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World War II - U.S.



  • WWI

  • Heavy reparations payment weakened Germany - caused rise of fascism

  • Strong desire for isolationism in US prevented American govt. from participating in international efforts to check aggressive Germany, Italy and Japan

  • War Debts

  • Outstanding debt from Germany

  • Br. and Fr. had borrowed a lot of money from US in final 2 years of WWI

  • Both relied on war reparations from Germany to pay off debts to US

  • Dawes Plan

  • 1920s Germany could no longer pay

  • U.S. Bankers provided loans to Germany

  • Germany used loan money to pay reparations to Britain and France

  • Who used the money to pay debts to U.S. bankers

  • Stock Market Crash 1929

  • Destabilized already weak Weimar Republic

  • US banks called in their loans.

  • Worsened the economy which caused extremists on the left (Socialists/Communists) and right (Fascists) to challenge governments in Europe


  • League of Nations

  • European default on war debts reinforced American isolationism

  • Despite urging of Wilson, US didn’t join League of Nations (See Article X)

  • Nye Commission

  • Senator Gerald Nye concluded in 1934 that the main reason for US participation in WWI was greed of bankers and arms manufacturers

  • Convinced Americans that US should remain isolated


  • Washington Naval Conference 1921-1922

  • U.S. alarmed by rapid growth of Japanese navy and international arms race

  • US. Sec. of State, Charles Evans Hughes invited nine nations to DC

  • To discuss naval reductions

  • UK, Japan, France, Italy, Belgium, China, Portugal, Netherlands

  • Signed four treaties including:

  • Five-Power Naval treaty (US, UK, Jap, Fr, It)

  • Called for each of the countries to maintain a set ratio of warship tonnage.

  • US and UK 500,000 tons

  • Japan 300,000 tons

  • France and Italy 175,000

  • Also called for signatories to stop building capital ships and reduce navies.

  • Unrestricted: cruiser ships

  • Four-power treaty (US, UK, Jap., Fr)

  • Signatories agreed to consult each other in a future crisis in East Asia.

  • had to maintain territorial status quo in Pacific

  • To respect territorial integrity of China

  • And abide by Open Door Policy


  • Was Wilson's Sec. of Navy

  • Endorsed internationalist foreign policy in late 1920s

  • Supported League of Nations

  • Wanted to cancel European debts in order to stabilize European economy

  • After he became president in 1933

  • Promoted international cooperation through trade rather than military coercion

  • Good neighbor policy, 1933

  • To reassure Latin American countries that US wouldn't intervene in their internal affairs

  • Formally recognized Soviet regime in Russia in 1933


  • To prevent US involvement in another European war

  • 1935 - Banned munitions exports to belligerents and American travel on belligerent ships

  • 1936 - Banned loans to belligerents

  • 1937 - Non-munitions could be sold on Cash-and-Carry basis (belligerents had to pay for goods up front and "carry" the on their own ships. Helped Britain and Japan, hurt Germany and China).

  • 1939 - Munitions could be sold on Cash-and-Carry basis

  • 1940 - Destroyers for Bases - US would send destroyers to the Royal Navy (Britain) in exchange for US land rights on British territories (Bermuda, Newfoundland, Antigua, Bahamas, British Guiana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Trinidad) - US would become the "arsenal for democracy"

  • 1941 - Lend-lease. When British could no longer pay cash for arms and munitions, US would "lend" them war supplies.


  • Inspired by the Nye Commission and American desire for isolationism, the America First Committee warned that the U.S. should work to defend its borders instead of helping allies

  • Among the most notable members:

  • Charles Lindbergh (First aviator to fly across Atlantic alone on Spirit of St. Louis)

  • Father Charles Coughlin (Anti-Semitic radio preacher)

  • Henry Ford (Founder of Ford Motor Co. and assembly line)




  • Militarists seized political power 1931

  • Invaded Manchuria in China (Puyi)

  • US doesn't intervene

  • Japan sought to assert military power in East Asia

  • By Bombing Shanghai 1932

  • Withdrawing from League of Nations 1933

  • Renouncing Five-Power Naval Treaty 1934

  • Invading China’s northern provinces in 1937


  • Fascist Party of Mussolini

  • Benito Mussolini was socialists who fought in WWI

  • Changed his mind and organized National Fascist Party from unemployed veterans who were disappointed with outcome of war.

  • (Fascists from Roman prowess, unity, justice)

  • Italy Invaded Ethiopia 1935

  • Withdrew from League 1937

  • Conquering Albania 1939.


  • Hitler, leader of the National Socialist, Nazi Party

  • Pointed out injustices in Treaty of Versailles

  • Blamed troubles on Jews and other “inferior” races

  • After becoming chancellor 1933

  • Recalled the country’s representatives to League of Nations

  • Began to rearm German military

  • In violation of Treaty

  • Invaded Rhineland March. 1936

  • Area under French control, no resistance

  • Anschluss (Germany + Austria)

  • Sudetenland (ethnic Germans in western Czechoslovakia)

  • Appeasement (Munich Accords)

  • Allowed annexation of Sudentenland in exchange for Hitler guarantee to halt territorial expansion

  • Chamberlain “Peace in our time”

  • Invasion of Poland

  • Br. And Fr. Had promised to assist Poland.

  • Hitler signed nonaggression with Russia

  • To ensure Russia would not assist Poland

  • Germany invaded Poland Sept. 1, 1939

  • France and Britain declared war


  • Phony War (ending spring 1940) when Hitler began European military campaign in earnest

  • Blitzkrieg 1940

  • Control over W. European (Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, France)

  • France Vichy

  • Dunkirk – Br. Evacuate troops

  • Battle of Britain 1940

  • German invasion of Russia (Operation Barbarossa) Jun. 1941

  • Broke Nazi-Soviet pact

  • Within four months Hitler deep in Russia

  • Intense Russian winter.

  • Hitler’s greatest blunder. (Caused a two-front war)




  • Official policy of neutrality

  • Americans preference for Allies

  • Neutrality Act 1939

  • After Poland, Roosevelt asked members of Congress to revised Cash-and-carry neutrality act

  • Roosevelt promised British 50 destroyers

  • In exchange for long-term leases on bases in British colonies in western Hemisphere

  • Burke-Wadsworth Conscription Act (aka Selective Service and Training Act), 1940

  • First peacetime draft

  • All men between 21-35 had to register for year’s worth of military service


  • Roosevelt ran third term against Republican challenger Wendell Willkie in 1940

  • When Willkie fell behind in race

  • Accused Roosevelt of leading country into war

  • Said “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars”

  • Roosevelt won by landslide


  • During a fireside chat, FDR announced US would become "arsenal for democacy

  • And provide Britain and China with military supplies


  • Jan. 6, 1941 Roosevelt spoke of a future world order based on essential human freedoms:

  • Freedom of speech

  • Freedom of worship

  • Freedom from want

  • Freedom from fear

  • The Four Freedoms were incorporated into the Atlantic Charter and the United Nations charter

  • Illustrated by Norman Rockwell (below)


  • Permitted president to loan or lease arms to any nation considered vital to American defense

  • Britain and China received arms first

  • Then Soviet Union after Hitler’s invasion


  • German U-Boats (submarines) were sinking British ships

  • To deliver aid to Allies, Roosevelt claimed western Atlantic neutral territory,

  • In Sept. 1941, German U-boat fired on American destroyer – Roosevelt ordered “shoot on sight”

  • Then armed all merchant vessels

  • Then permitted American ships to enter combat zones and ports of nations at war


  • Roosevelt and Churchill met off Newfoundland

  • Created a set of “common principles” known as Atlantic Charter

  • Called for

  • “final destruction of Nazi tyranny”

  • Self-rule for all people

  • International economic cooperation

  • Disarmament and system of collective international security

  • Freedom of seas


  • When Japan invaded China 1937, Roosevelt called for “quarantine” of aggressor nations

  • 1940 Japan working with allies to secure foothold in SEA and Pacific to secure war materials (including rubber and oil)

  • Then widened scope

  • Right to build airfields in Indochina from Vichy govt.

  • Occupying French Indochina

  • Signing Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy to form Axis alliance

  • Signing nonaggression pact with Russians to ensure safety of northern front in China

  • American response

  • Granted loans to China

  • Refused to export arms to Japan

  • Froze all Japanese assets in US

  • Stopped exporting oil to Japan

  • Significant punishment

  • Considering 80% of Japanese oil came from US

  • Roosevelt refused to lift embargo until Japanese troops withdrew from China and Indochina

  • In Japan PM Fumimaro Konoye sought compromise

  • But militants led by War Minister Hideki Tojo pushed Konoye out of office

  • Japanese continued to negotiate with US

  • Military planned strike on Allied bases in Pacific.

  • Pearl Harbor

  • Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attacked naval base

  • Had sunk or damaged 19 ships, destroyed many planes,

  • Killed more than 2,400 service men and civilians.

  • Dec. 8, Roosevelt declared war

  • German declared war Dec. 11




  • Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamato

  • Believed only quick victories would allow Japan to beat the Allies

  • Attack on Pearl Harbor didn’t cripple US navy because aircraft carriers in Pacific Fleet had left Hawaii several days before attack

  • Japanese offensive

  • Guam, Wake Island, Gilbert Islands

  • Hong Kong and Singapore

  • Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

  • Burma

  • Philippines

  • Japanese bombed US airfields in Philippines

  • Americans under General Douglas MacArthur abandoned mainland and retreated

  • To Bataan Peninsula

  • March 1942 MacArthur escaped to Australia

  • Under orders from his superiors

  • April American troops retreated to island of Corregidor

  • Remaining American forces at Corregidor surrendered May 6

  • Battle of Coral Sea

  • US halted Japanese advances May 1942

  • Began when US forces encountered Japanese’s ships bound for New Guinea

  • US turned ships back

  • This victory prevented deployment of Japanese troops sent to participate in eventual invasion of Australia

  • Battle of Midway

  • US victory over Japanese June. 1942

  • After American cryptologists had uncovered secret Japanese plan to invade Hawaii, US Navy commanders decided to intercept Japanese fleet before it could attack

  • Japanese lost all four aircraft carriers they brought to Midway (US lost only one)

  • Japanese did not win another significant battle in the Pacific for rest of war



  • U-Boats and Battle of Atlantic

  • “Wolf packs” of German subs began making American shipping after US declared war

  • U-boats sank 100s of ships along US Atlantic coast and in Caribbean throughout 1942

  • By mid 1943 Allies had neutralized the dangers posed by U-boats and won Battle of Atlantic

  • Allied Strategy in Europe

  • Allies decide when and where to strike Germans and Italians

  • Stalin wanted British and Americans to stage cross-channel invasion of France ASAP to open second front and pull troops away from eastern front

  • Churchill wanted smaller offensives around edges to build up to full-scale invasion of Germany

  • Meeting with Churchill in Washington 1942

  • Roosevelt opted for British plan

  • Would get American troops into battle more quickly


  • North Africa Campaign

  • American ground forces first test in deserts of N. Africa

  • German forces under General Erwin Rommel had penetrated British-controlled Egypt

  • Hope of capturing Suez Canal

  • Oct. 1942, British halted Rommel’s advance at al-Alamein in Egypt

  • Then began pushing Germans back across Libya

  • Nov. 8, 1942

  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower landed American troops in French Morocco to join the British forces attacking Rommel

  • By May 1943

  • Allies had forced the Germans out of North Africa and clears way for invasion of Italy

  • Casablanca

  • Jan. 1943 Roosevelt and Churchill met in Casablanca Morocco to discuss war plans

  • Both Americans and British decide need more time to prepare for invasion of France

  • But agree to invade Italy via Sicily

  • And accept only unconditional surrender from Axis powers


  • 1943 Allies begin rolling back Axis in earnest

  • Churchill and Roosevelt ignored Stalin’s request to engage Germans on second front

  • Instead followed up on their success in N. Africa

  • But invading Italy

  • 1944 US and GB attack in West

  • Invaded France

  • Allies pressed on in Germany from both sides

  • Meeting in spring 1945

  • Forcing Germany’s surrender

  • Italian Campaign

  • July 1943, 160,000 Americans and British troops invaded island of Sicily

  • Unprepared to fight

  • Italians quickly retreated to Italian mainland

  • By end of month

  • Fascist regime had collapsed

  • Mussolini had fled to northern Italy

  • Italian govt. surrendered unconditionally and joined Allies

  • Hitler 11th hour campaign to restore Mussolini to power

  • Allies capture Rome June 1944



  • Cairo, Nov. 1943

  • Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin meet face to face first time

  • After conferring with Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo, Egypt, Allies issue Declaration of Cairo

  • Reaffirmed demand for Japan’s unconditional surrender

  • Promised to return all Chinese territory occupied by Japan to china

  • Declared Korean peninsula would become independent state from outside control

  • Tehran Conference Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 1943

  • Big Three plan final assault on Axis powers

  • Agree that US and GB would invade France in May

  • Soviet Union would begin fighting Japan once Germany had surrendered

  • All three would occupy Germany at end of war and establish postwar security organization



  • Bombing over Europe

  • U.S. and Br. planes lengthy bombing campaign against military and industrial targets in Germany

  • Targeted Dresden and Berlin – bombers delayed German war production and disrupted transportation

  • Depleted German air force

  • Distracted German military attention from other fronts

  • Reduced Hitler’s popularity among German people

  • D-Day

  • Middle 1944, US and BR to open second front with cross-channel invasion of France

  • Dubbed Operation Overlord

  • Germans prepared for an assault but mistakenly believe Allies would cross at narrowest point in English Channel and land at Pas de Calais near French-Belgian border

  • Instead 150,000 allied soldiers landed on beaches of Normandy France

  • On D-Day Jun. 6, 1944

  • Poor landing, logistical errors, German gun emplacements

  • Made invasion difficult

  • Allies eventually secured beach with help of paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines night before.

  • Within 2 weeks, million more Allied troops in France

  • Allies from West

  • Allies push through France toward Germany summer 1944

  • Most serious resistance by Germans at Battle of Bulge

  • By end of year, Americans, British, French in West and Russians in East

  • Had surrounded Germans

  • Surrender of Germany

  • After breaking through German lines at Battle of Bulge

  • American general Omar Bradley led troops to Berlin through central Germany

  • British through N.

  • Russians from East

  • Hitler to underground bunker in Berlin and committed suicide April 30

  • May 2, Berlin fell to Soviets

  • Unconditional surrender



  • Illness, died of massive stroke April 12, 1945

  • VP Truman takes over



  • Guadalcanal

  • First major US offensive in Pacific

  • In Solomon Islands, east of New Guinea

  • Aug. 7, 1942, first Marine division attacked Japanese installation building on airfield on island of Guadalcanal

  • Took 6 months to push Japanese off island and prevent them from building air bases from which to attack Australia and New Zealand.

  • Two pronged strategy after Guadalcanal

  • Recommendations of General MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz

  • American troops in S. Pacific would move northward through New Guinea and retake Philippines

  • While naval forces would simultaneously sweep westward through Pacific from Hawaii toward Japanese island outposts

  • Two would meet and prepare for invasion of Japan

  • Macarthur in South Pacific

  • US in Australia and New Guinea approach Philippines by attacking Japanese-controlled territory in South Pacific

  • Battle of Bismarck Sea lasted March 2-3, 1943

  • US forces sink 18 enemy ships and discourage Japanese from shipping future reinforcements to besieged islands

  • Victory allowed MacArthur’s forces to reclaim western Solomon Islands and northern coast of New Guinea with help of Australian troops

  • Nimitz in Central Pacific

  • Island-hopping campaign by attacking Japanese bases in Gilbert islands

  • Over next year, Nimitz moved westward across Pacific

  • 1944 conquered Marshall islands, Mariana Islands, western Caroline Islands

  • Battle of Leyte Gulf

  • MacArthur met with Nimitz Oct. 1944 at Leyte Gulf near Philippines

  • Battle of Leyte Gulf, largest naval battle in history

  • American forces decimated what remained of Japan’s navy

  • Japanese pilots kamikaze units attacked US battleships and aircraft carriers in suicide attacks

  • Iwo Jima and Okinawa

  • Fighting more costly and intense as approaching closer to Japan

  • Iwo Jima

  • Feb. 19, 1945, U.S. Marines land on Iwo Jima island - 750 miles from Tokyo

  • Secured island in six weeks - 7,000 dead

  • Okinawa

  • April 1, 1945 troops land on island of Okinawa, 370 miles from Tokyo

  • Took island in three months

  • More than 100,000 Japanese soldiers died, U.S. = 50,000 casualties



  • Manhattan Project

  • 1939 Einstein warned Roosevelt that Germans experimenting with nuclear fission in hope of creating own atomic bomb

  • Roosevelt funds to secret nuclear research program called Manhattan Project.

  • More than 100,000 people worked on secret project

  • In 37 locations

  • Robert Oppenheimer led research team based in Los Alamos, New Mexico

  • July 16, 1945, first explosion in desert

  • Truman’s ultimatum

  • Feared 250,000 Allied troops would die in invasion of japan

  • After hearing successful test at Alamogordo, Truman ultimatum to Japanese

  • Demanded surrender unconditionally before Aug. 3, 1945 or “utter devastation”

  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  • Enola Gay Aug. 6, 1945, dropped bomb, flattened city and killed 78,000 instantly

  • By end of year 70,000 more died from radiation

  • Aug. 9, US second bomb, Nagasaki, killed more than 100,000

  • Japanese surrender

  • Sept. 2, 1945




  • War Production Board

  • War Manpower Commission

  • Office of Price Administration


  • War bonds

  • Increased taxes

  • Government began withholding income tax from paychecks


  • 1000s of aircraft,100,000 armored vehicles, more than 2 million trucks manufactured.

  • Synthetic rubber replaced natural resources

  • New inventions

  • Radar, jet engines

  • West Coast

  • Became center for military-industrial production.

  • California received 1/10th of all federal spending


  • Two million workers moved to California to fill jobs in defense-related industries.

  • The government forced employers to recognize unions

  • Union leaders agreed not to strike

  • But there were still some walkouts because of the increased speed of assembly line production and frozen wages


  • "Victory gardens"


  • Rosie the Riveter

  • More than 1/3 of the civilian labor force made up of women in 1944

  • Women began working in jobs formally restricted to men


  • 70% of Japanese-Americans lived in California

  • Mostly vegetable farmers

  • 1/3 were issei (first generation) rest were mostly nisei (second generation Japanese)

  • Executive Order 9066 (Feb. 1942)

  • Ordered relocation of all people of Japanese descent in West Coast

  • More than 100,000 moved (2/3 American citizens)

  • Didn't apply to Japanese in Hawaii because they made up nearly 40% of the population

  • Korematsu v. United States(1944)

  • Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American had been arrested because he refused to be interred

  • He sued the United States because Japanese were relocated without due process

  • The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the internment policy

  • Congress apologized and gave $20,000 to each survivors of the Internment in 1988


  • A. Philip Randolph

  • Threatened a march on Washington

  • To prevent march, FDR passed Executive Order 8802

  • Executive Order 8802

  • Banned discrimination in the defense industry

  • And created Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) to enforce integration

  • "liberty trains"

  • 100s of 1000 black migrants left South to find jobs in industry

  • Double V Campaign

  • Nazi theories about a master race discredited racial inequality in America

  • African-Americans vowed to fight for Victory abroad and Victory over racism domestically

  • The American Dilemma


  • "Patriotic assimilation"

  • Bracero Program

  • Mexican and American governments agreed to send 10s of 1000s of Mexican laborers to work in the United States as agricultural workers

  • Lasted until 1964 - 4.5 million Mexicans

  • Mexicans lived in barrios (ethnic neighborhoods)

  • Mexicans considered "white" but racism against them


  • Los Angeles


  • Transmitted messages in their own language


Offered veterans college tuition, job training, health care and loans to start businesses or buy farms

Local authorities limited benefits to black veterans

  • LEQ

  • Analyze the home-front experiences of TWO of the following groups during the Second World War. (2009)

  1. African Americans

  2. Japanese Americans

  3. Jewish Americans

  4. Mexican Americans

  • SAQ (2017)

  • Briefly explain ONE important way in which the Second World War transformed the relationship of the United States with the rest of the world.

  • Briefly explain ONE important way in which the Second World War transformed United States society.

  • Briefly explain ANOTHER important way in which the Second World War transformed United States society.

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