America and World War II Links:

Photo Hitler in Paris (1940)

Atlantic Charter Photo (1941)

"Powers of Persuasion" (from the National Archives)

Rosie the Riveter poster

Oakes, Map 25-1: World War II in the Pacific, 1942-45

Oakes, Map 25-2: World War II in Europe, 1942-45

"The Story of the St. Louis" (from US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Double V Poster

Dorothea Lange (from Women Come to the Front exhibit, Library of Congress)

Manzanar National Historic Site

The Atomic Bomb and the End of WW2 (from the National Security Archive)







America and World War II

My thesis: Despite much of the contemporary nostalgia for the "Good War," the reality of US participation in World War II is not so simple.  The United States was initially reluctant to intervene to stop Japanese and German aggression abroad.  However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US mobilized for "total war" and the unconditional surrender of its war enemies.  The victorious US war effort transformed American society at home and catapulted the country into an international superpower.

  1. The Road to War
    1. Isolationism v. Internationalism
    2. Japanese occupation of Manchuria (1931)
    3. Rise of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany
      • Single party states led by dictators
      • Highly nationalistic aggressive foreign policy
        • Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935)
        • German Anschuss (union) with Austria (1938)
        • German occupation of "Sudetenland" (1938)
        • German invasion of Poland (1939)
          • Great Britain and France declares war on Germany
          • Germany invades France (1940)
  2. From Isolation to Ally
    1. Neutrality Act (1935)
      • Forbade the sale of arms to countries at war
    2. Neutrality Act (1939)
      • "Cash and Carry"
      • Allowed France and GB to buy weapons
    3. Arsenal of Democracy
      • "Lend-Lease" program (1941)
      • Atlantic Charter (1941)
  3. Storm in the Pacific
    1. Japanese Aggression
      • "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere"
      • Tripartite Pact (1940) with Ger. and Italy
    2. Declared French Indochina a Japanese protectorate (1941)
      • US responds with an oil embargo against Japan
      • Planned attacks on British and Dutch colonies for oil
    3. Military recommended a strike on US Navy
      • Attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii
      • 2400 US military and civilians killed
      • Badly damaged US fleet
      • Also invaded Philippines and Guam
  4. Moblization for Total War
    1. "Total War"
    • Economic Conversion
      • War Production Board
      • Office of Price Administration
    • Propaganda and Politics "Powers of Persuasion"
    • Women during Wartime
    • Beat Hitler First
    • Island Hopping Campaign in the Pacific
  5. The "Good War"? Conflict and Consensus during War Timel
    1. Consensus
      • Prosperity
      • Moral Fight
      • Clear Enemy – War for Democracy against Nazi and Japanese Imperialism
      • General United the Left and the Right (no strike pledge, national defense, war against imperialist and against totalitarianism)
    2. Conflicts
      • The Abandonment of the Jews 
      • Racism Against African-Americans & the "Double V" campaign 
        • Segregation in the Army 
        • Executive Order 8802 - (Fair Employment Practices Commission)
          • A. Philip Randolph -"March on Washington"
      • The Internment of Japanese-Americans
        • Reasons Why 
        • Resistance to Internment 
        • Manzanar
  6. The End of the War
    1. Victory in Europe
      1. D-Day - June 6, 1944
    2. Dumberton Oaks conference
      • creation of the UN
    1. Bretton Woods conference
      • Postwar trade and international economic system
    2. Victory in the Pacific
      1. The Manhattan Project and Atomic Weapons
      2. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945