WORLD WAR II
AMERICA AT WAR
1941 - 1945
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
How did Roosevelt mobilize the armed forces?
In what ways did the government prepare the
economy for war?
How did the war affect daily life on the home
PREPARING FOR WAR
President Franklin D. Roosevelt-fireside chats
First peace time draft Sept 1940
Increased defense spending
Selective Training and Service Act—required
all males ages 21-36 to register for the military
GIs- abbreviation of ‘Government Issue’, name
for those in the service
More than 16 million Americans served
They were in the swamps, hot deserts, and evil
Front line soldiers daily struggled to stay alive
Dreamed of home
Fought to preserve freedoms
NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE MILITARY
Code Talkers/Wind Talkers- Navajo Marines who
operated radio waves.
Needed a code that the enemy couldn’t crack
Based on Navajo language
Key in many battles
AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE MILITARY
Tuskegee Airmen-first African American flying
At first officials limited African Americans to
Cooks, drivers, garbage pick up
After 1942 – gave opportunities to fight.
WOMEN IN THE MILITARY
Personnel shortage allowed women into all
positions EXCEPT combat.
Women worked as clerks, typists, airfield
controllers tower operators, mechanics,
Some towed practice targets for antiaircraft
300,000 Mexican Americans
1 Million African Americans
25, 000 Native Americans
1944 heavy casualties forced integration in units
PREPARING THE ECONOMY FOR WAR
Other Allies production of war goods was down
Bombs destroyed a lot of factories
Japan controlled much of the Pacific which cut off
precious raw materials
Rubber, oil, and tin
War Production Board (WPB)- supervised the
switch from producing peacetime products to war
Office of War Mobilization:
James F. Byrnes
Superagency in the centralization of resources
Even Ford Motor company switched
Henry Kaiser’s new production technique for
Cut time needed to build one ship from 200 days to
Liberty ships—large and sturdy merchant ships
which carried supplies or troops (designed by
Cost-plus system: the government paid
businesses (who made war goods)
1944 American production levels doubled those of
all Axis nations put together
80,000 landing craft
100,000 armored cars and tanks
5,600 merchant ships
6 million rifles, carbines, and machine guns
41 BILLION rounds of ammunition!
WARTIME WORK FORCE
Unemployment vanished with war production
They earned more money; wages rose 50%-
(adjusted for inflation)
“Not a day passes but you’ll hear somebody say to
a worker who seems to be slowing down, ‘there’s
a war on, you know!’”
Mostly women workers
“There’s a war on, you know!”
Rosie the Riveter
Federal spending increased from $8.9 billion per
year (1939) to $95.2 billion (1945)
U.S. spent about $321 billion (1941-1945) ten
times amount spent on WWI
PAYING FOR THE WAR
Higher taxes paid 41% of the cost of war
Treasury Department-buy war bonds
$186 billion—total war bond sales
Went further into debt!
1940 – deficit spending made the US debt $43
1945 - $259 billion in debt!
Almost everyone had someone in the military
Relied on the radio for war news
End of the depression raised people spirits
Population grew by 7.5 million between 1940-45
30-million people moved.
Families of soldiers moved
People moved to take jobs
HOME FRONT: SHORTAGES AND CONTROLS
Goods were limited
Metal that made zippers went to make guns
Rubber tires for army trucks not bicycle wheels.
Nylon stocking vanished b/c nylon was needed for
Those who found the ration rules confusing or
complained they would be asked “Don’t you know
there’s a war on?”
Between troop needs and enemy stopping
The military needed vast amounts of food
Gas was rationed
OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION (OPA)
When demand is greater than supply prices go
OPA was to control inflation by limiting prices
OPA assigned point values to sugar, coffee, meat,
butter, caned fruit, and shoes
Ration books of coupons were given to last a
Goods were given a certain amount of points
Once points/coupons were used up you had to
wait for the next ration book or trade with
Based on family size
Took into account distance and needs of farmers
With less goods available—turned to
Books and magazines
Bought recordings of popular songs (‘White
Women in baseball
Went to the movies every week (60% of the
Need to maintain morale
Wanted citizens to participate in war effort
Office of War Information
Created poster/ads to stir American patriotic feelings
Older men: join the Civilian Defense effort
Kids: Scrap metal drives
Grow Victory Gardens
Knit scarves and socks for the war
Roll bandages for the Red Cross
“Play YOUR Part”
“Conserve and Collect”
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”
NORTH PLATTE CANTEEN
December 25, 1941 – April 1, 1946
Served sandwiches, coffee, cookies and cakes to 6
million servicemen during stops.
RETAKING EUROPE: QUESTIONS
Where did Americans join the struggle against
How did the war in the Soviet Union change from
1941 to 1943?
What role did air power play in the war in
Why did the invasion of Western Europe succeed?
What events marked the end of the war in
RETAKING EUROPE (SECTION 2)
Roosevelt and Churchill meet August 1941
Declared principles to guide them in the war:
They didn’t want territory
They didn’t want any territory changes
Each group of people can choose own government
Final destruction of Nazi tyranny
All nations must stop using force
THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
Brits desperately needed Atlantic trade routes
Allied trade ships were attacked by U-boats
Allied formed convoys
20 U-boats that hunted enemy convoys in
Took out 175 allied ships in 1942 alone.
Some in sight of the US coastline.
HOW TO STOP WOLF PACKS?
SONAR: underwater sound equipment (sort of
175 Allied ships sunk in June 1942
Long range sub hunting aircraft-worked
Better depth charges
Cut off U-Boats from their ports in Germany and
THE MAJOR PLAYERS OF THE ATLANTIC
WAR; WESTERN FRONT; EUROPEAN
Churchill – Prime Minister of England
Roosevelt – US President
Josef Stalin – Chairman of Soviet Union
PLAYERS FOR THE FASCISTS
Hitler – Germany
Mussolini - Italy
THE GENERALS: ALLIES
Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)
Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces
THE GENERALS: UNITED STATES
George Patton : 1885 – 1945.
As a boy knew he wanted to be a
Early on realized the potential
Did NOT have good diplomacy
THE BRILLIANT NAZI GENERALS
Rommel “The Desert Fox”
Erwin Rommel (1891 – 1944)
Great tank commander
Used surprise and bold moves.
Was NOT a member of the Nazi
THE NORTH AFRICA CAMPAIGN
February 1943: US had their butts kicked
by the Nazis.
May 1943: US came back, defeated Nazis
and took 240,000 German and Italians
2000 ended up in POW camps in Nebraska.
Roosevelt and Churchill met again to decide
INVASION OF ITALY: START RETAKING
7th Army under Patton took Sicily and the
English started to invade the mainland of Italy.
Mussolini’sFascists turned against him.
Nazis rescued Mussolini
Set him up in a Puppet Government in
THERE IS STILL MORE…
Battle of Anzio and Cassino trapped Americans
and English and went from January – May 1944.
Allies v. German Nazis
April 1945 Italy was in Allied control.
ITALY: END OF MUSSOLINI
Finally after heavy fighting complete surrender
Caught by the Italians as he tried to leave Italy
and escape to Germany.
Ended by the Italians.
WAR IN THE SOVIET UNION
The Germans advance in Russia 1941 –
Germans quickly gained control
Nazis were first greeted as liberators by
the ethnic nationalities in Russia.
They hated Stalin.
Nazis turned on the local people.
People engaged in guerrilla actions against the
Stalin had the army destroy everything
Scorched Earth Policy
Stalin BEGGED Roosevelt and Churchill to
invade Western Europe to take some pressure off
the Red Army.
S.U. weapon: Winter
September 1942 – January 1943
Winter counter attack by S.U.
Turningpoint in the eastern war
“Completely cut off, the men in the field grey just
slouched on, invariable filthy and invariable
louse-ridden, their weary shoulders sagging, from
one defense position to another. The icy winds of
those great white wastes which stretched for ever
beyond us to the east lashed a million crystals or
razor-like snow into their unshaven faces, skin
now loose-stretched over bone, so utter was the
exhaustion, so utter the starvation”
German infantryman Dec 1942
BATTLE OF STALINGRAD
Jan 31, 1943:
90,000 surviving Germans surrendered,
Germany lost 330,000 troops at Stalingrad
Soviet losses not known: estimated 1,100,000
Nazis lost their holdings in Russia.
Siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg today)
THE ALLIED AIR WAR
Scattering large number of bombs over a
40,000 died in one day in Hamburg, Germany
B-17s Flying Fortress
Bombed: aircraft factories, railways, plants, bridges,
INVASION OF WESTERN EUROPE
Time to go after the Nazis in Germany.
Allies are going to invade Europe but where?
D-DAY: WHY JUNE 6TH?
Rommel’s wife’s birthday!
Took the chance he would go to be with her.
He took the bait!
D-DAY (OPERATION OVERLORD)
June 6, 1944 some 4,600 invasion craft
left England for France.
1,000 RAF aircraft dropped 23,000
paratroopers in France
D-Day: day the invasion of Western
150,000 Allied troops and equipment came
ashore along 60 miles of Normandy coast
Largest landing by sea in history
Germans resisted-a lot
But half million men came ashore
“It seemed like the whole world exploded. There
was gunfire from battleships, destroyers, and
cruisers. The bombers were still hitting the
beaches… As we went in, we could see small craft
from the 116th infantry that had gone in ahead,
sunk. There were bodies bobbing in the water,
even out three or four miles.”
-Lieutenant Robert Edlin
D-DAY OMAHA BEACH
12 major resistance nests that reigned fire down
over every inch of the beach.
IF they made it to the beach.
If you made it to the beach
If you made it across the beach
You had to climb up a cliff to reach the Germans.
Landing was hard – currents.
Trouble happened later.
3,000 American, British
2,000 German casualties
By the next week 500,000
Allies were in France.
Patton used a Blitzkrieg to blow a
hole through the Germans to
advance out of Normandy.
Then pushed on towards Paris
With French Resistance they
liberated Paris August 25, 1944.
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
December 1944 Germans cut off part of the
American army from the main group.
German attacked and pushed back U.S. army
Forming a bulge in the Allied line
Patton did an amazing movement in winter of
troops to save the American forces.
600,000 GI soldiers involved
80,000 killed, wounded
100,000 Germans killed
THE WAR IN EUROPE ENDS
Difficult fighting in France between Germany &
More than 9 million soldiers were fighting on the
Horrific costs: 11million Soviets and 3 millions
Crossing the Elbe River
Hitler stayed in Berlin as Soviets surrounded
He committed suicide on April 30, 1945
May 8, 1945: Germany surrenders
V-E: Victory in Europe.
FDR, Churchill, Stalin met to discuss the peace.
Plan was to divide German territories and Berlin
into four zones, each controlled by an Ally:
England, US, France, Russia.
Repair the economy
Rid the zone of Nazis
Hold free elections
Get out after repairs are done.
Stalin didn’t keep to the agreement.
Punished the Germans
Stole what was left of the economy
Did NOT hold free elections.
Put puppet communist regimes in.