this. By August 1944, MacArthur made his way
west through the hellish jungles of New Guinea. This was the first step toward the US reaching the
Philippines (remember: where it had been kicked out of before after being forced to eat mules and
Method. Traditionally, the US is supposed to clear areas and islands before moving on to the next
one. However, this would have taken forever. As an alternative, US forces would generally clear
an area, pass some Japanese forts (even some heavily fortified ones), and bomb the hell out of
these forts. Eventually (after much conquest ahead of the forts), the bypassed Japanese would no
longer have supplies to continue fighting or surviving and would wither away.
Island hopping. The US marines and navy worked together under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz^
to islandhop. In May and August 1943, the US easily retook Attu^ and Kiska^ west of Alaska. In
November 1943, the US took Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands (after much Japanese
kamikaze). In January and February of 1944, the US took key parts of the Marshal Islands (after
savage fighting).
The Marianas. The US now looked to conquer the Mariana Islands (one of which is Guam). Why
were these islands important? If conquered, the US could launch attacks on the Japanese mainland
(with new B-29 bombers) from the Mariana Islands! So the US attacked them on June 19, 1944 in
what US pilots call the "Great Marianaas Turkey Shoot". Why such a name? The US had new
technology, such as the "Hellcat" fighter plane and the aircraft proximity fuse that allowed it to
destroy 250 planes in this attack. The next day, June 20, the US engage Japan in the Battle of the
Philippine Sea, during which Japan lost several carriers. Japan couldn't replace its planes, pilots,
and ships fast enough.
The US took its key parts of the Mariana Islands in July and August 1944, after Japanese
soldiers and civilians jumped off "Suicide Cliff" in mass suicide in Saipan. The Mariana Islands
kept their promise of allowing access to the Japanese mainland, and the US began round-the-clock
bombing of Japan in November 1944.
European Front
Atlantic. Hitler entered the war with many U-boats that hunted in packs in the North Atlantic,
Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. In one 10-month period in 1942, over 500 US merchant ships
were lost (111 in June), and construction couldn't keep up with loss. Blackouts were called, in
which cities would require that people turn off their lights so that passing allied ships could hug
the coast without creating a silhouette against the land. However, not all blackouts were obeyed.
Detection techniques like radar and other techniques like air support turned the tide in
favor of the US. The US started bombing submarine bases.
The US got the advantage over the U-boats in the spring of 1943. If this hadn't happened,
Britain would have been doomed and a second front in Northern Africa couldn't have been
opened. The US narrowly got this advantage, since Hitler would have started mass-producing
submarines that could remain underwater permanently and cruise underwater at 17 knots if the war
were to end a little later than it did.
Cologne. In May 1942, Britain threw 1000 planes at Cologne, Germany. In August 1942, America
joined them in bombing the hell out of German cities. This was the turning point of land-air
warfare against Germany.
El Alamein. Germans under Marshal Erwin Rommel (the "Desert Fox") went along North Africa
into Egypt, close to the vital Suez Canal. An attack on the canal would have been a disaster for the
allies. Late in October 1942, British troops under General Bernard Montgomery west of Cairo
pushed Rommel back to Tunisia (1000 miles away) using last-minute provided US Sherman tanks
in the Battle of El Alamein.
Soviet comeback. The Germans were crushing the Soviets until September 1942, when Stalingrad
turned the tide. The cold winter that had defeated Napoleon now defeated Hitler. After November
1942, the Germans made no serious advances against the Soviets. In a single year, Stalin retook
2/3 of the land Hitler had conquered.
North African Second Front
Soviet need. The Soviets desperately wanted the British and Americans to open a second front.
By 1942, thousands of British and Americans had died, but millions of Soviets died (20 million by
the end of the war). The USSR was devastated and anxious for its allies to divert German
resources to the west.
British and American need. The British and Americans wanted a second front too. They feared
Stalin might sign a treaty with Hitler (like WWI), leaving Britain and America to face him alone.
Also, if Stalin did most of the work defeating Hitler, he would have much more say and power
after the war.
Decision. Britain didn't want to risk complete disaster with an invasion north of France (like in
WWI). It wanted to gain strength for such an attack, especially since shipping and other resources
weren't adequate yet. A compromise second front was one in the Mediterranean, against
French-held North Africa (Germany and Italy took this part over, and some French helped Hitler).
Analysis. This compromise second front would be less risky than an invasion France, would
prepare for such an invasion, would partially help Stalin by diverting German resources, and
would free the Mediterranean from the Germans and Italians, allowing resources to cross the Suez
Canal and eventually reach India and other parts of Asia.
Attack. A highly secret Allied attack on North Africa took place in November 1942. The head of
the operation was General Dwight D. Eisenhower. About 400,000 British, Canadians, French,
and mostly Americans were ultimately involved, and with 850 ships, this was the biggest
waterborne effort up to then (the attack on Normandy beat it).
Outcome. The beginning of the operation was highly successful (French put up little resistance).
The Germans hurt the American force at Kasserine Pass before remaining German-Italian troops
were cornered at Tunisia. These 226,000 remnant surviving soldiers surrendered in May 1943.
Analysis. The successful take over of North Africa was important, but didn't mean the end of the
war. It wasn't the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning. American and British forces
learned lessons from this operation, making them better prepared for an invasion of France.
Casablanca Conference. Roosevelt courageously flew across the Atlantic to meet with British
Prime Minister Winston Churchill in January 1943 at Casablanca in the French Morocco recently
conquered by the Allies west of Gibraltar along the Pacific Ocean rather than the Mediterranean
(nice sentence). Churchill and Roosevelt, known as the Big Two, decided to 1.) step up the fight
against Japan, 2.) invade Sicily and increase pressure on Italy, and 3.) adopt an "unconditional
surrender" policy on the enemy (first adopted by Grant in the Civil War). Remember how the Big
Two feared the Soviets would ally Hiter? Well Stalin feared that the Big Two would ally Hitler
too. But after this "unconditional surrender" policy was adopted, the Stalin no longer had to worry
about this.
Criticism. The "unconditional surrender" policy was one of the most controversial moves of the
war. People thought that (somehow), it would make the enemy fight until the last man, and would
discourage a revolt in Germany. This was kinda true (somehow), but the extent to which the policy
affected the war can't be measured. But it did mean more destruction of the German government
and harder future reconstruction.
Invasion of Italy
Death of Italy. American, British, and Canadian forces attacked the underbelly of Europe (good
analogy) by invading Sicily (Italian island south of the Italian mainland) in August 1943 and
facing sporatic but sometimes bitter resistance. Shortly before Sicily was conquered, Italians
toppled Mussolini, and Italy surrendered unconditionally early in September 1943 as Allies
hopped onto the Italian mainland. Two years later, Mussolini and his mistress were lynched and
hung upside-down for public display.
Germany fights for Italy. Hitler's troops in Italy took the place of Italian troops and engaged the
allies in some of the filthiest, bloodiest, and most frustrating fights of the war. You might think,
"Why didn't the Italian public, after overthrowing Mussolini, turn on Germany?" The answer: they
did. The new Italian government declared war on Germany in October 1943. The battlefield was
snowy and muddy.
End of Germans in Italy. The fight in Italy was deadlocked at the German defense at the ancient
monastery of Monte Cassino. After touch-and-go assaults on Anzio beachhead, Rome was taken
on June 4, 1944 (two days before the invasion of France). The Allies continued fighting through
Italy toward Germany. On May 2, 1945 (5 days before Hitler surrendered), several hundred
thousand Axis troops in Italy surrendered.
Analysis. Positively, the Italian campaign diverted German resources from the USSR and France
and provided bases for launching attacks on German Austria and southern Germany. Negatively,
the Itailan campaign also diverted American and British resources, delaying an invasion of France
as the USSR conquered more and more European land, a bad thing for the future.
Invasion of France
Organizing a meeting. The Soviets were still waiting for a real second front (invasion of France).
A meeting was needed between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin to coodinate the effort. Soviet
wasn't happy about leaving Moscow. Roosevelt was confident he could take on Stalin.
Tehran Conference. Tehran, Iran (Persia) was finally chosen as the meeting place. Roosevelt
took the risk of flying across the Atlantic, stopping by Cairo on the way to Tehran to meet with
Churchill (Britain) and Jian Jieshi (China). The Teheran Conference happened from November
28 to December 1, 1943 (4 days). They agreed on general plans of attacking Germany, including a
coordinated push from the USSR at the same time of the invasion of France.
Preparation. You could just imgine how many munitions, supplies, vehicles, and people (3
million men) were packed onto Britain ready to flow into France and slap Hitler in the face. Since
the majority of the men in this force were American, an American was to lead the multi-national
force. This American was General Dwight D. Eisenhower^, who distinguished himself in the
Mediterranean and North Africa, especially for working well with leaders of other nations.
Attack. Normandy, France a relatively weak position, was chosen as a landing spot. On D-Day,
June 6, 1944, the multi-national force invaded Normandy with 4,600 ships, making for the largest
amphibious assault in history. Germans fought back hard, although they were mislead to believe
an attack was coming from further north.
The Allies already had the upper-hand in the air over France. German soldiers needed to be
brought to Normany from where they had expected an attack, and reinforcements had to be
brought. This was difficult since the Allies destroyed the railroad systems. Germans also had fuel
shortages. The Allies made this worse by bombing enemy gasoline-producing plants.
Liberation of France. The Allies secured area and continued pushing into France. American
armored divisions under General George S. Patton spectacularly pushed back the Germans. In
August 1944, an American-French force landed south of France and pushed northward. The
French "underground" helped the Allies toward the liberation of Paris in August 1944.
Germany next. As Allies pushed toward Germany, they saw places they encountered during
WWI, such as Chateau-Thierry and Lafayette. The first German city to fall was Aachen in October
1944. Hitler's dream of a "thousand-year Reich" was disappearing.
*Election of 1944: Roosevelt (D), Dewey (R)*
Democratic. Roosevelt was the only major Democratic figure, and he was nominated to run for a
fourth term.
Democratic VP. Since Roosevelt was getting old and might soon have to be replaced by the Vice
President, the democratic VP position was important, and that's why it has its own section in this
TOMERNOTE. Henry A. Wallace was Roosevelt's current VP throughout Roosevelt's third term.
He used to be Secretary of Agriculture. But conservative Democrats saw him as an ill-balanced
and unpredictable liberal and launched a "ditch Wallace" campaign, even though Wallace was
popular with the public and would get lots of votes for the Democrats.
Eventually, Wallace was ditched for Missouri Senator Harry S. Truman (in what's
jokingly called the "new Missouri compromise"). Truman wasn't well known, but he was
chairman of a Senate committee investigating wasteful war spending.
Republican. Republicans nominated New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey. He made his
reputation prosecuting grafters in New York City. He was young (42 years old). He was a mild
advocate of international cooperation. (He apparently liked losing, so he came back to run again in
1948 and got another loss).
To balance out Dewey's internationlism, the convention nominated Ohio Senator John W.
Bricker (strong isolationist) for vice president.
The Republican platform was for prosecuting the war enemies and creating a new
international organization to maintain peace.
Democratic campaign. Roosevelt left his desk to campaign for the final weeks before election.
Republicans criticized him, and even his dog. Roosevelt even showed himself in public,
sometimes in rain, to dispell rumors of bad health (Castro should learn from him).
The CIO (Remember: Congress of Industrial Organizations) created a Political Action
Committee to fight the law that banned the use of union funds for political purposes. CIO
members, attacked for being Communist, defended themselves by referring back to the bad times
of the depression. In this way, Roosevelt seemed to still be running against Hoover. The CIO
helped the Democratic Party.
Republican campaign. Dewey campaigned hard while Roosevelt was busy fighting the war.
Dewey called for a change. He said he would keep the same war strategy, but do it better. The idea
of a fourth-term wasn't criticized s much as the three-term idea was, since Roosevelt had already
broken the two-term tradition.
Many newspapers were owned by Republicans, adding to the opposition of Roosevelt.
Outcome. Roosevelt received 25,606,585 popular votes and 432 electoral votes. Dewey received
22,014,745 popular votes and 99 electoral votes. Roosevelt joked, "The first twelve years are the
Analysis. Roosevelt won mainly because the war was going well. People wanted an experienced
person to lead the post-war establishment of world peace. Although Dewey wanted international
cooperation, his VP, Bricker, was an isolationist, a fact people didn't like.
Invasion of Germany
Soviets were penetrating eastern Germany. Allied aerial bombers destroyed cities,
factories, and transportation arteries around-the-clock. Western Germany was about to fall to the
Battle of the Bulge. On December 16, 1944, Hitler made his last attempt at victory by throwing
all he had into the snow-covered Ardennes forest in attempt to reach Antwerp, Belgium, a port
vital to Allied shipping to the front lines. This became the Battle of the Bulge. Overwhelmed
Americans were caught off guard and pushed back (creating a small bulge back into France, hence
the name). The 101st Airborne Division under Brigadier General A. C. McAuliffe held on to
Bastogne as it was engulfed in the middle of the bulge. Commanded by Germans to surrender,
McAuliffe answered, "Nuts." Reinforcements arrived and reconquered the bulge.
Squeezing Germany. In March 1945, Americans reached Rhine River (west Germany) and were
incredibly lucky to find a bridge undemolished. In April 1945 (a month later) General
Eisenhower's troops reached the Elbe River (east Germany). Along the Elbe River and south of
Berlin, American and Soviet forces dramatically met and shook hands happily.
Holocaust uncovered. American troops were horrified to find concentration camps where
Germans held scientific mass murder of "undesirables" that killed approximately 6 Jews. The US
knew about the Holocaust, but not to the extent that was revealed. The US rejected many
Holocaust refugees and top military commanders refused to bomb railroads that took victims to
the concentration camps. The whole world was aghast when the Holocaust was uncovered.
April 1945. In April 1945, the Soviets reached Berlin, fought house-to-house, and did a lot of
raping and pillaging.
On April 12, 1945, Roosevelt was relaxing at Warm Springs, Georgia when he suddenly
died of a cerebral hemorrhage. Harry S. Truman^ was sworn in as President.
On April 30, 1945, Hitler committed suicide in an underground bunker after quickly
marrying his mistress.
Victory over Europe Day. On May 7, 1945, the remains of the German government (Hitler was
gone) unconditionally surrendered. May 8, 1945 was officially declared V-E Day (Victory over
Europe Day). The Allied nations rejoiced.
Fighting Continues with Japan
American submarines. US submarines were devastating Japan's merchant marine. The US subs
("silent service") destroyed a total of 1,042 ships, about half of Japan's entire merchant fleet!
Aerial bombings. Ever since the US took the Mariana Islands^, the islands were used as
launching bases for attacks on the Japanese mainland (see "Pacific Front: The Marianas")
especially from Saipan. On March 9-10, 1945, the US launched a massive fire-bomb raid on
Tokyo that destroyed over 250,000 buildings, annihilated a quarter of the city, killed 83,000, and
was so devastating that it can be compared to the atomic bombings.
Battle of Leyte Gulf. Last time we saw General MacArthur, he was working his way up New
Guinea so he could get to the Philippines (see "Pacific Front: New Guinea"). Well, he finished
conquering New Guinea, then sailed to the Philippines with 600 ships and 250,000 men and
landed on Leyte Island (part of the Philippines) on October 20,1944. Being the arrogant man he
was, MacArthur said, "People of the Philippines, I have returned...Rally to me." (Remember: He
had left after holding on with his soldiers eating mules and monkeys.)
The Japanese launched a counteroffensive and tried to get MacArthur out of Leyte Island.
This battle, the greatest naval battle of all time, occured in the Leyte Gulf (next to Leyte Island)
on October 23-26, 1944 and is known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Americans won, although they
came close to losing a crucial engagement when American Admiral William F. Halsey was fooled
by a decoy Japanese force.
Japan was no longer a major sea power. It lost 60 ships in this battle. American forces at
this battle had 4,000 ships. The US now commanded the western Pacific as well. Also, several
battleships that were attacked at Pearl Harbor were restored in time to get revenge at this battle.
More on Philippines. After Leyte, MacArthur took the main Philippine island of Luzon in
January 1945. Manila, MacArthur's main objective, fell in March. The Philippines were fully
conquered in July. Fighting in the Philippines took over 60,000 American lives!
Iwo Jima. The US now wanted to take Iwo Jima, an island in between the Marianas and Japan.
This island could be used as a resting place for aircraft damaged while bombing the Japanese
mainland that couldn't completely return to Saipan. Iwo Jima was conquered over 25 days in
March 1945, taking over 4,000 American lives in the process.
Okinawa. The US then wanted Okinawa, a base larger and closer to Japan than Iwo Jima from
which it could launch closer shorter missions to bomb Japan. Fighting happened April-June 1945
as Japanese fought from their caves. American casualties landed on 80,000, while the Japanese
suffered far heavier losses.
The US Navy fought at Okinawa and suffered severe damage. Japanese suicide pilots
("kamikazes") sacrificed their lives for their god-emperor by crashing their plane, loaded with
bombs, into US ships, sinking 30 badly damaging more.
War with Japan Ends
Japanese intent to surrender. Strategists in the US were planning an all-out invasion of Japan,
with an estimated hundreds of thousands of American casulaties and many more Japanese. Japan
recognized that a threat may come and sent messages to the USSR (not yet fighting Japan) saying
that it may surrender. The US cracked the Japanese codes and recognized this intent. The Japanese
wanted to surrender conditionally, but did not want to do so unconditionally.
Potsdam Conference. In July 1945, President Truman, Stalin, and British leaders met near Berlin
in what's called the Potsdam Conference. The result was an ultimatum to Japan to surrender or be
destroyed. This message was written on tens of thousands of leaflets that were dropped onto
Japan, which didn't respond with consideration of surrendering.
Idea of an atomic bomb. Early in 1940, after Hitler invaded Poland, Roosevelt was pursuaded by
American and German-exiled scientists (like Albert Einstein) to pursue an atomic weapon. He
asked Congress, which wrote a blank check of $2 billion to study the possibility. Many were
skeptical of this wonder weapon. Research was vital since intelligence suggested Hitler was
pursuing similar scientific progress.
Development. Industrial power and scientific skill were combined to pursue an atomic bomb. The
British and refugees from the Holocaust helped. Finally, on July 16, 1945, in the desert near
Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was tested.
Bombing of Hiroshima. Japan refused to surrender, and according to the Potsdam threat, the
other option was destruction. On August 6, 1945, a single American bomber dropped one atomic
bomb on the military-base of Hiroshima, Japan. A bright flash was followed by a
mushroom-shaped cloud. About 180,000 Japanese were killed, wounded or missing. About 70,000
of these were killed instantly, and 60,000 later died of burns or radiation diseases.
Stalin enters. The Allies had agreed that Stalin would start engaging Japan by August 8, 1945. He
did so exactly on the deadline date. Realizing that the war with Japan would be over soon, he
wanted to conquer as much Japanese land as he could so that he would have a larger say in what
happened to that land after the war. In six days, the USSR speedily overran Japanese forces in
Manchuria and Korea.
Bombing of Nagasaki. Japan didn't surrender in the two days after the bombing of Hiroshima. So
on August 9, 1945, another lone bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the naval-base city of
Nagasaki, Japan. About 80,000 people were killed or went missing (In comparison: the
firebombing of Tokyo killed 83,000.)
Conditional Surrender. On August 10, the day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan asked to
surrender with one condition. The condition was that the ruler of Japan, Hirohito, the "Son of
Heaven" and ancestral ruler of the throne, remain as ruler of Japan. Despite the "unconditional
surrender" policy, the Allies accepted this surrender on August 14.
Victory over Japan Day. On September 2, 1945, official surrender ceremonies were conducted
by General MacArthur on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. This date was officially V-J Day
(Victory over Japan Day), and finally, the end of World War II.
Casualties. America suffered 1,000,000 casualties, about 1/3 of which were deaths (yes, casualties
aren't the same as deaths, I was shocked to hear this too). Compared to other wars, the number that
died from wounds and diseases sharply reduced, partly because of the use of blood plasma and
drugs like penicillin. The USSR had 20,000,000 killed!
Lucky America. America's land was untouched during World War II (not including Pearl Harbor,
a few harmless attacks by submarines on California and Oregon, and a few fire-attack balloons
that drifted across the Pacfic harmlessly. Most other engaged nations were poor, bombed out, full
of rubble, and devastated. America was actually in a much better condition in many ways than
before the war.
America fought this war better than any other war in its history. It was better prepared for
this one than ever before, since it had a 1 1/2 year heads-up. It ended up being resourceful, tough
and adaptable.
Leaders. America was blessed with high-quality military leadership during the war. There were
brilliant generals like Eisenhower^, MacArthur^, and Chief of Staff Marshall^ (apparently not
brilliant enough to be mentioned anywhere else in this chapter) and brilliant admirals like Nimitz^
and Spruance (apparently not brilliant enough to be on Toy's list of terms). Roosevelt and
Churchill were good too. Roosevelt once said, "It is fun to be in the same decade as [Churchill]."
Industry. American assembly lines spit out weapons and supplies like crazy. Machines were an
important part of the war, and America was the master at machine-building. In both World Wars,
the American way of war was more (men, weapons, machines, technology, money). The output of
American factories between 1940 and 1945 was phenomenal.
Conclusion. Nazi leader Hermann Goering once said, "Americans can't build planes--only electric
iceboxes and razor blades." After this statement was put to the test, he was dead wrong. Although
the Axis powers had a long time to prepare, the dictators were overthrown as democracy
prevailed. Although the war required America to exercise more government control, liberty and
democracy was preserved.