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Chapter 12: America in WWII

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Mike Cunningham

on 13 October 2016

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Transcript of Chapter 12: America in WWII

Chapter 12: America in World War II
A Return to Isolationism
After WWI, America returned to Isolationism.
Felt safe behind oceans.
Made France & Britain payback war debts...(also tariffs & strict immigration)
Efforts to progress were taken to reduce military size.
Washington Naval Conference (reduce military)
Kellog-Briand Peace Pact, 62 nations (renouncing war)
"Good Neighbor Policy" - Hoover & FDR tried to improve relations with Latin Americans.
The U.S. agreed to not interfere in internal affairs of Latin American nations.
United States and Latin American relations began to improve.
The Rise of Dictatorships
Russian Revolution of 1917 - Russia became the world's first Communist state, known as the Soviet Union.
1920s, Joseph Stalin seized power
Brutal totalitarian dictatorship
Many nations were weak & feared communism.
Some were extreme nationalist, racist & anti-Semitic.

WWI veterans, had been exposed to the horror of war and violence became a part of politics.
Japan's military leaders assumed power with support of Emperor.
Italian fascists & German National Socialists (Nazis).
Italy, Benito Mussolini developed a new type of political party.
Great Depression helped Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler topple the democratic Weimar Republic in Germany.
Hitler's dictatorship was worse than Stalin's.
Goal to Achieve German domination in Europe.
Nazi aggression would be the main cause of WWII.
The Failure of the League of Nations
The League of Nation's was too weak to stop Hitler and Mussolini.
Collective security failed - peaceful nations banning together.
U.S. and Russia were not members.
Germany and Japan left the league in 1930s.
The League of Nations could not stop Hitler from rebuilding Germany's army, Italy from attacking Ethiopia, Germany from bombing cities in Spain, or Japan from invading Manchuria and China.
Appeasement Fails: Munich Conference
Hitler promised to expand Germany.
1938, he annexed Austria
Demanded the Sudetenland - part of Czechoslovakia where many Germans lived.
Britain & France were going to protect Czechoslovakia.
Hitler threatened war, Great Britain & France backed off.
Munich Conference (1938) - without consulting the Czechs, Great Britain and France gave Hitler part of Czechoslovakia to avoid war.
This policy of giving in to satisfy a potential enemy is called appeasement.
England and France hoped to achieve peace through compromise, but failed.
Hitler believed Great Britain and France were weak, and continued his demands.
The German Invasion of Poland
1939, Hitler demanded territory in Poland.
Britain and France refused to give in.
Hitler responded by signing a truce with Stalin.
They agreed to invade Poland and divide it.
Germany invades Poland in September 1933, Britain and France declared war on Germany & WWII began.
In Poland, Germans reveal the "Blitzkrieg" - consisted of rapid, coordinated movements by airplanes, tanks troop carriers and infantry.
Germans quickly defeated Poles and soon defeated the French and took over much of Europe.
WWI was a defensive war, WWII was offensive.
German and Allies bombed civilians in cities to increase the terrors of war.
America preserves a cautious neutrality
1930s, too absorbed with Great Depression
US continued to stay out of war
Neutrality Acts (1935-1937) prohibited Americans from traveling on ships to nations at war
Could not sell arms to countries at war
America could sell non-military goods to Britain and other nations opposed to aggression, but only on a "cash-and-carry" basis.
Japan invades China-1937
FDR delivers "Quarantine" Speech.
Warned Americans that problems in the world were growing and that peaceful nations had to act together to quarantine (isolate) aggressive nations.
Most Americans opposed military action in Europe or Asia.
The British did not want China to fall to Japan.
The Brits used the Burma Road to send supplies (700 mile route).
Japan cut off Burma Road - American volunteer fighter pilots, Flying Tigers helped with supplies and combat Japan pilots.
killed 300 Japanese airplanes
After 1939, US wanted to avoid war, but started preparing for the worst.
Congress increased military spending, and enacted the 1st peacetime draft.
FDR ran for 3rd term. 1st and last president to do so.
FDR proposed the Lend-Lease Act - to sell, lease or lend war materials to "any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.
US battleships protected British ships across the Atlantic with supplies.
FDR hoped to establish a world based on "Four Freedoms" - freedom of speech & expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
Dwight Eisenhower
1941, FDR met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill aboard a US warship in the Atlantic.
FDR & Churchill announced they did not want any territorial gains, wanted freedom of seas, and end the war.
They signed the Atlantic Charter - laying the foundation for the later United Nations.
FDR believed US entry was inevitable.
If Hitler defeated Britain, they would later attack the United States.
1941, armed US merchant ships were authorized to carry supplies to Great Britain.
Events in Asia, not Europe, brought US in war.
Germany started war in Europe, Japan started war in Asia.
Japan increased industrialization and needed raw materials.
They aimed to replace European imperialism in Asia with an Asian power.
Japan's military began to influence Japanese national policy
1931, Japan invaded Manchuria.
1937, Attacked China
1941, Japan occupied southern Indochina, FDR froze Japanese assets in US and cutoff all trade with Japan
FDR offered to resume trade if Japan withdrew from China
Japan declined.
Japan attacked Indonesia for oil
Knowing this would bring US in war, they decided to attack US first.
Japan believed a surprise attack would catch them off guard and eliminate US Navy in Pacific.
They hoped their attack would allow them to take control of East Asia & Pacific before US could recover from surprise attack.
Morning of December 7, 1941 - 2 waves of Japanese Airplanes attacked the United States Pacific fleet Stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Japanese sank or severely damaged 18 United States ships.
260 planes damaged or destroyed, killed or injured 6,000 Americans
4 days later, Germany & Italy, allies of Japan, declared war on the US.
America was now engaged in a war on two fronts - Atlantic & Pacific
Americans at WAR: The Home Front
Government had to mobilize the workforce and production for wartime needs.
Demand for labor ended effects of the Great Depression.
To raise money, government sold war bonds.
Selling bonds reduced amount of currency in economy (kept inflation rates down).
WWII - 85 million Americans bought bonds ($185 Billion)
In the end, WWII cost $350 Billion - 10 times the cost of WWI.
WWII showed a willingness of millions of Americans to help.
Industrial Production & Rationing
Industries switched from peace to wartime.
Auto industry - cars to tanks
Government rationed raw materials
Americans had to conserve everything
Rationing - regulated the amount of goods that a consumer could obtain.
Ration coupons - for food, coffee, tires, gas and clothing. (each family received coupons based on size)
Americans were happy to help in order to win war.
Women, African-Americans and minorities filled the gap as other workers went to fight the war.
Americans planted Victory Gardens - vegetables helped provide food for families and soldiers.
Farmers could send more food overseas.
Controlled the content and imagery of war messages.
1942, (OWI) was created by FDR.
Pro-allied and anti-Axis propaganda (movies, posters, to make citizen aware of how they could help in the war effort).
OWI produced radio programs, news reels, all movies contributed to war.
Asked Americans to contribute time and money.
Voice of America - sent messages overseas during war
OWI tried to stir up distrust of Germany, Italy & Japan
leaders, to lower morale of enemy troops and to
encourage surrender.
Opportunity for women
Could not fight, but after basic training, women took clerical jobs in military.
Women filled jobs such as ship building and aircraft production.
More men to fight.
WACS - Women's Army Corps
"Rosie the Riveter" - celebrated women's new rules.
Private contractors still refused to hire women.
1941-1945, more than 6.5 million women entered work force.
African-American's also filled jobs
African-American soldiers also played a significant role in WWII. (2 1/2 million registered for draft)
1 million eventually served, forced to serve in segregated units.
African-Americans battled enemies & prejudice
African-American leaders demanded for all-black combat units.
African-American fighter group in the Air Corps.
Main job - provide escorts for pilots on bombing missions.
They performed so well, Bombers often requested them.
1944, army was pressured - allowed African-Americans to fight on ground and form African-American infantry division.
Enlisted for military service more than any other minority group.
25,000 served in combat.
40,000 Native American men and women left their reservations for the 1st time to work in defense industries.
Mexican-Americans served in both the army and navy and fought in all of the major campaigns.
Mexican-Americans, especially in California, continued to face segregated housing, high unemployment and low wages.
Attack on Pearl Harbor created fear, among Americans. (especially on West Coast)
People worried Japanese-Americans (or Nisei) might commit acts of sabotage.
Fear was racially-motivated, there was no evidence.
German-Americans or Italian-Americans did not receive this attention.
February, 1942, FDR issued Executive Order 9066 - permitted military commanders to require Japanese-Americans to relocate to interior internment camps away from Western coastal regions.
Japanese living in these camps lived in primitive and crowded conditions.
Relocation caused constitutional issues.
FDR justified as military necessity.
Supreme Court upheld restrictions in Korematsu v. US
Korematsu was a Japanese-American convicted of remaining in a restricted area.
Believed his rights were violated.
Supreme Court said liberties may be limited in wartime.
50 years later, Congress apologized to the interned Japanese-Americans and voted to pay compensation to those involved.
A small number of German and Italian residents were also interned.
About 2,000 Germans were sent back to Germany.
Germans were also sent from Latin American to the US to be used in prisoner exchanges with Germany.
FDR wanted to focus on Germany 1st.
When US enters the war, Hitler controlled most of Europe and North Africa.
Invading Russia in June 1941 and declared war on the United States before defeating Britain.
Late 1941, German forces advance into Soviet Union and stopped short of Moscow.
FDR and Churchill promised Stalin they would attack Hitler from the west, to relieve pressure on Soviets.
Greatest collaborations in military history.
Churchill wanted to delay invading Europe.
1942, Allied troops land in North Africa.
They defeated Germans, crossed the Mediterranean and advanced into Sicily and Italy in 1943.
commander of forces in North Africa an Sicily
Military family, served under Pershing in WWI and against Pancho Villa.
Important role in use of tanks.
"Killer instinct" to succeed
Unconventional military leader
Popular amongst troops with high survival rates
But was harsh in treatment of soldiers.
Under his leadership, the 3rd Army quickly captured enemy soldiers and freeing up much of Europe.
1944, Germans suspected the Allies would invade France.
June 6, 1944 - "D-DAY"
156,000 allied troops under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower.
landed on 5 beaches on northwest coast of France at Normandy.
Eisenhower selected General Omar Bradley to lead 1st American army to land in France.
Prior to the attack, Allied planes attacked Nazi forces.
Largest amphibious operation in History.
Landing craft carried 1,000s of Allied troops to the beaches of Normandy (Saving Private Ryan)
Once landed, Allies moved East.
Liberating Paris in Aug. 1944.
Allies were surprised by Germans counter-attack in the Battle of the Bulge - Dec 1944.
After this, the German attack collapsed.
Allies crossed the Rhine River and General Bradley moved in for his final offensive into Germany.
United States, Great Britain and French forces invaded from West, while Soviets attacked from the East.
May 1945, Soviets captured Berlin.
Rather than being captured, Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrenders.
Soviets suffered greatest losses.
More than 20 million Soviet soldiers and citizens died in war.
Vernon Baker
One of the first African-American soldiers to see combat.
1945, Baker slipped by mine fields, barbed wire and German defenses to single-handily remove three machine gun nests, two observation posts, and two bunkers.
A symbol of selfless sacrifice and courage of African-American soldiers.
Members of his platoon nominated him for the Distinguished Service Cross.
Took 52 years before President Bill Clinton finally awarded Baker with the highest praise for battlefield courage - The Congressional Medal of Honor.
Genocide - effort to murder an entire people or nationality.
Hitler's, Nazi philosophy, was shown in his intense hatred of the Jewish people, whom he blamed for all of Germany's problems
The Holocaust - refers to the attempted genocide of the Jews during WWII.
Once war broke out, Hitler and Nazi's decided to murder all Jews in Europe.
His plan was called "The Final Solution".
In the beginning, Jews were machine gunned next to open trenches they had been forced to dig or gassed in chambers.
This method of extermination was too slow.
Concentration camps were built across Europe.
Jews were piled into Railroad cars to these camps.
Most were poisoned and bodies were burned in large ovens.
Some were spared to do work in the camps
Starved & subjected to inhumane conditions.
About 6 million were killed in Holocaust.
6 million gypsies, Slavs, political prisoners, elderly, mentally-disabled and others also died in Nazi concentration camps.
Last months of war, allies arrived in Germany and witnessed the true horror of Nazi brutality.
American soldiers were the first to liberate concentration camps.
Shocked to see half-starved, dehydrated, disease-ridden prisoners.
At the same time, the United States was at war with Japan.
After Pearl Harbor, Japan had quick victories in Malaysia, Burma, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Western Pacific Islands.
They threatened Australia, India, Midway and Hawaii.
JAPAN invaded the Philippines the same day they bombed Pearl Harbor.
Months later, US & Filipino forces surrendered to the Japanese.
The Japanese forced the prisoners to walk a 60-mile march through the jungle.
"Bataan Death March"
Half of the prisoners died - faced starvation, disease, no water, sun exposure.
Some where shot, beheaded or just left to die on the side of the road.
The War Turns Against Japan
1943, the tide turns
US regains naval superiority
US Forces started "island-hopping" (liberating Pacific islands from Japanese, one at a time)
The Navajo Code Talkers
Played key role in Pacific campaign.
Navajo code talkers - Navajo language is unwritten and extremely complex
Japanese could not break the code. (Only system that could not be decoded)
Turning point of War in Pacific
Japanese were controlling Western Pacific and devised plan lure US fleet into The Battle of Midway
Japanese believed they could destroy them here.
However, US Navy could decipher Japan's secret code and knew that a surprise attack by the Japanese fleet was on the way.
Admiral Chester Nimitz was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the US pacific Fleet just after Pearl Harbor.
commanded US Forces at Battle of Midway
The US destroyed 4 of Japan's aircraft carriers, this ended the strength in the Pacific.
Nimitz and MacArthur began an assault on the Solomon Islands.
This attack drained the Japanese resources
Next, US took the Philippines and Guam
1945, US forces capture Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
These were close enough to be used as bases to launch attacks against Japanese homelands.
Similar to D-Day in Europe, the assault on Okinawa was a massive amphibious operation.
(1880-1959), Chief of Staff and the "organizer of victory".
Worked with FDR to urge military preparedness before Pearl Harbor.
Built up an army of 8 million men, and later helped oversee the creation of the 1st atomic bomb.
1939, Famous scientist Albert Einstein sent letter to FDR informing him that the Nazi's might be developing an atomic bomb.
FDR sent a team of American scientist to New Mexico, exploded the world's first atomic bomb in July 1945.
By this time, Germany had been defeated.
America was preparing to invade Japan.
FDR, re-elected for a 4th term in 1944, died suddenly of a heart attack in April 1945 - just before Germany surrendered.
His successor, President Harry Truman, feared an invasion of Japan, would lead to 1 million US casualties.
Truman preferred the atomic bomb rather than the high US losses.
He chose Japanese centers of military production as targets.
Aug 6, 1945, the atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
3 days later 2nd bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
230,000 people were killed in the two explosions.
Japan surrendered shortly after the 2nd explosion.
Only after American leaders agreed to allow the Japanese Emperor to remain on his imperial throne.
WWII was a global disaster of unprecedented dimension.
80 million people died.
Unite States soldiers killed in battle: 292,000.
US soldiers wounded: 672,000
Over 100 million military personnel fought in the war, largest in the war history.
Majority of people killed were civilians
Deadliest conflict in history
The war & liberation of the Concentration camps revealed the true horror of the Nazi agenda.
The allies put the surviving Nazi leaders on trial for "crimes against humanity" in Nuremberg, Germany.
The Nazi leaders defense was that they were only following orders.
They were found guilty and either hanged or imprisoned.
The Nuremberg trials demonstrated that individuals are responsible for their actions, event in times of war.
"DENAZIFICATION" & the Division of Germany
After the war, Germany was divided into 4 zones by the US, Britain, France and the Soviet Union.
Each occupied one zone.
The occupied powers introduced programs explaining the evils of the Nazi beliefs to the German People.
Hitlers beliefs were used in discrediting racism, anti-semitism, Social Darwinism, eugenics and similar ideas.
General MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Pacific, was assigned to rebuild and reform post-war Japan.
He made important changes to make Japan less aggressive.
Japan's overseas empire was taken away and military leaders were put on trial and punished.
Japan renounced the use of nuclear weapons and the waging of war.
Japan was also forbidden from having a large army or navy.
A new constitution went into effect in 1947, turning Japan into a democracy.
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