Chapter
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Objectives
• Find out how the United States built its military
and converted its economy to meet wartime
needs.
• Learn how American women contributed to the
war effort.
• Discover how World War II affected Japanese
Americans and other groups of people at home.
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Chapter
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Terms and People
• rationing – the act of setting limits on the
amount of scarce goods people can buy
• intern – temporarily imprison
• A. Philip Randolph – head of a labor union
called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
• bracero – a Mexican laborer
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How did the home front respond to
American participation in the war?
World War II involved the people and
resources of each nation on a scale that had
never been seen before.
Americans at home labored in neighborhoods,
factories, and fields to help win the war.
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Building the Military
The Draft
• In 1940, Congress passed a draft law, and just days
after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it revised the law
to require people to serve for the entire war.
Men
Mobilize
• More than 15 million American volunteers and
draftees served in the armed forces during World
War II, including men from every ethnic and religious
group.
Women
Mobilize
• Hundreds of thousands of American women served in
the armed forces as nurses or in noncombat roles
such as the Women’s Army Corps (WACs).
• Women pilots ferried bombers from base to base,
towed targets, and taught men to fly.
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The government established a War Production Board to
supervise industry as it hastily converted its output from
consumer to military goods.
The war quickly
ended the Great
Depression, because
now there were jobs
for everyone,
including minorities.
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Americans were expected to help supply Allied
forces with food, clothing, and war equipment.
Americans planted
victory gardens and
bought war bonds.
To conserve needed
resources, the
government
imposed rationing.
These measures boosted the public’s morale
by giving citizens at home a sense that they
were helping to win the war.
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Defense industries began to recruit women for
industry, in order to replace the men who went to
war.
Women worked in factories
and shipyards and became
police officers and bus drivers.
A fictional character, “Rosie the
Riveter,” became a popular
symbol of all women who
worked for the war effort.
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Because women
were needed in
industry, they
were able to gain
better pay and
working
conditions.
The government
agreed that women
and men should get
the same pay for
the same job, but
some employers
found ways to avoid
equal pay.
Many women gained confidence and
independence through their work.
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Treatment of African Americans
Segregated
Units
• As in past wars, African Americans served in
segregated units during World War II.
• The NAACP and other groups protested
against the racial policy of the armed forces
and the military nursing corps.
Discrimination
in Industry
• Discrimination was also widespread in
industries doing business with the
government.
• Some African American leaders pointed
out that while the nation was fighting for
democracy overseas, it still permitted
injustice at home.
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Union leader A. Philip
Randolph threatened a mass
protest unless Roosevelt ended
discrimination in the armed
forces.
Roosevelt ordered employers
doing business with the
government to support racial
equality in hiring.
To investigate charges of discrimination, he set up the
Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).
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By the end of 1944, about two million African
Americans were working in war plants.
Americans—black and white—moved to the cities to
work in industry.
In 1943, race riots
broke out in
Detroit, New York,
and other American
cities.
Competition for
scarce housing led
to angry incidents
and even violence.
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About 500,000 Mexican Americans served in
the armed forces during World War II.
Due to the need for
workers, in 1942 the U.S.
signed a treaty with Mexico
that allowed American
companies to hire
braceros.
As more Mexicans moved north to work on farms
and railroads, they often faced prejudice and
violence.
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Young Mexican Americans in Los Angeles often wore
“zoot suits.”
In June 1943, bands of sailors on
shore leave attacked young Mexican
Americans. These incidents sparked
several days of rioting.
Many blamed the “Zoot Suit Riots” on
the Mexican Americans, but the riots
were actually the result of prejudice
and discrimination.
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During the war, Americans became
suspicious of people from Axis countries.
Some German and Italian
Americans were held in
government camps as
“enemy aliens.”
Most of these were
foreign-born residents
who had not yet
achieved citizenship.
The War at Home
Other German
Americans and
Italian Americans
faced curfew or
travel restrictions.
Chapter
24 Section 3
At the start of the war, about 300,000 people of
Japanese origin lived in the United States.
After the attack on
Pearl Harbor, many
Americans feared
that Japanese
Americans would act
as spies.
However, during World
War II, there were no
cases of disloyalty by
Japanese Americans.
Nevertheless, Americans’ intense anti-Japanese
fears led President Roosevelt to issue Executive
Order 9066 in February 1942.
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The order was
used to intern
some 110,000
Japanese
Americans in
small camps for
the duration of
the war.
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Whole families were rounded up for internment
and were allowed to bring only what they could
carry.
They lived in
small, barren
camps
surrounded by
barbed wire.
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Korematsu v. United
States
The Supreme Court
ruled that military
necessity justified
internment, although
three of the justices
dissented.
When the war ended,
the government
released the
internees.
In 1948, it made a
small payment to
them for the property
they had lost.
In 1990, the U.S. formally apologized and paid
each surviving internee $20,000.
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Chapter
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Despite the unjust treatment, about 17,000
Japanese Americans joined the army.
One all-Japanese unit became
the most decorated unit in
U.S. history.
The War at Home
Chapter
24 Section 3
Section Review
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