The Japanese victory at Pearl Harborwas America’s most humiliating militarydefeat. But Japan’s fanatics forgot thatwhoever stabs a king must stab to kill.A wounded but still potent Americapicked itself up, grimly determined toavenge the bloody treachery. Americansregarded Japan as the primaryenemy, with the European front a kind ofholding operation.But FDR, in the so-called ABC-1Agreement with Britain, had earlier andwisely adopted a strategy of “gettingHitler first,” with the Pacific front akind of holding operation.Despite public pressure, FDR initiallyconcentrated American forces againstHitler.
THE ALLIES TRADE SPACE for TIMEEntering the war, what was the most needed “munition” for the U.S.?How was the American task more daunting in WWII than in WWI?
THE SHOCK of WARNational unity was no worry, thanks to the electrifying blow by the Japanese at PearlHarbor. How and why was the U.S. govt. response different toward minority groupsin WWII? Japanese-Americans were the painful exception.
The Washington top command, fearingthat the Japanese concentrated on thePacific coast might act as saboteursfor Japan in case of invasion, forciblyherded them together in concentrationcamps, though about 2/3 of them wereAmerican-born U.S. citizens.
This brutal precaution was both unnecessary and unfair, as the loyalty & combat recordof Japanese-Americans proved to be admirable. But post-Pearl Harbor hysteria and longhistorical Japanese prejudices temporarily robbed Americans of their good sense.Explain the war-time Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. U.S. When was this rulingreversed? And what did the “victims” receive?How did WWII effectively end the New Deal?
BUILDING the WAR MACHINE The war crisis caused the drooping American economy to snap to attention. Massive military orders almost instantly soaked up the idle industrial capacity of the still-lingering Great Depression. Explain the function/role of each of the following during the war: * War Production Board * Farmers * Labor Unions * Smith-Connally Anti- Strike Act
MANPOWER and WOMANPOWERThe armed services enlisted nearly 15 million men in WWII and some 216,000women, who were employed for non-combat duties. Best known of these “women in arms”were the WAACS (army), WAVES (navy), and SPARS (Coast Guard).
As the arsenal of democracy, the U.S. exempted certain key categories of industrial andagricultural workers from the draft. But even with these exemptions, the economy wasfacing a critical shortage of workers. How did the govt. relieve this labor shortage?In the end, was the war’s immediate impact on women exaggerated?
WARTIME MIGRATIONThe war also proved to be a demographic cauldron, churning and shifting the Americanpopulation. War industries sucked people into urban areas. Some 1.6 million blacksmigrated North & West.
Explosive tensions developed over employment and FDR reacted by issuing an executiveorder forbidding discrimination in defense industries. Additionally, the presidentestablished the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). The northward migration of African- Americans accelerated after the war, thanks to the advent of the mechanical cotton picker. Explain the impact of this machine. Thus, some 5 million black tenant farmers and sharecroppers headed north in the 3 decades after the war, resulting in one of the great migrations in American history. Describe the significance of this great internal migration on U.S. demographics.
Blacks were also drafted into the armed forces, though they were still generally assignedto service branches rather than combat units and subjected to petty degradations suchas segregated blood banks for the wounded.
Despite the discrimination, black Americans distinguished themselves during theirwartime service, paving the way for integration following the war.
The war also prompted an exodus of Native Americans from the reservations to urbanwartime factories. And still thousands more answered Uncle Sam’s call to arms. Explainhow the native Americans were especially valuable to the military during WWII. Didugly episodes of racism erupt during this time of national patriotism?
HOLDING the HOME FRONTDid U.S. wartime production hurt Americans at home? Were Americans better-offthan their European counterparts? How did the war affect the role of the govt. inAmerican society?
THE RISING SUN in the PACIFIC Early successes of the efficient Japanese were breathtaking: they had to win quickly or lose slowly. In concert with their victory at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese launched attacks throughout the Far East. By May 1942, the Japanese had conquered most of the region.
JAPAN’S HIGH TIDE at MIDWAYJapan was pushing relentlessly southward, threatening Australia. Their onrush was finallychecked at the Battle of the Coral Sea – significance. Japan next targeted MidwayIsland – what was their strategy?
How was the American victory at the Battle of Midway a pivotal victory? ExplainJapan’s victory disease.
AMERICAN LEAPFROGGING TOWARD TOKYOFollowing the Battle of Midway, American strategists adopted a strategy of“leapfrogging.” Describe this strategy?
“Leapfrogging” introduced American troops to difficult jungle and cave-to-cavewarfare, facing an enemy who would fight to the last man.
THE ALLIED HALTING of HITLEREarly setbacks for America in the Pacific were paralleled in the Atlantic. Hitler hadentered the war with a formidable fleet of ultra-modern submarines, which operating in“wolf packs,” wreaked havoc on Allied shipping. Identify the strategies/technologies thatturned the tide of sub-sea battle.
On the Soviet front, the unexpected successes of the red army gave a new lift to theAllied cause. In September 1942 the Russians stalled the German advance atStalingrad, graveyard of Hitler’s hopes. In Nov. 1942 the resilient Russians unleashed acrushing counteroffensive, which was never reversed. A year later, Stalin had regainedabout 2/3 of the USSR seized earlier by the Nazis.
A SECOND FRONT FROM NORTH AFRICA to ROME Soviet losses were staggering in 1942 and Kremlin leaders clamored for a second front to divert the German strength westward. Many Americans, including FDR, were eager to begin a diversionary invasion of France in 1942 – why? What was the British response? An assault on French-held North Africa was a compromise second front, launched in Nov. 1942. What was the outcome? Future strategy was now planned by the Allies at Casablanca, in newly occupied French Morocco. The “Big Two,” FDR and Churchill, discussed strategy. Identify the key areas of agreement. With victory in Africa, the Allies turned against the not-so-soft underbelly of Europe, Sicily. What problems were created by the Italian second front?
D-DAY: JUNE 6, 1944The Soviets had never ceased their clamor for an all-out second front, and the timefinally arrived for the “Big Three” to meet in person to coordinate the promised effort.Tehran, the capital of Iran (Persia), was the chosen site – why? Why was FDR so eager tomeet Stalin in person? Explain the major achievement(s) of the conference.
Preparations for the cross-channelinvasion of France were gigantic.Gen. Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower wasnamed commander of OperationOverlord.Why was French Normandy selectedas the invasion site?On June 6, 1944, the D-Day invasioncommenced.
Stiff resistance was encountered by the well-dug-in Germans. Allied losses were high.
After desperate fighting, the Allies finally broke through German defenses. Mostspectacular were the lunges across France by American armored divisions, commanded byGen. George Patton. The retreat and capture of German defenders were hastened by asecond front driving northward from southern France and from the assistance of theFrench “underground.”
Paris was liberated in August 1944, amid exuberant joy and gratitude. American troopswere greeted as heroes. The Allied advance to Germany was now irresistible. The days ofHitler’s “thousand-year Reich” were numbered.
FDR: THE FOURTH-TERMITE OF 1944The presidential campaign of 1944 came most awkwardly as the awful conflict roared toits climax. But the normal electoral process continued to function. The Republicansnominated Thomas Dewey – provide a profile and the Republican platform. Democratsnominated FDR – describe the Democrat’s vice president controversy. Was a 4th termfor FDR a big issue?FDR won a sweeping victory – what was the primary reason for his unprecedentedvictory?
THE LAST DAYS of HITLER By mid-Dec. 1944, the end was nearing for Hitler, with Soviet forces advancing from the East and American and British forces advancing from the West. Hitler staked everything on one last throw of his reserves on Dec. 16, 1944 against the thinly held American lines in the Ardennes forest.
At the Battle of the Bulge, the initial advances of the Germans were checked and thrownback after vicious fighting.
The Battle of the Bulge was Hitler’s last offensive gasp.
In March 1945, forward-driving American troops reached Germany’s RhineRiver, where, by incredibly good luck, found one strategic bridge unscathed. Eisenhower’stroops, pressing forward, reached the river Elbe in April 1945. Just south, inBerlin, American and Soviet advance guards dramatically clasped hands.
The joy of conquering Americans was tempered by the sobering and horrific blood-spattered concentration camps, where the German Nazis had engaged in scientific massmurder of “undesirables,” including an estimated 6 million Jews.
The Washington govt. had long been informed about Hitler’s campaign of genocide againstthe Jews and had been reprehensibly slow to take steps against it. But until war’send, the full dimensions of the “Holocaust” had not been known. When the details wererevealed, the whole world was aghast.
The vengeful Soviets reached Berlin inApril 1945, where they captured thebomb-shattered city.Hitler, after a hasty marriage to hismistress, committed suicide in anunderground bunker on April 30, 1945.
Tragedy struck in the U.S. when FDR died suddenly from a massive brain hemorrhage onApril 12, 1945. A bewildered and un-briefed Vice President Truman took the oath ofoffice.
FDR inexplicably did not regularly brief Truman on war policy and strategic programs.
On May 7, 1945, what was left ofthe German govt. surrenderedunconditionally.
May 8, 1945 was officially proclaimedV-E Day and frenzied rejoicingcommenced in the Allied countries.
JAPAN DIES HARDJapan’s rickety empire meanwhile was tottering, under the onslaught of Americansubmarines, bombers, and steady progress of the “leapfrogging” campaign. America’ssteel vise tightened mercilessly with hard-fought victories at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
With the end inevitable, but not imminent, strategists in Washington began planning foran all-out invasion of the main islands of Japan – what concerned American plannersabout an invasion? What was Japan’s attempt to end the war? Describe thesignificance of the Potsdam Conference. What was America’s “ace” at theconference?
With Japan refusing to surrender, a loneAmerican bomber …
… dropped one atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945.
About 180,000 people were left killed, wounded, or missing. Some 70,000 diedinstantaneously. 60,000 more died soon after from burns & radiation disease. Two dayslater, Stalin entered the war, seizing Japanese holdings in Manchuria and Korea.Fanatically resisting Japanese, though facing atomization, still did not surrender. OnAug. 9th a second atomic bomb was dropped on the naval-base city of Nagasaki. Approx.80,000 people were killed or missing.
At last the Japanese could endure no more. On Aug. 10, 1945, Tokyo sued for peace –what was its one condition? The formal end came on Sept. 2, 1945 – official surrenderceremonies were conducted by Gen. Douglas MacArthur on the battleship Missouri inTokyo Bay.
Americans at home hystericallycelebrated V-J Day after the mosthorrible war in history had ended inmushrooming atomic clouds.
AFTERMATH POST-SCRIPT WWII proved to be terribly costly, in terms of money and life. Compare American & Soviet casualties. What medical advances saved many American lives? America was fortunate in emerging with its mainland virtually unscathed. Much of the rest of the world was in ruins. The conflict was the best-fought in American history – the U.S. military leadership proved to be of the highest order. FDR’s and Churchill’s close collaboration was a key to success. Industrial leaders were no less skilled, for marvels of production were performed routinely, overwhelming the Axis powers.