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VUS 11 and 12
Transcript of VUS 11 and 12
•World War II began with Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, followed shortly thereafter by the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland and the Baltic countries from the east.
The war in Europe
•During the first two years of the war, the United States stayed officially neutral while Germany overran France and most of Europe and pounded Britain from the air (the Battle of Britain). In mid-1941, Hitler turned on his former partner and invaded the Soviet Union.
•Despite strong isolationist sentiment at home, the United States increasingly helped Britain. It gave Britain war supplies and old naval warships in return for military bases in Bermuda and the Caribbean. Soon after, the Lend-Lease Act gave the president authority to sell or lend equipment to countries to defend themselves against the Axis powers. Franklin Roosevelt compared it to “lending a garden hose to a next-door neighbor whose house is on fire.”
Major battles and turning points of the war in North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific
Wartime strategies reflect the political and military goals of alliances, the resources on hand, and the geographical extent of the conflict.
“Defeat Hitler First”
•America and her allies followed a “Defeat Hitler First” strategy. Most American military resources were targeted for Europe.
The U.S. seized islands closer and closer to Japan and used them as bases for air attacks on Japan itself. Having bases on these islands helped the U.S. cut off Japanese supplies through submarine warfare against Japanese shipping.
Germany hoped to defeat the Soviet Union quickly, gain control of Soviet oil fields, and force Britain out of the war through a bombing campaign and submarine warfare before America’s industrial and military strength could turn the tide.
Following Pearl Harbor, Japan invaded the Philippines and Indonesia and planned to invade both Australia and Hawaii. Her leaders hoped that America would then accept Japanese predominance in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, rather than conduct a bloody and costly war to reverse Japanese gains.
The Allies: Great Britain, France, Russia, United States
The Axis Powers: Germany, Japan, Italy
Major battles and military turning points
El Alamein: German forces threatening to seize Egypt and the Suez Canal were defeated by the British. This defeat prevented Hitler from gaining access to Middle Eastern oil supplies and attacking the Soviet Union from the south.
Stalingrad: Hundreds of thousands of German soldiers were killed or captured in a months-long siege of the Russian city of Stalingrad. This defeat prevented Germany from seizing the Soviet oil fields and turned the tide against Germany in the east.
Normandy landings (D-Day): American and Allied troops under Eisenhower landed in German-occupied France on June 6, 1944. Despite intense German opposition and heavy American casualties, the landings succeeded, and the liberation of western Europe from Hitler began.
Midway: In the Battle of Midway (termed the “Miracle at Midway”), American naval forces defeated a much larger Japanese force as it prepared to seize Midway Island. Coming only a few months after Pearl Harbor, a Japanese victory at Midway would have enabled Japan to invade Hawaii. The American victory ended the Japanese threat to Hawaii and began a series of American victories in the “island hopping” campaign, carrying the war closer and closer to Japan.
Iwo Jima and Okinawa: The American invasions of the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa brought American forces closer than ever to Japan, but both invasions cost thousands of American lives and even more Japanese lives, as Japanese soldiers fought fiercely over every square inch of the islands and Japanese soldiers and civilians committed suicide rather than surrender.
Use of the atomic bomb: Facing the prospect of horrendous American and Japanese casualties if American forces were to invade Japan itself, President Harry Truman ordered the use of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force the Japanese to surrender. Tens of thousands of people were killed in both cities. Shortly after the bombs were used, the Japanese leaders surrendered, avoiding the need for American forces to invade Japan.
Minority Participation in WWII
World War II solidified the nation’s role as a global power, ushered in social changes, and established reform agendas that would preoccupy public discourse in the United States for the remainder of the twentieth century.Women entered into previously male job roles as African Americans and others struggled to obtain desegregation of the armed forces and end discriminatory hiring practices
African Americans generally served in segregated military units and were assigned to noncombat roles but demanded the right to serve in combat rather than support roles.
All-minority military units
Nearly 1 million African Americans served in all-black units commanded by white officers. There were some African Americans who did not want to serve in the armed forces because of the harsh way they were treated at home, but they were in the minority. Many were dedicated to working for equal treatment in the services as well as at home.
The Geneva Convention
The Nazis were determined to exterminate all Jews under German rule. In large camps they overworked, starved, and used gas chambers to kill 6 million Jews. The Nazis called it the “Final Solution.” This was actually a genocide—the systematic and purposeful destruction of a racial, political, religious, or cultural group.
Another 5 million people, including Poles, Slavs, Gypsies, and others labeled “undesirables” (homosexuals, the mentally ill, political dissidents) were also exterminated.
According to the 2010 Census, Virginia's population is
In the Nuremberg trials, Nazi leaders and others were convicted of war crimes.
The Nuremberg trials emphasized individual responsibility for actions during a war, regardless of orders received.
The trials led to increased demand for a Jewish homeland.
WWII on the Homefront
The United States’ success in the war required the total commitment of the nation’s resources. On the home front, public education and the mass media promoted nationalism.
•United States government and industry forged a close working relationship to allocate resources effectively.•Rationing was used to maintain supply of essential products to the war effort.•War bonds and income tax were used for financing the war.•Businesses retooled from peacetime to wartime production (e.g., car manufacturing to tank manufacturing).
•More women and minorities entered the labor force.•Citizens volunteered in support of the war effort.
The draft (selective service) was used to provide personnel for the military.
Contributions to the war effort came from all segments of society. Women entered into previously male job roles as African Americans and others struggled to obtain desegregation of the armed forces and end discriminatory hiring practices.
Women on the home front during World War II
Increasingly participated in the workforce to replace men serving in the military (e.g., Rosie the Riveter)
Typically participated in noncombat military roles
Minorities on the home front during World War II
Migrated to cities in search of jobs in war plants.
Campaigned for victory in war and equality at home.
Many African-Americans worked in defense industries
World War II in Asia
During the 1930s, a militaristic Japan invaded and brutalized Manchuria and China as it sought military and economic domination over Asia. The United States refused to recognize Japanese conquests in Asia and imposed an embargo on exports of oil and steel to Japan. Tensions rose, but both countries negotiated to avoid war.
While negotiating with the United States and without any warning, Japan carried out an air attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The attack destroyed much of the American Pacific fleet and killed several thousand Americans. Roosevelt called it “a date that will live in infamy” as he asked Congress to declare war on Japan.
After Pearl Harbor, Hitler honored a pact with Japan and declared war on the United States. The debates over isolationism in the United States were over. World War II was now a true world war, and the United States was fully involved.
The all-black unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the Black Eagles, fought in North Africa and Italy, escorted heavy bombers, and destroyed or damaged 400 Axis aircraft.
Thousands of Japanese Americans served in segregated units. The 442nd Nisei Regiment became the most decorated military unit in United States history.
Many Navajo soldiers were “code-talkers” who sent vital messages in a code based on the ancient language of their people that the Japanese could not decipher.
Thousands of Mexican Americans and Puerto-Ricans served, and many were awarded medals for bravery.
The third Geneva Convention of 1929 established rules for treatment of prisoners of war: they were not to be treated as criminals but humanely, and they were to be returned home when the war was over.
Not all prisoners were treated humanely, especially in Asia. After the Japanese took the Philippines, they forced 60,000 American and Filipino prisoners to march (the Bataan Death March) for six to nine days without enough food and water; 10,000 died. In POW camps, they continued to die in large numbers.
Treatment of prisoners in Europe more closely followed the rules of the Geneva Convention.
A code of honor and a reverence for the Emperor led Japanese pilots to commit suicide rather than surrender: they dove their bomb-loaded planes into targets (kamikaze attacks).
The Nuremberg trials after the war, Nazi leaders and others were convicted of war crimes— “crimes against humanity.” The Nuremberg trials emphasized individual responsibility for actions during a war, regardless of orders received. The trials led to an increased demand for a Jewish homeland.
Japanese leaders were also tried in other proceedings, and some were executed.
Thousands of Mexicans migrated to the United States to work on farms.
Although many citizens volunteered for military service, the government used the draft to provide sufficient personnel for the war effort.
The United States government maintained strict censorship of reports on the war. International communications, communications between government agencies, and the stories of reporters traveling with the troops were monitored and censored.
After Pearl Harbor, the entertainment industry produced movies, plays, and shows that boosted morale and patriotic support for the war effort as well as portrayed the enemy in stereotypical ways.
Public morale and ad campaigns kept Americans focused on the war effort.
Describe the role of media and communications in the war effort.
Campaigned for victory in war and equality at home
VUS 11a: Analyze the causes and events that led to American involvement in the war, including military assistance to the United Kingdom and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
VUS 11b: Describe and locate the major battles and turning points of the war in North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific, including Midway, Stalingrad, the Normandy landing (D-Day), and Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb to force the surrender of Japan.
VUS 11c: describing the role of all-minority military units, including the Tuskegee Airmen and Nisei regiments.
VUS 11d: Examine the Geneva Convention and the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II.
VUS 11e: analyze the Holocaust (Hitler’s “final solution”), its impact on Jews and other groups, and the postwar trials of war criminals.
VUS 12a: Explain how the United States mobilized its economic, human, and military resources.
VUS 12b: Describe the contributions of women and minorities to the war effort.
VUS 12c: Explain the internment of Japanese Americans during the war.
Prejudice coupled with wartime fears can adversely affect civil liberties of minorities.
Reasons for internment of Japanese Americans
• Strong anti-Japanese prejudice on the West Coast
• False belief that Japanese Americans were aiding the enemy
Internment of Japanese Americans
• Japanese Americans were relocated to internment camps.
• Internment affected Japanese American populations along the West Coast. The Supreme Court upheld the government’s right to act against Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States. A public apology was eventually issued by the United States government, and financial payment was made to survivors.