World War II Essay Questions

World War II Questions
Due 3/20 Short Answer Aim for two fully-developed paragraphs per response. 1. In what ways did FDR’s administration move the country toward war prior to December 1941? Consider policies aimed at helping other countries resist Axis expansion and efforts to put the country on a war footing. FDR’s administration had formally claimed Neutrality through Congressional legislation at the start of the war, but there is no questioning which side America was quietly loyal to-- the side that was opposing the Axis powers. This became very clear through the administration’s metamorphosis of the initially strict Neutrality Act, starting from no selling of weapons to any side, then, as Hitler was positioned to take over all of Europe, the act was suddenly altered to a new “cash and carry” gun sales policy. This policy is fully altered as the US decides to clearly commit to help nations that are being victimized by the Axis powers and gives itself the task of supplying and transporting weapons to these populations through the Lend Lease Bill in March of 1941. Any sign of american neutrality had vanished, as FDR and his staff made a message of their intention to protect nations from the Axis invasions. Furthermore, the United States made other indications that it was moving toward entering the second world war with starting the 1st peacetime conscription of soldiers to get ready to enter the conflict at any given moment. This action served as a means of preparation if any serious threat to America arose, but also it showed the European and Asian Axis powers that they had something to worry about in the West. The political action in America at the time even centered around the public’s differing opinions on the US’s involvement in the war activities, with the Committee to Defend America strongly pushing for the nation’s support of England and the Allies and the America First Committee arguing for steadfast isolationism and no US involvement. The public’s continued conversation on the topic of entering the war showed a clear proclivity for some sort of action, and as the Committee to Defend America gathered more and more support, it became clearer that the country and the administration were situating itself for the perfect time to pounce. Lastly, the meeting of FDR and Winston Churchill off the coast of Newfoundland in the Atlantic Conference and the derision of Postwar Goals further enforces the side that America was on and the preparation for after the war was obviously an indication that there would be US participation at some point. 2. Describe United States military strategy in the European, Pacific and North African theaters from 1942 to 1945. Identify at least 3 major campaigns, battles and/or strategies in each theater of the war. (paragraph for each area) The fighting as it appeared in the European theater became commonly known as the Western front. Churchill and Roosevelt initiated their plan of advance attacks on Europe, starting in Sicily and then gaining ground through the rest of Italy. This effort began in January of 1943 and the Allied strategy was insistent of an unconditional surrender. The Allies continued to push further into Northern Italy to keep the Italian army occupied so the Soviets would have more time. Although this strategy through Italy would end up prolonging the war while it delayed the more important invasion of Europe, holding up the Italian forces proved to be very beneficial for the Soviets. The most major invasion of Europe came at the Battle of Normandy and the Allies were able to deceive the Germans into thinking they were attacking a different part of the area. Hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers sieged the beaches of Normandy, which would later be known as D-Day, and eventually took back the entire northern part of France from the Germans. This battle is known as the turning point of the war on the European front and this acquisition blocked the flow of German troops from France to help aid in the Axis eastern front. In the North African theater of the war, Operation Torch was an Allied invasion of French North Africa that lasted from November 8th through 10th in 1942. Torch was aimed at opening the Mediterranean for Allied shipping. The Allies attacked simultaneously from Casablanca, Oran and Algiers, and once they successfully invaded these regions the plan was to move east into Tunisia. In the Tunisia campaign, the British and American forces were able to outnumber the German and Italian forces in Tunisia and herd them toward a small pocket on the shoreline, prompting the Axis powers to surrender the capital city over to the Allies. The United States entered the war primarily in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. With the Battle of Coral Sea, the US had assistance from the Australian military to resist the Japanese threat in the Coral Sea. The strategic placement of troops before the Japanese could have enough of a hold in this region and the usage of aircraft carrier ships was instrumental to this Allied victory in the Pacific. The battle of Iwo Jima involved the Allied acquisition of the island of Iwo Jima to have a staging area for the eventual attacks on the Japanese mainland. After a month of fighting, the marines were able to wipe out the defending forces and gain control of the strategic island. 3. How did America mobilize for war in World War II? Consider government organizations, major economic and social trends, and the role of technological innovation. The United States made many changes within the country once they became involved with the world war. In particular, the creation of new government organizations became very popular; the War Productions Board was created to allocate resources for the war, the Office of Price Administration was able to freeze prices, wages and ration meat, gas, sugar, etc., as a means for protection and sustainability of American citizens. Economically the war played an important role in pulling the United States out of the dark hole of severe debt due to the weapon production sector. By producing the weapons and supplies needed for the war, the US was able to give citizens paying jobs and the factories were back to full production. Socially, the war changed many things for the United States. While the men were away fighting, it was actually the women that left the realm of domesticity and entered the workforce. The image of ‘Rosie the Riveter’ was plastered all over the country to empower women to take over this new role in society. On the war front, women were given the first chance in the history of the country to take over non-combat roles abroad. Additionally, this period presented social changes for the African Americans. About one million blacks migrated from the South to the North and West to take advantage of the booming defense industry. However, upon their arrival, African Americans were faced with the issue of racism and many workers of other races wanted them expelled from the defense industry and said they did not belong there. Even further, the men fighting abroad for freedom and equality were serving on segregated military forces. Because of these blatant disregard for the blacks’ civil rights, the NAACP ended up gaining hundred of thousands of new followers, all in support of the war against slavery. 4. How did the United States and its allies achieve victory over the Axis powers? Consider political, military and technology. The United States and its democratic and capitalistic society were able to achieve victory with their allies due to their superior military superiors and strategies and their advanced war technology. Because the US was fundamentally different than the militarized fascist states of their opposition, the country was collectively united and the private sector in the US was able to develop and flourish into the development of useful innovations in technology. Also, the fact that the United States was able to stay neutral in the war for so long and begin to prepare their armies and supplies for the possibility to fight for over a year, caused them to enter the war with strength and preparation. In addition, the gathered idea of military excess, shared by the excellent generals Eisenhower and MacArthur, proved to work well for the US in overwhelming the enemy lines into submission. The specific military technology that aided the United States and their Allies in winning World War II included the atomic bomb and use of sonar in submarine warfare. The atomic bomb was created in the Manhattan project and the USA’s usage of the weapon on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused Japan to finally surrender to the Allies. The US was able to use sonar in the improvement of their submarine warfare against the Axis powers, which completely changed the war in the water. 5. Explain the evolution of Hitler’s policy of creating a “supreme race.” What early actions could have taken place to stop Hitler’s actions. Adolf Hitler morphed his ideology from the notion that the aryan race was superior to all others, into the eventual extermination of all groups that he considered to deviate too strongly from his ideal norm. ‘The Holocaust’ is most remembered as it applied to the Jewish population in Europe, who suffered millions of lives as a result of his ambitions. This disastrous progression could have been stopped if more attention was put on the notable, smaller events that began to build off one another. For instance, the ‘night of the broken glass’ was a night in which the stores and businesses of Jewish individuals were destroyed and vandalized by the Nazis. Afterward, the Jews were forced to wear a star of david on their clothing to be more easily identified by officers. The next event was the mass removal of Jews from their homes into ghettos where they suffered unimaginable hunger and poverty. Many steps could have been taken to prevent the eventual mass homicide that took place at the concentration camps. To start, other countries could have offered refuge to the persecuted groups instead of turning them away. In order to stop this man from committing such damage to other countries and his own citizens, it would have been wise to initiate military intervention earlier on, which would have undoubtedly saved millions of lives and dollars. In wake of the atrocious events that transpired because of Hitler, it is safe to say the world cannot afford to turn a blind eye to international injustices ever again. 6. Was President Truman justified in ordering the dropping of the atomic bombs in July 1945? Offer reasons to support your views. Ordering the dropping of the two atomic bombs was justified because the United States, at the Potsdam Conference, had clearly warned Japan of consequences if they didn’t unconditionally surrender. However, the Japanese refused to give in to the United States and their Allies. There was no chance that the United States could allow Furthermore, the second bomb would have also been warranted because Japan continued their refusal to surrender even after the first bomb landed in Hiroshima. The Japanese were willing to give up more civilian lives if it meant they could still continue the war. These bombs were necessary because they helped end the war and prevent further bloodshed. Although around 200,000 were killed between both of the bombing, that number pales in comparison to the estimated 1 million lives that would have been lost if the United States would’ve had to invade the Japanese mainland. 
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