USH: Unit 5 - Ch. 18 – AMERICANS IN WW2 (1941-1945); Mintz/Durning; BHSOVERVIEW: The economic distress of the Great Depression contributed to the rise of dictatorships in some nations. Military aggression by Germany, Italy, and Japan plunged the world into war. In December 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing the US into WW2. In this chapter you will learn that the US and the Allies battled the Axis Powers on land and at sea in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. By August 1945 the Allies had won a difficult war.
VOCAB: War Production Board, Office of War Mobilization, Selective Training and Service Act, Douglas MacArthur, Bataan Death March, Chester Nimitz, Battle of the Coral Sea, Battle of Midway, Guadalcanal, The Battle of El Alamein, Braceros, Zoot-Suit Riots, Internment, Office of War Information, Rosie the Riveter, Fair Employment Practices Committee, Sonar, Genocide, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, George C. Marshall, D-Day, Holocaust, Battle of the Bulge, Yalta Conference, Island-Hopping, Kamikaze, Battle of Leyte Gulf, Battle of Iwo Jima, Battle of Okinawa, Harry S Truman, Manhattan Project, Albert Einstein, Enola Gay
WW2 – AN OVERVIEW: WW2 killed more people, involved more nations, and cost more $ than any other war in history. Altogether, 70 million people served in the armed forces during the war, and 17 million combatants died. Civilian deaths were ever greater. At least 19 million Soviet civilians, 10 million Chinese civilians, and 6 million European Jews lost their lives during the war.
WW2 was truly a global war. Some 70 nations took part in the conflict, and fighting took place on the continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as on the high seas. Entire societies participated as soldiers or as war workers, while others were persecuted as victims of occupation and mass murder.WW2 cost the US a million causalities and nearly 400,000 deaths. In both domestic and foreign affairs, its consequences were far-reaching. It ended the Depression, brought millions of married women into the workforce, initiated sweeping changes in the lives of the nation's minority groups, and dramatically expanded the federal government's presence in American life.
CONSEQUENCES OF WW2:
1. The war ended Great Depression era unemployment levels and dramatically expanded government's presence in American life. It led the federal government to create a War Production Board to oversee conversion to a wartime economy and the Office of Price Administration to set prices on many items and to supervise a rationing system.2. During the war, African Americans, women, and Mexican Americans found new opportunities in industry. But Japanese Americans living on the Pacific coast were relocated from their homes and placed in internment camps.
THE WAR AT HOME AND ABROAD: On September 1, 1939, WW2 started when Germany invaded Poland. By November 1942, the Axis powers controlled territory from Norway to North Africa and from France to the Soviet Union. After defeating the Axis in North Africa in May 1941, the US and its Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943 and forced Italy to surrender in September On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies landed in Northern France. In December, a German counteroffensive (the Battle of the Bulge) failed. Germany surrendered in May 1945.
The US entered the war following a surprise attack by Japan on the US Pacific fleet in Hawaii. The US and its Allies halted Japanese expansion at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, as well as in other campaigns in the South Pacific. From 1943 to August 1945, the Allies hopped from island to island across the Central Pacific and also battled the Japanese in China, Burma, and India. Japan agreed to surrender on August 14, 1945 after the US dropped the 1st A-bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
THE DAWN OF THE ATOMIC AGE: In 1939, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to FDR, warning him that the Nazis might be able to build an atomic bomb. On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi, an Italian refugee, produced the 1st self-sustained, controlled nuclear chain reaction in Chicago.
To ensure that the US developed a bomb before Nazi Germany did, the federal government started the secret $2 billion Manhattan Project. On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert near Alamogordo, the Manhattan Project's scientists exploded the 1st atomic bomb.
It was during the Potsdam negotiations that POTUS Truman learned that American scientists had tested the 1st atomic bomb. On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress, released an A-bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. Between 80,000 and 140,000 people were killed or fatally wounded. 3 days later, a 2nd bomb fell on Nagasaki. About 35,000 people were killed. The following day Japan surrendered.
Truman's defenders argued that the bombs ended the war quickly, avoiding the necessity of a costly invasion and the probable loss of many more lives. His critics argued that the war might have ended even without the atomic bombings, maintaining that the Japanese economy would have been strangled by a continued naval blockade, as well as that Japan could have been forced to surrender by conventional firebombing or by a demonstration of the A-bomb's power.
The unleashing of nuclear power during WW2 generated hope of a cheap and abundant source of energy, but it also produced anxiety many in the US and around the world.