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The History of the United

States Part 6 (1918-1945)

Monumental moments in American history transpired during this time. WWI ended. The Roaring
Twenties saw an explosion of music, culture, technology, and new social realities among Americans. Then,
America witnessed the worst economic tragedy in its history with the Great Depression. Homes were gone,
homelessness grew, and suffering was widespread. Also, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with his
strengths and imperfections, used his excellent leadership ability to allow America to escape the Great
Depression with his New Deal policies. The New Deal literally saved the lives of millions of Americans.
America saw World War II, and it transformed America from being more isolationist among some of its
population to being more international in scope both militarily plus trade wise. The end of this era of
American history saw America to be the strongest superpower in human history. Racism and other
injustices existed, but many Americans, like Mary McLeod Bethune and A. Philip Randolph, back then
fought hard in opposing such evil injustices as well. Overcoming adversity, determination, and justice are
concepts embraced by progressive Americans who love truth.
Maj. Charity E. Adams and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell inspect the 6888th Central Postal Directory
Battalion while stationed in England, February 15, 1945 (U.S. Department of Defense).

Contents
*Preface
*The Roaring Twenties
*Traditionalism vs. Modernism
*The Second Major rise of the Klan
*Prohibition
*The Culture of the 1920’s
*African American Culture (including the
Harlem Renaissance and Jazz)
*The Great Depression
*Hard Times
*President Herbert Hoover
*The New Deal
*The Second New Deal
*The Legacy of the New Deal
*The Culture of the 1930’s
*World War II
*The Further Rise of Fascism
*Isolationism vs. Interventionism
*America Enters the War
*The Allies Winning
*The Home Front
*The Allied Victory in Europe and in the
Pacific
*Remembering the Holocaust
*The Aftermath of World War II
Preface
Extraordinary events took place from 1918 - 1945. the reality that poverty declined as a product of the
America massively evolved from a more isolationist military/industrial mobilization for World War
nation to the largest interventionist, industrial Two.
country in the globe. The WWI aftermath (filled
with economic dislocation, the failure American involvement in WWII
of the League of Nations, and the experienced many steps. It included
growth of fascist/authoritarian first non-intervention, then the
regimes) ironically caused World War Lend-Lease Program (or lending
II. During the 1920's, America saw a money by America to the Allies in
financial boom while farmers suffered opposition to the Nazis), and finally
economic distress and black people overt U.S. involvement in WWII
experienced racism, discrimination, after the destructive Japanese
and brutal lynching. Mexican attacks on Pearl Harbor. Americans
Americans, Native Americans, and in World War II acted as heroes to
Asian Americans faced racism and save lives, to defeat the Axis forces,
other forms of oppression too. and to rescue the victims of
Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd Fighter
Xenophobia was rampant with Group, United States Army Air Forces
the evil Holocaust.
bigoted immigration quota rules. (USAAF), attend a briefing at Ramitelli
There was also the growth of jazz, Airfield, Italy in March 1945. At the same time in the
pop music, movies, early swing, American home-front, there
and Prohibition (which saw more gangs, were labor strikes, racial riots, and other events
speakeasies, and the underground selling of transpired from 1941-1945. African Americans,
alcohol). When the stock market crashed by Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, and
excessive reliance on credit, financial speculation, Native Americans sacrificed their time and their
and other reckless financial policies from the lives to serve in the U.S. military. The end of World
oligarchs, the Great Depression commenced. War II caused America to be the most powerful
Unemployment grew, people lost their life savings, superpower on Earth. The irony is that the end of
and the Dust Bowl was in existence. Subsequently, WWII caused the once allies of the United States
President Hoover's policies were too little and too of America and the Soviet Union to be enemies
late to end the massively destructive economic during the Cold War. After World War II, black
conditions. Therefore, President Franklin Delano people, women, other people of color, and other
Roosevelt was elected President in 1933 in response human beings saw more opportunities and they
to Hoover's failures. FDR spoke of change, experienced the similar problem of oppression in
solutions, and he gave inspiration to the American their legitimate quests for true justice. This era of
people via his fireside chats. FDR used the First and United States history caused some of the most
Second New Deals as a way for him to try to end important developments in human history.
the Great Depression. The New Deal experiment Nothing would be same again by 1945.
expanded the federal government massively. It
decreased the poverty rate in America along with
The Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties included both cultural greatness and fights against racism. It included both economic
growth and massive economic inequality. It was a time unparalleled in American history and one of the most
interesting periods in world history. From jazz to cars, creativity persisted during the 1920’s. From 1919 to 1929,
America experienced massive changes. The economy boomed. More revolutionary means of production allowed
American consumers to buy more items quicker. Stock prices grew. Factories produced more goods and wages
increased. With this reality, more Americans brought items. The car maker Henry Ford revolutionized mass
production. Mass production was about the mass production of large numbers of identical products in order to
create things more efficiently. Back during the beginning of the 20th century, mostly the rich could afford cars.
The automobile was seen as a tool of the privileged. When cars came into rural areas, they were filled with dust
and they scared animals like goats plus cows. By 1901, an inexpensive car was created by Ransom Olds called the
Oldsmobile.

By 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T. This was another inexpensive car. It sold for $850. He made a new
plant in the Detroit River to have the car created from steel, glass, oil, and rubber. These items were manufactured
in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Ford used assembly lines. They were similar to meatpacking plants
where folks used tools to move meat around in preparing for foods. The Assembly line had a worker add an item
to the machine and then another worker would do a different job until the car was completely created. This
process decreased the time to form a Model T from more than 12 hours to just 90 minutes. So, the cost of the
Model T declined from $350 to $290 by 1927. From 10 percent of Americans owning the Model T to 56% of
Americans owning it in 1927, it was the first car that ordinary Americans could buy. Gas stations developed in
America. Cars influenced the developments of the highway system. Route 66 ran from Illinois to California.
Advertising developed greatly and more Americans traveled in vacations. Wages for car
makers also increased. Henry Ford increased wages because he knew that if people had
fair wages and were given more leisure time, then more consumers would buy his
products and his car development plans would massively improve.

The automobile industry transformed America. Steel, glass, rubber, asphalt, wood,
gasoline, insurance, and road-construction industries were helped by the car industry.
Oil discoveries in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma gave workers new
economic resources in the Southwest. 1926 was when the federal government invested in
more highways. In these places, service stations, diners, and motor hotels or motels
The Charleston was one
increased. Railroads and trolleys declined in their usage because of the rise of the usage of
of the most famous
dances of the 1920’s.
cars. More Americans saw freedom and prosperity with automobiles. Families traveled
This image above to the country. More people went into the suburbs from the cities with cars. More
shows Sister Jospehine people from the suburbs also came to work into large cities. Economically, the 1920’s saw
Baker doing the a consumer boom. More people brought items with credit from washing machines,
Charleston in the year vacuum cleaners, and irons. Electricity governed the power of machines. Installment
of 1926 at Folies
buying or paying a down payment on something and pay the rest later was
Bergere at Paris, France.
commonplace. Rising stock prices developed in the bull market. Some bought on
margin as in credit. More people flocked to the cities from the rural areas including
African Americans via the Great Migration.
Life during the 1920’s

King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band was


one of the greatest bands of the 20
th
Adverstising for cars and other This was a recreation of the Ford T
century. It had legends like Louis items were abundant during the of 1925. Cars in the 1920’s were
Armstrong, Lil Hardin (Armstrong’s 1920’s. creative and became more cheaper
wife), Bill Johnson, Honroe Dutrey, allowing many human begins to
Johnny Dodds, and other people. own them and travel into many
places.

Babe Ruth was one of the most


famous baseball players in history.
Charlie Chaplin was born in He was in his prime in his Major
The Chrysler Building of New York England. He is well known for being
City was created by 1930 and League Baseball career during the
involved in comedy, acting, 1920’s. Baltimore was the place of
constructed during the late 1920’s. composing, and filmmaker. His
It represented the worldwide his birth and he accelerated even
career spanned more than 75 more the growth of baseball via his
influence of America. years. He lived to be 88 years old talent.
and passed away in 1977. His life
has been filled with praise and
controversy.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Florence Mills (1896-1927) was a


Bessie Smith (1895-1937) was one great African American singer,
Fitzgerald outlined the massive of the greatest blues singers of the
economic growth of the 1920’s dancer, and comedian. She publicly
1920’s and the 1930’s. She called for the equality of African
along with the social problems of influenced many jazz singers. Her
the time. Americans. Her song “I’m a Little
songs were honest and she was Blackbird” called for racial equality.
honest in her life. She was in the She married Ulysses Thompson.
film St. Louis Blues.
Cities like New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Detroit exponentially expanded their populations
from 1910 to 1930. The Empire State Building was finished in 1931. Suburbs grew too as cars allowed people to
travel into a diversity of places. There were economic problems too like lower farm incomes, income inequality,
more wealth sent to the super wealthy, and overt suffering in rural communities. Many people ignored the rural
struggles of the 1920’s back then. Warren G. Harding was the Republican President who wanted to promote a
laissez faire approach to government. He wanted normalcy. He and the other President Calvin Coolidge
promoted a conservative government in the United States of America. Harding wanted this far right agenda and
that is why he appointed Andrew Mellon as the Secretary of Treasury. Mellon was a total robber baron and big
business advocate. Mellon wanted to promote business interests and he desired low taxes on individuals and
corporations. Congress reduced spending from $18 billion to $3 billion. Then, the Treasury saw a surplus.
Harding signed a bill that increased the protective tariff by 25 percent. He wanted to promote American business
interests. European markets retaliated by increasing their tariffs. This caused a trade war. The trade war harmed
the U.S. economy. Harding trusted the Ohio gang and others to handle many political including economic issues.
The Teapot Dome scandal harmed the Harding Presidency. By August 2, 1923, Harding died of a heart attack in
Alaska.
Traditionalism vs. Modernism
Calvin Coolidge was President as he was once the Vice President. He supported business interests. He promoted
Mellon’s ideas of lowering taxes, cutting the budgets, and giving incentives to businesses. Urban Americans and
the wealthy saw great profits. Yet, the rural communities suffered. Labor unions wanted higher wages, racial
discrimination was huge, and Mexican Americans wanted equality. Coolidge did nothing since he believed that it
was not the federal government’s responsibility to end economic and racial injustice. That was disgraceful on his
part, because the federal government has every right to combat racial discrimination and economic injustice.
Coolidge wanted a foreign policy to prevent wars. The U.S. wanted France and Great Britain to pay its loans to
America because of WWI. So, the U.S. supported the Dawes Plan which forced Germany to pay reparations to
France plus Great Britain. That money would be later sent to America. The crash of 1929 prevented that money to
come into America. Ultimately, it would be the economic instability from the 1920’s that contributed to the Great
Depression and World War II.

The 1920’s saw a new social reality in America. There was a clash between traditionalists who were conservative
religious people. The modernists made up of secularists including many progressive religious leaders. This was like
the culture war of the 1920’s. Religion was powerful back then with preachers like the famous Billy Sunday. He
preached against greed, card playing, dancing, and drinking especially. Farmers were suffering and the rural-urban
division expanded. There were debates on immigration and the teaching of evolution debate. By the 1920 yearly
census, more people lived in urban areas than rural areas for the first time in American history. Urban Americans
had a consumer culture in full view. Many of them were open to social change and new discoveries of science.
Many rural Americans had a traditional view of religion, science, and culture. Education was very important in
America in promoting math, science, literacy, etc. High school graduates grew by 1930. By the 1920’s, some
Americans thought that their Christian faith was under siege. So, they promoted religious fundamentalism. This
view held that the Bible must be literally interpreted completely. Many of supporters of this view condemned the
persecution of the Orthodox Church in Russia by Soviet communists and the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico
being assaulted by some revolutionary people. The Scopes Trial of 1925 fined a man who taught evolution in a
public school, but later laws would legalize the teaching of evolution in public schools since evolution relates to
the study of science. Evolution was modernized by Charles Darwin with his book called, “The Origin of the
Species.” The ACLU supported the biology teacher John Scopes who was teaching evolution in the high school.
Clarence Darrow was the defense attorney who defended Scopes. William Jennings Bryan was the prosecutor and
didn’t support Scopes. Scopes was found guilty and was fined $100. Many people back then falsely viewed that
evolution taught that humans just descended from modern day monkeys, but evolution taught that humans and
primates share a common ancestor. The xenophobia of the 1920’s was huge.

New immigrants had jobs. Some nativists believed that these new immigrants took away American jobs and
would harm American religious, cultural, and political traditions. The Nativists opposed new immigrants and
many of them or the anti-immigrant nativists had ties to eugenicists. Congress forced new immigrants to pass a
literacy test to be new citizens. Wilson vetoed the bill and Congress overridden the veto. Many xenophobes feared
new socialists and communists coming into Americans. People, who opposed nativism, said that America was
made up of immigrants and this is what made an American an American. It is true that America is filled with
immigrants and our cultural diversity as Americans is part of our inherit strength. The Emergency Quota Act of
1921 and the National Origins Act of 1924 promoted a quota system involving immigration. This restricted how
many immigrants could come into America from specific nations. The National Origins Act said that the number
of immigrants of a specific nationality each year couldn’t exceed 2 percent of the number of people of that
nationality living in America in 1890. It banned Asian immigrants from coming into America too. The quotas
didn’t apply to Mexico, so Mexican immigrants came into America in great numbers. Many Mexican Americans
worked in crops found in California, Texas, New Mexico, etc. A smaller number worked in factories of the North
and Midwest.

The second major rise of the Klan


Immigration hatred influenced the revitalized Ku Klux Klan by the 1920’s. The Klan promoted the doctrines of
hate and bigotry plus racism. They committed violence all over America back then. The first Klan brutalized black
people during the Reconstruction era. They wanted to prevent black people from voting. The new Klan of the
1920’s promoted hatred against African Americans and they were involved in lynching black people. They also
added their hatred of new immigrants including Jewish people, Catholics, and others. There were labor protests
and the Klan hated labor unions in general. At its peak, it had 4-5 million white racists in in its ranks in America.
They were police officers, judges, and other people in society. Most of them were in the South and the Midwest.
In fact, some parts of the Midwest were more racist than the South. Other Klan branches were in the North and
the West too. David Stephenson was a Klan leader who controlled politicians too. Some Klan members opposed
women from voting. Women groups of Klan members existed. Klan members terrorized black people, Roman
Catholics, and Jewish people via boycotts and terrorism. They opposed businesses owned by black people, Jewish
people, and Roman Catholics. They burned crosses in front of homes. The Klan used violence, bribery, rape, and
political corruption. They also were exposed heavily by the late 1920’s. The NAACP and the ADL worked hard to
oppose the evil actions of the Ku Klux Klan.

Prohibition
During the 1920’s, Prohibition existed. This was when the U.S. government made an Amendment to ban the sale
and usage of alcohol. It sounds wild today, but back then, this was a reality. It has been influenced by the
Temperance movement when drinking alcohol alone should never be a jailable offense. By 1917, 75 percent of
Americans lived in countries that banned liquor. World War I increased the prohibition or temperance
movement. Many soldiers needed bread overseas, so corn, wheat, and barley was used to make bread by many
instead of making alcohol. 1919 was when the Amendment to ban the distribution and sale of alcohol. Congress
enforced the amendment with the Volstead Act. Proponents of prohibition believed that this policy would
strengthen families, improve societies, and help people. Drinking and alcoholism plus liver disease declined during
Prohibition. The problem was that prohibition grew an underground market of alcohol that was dominated by
criminal gangs and the banning of the sale of alcohol is a violation of individual civil liberty. I don’t drink alcohol,
but I won’t deprive an adult his or her right to drink alcohol if he or she desires to drink alcohol. Opponents of
Prohibition said that this ban only represented hypocrisy and increased the power of organized crime, which did
happen.

Political corruption happened too. Many bribes came to alcohol sellers as a means for them to look the other way
while Prohibition existed. Many Americans violated the Volstead by creating bootlegging systems. Many
speakeasies used secret passwords that allowed people to drink underground. Many government agents tried to
stop this. In many cities, politicians and some cops looked the other way while alcohol consumption went on. Al
Capone defended his acts of selling alcohol during the age of Prohibition. Al Capone has been glamorized by
some, but he is a stone cold. evil criminal. He and his gang were involved in prostitution, drugs running, robbery,
and murder. Mafias of Italian, Irish, Jewish descent including gangs of other ethnic groups dominated the
underground economics of major American cities. The nation was divided on the issue and the Prohibition
Amendment was finally eliminated by 1933 via the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Culture of the 1920's
Culture exploded during the 1920’s as well. New music and new forms of culture flourished into new heights.
Many Americans listened to the radio. Some people went into the movies, and others were fans of movie stars and
sports heroes. The 1920’s was probably the first decade of the modern pop cultural era. New technology united
many Americans. More people have increased leisure time. Many people in farms played games, read, and sing
together in the piano. During the times of the city back then, people saw higher wages and more salaries. Many
people saw new entertainment in the movies. Hollywood was monopolistic in that select corporations dominated
the production, distribution, and exhibition of movies. Every week, 60 to 100 million Americans saw movies every
week. Silent pictures were commonplace first as many new immigrants in the States didn’t speak English. Charlie
Chaplin was popular including the actor Rudolph Valentino including William S. Hart. There were Mary
Pickford, Lon Chaney, and other actors plus actresses too. Bessie Smith was a legendary jazz singer and performer.
The radio was invented by Guglilmo Marconi in the 1890’s. The radio spread news, wealth reports, religious
sermons, and other matters. Many people could listen to boxing matches and other sports too. Music was shown
in the radio. Sports athletes like Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, John L. Sullivan, Jack Johnson, Red Grange, Bobby
Jones, and others. Other athletes like Helen Willis and Gertrude Ederle were famous including Bill Tiden. This era
saw a Golden Age of Sports. Charles Lindbergh also crossed the Atlantic with his plane. I don’t agree with
Lindbergh’s politics either. Many women had new opportunities during this decade. Equality was not there for
women during that time. Women still fought for their freedom too. The first women state judge was Florence
Allen in 1920.
In 1924, there was the first woman governor whose name was Nellie Taylor Ross. Many women were flappers.
They wore fashion that promoted their own freedom. Many women fought for jobs in management, sales,
banking, etc. Women also joined charitable groups and social clubs in order for them to improve communities.
Modernism relates to uncertainty and many people expressed modernism like Austrian psychologist Sigmund
Freud. Paintings and literature expressed this modernist feeling especially after the destructive WWI. Modern art
used unique styles too. Writers often reflected the opposition to the Victorian era and wanted to evaluation of
reality in the midst of confusion of where to go like Willia Cather, William Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest
Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, and Edith Wharton. Gertrude Stein was an author who wanted other writers to
promote their own styles and find new ways of expressing their truths during the Lost Generation.

African American Culture (including the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz)


African Americans had a flourishing of culture too during the 1920’s. African American magazines and books
have outlined the black American experience comprehensively. Millions of African Americans came into the
North and Midwest during the first Great Migration. This caused a migration of music and literature as well. The
Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s was a revolutionary display of black human experience plus expression. There
was a new black consciousness that existed. More black artists and writers wanted to show a connection to Africa
and show their Blackness in dynamic ways. These humans beings showed the truth that Black is Beautiful. African
Americans worked in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. Many
were ministers, physicians, teachers, journalists, etc. in the North and the South. Not to mention that black
Americans established excellence in the West Coast too in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle,
etc. By the 1920’s, about 200,000 black people came into Harlem. They wanted to fight for solutions in causing
freedom for black people. Harlem and the rest of New York City saw not only black Southern people, but black
Caribbean immigrants from Jamaica too. This mixture of cultures caused a powerful energy to develop in Harlem
and other places. One African American leader of the time period was Marcus Garvey. He came into Harlem in
1916. Garvey was born in Jamaica. His UNIA organization reached its zenith by the 1920’s. He wanted to promote
black liberation via self-acceptance, self-determination, and the development of institutions. His Back to Africa
movement advanced a Black Nationalist ideological agenda. He advocated separatism unlike Booker T.
Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. Washington was similar to Garvey in believing in many conservative tenets. The
Universal Negro Improvement Association reached as high as 2.5 million members. The Garvey movement had
newspapers, rallies, businesses, and a large infrastructure. It ended by government moves against Marcus Garvey
under the guise of the accusation of mail fraud. Later, Marcus Garvey was forced into exile from America. After
Garvey left, the UNIA declined in influence and power. The views of Marcus Garvey, especially its true tenets of
loving Blackness, loving Africa, promoting black consciousness, and strengthening self-determination, influenced
the Nation of Islam, the Black Power movement, Malcolm X, and other black leaders. The Amsterdam
newspaper from Harlem said that Marcus Garvey praised blackness.

The 1920’s saw the explosion of jazz. Jazz was an indigenous American musical art form. It was invented by
African Americans. Jazz focused on improvisation and creativity. It came about in the musical forms of the
African American genres of blues and ragtime. Jazz is therefore uniquely American. Jazz artists merged blues and
ragtime in their music regularly. New Orleans is the Mother of Jazz. From New Orleans, it spread into the rest of
the South, Memphis, then Chicago, and to the rest of America. Storyville, New Orleans was a place where jazz was
popular too. Louis Armstrong grew jazz as a trumpeter. Armstrong spread jazz internationally and helped to make
jazz an international musical artform. Bessie Smith was the Queen of jazz. Her life story was filled with honesty,
power, and creative energy. The Cotton Club in Harlem played jazz music. Jazz was the music of the Prohibition
era as well. Duke Ellington incorporated jazz in his orchestra. Jazz helped to bridge the cultural gap in American
society. Both black people and white people used jazz in their everyday lives. Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and
George Gershwin made jazz as part of their orchestral work. Jazz readily has shown the pain of African Americans
as a lot of jazz songs were not filled with sunshine all of the time. Literature, art, and culture in general were part
of the historic Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance promoted the New Negro concept.

This concept of the New Negro was about a new generation of black American poets, novelists, artists, and
scholars would show their own experiences in non-stereotypical terms that focused on the black experience in an
honest way. These writers wanted to show the pain of racism plus discrimination including the joy and the love of
their own blackness in society. Jean Toomer’s Cane from 1923 showed the African American life in great ways.
Jamaican immigrant Claude McKay called for justice for black people in the Harlem Renaissance. His poem of “If
We Must Die” showed the militancy to defend black life against anti-black riots occurring in places like Chicago.
McKay and Langston Hughes were part of the political left of the Harlem Renaissance. Langston Hughes wrote
stories for decades about black human existence. Hughes wanted to show the strength of black American life.

Unsung, Magnificent People of the Harlem


Renaissance
The following men and
women of the Harlem
Renaissance contributed
an enormous amount of
skills involving art,
literature, dance, music,
and scholarship in
general. They
represented some of the
greatest African
Americans in history.
We honor their
illustrous contributions
now and forevermore. Langston Hughes James Weldon Johnson Lois Mailou Jones
(1901-1967) (1871-1938) (1905-1998)

Palmer Hayden (1890- Jacob Lawrence (1917- Ama Bontemps (1902- Adelaide Hall (1901-
1973) 2000) 1973) 1993)

Gwendolyn B. Bennett Zora Neale Hurston Selma Burke (1900- Meta Vaux Warrick
(1902-1981) (1891-1960) 1995) Fuller (1877-1968)
Also, Zora Neale Huston was a great writer of the Harlem Renaissance who merged folk culture with black life in
her stories. She wrote the story of “Mules and Men.” Her book from 1937 called, “Their Eyes were Watching
God” outlined the call for independence among women. The Harlem Renaissance grew the power of American
culture. It outlined the greatness of black culture. Also, the jazz and blues genres were dominated by African
Americans. It promoted black solidarity. James Weldon Johnson of the NAACP as its secretary and he was a poet.
He praised the Harlem Renaissance and that movement would be one foundation of the Civil Rights Movement
which would flourish by the 1950’s including the 1960’s.

The Great Depression

The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Great Depression. When the stock market crashed on
October of 1929, economic changes existed. Production declined and massive unemployment increased. There
were many causes of the Great Depression like agricultural problems, income inequality, easy credit expansion
without legitimate regulation, and other issues. During the 1920’s, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge were
in office as Presidents. The gross national product went up. The bullish economy continued. Hebert Hoover was
elected President by 1928. He spoke of optimism. Hoover was from Iowa. He was an orphan as a child. Hoover
worked in Presidencies and believed that the government, owners, and workers can have common goals. He
worked in public service and other jobs. He believed in decentralized self-government. Americans voted mostly
for Hoover. Alfred E. Smith or the Democratic candidate from New York lost the election. Hoover took office in
March of 1929. America had confidence. Many economic troubles concerned many Americans too. The
prosperity of the 1920’s wasn’t as strong as many people assumed. Many farmers suffered during the 1920’s. One
quarter of all farmers made up the American workforce. More crops had to be produced with more expensive
farm equipment. This increased debt. Farms grew bigger. The debts that the farmers had were owed to banks.
This caused a rural depression in America. Many farmers were forced to sell their markets. Natural disasters
ruined many farms too. Some relied on credit to survive.
This crisis extended to non-farmers too later on. Many industrial workers in the 1920’s had more wages and
workers increased productivity. Worker output increased from 1923 and 1929, but wages grew less than workers’
output. Corporate profits increased massively too. Income inequality grew as the 1 percent of the wealthiest
Americans owned the same amount of wealth as the poorest 42 percent of Americans. The nation’s wealth was
uneven and caused economic problems. More than 60 percent of every American family had yearly incomes of
less than $2,000 per year. 24,000 families owned more than $100,000 yearly income. The wealthiest people didn’t
buy enough consumer products to get the economy growing. A great economy always needs a wide spectrum of
people to buy goods and services. Under consumption harms economic growth. Income inequality creates
economic uncertainty. Farmers overproduced while poorer Americans under consumed. The 1920’s saw easy
credit. Many Americans paid for many items from cars, radios, etc. on credit. The problem was that so many
people used credit, that they had high debt and had trouble to pay off that debt on credit. Many people lived
beyond their means which contributed to the Great Recession. The stock market crashed on 1929. Many investors
gambled, used speculation, and took too much risk. By September 3, 1929, the stock market fell.

By the end of October 1929, the stock market fell even further. 21 points were down on October 23. October 24
was known as Black Thursday. Nervous investors sold their stocks. Shares plunged. October 29 was Black
Tuesday. The stock market collapsed. Billions of dollars were gone. Fortunes ended in hours. President Hoover
said that the country was doing well economically, but that wasn’t the case. By November 13, 1929, the Dow Jones
average dropped from 381 to 198.7. The Great Crash explained the growth and contraction of the business cycle.
The Great Depression started and it lasted from 1929 to 1941. The banks suffered a great deal too. Banks failed by
641 in 1929. In 1930, 1,350 banks failed. Many people got their money out of banks. The Federal Reserve made the
mistake of limiting money supply in fear of over speculation in 1929. This caused a low money supply. That
wasn’t enough to handle the Great Depression. Investors retrieved money left and banks closed. Reduced
consumer spending and lower stock prices caused many businesses to close. Companies ended and plants closed.
Henry Ford closed many of his Detroit automobile factories. Almost 75,000 people were out of work.

Production cuts increased. Unemployment grew and incomes lowered. Businesses cut production even more. By
1933, nearly 25 percent of all American workers had lost their jobs. The government promoted the Hawley-Smoot
Tariff in trying to promote American products. It wanted to stop the depression. The tariff backfired as European
companies used tariffs of their own. American manufacturers had unsold products. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff
increased the burden of U.S. manufacturers to sell exports, so the economy further declined. Europe has a
depression because of reparation payments, war debts, and trade imbalances. Germany’s economy collapsed.
France and Britain didn’t receive American war debt payments. When loans from America to Europe declined,
the recession hit Europe too. The Great Depression was globe. The Great Depression was caused by low money
supply, income inequality, lax consumer spending, unemployment problems, and productivity issues. John
Maynard Keynes wanted more government spending to fight the depression while Ludwig von Mises wanted
laissez faire policies. Keynes has been proven right that in emergencies; the government does have a role to increase
spending to help the economy.

Hard Times
The Great Depression harmed American in many ways. Extreme poverty existed in both cities and rural locations.
Americans still showed courage to deal with the situation of lax economic resources. Whole families were without
work. By 1933, unemployment was 24.9 percent. Workers, who had jobs, had their wages massively cut. Some were
laid off and many had their working hours cut. People lacked many foods like vegetables and meat in their homes.
People relied on water. Soup kitchens rose up to provide people with food. A bread line gave starving people
food. Some were homeless and experienced hunger. Some lost their dreams. Some sold furniture to find places to
live. Some lived in lodgings. Others lived in the streets. Hoovervilles were makeshift tents and shacks that housed
people on public land or vacant lots. Homeless people were there. Some were in Central Park in New York City.
Many Americans were inspired to help their neighbors. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia read comic strips to children
over the radio. Farmers still had massive debt and struggled to stay afloat economically. Crops soon failed and the
Great Plains had a drought. Prices of crops like cotton fell. That means that farmers had lower returns. Some
people strike. Many farmers lost their farms in almost one million farmers from 1930 to 1934.

Tenant farmers worked for landowners. Cesar Chavez knew of his father during the depression. Some families
moved. The Dust Bowl was about drought in the Great Plains. Water was small. Some families left the Great
Plains for Missouri, California, Texas, and other states. The drought was worsening by plows. The topsoil was
blown away. Winds were dangerous. Dust storms were high as 8,000 feet. It was some of the hardest hit of the
Depression. Okies were the migrants form the Great Plains. Some traveled into other states. Many cities gained
populations. Dams and other governmental policies helped to solve the Dust Bowl crisis. The Great Depression
emotionally harmed men, women, and children. Many men and women lost their jobs. Some people with jobs
feared of losing them. Black Americans suffered depression like situations for centuries, so they weren’t surprised
by the Great Depression. African Americans lost sharecropping jobs during the time too. Unemployment of the
black community by 1932 was 50 percent. Also, black people fought against these conditions by using resources of
family, spirituality, and institutions to keep on going. Okies competed with Mexican Americans for jobs. Mexican
Americans suffered discrimination. Thousands of Mexicans were repatriated to Mexico (via coercion by the
federal, state, and local governments) for the sake of promoting white farmlands. Yet, many Mexican Americans
stayed in the Southwest to do farming, industry, and ranching. Many black Americans traveled into the North to
seek jobs during the 1930’s too.

President Herbert Hoover


Many people promoted rugged individualism during the Great Recession because many had no choice, but to
survive in the midst of harsh economic conditions. Herbert Hoover was President during these times. Cities and
towns suffered a great deal. Shantytowns had homeless people. Dust storms harmed the Great Plains. Hoover
didn’t start the Great Recession. He did have the responsibility to do something about it as he was President
during the peak of it. Hoover knew of economics and he hired experts to try to gather solutions in ending the
problem of the recession. He tried different methods and they failed. His failure to solve the problem contributed
to his defeat during the 1932 Presidential election. At first, Hoover wanted a hands off policy. He viewed
recessions as part of natural occurrences of the business cycle, but people suffering deserve government
intervention, especially during times of a massive recession. Hoover once didn’t want the government to be
involved. That policy did nothing since by definition; it was no adequate policy at all (of non-intervention). He
was Secretary of Commerce years ago. Later, he used another strategy. He wanted to voluntarily encourage
businesses and labor to promote economic growth. He also wanted the government to have lower taxes, lower
interest rates, and form public works programs. He wanted more money in businesses and individuals so these
entities would stimulate economic growth.

This is similar to the Reaganomics of the future. Hoover wanted this goal to end the recession. Hoover wanted
the super wealthy to give more money to the poor via charities. He believed that money, food, and clothing would
go into these religious and private charities. These charities would, in turn, give money to those suffering.
Hoover’s plan wanted volunteerism and voluntary cooperation. It didn’t work out. The reason was that
businesses would cut wages, and most Americans followed individual actions not cooperative actions. Workers
were laid off for capitalistic reasons. Hoover wanted Americans to work in the interest of the country as a whole
without federal legislation. Hoover also believed that state and local governments should provide more relief
measures and jobs. He believed in localism. Localism means that problems are best solved by the state and local
governmental entities. The problem is that states and cities lacked the economic resources to end the Depression.
Hoover even resisted using federal resources to help victims of the Great Depression too. Hoover rejected public
assistance and believed in rugged individualism. Charities had little money, unemployment increased, and local
plus state government struggled to get the resources to help Americans. This crisis was so big, that the federal
government had to take a role in solving it. There were Hoovervilles everywhere. Homelessness was widespread.
President Hoover’s policies failed. People started to associate Hoover with the problem from calling trucks
Hoover wagons and calling cardboard boxes Hoover houses.

Then, Hoover decided to use federal resources to attack the Depression. Hoover thought that a lack of credit
contributed to the recession, so he wanted Congress to create the RFC. RFC stood for the Reconstruction
Finance Corporation. It was passed on 1932. The RFC gave more than a billion dollars of government loans to
large businesses and railroads. It wanted to lend money to banks and these loans would help businesses struggling.
He or Hoover believed that money sent to the bankers would be lent to businesses. He viewed this plan as
businesses would later hire workers, and production plus consumption would develop. This was part of
trickledown economics or the money from the wealthy would go down to the poor. The FRC was part of the
federal government, but it didn’t work under Hoover’s actions. The RFC lent out billions, but the bankers didn’t
readily increase their loans to businesses. Many businesses didn’t use the loans to hire more workers. The money
didn’t go down to the poor in massive levels at all. Hoover did cause a successful public works program of the
Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Congress approved this plan in 1929. It was finished by the early 1930’s and
gave employment to many people. Hoover wanted to end the Great Depression, but the problem was that his
neoliberal policies didn’t work. People were angry and started to protest against him.

Some Americans rejected capitalism and believed that capitalism promoted economic inequality and injustice.
Some believed in socialism and communism. Others rejected these goals. By this time, fascism grew in Italy and
Germany with racists like Hitler and Mussolini. Still, most Americans never lost faith in democracy and most
Americans wanted substantial change. In 1932, many people came to Washington, D.C. to call for that change.
These were World War I veterans and they wanted the bonuses that Congress promised them. These human
beings were involved in the Bonus Army. Congress promised a Bonus via the 1924 Adjusted Compensation Act.
This law provided payments to the veterans in 1945. Many veterans by 1931 wanted an early payment since the
Depression came about. Many veterans were out of work and needed money to survive. The House of
Representatives agreed and passed a bill to promote early payments of the bonuses. Yet, the Senate rejected this, so
the bill of an early payment was ultimately rejected. Veterans groups came into D.C. to protest this situation.
20,000 veterans came into the capital by the summer of 1932.

Many of them occupied government buildings and set up camps. By July, some of the police wanted to evict them
and riots happened. President Hoover sympathized with the marchers. Yet, he wanted General Douglas
MacArthur and federal troops to clear them out. MacArthur used tear gas and bayonets to force the veterans out
of the Washington, D.C. area. The Army force that removed the WWI veterans included future World War II
leaders like Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton. Eisenhower later regretted this action as very excessive. Patton
wanted his troops to show their sabers. More than 1,000 veterans were tear gassed and many were injured. This
response was totally inappropriate and wrong period. MacArthur accused the protesters of trying to promote a
direct control of government, but these World War I veterans wanted just compensation for their service and
sacrifice to American society. Hoover didn’t personally order such force in using bayonets and tear gas. Yet, the
images of American troops using bayonets on veterans shocked Americans. Images have power and many people
blamed Hoover totally for it. Unemployment was almost 25 percent. People were hungry and homeless. Hoover
failed to end the Great Depression, so Americans voted for a new President in 1932 to try to get change. The next
President would be one of the most transformative Presidents in American history both domestically and foreign
policy wise.

The New Deal


One of the most important Presidencies in history was the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He won the
1932 election and promised a “New Deal for the American people.” His administration and his monumental
domestic achievements represented the New Deal. The American people heavily blamed the Republicans for the
Great Depression, especially for a lack of response to it. Roosevelt entered office with no single ideology or plan in
dealing with the depression. The New Deal was heavily experimental, pragmatic, and unique. Roosevelt in his
own words wanted to save capitalism. Competing ideas and programs were part of the New Deal era. The New
Deal was a large project in an effort to end the Great Depression and reform the American economy. Some of his
plans failed, but much of his plans' successes were part of some of the most important events of the modern
American history. The New Deal outlined a vision of advancing a democratic society overcoming the challenge of
a severe economic downturn. People were desperate for economic solutions. There were many Democratic
victories in the 1932 Congressional elections. Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted an increased federal government
role in promoting and recovery and relief for Americans. Also, FDR put together a historic, strong cabinet in
order for him to enact the policies that he desired. He nominated two Republicans who were Henry Wallace and
Harold Ickes as his Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Interior respectively. He nominated the first
woman Cabinet members in U.S. history, who was Frances Perkins in his Secretary of Labor. She was as social
worker too.

Eleanor Roosevelt helped FDR as his wife and she was a progressive woman. She talked and sang with veterans
during the 1933 second Bonus Army march. This caused Roosevelt huge influence in Congress with his “First
Hundred Days” plan of his administration. He wanted to use his power to win rapid passage of a series of
measures to create welfare programs and regulate the banking system, stock market, industry, and agriculture. The
first hundred days provided instant action during his first 100 days in office.

Roosevelt proposed legislation and Congress passed 14 bills. These bills were part of the First New Deal. It wanted
relief, recovery, and reform. By late 1932, banks failed in large numbers. As the banking panic was in America,
many people wanted to withdraw their savings. One day after his inauguration, Roosevelt called Congress into a
special session. He convinced them to pass laws to build up the nation’s banking system. The Emergency Banking
law gave the President broad power to have a four day bank holiday. Banks nationwide were about to close. These
closings gave banks time to get their accounts better before reopening for business. Eight days after being
President, FDR gave his fireside chats to inspire confidence in the American people. He wanted people to keep
their money in the banks in a reassuring role. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the FDIC was passed
that insured bank deposits up to $5,000. Next year was the passage of the Securities and Exchange Commission or
the SEC to regulate the stock market and make it safe for investments. The economy had more confidence. These
financial reforms gave many Americans confidence. The stock markets stabilized as regulated trading practices
have investors more confidence. Farmers were helped when their crops' yields exceeded demand. The Congress
passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act of the AAA to end the overpopulation of crops and raise crop prices.

They gave financial aid to farmers including subsidies to not plant part of their land. Farm prices rose in 1934.
Conditions improved for the great majority of commercial farmers by 1936. The income of the farm sector almost
doubled from $4.5 billion in 1932 to $8.9 billion in 1941 just before the war. Meanwhile, food prices rose 22% in
nine years from an index of 31.5 in 1932, to 38.4 in 1941. Rural Southerners experienced the TVA or the Tennessee
Valley Authority to give electricity, running water, and proper sewage system in the Tennessee River Valley.
Many forests were replanted, and jobs grew. The TVA helped many people to survive. The Civilian Conservation
Corps or the CCC gave jobs to young people. Many of them replanted forests, built trails, fought fires, and dug
irrigation. The CWA or the Civil Works Administration worked on public works projects. The HOLC or the
Home Owners Loan Corporation loaned money at low interest rates to business owners who couldn’t meet
mortgage payments. The FHA or the Federal Housing Administration insured banks loans used for building and
repairing homes. The NRA or the National Recovery Administration handled codes for minimum wages and
dealing with fair completion. The PWA or the Public Works Administration built bridges, dams, power plants,
and government buildings. The PWA work on building projects to this very day. Conservatives like Herbert
Hoover said that the New Deal included too much involvement by the federal government.

The liberals viewed FDR as not going far enough to end the depression like Norman Thomas of the Socialist
Party. Norman said that the New Deal was only about giving profits for big business. Frances Townsend wanted
to help older Americans by giving $200 a month to all Americans over the age of 60. Charles Coughlin was an
anti-Semitic bigot and he was so anti-Semitic that the Catholic Church had no choice but try to end his radio
broadcasts. Huey Long was considered a populist and talked about high taxes on the wealthy and large
corporations. He wanted redistribution of the super wealthy income to poor Americans. He was from Louisiana
and he was assassinated by a political enemy in 1935.
“…Of course we will continue our efforts for young men and women so that they may obtain an
education and an opportunity to put it to use. Of course we will continue our help for the crippled,
for the blind, for the mothers, our insurance for the unemployed, our security for the aged. Of course
we will continue to protect the consumer against unnecessary price spreads, against the costs that are
added by monopoly and speculation…”

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Address on the Second New Deal on October 31, 1936

The Second New Deal


The Second New Deal was the next phase of the New Deal movement. It desired even more change in American
society. It dealt with Social Security and other programs to help the lives of millions of Americans. FDR made his
fireside chats to stir up Americans. The economic situation legitimately merited the federal government to
promote the general welfare and intervene to save the lives of millions of Americans and to protect the rights of
human beings. In essence, the Second New Deal addressed the needs of the unemployed, the poor, the elderly, etc.
It had policies that helped farmers and workers in general. Public works projects were developed. By the spring of
1935, Congress appropriated $5 billion for new jobs and formed the Works Progress Administration or WPA to
executive the program. Harry Hopkins was in charge of the WPA. The WPA created national highways,
improved rivers and harbors, and promoted soil plus water conservation. The arts and artists were helped by
WPA programs. Hopkins said that artists, “have to eat just like other people.” 8 million people were employed by
the WPA in 1943. $11 billion were spent in that same year. The WPA workers built more than 650,000 miles of
highways and 125,000 public buildings. The San Antonio River Walks and parts of the Appalachian Trail were
funded by the WPA. Some of these programs increase the federal deficit to $4.4 billion.

British Economist John Maynard Keynes approved of this reality because he said that deficit spending was
necessary to end the depression. Keynes believed that people working in public projects would put money in the
consumers’ hands, which buy more goods and stimulate the economy. Pump priming is the definition of this
theory of Keynes. Back then, America didn’t have a universal pension system for the elderly. Other industrialized
nations had them. This was about to change. Back then, many elderly people lost their homes, and lifesavings
while living in poverty since they didn’t have enough money to survive. That is why President Franklin Delano
Roosevelt had created his plans for Social Security on January 17, 1935. Congress passed the Social Security Act
which was a pension system for retirees. It also gave unemployment insurance for workers who lost their jobs. It
was insurance for the poor, children, the blind, and the disabled. One problem was that it originally didn’t apply
to farmworkers and domestics. African Americans were heavily in those fields, so they weren’t eligible in many
cases for these benefits of Social Security. Widows had smaller benefits than widowers since many believed that
elderly women could manage on less money than elderly men. These weaknesses were changed later on to make
Social Security to be one of the most powerful, successful aspects of the New Deal programs.

The Second New Deal also helped farmers. When the Great Depression started, only 10 percent of all farms had
electricity. The reason was that utility companies didn’t find it profitable to run electric lines to communities with
small populations. Congress formed the REA or the Rural Electrification Administration. The REA loaned
money to help electric companies to build up electrical services in isolated rural communities. The REA was so
successful that by 1950, 80 percent of all American farmers had electricity. More federal government involvement
in farms existed. Price supports, subsidies for agriculture are common among American farmers. Today, there are
debates on small farmers vs. big farmers benefiting from governmental policies. Typically, large farms not small
farms benefited mostly from federal farm programs. Also, tenant farmers and sharecroppers had African
Americans who didn’t have the full share in the federal programs. Farm prices stabilized and we have to deal with
agricultural areas fairly in order to have a protective economy for all people. The New Deal worked in water
projects like the Bonneville Dam in the Pacific Northwest and the Central Valley irrigation system.

Labor unions fought for workers’ rights during the New Deal era. Many workers had little pay and lacked
benefits. Mining and automobile industries started to increase labor membership. FDR wanted a higher standard
of living among industrial workers. The National Labor Relations Act or the Wagner Act recognized the right of
employees to join labor unions and gave workers the right to have collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is
about workers (in unions) negotiating with employers to have better hours, higher wages, and better working
conditions. The NLRB or the National Labor Relations Board was created to look into workers’ complaints.
More working rights came via the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. It promoted a minimum wage at 25 cents per
hour and a minimum work week of 44 hours. It banned child labor. The increase of the minimum wage would
occur years and decades later. Union activity grew. Also, there was a division in the labor federal of the AFL or the
American Federation of Labor. The AFL had skilled workers like plumbers, carpenters, and electricians. Few
workers in the major industries were part of the AFL. The AFL did little to organize them. So, John L. Lewis or
the President of the United Mine Workers and other labor leaders formed the CIO or the Congress of Industrial
Organizations. The CIO were diverse racially and had more a diversity of the types of skilled workers than the
AFL. One strike by the CIO’s United Automobile Workers Union (UAW) dealt with a sit down strike. They
occupied one of General Motors’ plants in Flint, Michigan. The strike lasted 44 days even after threats of the
militia removing the workers by force. General Motors negotiated with the UAW to recognize it. The union
victory led to others. By 1940, 9 million workers were in union which was twice more than 1930. Unions
continued to fight for better wages and working conditions.

In 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won another victory in the Presidential election. He won 61 percent of to vote
to 37 percent of Republican Alfred M. Landon. He carried every state except Maine and Vermont. FDR wanted
to target the Supreme Court since it ended many of his programs. The Supreme Court readily ended many New
Deal programs. The Supreme Court said that the President doesn’t have power to regulate interstate commerce
via the Schechter Poltry v. United States decision of 1936. It ruled that one part of the Agricultural Adjustment
Act was unconstitutional. So, FDR wanted to pack the Supreme Court to get his policies enacted. On February 5,
1937, FDR said that he wanted to get 6 new justices to the Supreme Court. He said that the Constitution didn’t
specify the number of judges to the Supreme Court that a President can appoint. Later, the Supreme Court
started to rule in FDR’s favor without the court packing scheme. The Supreme Court on March 29, 1937 ruled 5
to 4 in favor of a minimum wage. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Wagner Act 2 weeks
later. Judge Willis Van Devanter resigned from the Court. FDR wanted a pro-New Deal nominee. So, Roosevelt
nominated a new Justice named Frankfurter. From 1937, the federal government increased his power, but the
conservatives exploited his court packing plan to criticize him. 1935 and 1936 saw improvements in the economy.
FDR cut spending, but the interest rates grew by the Federal Reserve Board. Higher interests rates mean precisely
that you have to pay more money for goods and services. Then, another economic downturn came with
unemployment being 20 percent. Nearly all of the gains were gone. Democrats lost many elections. Republicans
gained seats and very few New Deal reforms came after 1937.

The Legacy of the New Deal


The legacy of the New Deal is diverse. Millions of Americans were helped from the New Deal. Eleanor Roosevelt
promoted it. She promoted the White House policies and traveled the world. FDR had the first women cabinet
member who was the Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. She was involved in forming Social Security. She
promoted a ban on child labor and promoted the formation of the minimum wage. In her life, she promoted
working women’s rights. The CCC didn’t hire women, so the fight for sex equality continued. African Americans
suffered during the Great Depression greatly. Many black people lost their jobs. Eleanor Roosevelt was clear in
opposing racial discrimination. Eleanor Roosevelt opposed segregation. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
invited many African American leaders to advise him. These human beings were called the Black Cabinet. They
included Robert Weaver and William Hastie. Both were Howard University graduates. They were involved in the
Department of the Interior. Hastie was a judge and Weaver was the first African American cabinet member. Mary
McLeod Bethune was a member of the Black Cabinet member too. She was a powerful leader in favor of racial
equality. She founded a university that would be Bethune Cookman College. She was a friend of Eleanor
Roosevelt too. FDR’s weakness was that he feared the southern Democrats would oppose his policy if he came
out in favor of racial justice more overtly.

Lynching, discrimination, and racism were realities in America. FDR refused to promote a federal lynching law
that the NAACP promoted. FDR said that every southern Democrat would block his legislation if he did it.
During the 1930’s, no civil rights laws existed. Some New deal policies discriminated against black people. One
example is that federal payments to farmers to produce fewer crops led white landowners to evict black
sharecroppers from their farms. The WPA and other relief measure didn’t give African American equal wages.
African Americans didn’t receive the full benefits back then of the Social Security and the Fair Labor Standard Act
since many African Americans were domestic workers and farm laborers. The Native Americans had the Indian
Civilian Conservation Corps and federal investigations to help Native Americans. The Navajo Livestock
Reduction program did harm many Navajo human beings.

One legacy of the New Deal was the New Deal Coalition. It was a large unity of voters including southern whites,
northern blue collar workers, poor Midwestern farmers and African Americans voting Democratic for decades to
come. Before the New Deal, most African Americans were Republicans in America, because many Republicans
supported anti-slavery and pro-Reconstruction legislation. Arthur W. Mitchell was the first African American
Democrat in Congress after he defeated the Republican black man Oscar de Priest. A majority of seats among
Democrats existed by the 1940’s. Social and ethnic divisions were a reality and more people wanted to promote
more harmony in the human family. The New Deal radically expanded the role of government in the lives of the
people. It saw the growth of union members. The New Deal gave much the opportunity to escape poverty while
it didn’t end racial oppression. It was an experiment that made many good things a reality. Rural America
experienced a massive amount of modernization as a product of New Deal actions too. It dealt with conservation
with the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Kings Canyon National Park in California, and Olympic
National Park in Washington State. FDR expanded the power of the executive branch and used eloquence to
promote his ideological views of liberalism. The 22nd Amendment reduced the Presidential terms to 2 in response
to FDR having 3 terms. The New Deal wasn’t perfect, but its goal of making sure that no American was left out is
legitimate. It promoted the great principle that the general welfare of Americans should be promoted and
maintained. It outlined the truth that the federal government has the right to serve the interests of the people for
the government is made by the people for the people.
The Culture of the 1930's
The 1930’s culture in America filled with creativity. Many people looked at movies like the Wizard of Oz. Some
wanted to escape the troubles of the Great Depression. Others wanted entertainment. Literature, art, music, and
movies dominated American culture. Most Americans had one radio during the 1930’s. Mainstream networks like
NBC and CBS dominated the airwaves. The Wizard of Oz, the Walt Disney Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs
dominated the movies. Some movies like Public Enemy had James Cagney. G-men was released in 1938. Frank
Capra was a principal director of the film industry. He directed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington about an actor
James Stewart playing a junior Senator fighting corruption in Washington. Radio dominated, and the music was
filled with jazz and swing. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and other promoted swing. Ellington
was famous for his song “It Don’t Mean a Thing If it Ain't Go that Swing.” Ballrooms had dances. Latin music
was popular with rumba and samba. Black singers like Huddie Ledbetter showed the lives of black people. Artists
like Dorothea Lange captured the suffering of the Great Depression. Murals were common. Theater grew. The
Federal Art Project funded artist and it ended by being slandered by J. Parnell Thomas. Native Son by Richard
Wright outlined the psychological hurt that black people experienced in New Deal America. 200,000 copies of
the book were sold in one month. John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was a fictional tale of the Dust Bowl.
Richard Wright also was an activist who opposed racial discrimination. Playwrights like Lillian Hellman of New
Orleans promoted strong theatrical plays for women. Comics like Superman, Dick Tracy, etc. were familiar.
Hollywood had many films liked Dead End in 1937, Swing Time in 1936, and the controversial movie Gone with
the Wind in 1939. The New Deal era was a fundamental part of the modern American cultural society that we see
today in 2018.
World War II
World War II was the bloodiest war in human history. Over 50 million human beings died in it. It has been
studied massively by scholars from across the spectrum of humanity. Also, it was a war that made us all aware of
the sacrifice of the heroes who defeated Nazism. Like always, we memorize the victims of the evil Holocaust.
World War II existed in many phases like the coming of war, the rise of fascist and authoritarian empires, the war
itself, and the aftermath of World War II. World War II is directly related to WWI and the Great Depression. The
event of WWI ended with many nations suffering economic recessions. Later, dictatorships would rise up that
exploited the suffering of peoples in order for these authoritarian rulers to promote racism, bigotry, xenophobia,
and ultimately genocide against innocent human beings. By November 1918, Germany surrendered to the Allied
forces in ending World War One. The peace agreement was formed in 1919 with delegates from 27 nations. Most
of the decisions in that agreement were established by America, France, and Great Britain. Germany and Russia
weren’t there. The Treaty of Versailles was hated by Germany since it forced Germany to pay monumental
reparations for its role in WWI. Italy and Japan wanted more from the deal too. Wilson thought that this
agreement would end wars worldwide, but it didn’t. The 1920’s saw many countries move into democracy and
freedom. Other nations came into the opposite direction in embracing dictatorships and totalitarianism.
Totalitarianism means that a single party or one solitary leader controls every economic, social, and cultural aspect
of people in one country. Totalitarianism would spread massively in the world by the 20th century. The 1917
Russian Revolution led Stalin to take power. Ironically, Lenin and especially Trotsky were critics of Stalin because
of his totalitarian tendencies and his reckless actions. So, Joseph Stalin took power after the Russian civil war.
That brutal civil war caused starvation, famine, and the deaths of millions of Russians. Lenin, before he died,
moderated some of his economic policies.

By 1924, Stalin took over the Communist Party in Russia. Stalin was cruel, a murderer, and a tyrant. He regularly
allowed the murder of his rivals and even fellow Communists who disagreed with him. He grew the industrial
power of many farms. His Great Terror program murdered Communists who opposed him in the 1930’s. About
one million people were imprisoned. The purge eliminated most of the leading officers of the Red Army plus
others. Stalin promoted propaganda to maintain his vicious rule. He also violated religious freedom by destroying
churches and suppressing religious expression throughout the Soviet Union. Stalin went so far that even to this
day; many people falsely view every Communist and every socialist as equivalent to Stalin. Stalin ironically did
more to slander socialism than any reactionary extremist could ever do. Italian totalitarianism rose after Italy
being a victor of WWI. Ironically, Italy was once part of the Allied forces during WWI. Italy didn’t get lands on
the Adriatic coast that it wanted. Italy experienced a depression after WWI as well.

Veterans in Italy had trouble to find work. The communist party was growing and the government had trouble in
trying to adequately handle economic issues. Later, Benito Mussolini rose up in political power. He was once
more liberal and then became a dedicated fascist. By 1919, Mussolini created the Fasci di Combattimento or the
Fascist Party. This was a far right wing group that promoted nationalism and wanted to control Italy. He had his
followers. They were the Black shirts. These criminals fought communists and socialists in the streets of Italy.
Italian King Victor Emmanuel III feared revolution. So, he asked Mussolini to form a new government. Benito
was called Il Duce or the leader. Benito controlled the government, the army, etc. after years of conflict. He later
ended political parties. He controlled the press. He formed a secret police. He promoted brainwashing involving
youth groups and Mussolini opposed strikes. He hated liberalism and socialism. Fascism was spreading like a
cancer in the world.

The Further Rise of Fascism


For a time before the rise of Hitler and after World War One, Germany was a democracy. This was the Weimar
Republic which was formed in the German town in Weimar. It suffered struggles because of the economic
problems in 1920’s Germany. High inflation and huge economic troubles caused the Weimar Republic to be on
the brink of collapse. By the 1930’s, the Great Depression was global and further harmed the Weimar
Republic. Socialist groups were in existence desiring change. Also, antidemocratic far right groups were in
existence like the National Socialist German Workers’ Party or the Nazi Party. They threatened the republic. The
Nazis were not socialists. They hated socialism, communism, and other beliefs that promoted workers’ rights and
class interests. Socialism believes in class struggle and racial equality while the Nazis believed in white supremacy
and racism. Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party. Hitler was the son of an Austrian civil servant. Hitler
also was a decorated World War I soldier and a failed artist. He was near madness and he was completely evil. He
joined the small Nazi Party after the war and ruled it later on. He was in prison because his party tried to cause a
rebellion in an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic. His book that he wrote in prison was entitled, Mein
Kampf or My Struggle. It scapegoated Jewish people, socialists, communists, etc. for the economic problems in
Germany. He was very anti-Semitic and he hated Jewish people greatly. Anti-Semitism has been in Europe for
centuries and Hitler promoted pseudo-scientific theories as a means to proclaim his racist ideologies. Mein Kampf
was a national bestseller in Germany. This book wanted Nazis to have global domination and the extermination
of Jewish people plainly speaking. The book falsely assumed that black people were inferior, which is a lie.
Germany by the 1930’s had unemployment, hunger, homelessness, and economic collapse. The Nazis gained
control by the Germany government by January 1933.

By that time, the president of the Weimar Republic appointed Hitler as chancellor of Germany. Hitler was later
President and increased his power massively. Hitler made his powers unchecked by the German parliament or the
Reichstag. In 1935, the Weimar Republic’s institutions were silenced. Hitler was the sole ruler of Germany. Hitler
was a totalitarian like Mussolini and France. Hitler formed a secret police that crushed dissent. The state
controlled press praised him. He promoted Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls to indoctrinate the
youth with Nazi ideas. By the late 1930’s, Hitler used rearmament and public works projects. The Germans
cheered for him at Nazi rallies. He attacked Jewish people, communists, and socialists. Many Jewish people
suffered abuse, discrimination, and murder by the Nazis and their supporters as well. Japan once saw democracy
grow in the 1920’s. There were trade unions, men voting, and other parties formed. This ended with the Great
Depression. By the 1930’s, Japan moved into a more militaristic direction. Japan had a constitutional monarchy
ruled by one emperor. Japan used its military to attack Manchuria in 1931. They moved a more new regime called
Manchukuo in Manchuria. They gained more natural resources in Asia by invasion. They also invaded China to
steal Chinese railroads and coastal resources. They also conquered Nanjing where Japanese soldiers murder more
than 200,000 Chinese people and many Chinese women were raped (which was called the Rape of Nanjing).
Militarism spread in Italy, Germany, and Japan.

The League of Nations was very weak by America refusing to join it. The League of Nations had no army, no
navy, and no power to enforce its proclamations. Hitler and Mussolini harmed societies. Germany’s economy
grew from 1933 to 1936. He or Hitler wanted all Germanic peoples to be united in one Reich or state. He wanted
to have Lebensraum or living space for Germanic peoples. He sent German troops to the Rhineland by 1936 and
the League of Nations didn’t respond to stop him. Mussolini invaded Ethiopia in 1935, which was an independent
African nation. Haile Selassie or the leader of Ethiopia wanted the League of Nations to respond and help them,
but the League of Nations refused to do so. Ethiopia was conquered until years later when Ethiopia defeated the
Italian invaders. Fascists fought in the Spanish Civil War. It lasted from 1936 to 1939. It was about the fascist
nationalists fighting against Spain’s democratic Republican government. Hitler and Mussolini aided Franco and
the Spanish fascists during the civil war. General Francisco Franco tested his military technology in the war. The
Soviet Union aided the Republican forces. France, Britain, and the United States remained on the sidelines mostly
(except for some Americans and other Westerners volunteering to join the Republican cause). The Fascists won
the Spanish civil war unfortunately.
Isolationism vs. Interventionism
By the 1930’s, France and Britain wanted appeasement in dealing with the aggressive, fascist nations of Nazi
Germany, etc. This wanted to make concessions to prevent enemy nations from going forward with all-out war
and maintain peace. This policy didn’t work as the fascist leaders would be bolder to try to conquer more lands
unjustly. Some appeasers viewed World War I as so bloody that they wanted peace at any cost. Some believed that
the Soviet Union was more of a threat than Germany or Italy, which is ludicrous. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
wanted a Good Neighbor policy with Latin America. FDR improved relations with the Soviet Union. Back then,
at first, he didn’t take a forceful line against Germany aggression. He wanted to focus on its American problems
and later embraced isolationism. FDR would later reject isolationism. Hitler in the spring of 1938 conquered
Austria. He formed the Anschluss in Austria. He conquered Sudenteland in the fall of 1938. That region of
western Czechoslovakia had many ethnic Germans living there. Britain and France appeased Nazi Germany
during the Munich Conference. Hitler and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain plus French premier
Edouard Daladier allowed Hitler to rule Sudetenland in order to try to get peace. Chamberlain came to London
and praised the Munich Pact. He was wrong as war would occur 11 months later.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt later condemned the Japanese aggression in Asia and he did little to stop it.
There was the 1937 attack on China. It shocked Americans and the rape of Nanjing would come in December of
1937. Japan attacked with no declaration of war. China experienced terrorism by Japanese forces among its cities
like in Shanghai and Nanjing. 3 American sailors were killed and the United States gunboat Panay on the Chang
River was sank. FDR criticized Japan’s aggression in a speech in Chicago on October 5, 1937. He condemned
Japanese attacks on civilian populations. He also said that no part of the war is truly isolated form the world. He
wanted an alliance of nations to promote peace against aggression. He was criticized by many for his
interventionist stance. Japan continued to invade more territories. France and Britain couldn’t stop Hitler’s
aggression. Hitler conquered all of Czechoslovakia into German hands. This alarmed France and Britain. They
started to prepare plans for a defensive measure against the Nazis. France and Britain said that if Nazi invaded
other territories, then war would transpire. Britain and France signed an agreement with Poland aiding them if
Hitler invaded Poland. Hitler wanted the Soviet Union to be a buffer against Poland. So, he or Adolf Hitler
would not fight 2 fronts in a war.
That is why Germany signed the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact with the Soviets on August 23, 1939. They
promised to not attack each other. They also agreed to invade and divide up Poland. This aggressive agreement
shocked the world. It was one of the biggest mistakes of the Soviet Union. During the early mornings of
September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland with a blitzkrieg strike. Fast moving tanks and soldiers
conquered Poland. The Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east on September 17, 1939. France and Britain did
nothing to help Poland. Poland was soon defeated by the end of September. World War II started with the Nazi
invasion of Poland. The Axis Powers were Germany, Italy, Japan, and other nations. The Allies included Britain,
France, and later other countries like America, China, plus the Soviet Union. During the spring of 1940, Germany
invaded Denmark and Norway on April 9, 1940. By May 10, he used his blitzkrieg forces into the Netherlands,
Belgium, and Luxembourg. Hitler’s army was fast and powerful. Later, he fought France. There was the Maginot
Line and other areas. In May 1940, Germany moved into the Ardennes and British forces escaped form Dunkirk.
Soon, France was defeated and conquered. It took only 35 days for Hitler to rule over France. The Nazis marched
in Paris on June 14, 1940.

Winston Churchill gave speeches to Parliament and other places in England to fight the Nazi threat. He said on
June 4, 1940 that he would fight everywhere against the Nazis and he won’t surrender. He rallied the British
nation. They prepared for battles. Soon, Hitler invaded Britain via Operation Sea Lion. He or Hitler wanted the
German air force of the Luftwaffe to bomb the British Royal Air Force. He wanted to control the British skies.
The air battle continued between England and the Nazis. The Nazis attacked on July of 1940 starting the Battle of
Britain. Almost 1,000 British planes were lost. More than 1,700 Nazi planes were lost. The Blitz included the Nazis
destroying civilian infrastructure in Britain. Churches, homes, factories, schools, and other areas were bombed.
Many British people lived in subways to escape the bombing campaign from Germany. Later, Hitler halted
invasion attempts and the British were victorious. While this was going on, Winston Churchill wanted America to
ally with him in fighting the Nazis. Many viewed this war as a fight for democracy globally. Nazis threatened
human freedoms worldwide and that’s true.

Back then, America was mostly isolationist. President Roosevelt agreed with Churchill that the Nazi threat was
real, but FDR knew that most Americans were opposed to U.S. intervention. The Great Depression was just
ending. Many Americans wanted to focus on domestic affairs. The isolationist movement grew after the Nye
Committee (named after Congressman Gerald Nye of South Dakota) saying that corporate interests benefited
from World War One. Congress even passed the Neutrality Acts of 1935, 1936, and 1937. These laws used
restrictions on American trade during the time of war. One example of this policy was Americans were forbidden
to sail on ships owned by belligerents or nations at war. Americans were banned from making loans to belligerents
or selling them arms and munitions. These laws didn’t make a distinction between aggressors like Nazis and Italy
and victims like Poland or Great Britain and France. The interventionists wanted the support of America to give
great aid to the Allied cause.

Roosevelt was angry at the limitations of the Neutrality Acts. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was anti-Nazi
and promoted democracies. Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1939. This act was different in that it makes it
legal to have a cash and carry policy. This allowed belligerent nations to buy goods and arms in the United States if
they paid cash and carried the merchandise on their own ships. The British navy controlled the seas. This policy
allowed America to aid the British economically. Some Americans didn’t like Roosevelt’s pro-Allies stance. These
people wanted isolation and neutrality even in the midst of millions of Jewish people dying by the Holocaust.
Isolationists and interventionists debated each other greatly in 1940 and 1941. This came when Britain was nearly
alone in Europe fighting the Nazis. Some interventionists wanted to aid the British as a way to keep America out
of the war militarily. One group promoting this view was the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies.
Isolationists wanted total neutrality. They wanted no funding of Allies since they believed that it would
ultimately cause war against the Axis. Many of the isolationists were indeed racists and pro-Nazis. The America
First Committee was an isolationist group. Charles Lindbergh was one leading isolationist who condemned the
Soviet Union and Japan while not massively criticizing the Axis Powers back then (until the time of Pearl
Harbor). The American First Committee had rallies nationwide. American journalist Edward R. Murrow
reported news during the Battle of Britain. He exposed the fact that the Nazis were bombing civilian targets. This
motivated interventionists to continue in the fight to defend democracy. Germany, Italy, and Japan had the
Tripartite Pact in September of 1940. This agreement wanted each nation to defend each other in case they were
attacked by another power.

Congress passed the Selective Service Act. This was a peacetime draft. It gave military training of 1.3 million troops
and 800,000 reserve troops every year. Also, President Roosevelt aided Great Britain more. He gave 50 WWI era
battleships in eight British defense bases. He did this without the consent of Congress as it was an emergency in
his mind. FDR soon was elected for an unprecedented third time against Republican nominee Wendell L. Willkie
of Indiana. Willkie accused FDR of not handling economic and foreign policy affairs the right way. Yet, most
Americans wanted FDR to maintain the course of American society. Once re-elected, President Franklin
Roosevelt supported Britain even more. FDR was short on funds from the cash and carry goods program. FDR
addressed Congress on January 6, 1941. He spoke of the four freedoms. They were the freedom of speech, the
freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. These freedoms were threatened by the
Nazi and Japanese militarism. Roosevelt wanted America to aid the Allies in order to stop the Nazi empire.
Roosevelt wanted to promote America as the “great arsenal for democracy.” Britain wanted help and America
gave the UK help. In March of 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act. It was numbered 1776 after the big
debate among isolationists and interventionists. The act gave Roosevelt the power to send and lease plus lend
resources to Allies in defense of America. By 1945, America sent more than $40 billion of Lend-Lease aid to the
Allies plus to the Soviet Union. It was an act of economic war against the Nazis and the rest of the Axis Powers.

The historic Atlantic Charter promoted an alliance among Great Britain and America. It occurred on August of
1941. This was when President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill met secretly on a warship of the
coast of Newfoundland. They walked about the British response in the world. They also wanted to talk about the
future after the war ended and after Hitler was defeated. Both of them signed the Atlantic Charter, which
promoted national self-determination and an international system of general security. Roosevelt was more apt to
oppose colonialism while Churchill is well known to have supported colonialism including the concept of the
British Empire. Hitler knew of these things. He knew America was funding the Allies. So, he responded.
American ships escorted arms shipments to Iceland and the British picked them up and sent them to England. By
the fall of 1941, Hitler used German U-boats of submarines to attack American ships. Many U-boats shot at the
USS Greer, hit the USS Kearny, and the USS Rueben James. Over 100 sailors were killed by these acts. Many
Americans were angered. This was close to America declaring war on Germany. America by this time was a
neutral nation, but that would change. FDR ordered the Navy to attack German U-boats on sight. By June 1941,
the Nazis declared war on the Soviet Union via Operation Barbarossa. This was his greatest mistake since the
Soviet Union would mobilize its factories and army to help end the Nazis. The Nazis now were fighting on two
fronts in Europe. The Soviets heroically used millions of its people to organize factories, soldiers, and other
resources to respond plus defeat Nazi Germany. By November of 1941, America would be closer to have
involvement in World War Two militarily.
America Enters the War
America came into World War II after Japan’s attack in America. It started by December of 1941. Japan and
America were once allies during WWI. Later, things have changed. Japan expanded its militarist empire
throughout Asia and the Pacific region. America had forces in Guam and the Philippines. Japan considered this
reality a threat to its acquiring of natural resources. Yet, Japan still traded with America. The U.S. supplied Japan
with oil and other resources too. Japan took over China and Vietnam (which was called Indo-China back then).
President Roosevelt wanted this Japanese expansion to end. July 1940 was the time when FDR placed an embargo
on naval and aviation supplies to Japan. These supplies included oil, iron ore, fuel, steel, and rubber. FDR made a
bigger embargo after the Tripartite Pact was made in 1940. Japanese expansion slowed down. Yet, Japan
continued to conquer more territories. General Hideki Tojo was the new Japanese prime minister in 1941. He was
called the razor for his sharp mind. He wanted military expansion and keep America neutral. In the summer of
1941, both America and Japan were in serious negotiations in order to end disagreements. Japan wanted to expand
while American leaders were opposed to this goal. Japan’s final demands were rejected by U.S. Secretary of State
Cordell Hull in 1941.Tojo tried a final peace initiative, but failed. Tojo decided on fighting America via war.
During the beginning of December, Japan would strike America in Hawaii. Japanese diplomats were in D.C.
while Japanese ships headed for Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor had a major amount of U.S. naval ships. Tojo sent
Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo to command the attack. He had 6 aircraft carriers, 360 airplanes, and many
battleships plus cruisers. There were submarines there too. Japanese wanted a surprise attack in order to eliminate
American military forces in the Pacific. Japan wanted to expand into new territories to gain resources.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was brutal. American forces were surprised by the attacks. The USS Arizona
was destroyed. The USS Arizona was blown up. Nearly 2,500 people were killed. 8 battleships were severely
damaged, 3 destroyed left unusable, and 3 light cruisers were damaged. 160 aircraft were destroyed and 128 more
were damaged. The U.S. battle fleet was out of commission for almost six months. The Japanese wanted access to
get new raw materials in new territories. Much of the U.S. aircraft carriers were out to sea in that time. The USS
Arizona, the USS Oklahoma, and the USS Utah suffered harsh damage. Nagumo canceled a third wave of
bombers. He came back home since he didn’t wanted an American counterstrike. The American Pacific Fleet
would recover. As news about Pearl Harbor spread in America, FDR addressed Congress. He promoted unity to
fight the Japanese. Nothing was the same again. Most Americans soon desired to declare war. The Soviet Union
now was in the Allied cause. Political infighting ended between isolationists and interventionists. The only people
who opposed involvement in the war were pacifists, isolationists, and others. President Roosevelt gave a speech to
promote the declaration of war. Congress supported the declaration of war in the House 388 to 1 and in the Senate
unanimously. Later, Japan, Germany, and Italy declared war on America. Democrats and Republicans were in the
war effort. Patriotism increased. Many Americans mobilized for the war effort. Some were in the military, some
joined other organizations, and some funded the Red Cross. 16 million Americans joined the military in the war.
The U.S. Army grew from about 1.4 million to 3 million people. The Navy grew from under 300,000 to more
than 600,000 people.

Americans of every ethnicity and sex were involved in World War II. 300,000 Mexican Americans and 25,000
Native Americans were in integrated units. Nearly one million African Americans joined the military in mostly
segregated units. They first worked in limited roles at first. Later, African Americans saw more active combat and
served in the white combat units in some cases. This came after causalities mounted. Over 350,000 women served
in World War II in a diversity of roles. In 1941, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers introduced a bill that
formed the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps which would change into the WAC or the Women’s Army Corps in
1943. The WAC allowed women clerical workers, truck drivers, instructors, and lab technicians to work for the
United States Army. Over 150,000 women served in the WAC. 15,000 women served overseas. 600 women
received medals for their service. The Army Nurse Corps had 57,000 nurses. These nurses were in danger from the
Axis in Europe and in the Pacific. Thousands of more women were in the Navy and Coast Guard auxiliaries.
Industry would mobilize too. Roosevelt inspired American production of industry to be used in the war. The
War Production Board or the WPB oversaw the conversion of peacetime industry into a war industry. Many
agencies made materials to promote resources for the war. Civilian goods were regulated. Organized labor
negotiated with the government too. All of these things were controlled with the help of the OWM or the Office
of War Mobilization. Defense spending massively ended the Great Depression.

That spending was government money which proves the notion that government intervention can end recessions
and depressions. A job came for every worker who wanted one. Production for military supplies increased. Henry
Ford produced for America. American made production was much more than Axis nations combined by 1944.
Therefore, American production was key in causing the Allied victory of World War II.
After Pearl Harbor, Japan moved as quickly as possible in the Pacific in order for them to control areas before a
major American response would exist. In December 1941, Douglas MacArthur struggled to secure the Philippines.
The Philippines had little support. Japan destroyed half of the Army’s fighter planes in the region. Japan quickly
controlled Guam. They also took Hong Kong and Wake Island. Japan attacked the Philippines by December 22,
1941. MacArthur used his forces to try to stop the Japanese. Yet, the Japanese had bigger numbers, so MacArthur
and his forces were forced to retreat. The U.S. left Manila to the Bataan peninsula. They dug in for a siege on
Corregidor. Americans suffered heavily and many had low rations. MacArthur left into Australia via evacuation
by orders from the U.S. government. Other Americans remained behind. They held out until May of 1942. This
was when 75,000 troops surrendered. They were taken as POWs to march 55 miles to the Bataan peninsula to go
into a railway. They were forced to march 8 more miles. More than 7,000 Americans and Filipino troops died
during the Bataan Death March. Japanese forces continued to get more lands in the Pacific. They got oil and
rubber supplies in the Southeast Asian region. By the summer of 1942, Japan thought about dominating the
Indian Ocean, Australia, New Zealand, and the central Pacific. America had to act quickly to prevent that from
happening.

FDR led a response against Japan. This was the Doolittle Raid. It involved a nighttime bombing raid from the
USS Hornet aircraft carrier. It was led by Colonel James Doolittle. Doolittle led the raid of 16 B-25 bombings to
attack Tokyo. The raid killed 50 Japanese people and damaged 100 buildings. The pilot flew to China where they
crash landed. The Doolittle Raid was a small military gain, but it gave Americans more confidence. The Battle of
Coral Sea was used to fight Japan. In May of 1942, Japanese moved to take Port Moresby in New Guinea. The
Japanese wanted to attack Australia later on. They also wanted to protect its military bases at Rabual, New
Guinea. America sent 2 aircraft carriers. They were the USS Lexington and the USS Yorktown along with support
vessels to attack the Japanese forces. On May 7-8, 1942, American and Japanese forces fought each other via
aircrafts. The battle was a draw, but it further gave Americans forces confidence to continue. Aircraft carriers and
planes were key weapons in WWII. Japan no longer attacked New Guinea in the future. 1942 saw the Allied
response against the Axis Powers to exist in a higher level.

The Allies Winning


June 1942 was a time of the Allied forces were still responding and fighting the Axis Powers. The Axis Powers
never had a long term strategy in their goals. Hitler wanted to rule Europe and murder Jewish people,
Communists, socialists, plus non-white, non-Germanic peoples. Mussolini wanted an empire from Italy to East
Africa. Tojo wanted to dominate Western Pacific areas and Asia. The Allied forces had a more unified purpose.
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin wanted Nazi Germany defeated. America created tons of materials for the Allies,
but the Allies fought Nazi U-Boats in order for the Allies to carry those supplies to the UK, the Soviet Union, and
other Allied areas. German U-Boats sank more than 3,500 merchant ships and murdered thousands of Allied
seamen in the Atlantic and Caribbean waters. By mid-1943, the Allied forces used radar to track and destroy
German U-Boats. Long range bombers defeated many U-boats too. Germany attacked Russia in 1941. The Nazis
send one army north to Leningrad and a second one east toward Moscow. They also had a third group going
south to Stalingrad. The Nazis were deep in the Soviet Union. Millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed.
The Soviet resistance and the Russian winter ended the Nazi advance. Hitler also wanted to capture Stalingrad in
order to get the rich oil fields of the Caucasus Mountains. The battle of Stalingrad was long and harsh. German
troops had house by house fights. The Soviet troops counterattacked. The Nazis were trapped. Hitler resisted
defeat at first. The remaining German troops surrendered on January 31, 1943. The battle of Stalingrad was a
turning point in the war. It was the end of the Hitler advance in the east. Hitler never could dominate Europe.
Nazi armies were in retreat and came back toward Germany. The Soviet Union was now in the offensive going
westward into Berlin.

American Military Leaders during World War Two

General George General Henry H. Dwight D. General George S. Fleet Admiral


Marshall was the Arnold was the Eisenhower was Patton was one of Chester W. Nimitz
General of the Commanding the Supreme the United States’ Sr. was the
Army and the General of the Commander of leading general Commander in
Chief of Staff U.S. Army Air the Allied Forces during the Chief, U.S. Pacific
during World Forces during in Europe. He was campaigns in Fleet and
War II. He World War II. responsible for North Africa, Commander in
received the planning and Sicily, France, and Chief, Pacific
1953 Nobel supervising the Germany. Ocean Areas,
Peace Prize for liberation of commanding
his Marshall Plan France and Allied air, land,
in establishing a Europe with the and sea forces
recovery in invasion of Nazi during World War
Europe. Germany. II.
There was World War II battles in North Africa too. In the deserts and mountains of North Africa, Germany and
Britain fought each other for territories. The British forces were fighting the Germans and the Italians since 1940.
The Allied forces wanted North Africa. Stalin wanted America and Britain to fight the Nazis in France in order to
cause a second European front (plus give Stalin more freedom to fight). FDR and Churchill wanted to go into
North Africa at first instead. Both thought that they needed more time to go into France from the English
Channel. FDR and Churchill wanted to get North Africa, so they could go into Italy. By October of 1942, the
British won a major victory at El Alamein in Egypt. The British moved westward. Allied troops landed in
Morocco and Algeria and started to move east toward key German position. The Allied invasion of North Africa
was started by General Dwight Eisenhower, who was an American. German general Erwin Rommel on February
of 1943 led his Afrika Korps against the Americans at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia. He was called the Desert Fox.
Rommel broke through the American lines. He wanted to go to the Allied supply base at Tebessa in Algeria.
American soldiers stopped the Rommel assault. Rommel retreated after he lacked the supplies to carry onward.
The Kasserine Pass victory inspired Americans. They or the Allies wanted aggressive officers and troops who were
trained at desert fighting. Eisenhower put the American forces in North Africa under the command of George S.
Patton Jr. He was a tank commander and an expert strategist. Patton’s forces went east. They had confidence. At
the same time, the British forces went westward from Egypt. They trapped the Axis armies. The Nazis decreased
in power at Tunisia. Rommel escaped and his army didn’t win. By May of 1943, German and Italian forces
surrendered with about 240,000 troops.

By 1943, the Nazis were on the defensive. January of 1943 was the time when Roosevelt and Churchill met at
Casablanca, Morocco to plan their next moves. They decided to bomb Germany and invade Italy. FDR wanted
the Allies to only accept unconditional surrender. FDR didn’t want Hitler, Mussolini, or Tojo to have some
negotiated peace. FDR wanted complete victory. The Allied forces invaded Italy. First, they came to Sicily since it
had little U-Boats and it was an island. By July 1943, British and American armies came into Sicily. Eisenhower
commanded the joint American-British forces to strike. The Axis forces escaped into the mainland of Italy. The 38
day campaign caused the Allies to control the western Mediterranean. It paved the way for the invasion of the
Italian mainland. It also ended the rule of Benito Mussolini years later. Italy surrendered on September 3, 1943. 5
weeks later, Italy declared war on Germany. Hitler didn’t give up on Italy yet. Mussolini was rescued by a German
airborne force from a mountaintop fortress. Hitler made him a puppet leader of northern Italy. In southern Italy,
the Nazis fought against the Allies.

The invasion of Italy by the Allies wasn’t easy. Italy had massive mountains, heavy rains, and tough terrain. Allied
forces would not completely defeat the Axis until 1944, but the Allied forces would have many victories in the
fight for Italy. Stalin continued to want America and the UK to invade France. Yet, both nations would fight in
different ways. British bombers attacked German cities in the saturation bombing. They wanted to make
maximum damage. The American bombers targeted Germany’s political and industrial centers. The Americans
used strategic bombing to destroy the Nazi’s power to make war. The African American fighter squadron, called
the Tuskegee Airmen, escorted bombers and protected them from enemy fighter pilots. In more than 1,500
missions over enemy territories in Europe, the Tuskegee Airmen didn’t lose a single bomber. The Allied bombers
experienced a high causality rate overall. During the day and night, German targets were bombed. It caused relief
on Soviet forces to fight in the Eastern Font and go into Berlin ultimately.

The Battle in the Pacific continued. In May of 1942, Japan continued to advance in the Pacific. They attacked
colonies controlled by America, Britain, and the Netherlands. They controlled the Philippines, Malaya, Dutch
East Indies, Hong Kong, Wake Island, Guam, and Burma. Later, America fought back. Americans triumphed at
Midway. Admiral Yamamoto was the commander of the Japanese forces in the Pacific. He realized that the
United States Navy was a powerful force. Yamamoto wanted to destroy the U.S. aircraft carriers in the Pacific. He
wanted to defeat the naval base in Midway. Midway is in the Central Pacific. It helped to defend Hawaii. Losing
Midway would force the American forces to go into California. Yamamoto wanted Midway and the Aleutian
islands in Alaska. Admiral Chester Nimitz or the commander of the United States Navy in the Pacific knew of the
Japanese plans. Navy code breakers intercepted Japanese messages. Nimitz sent American forces to Midway. The
Japanese navy was stretched out more than 1,000 miles. American forces were near Midway. Japanese attacked on
June 4, 1942. It was a great naval battle. America defeated Japan. Torpedo planes and dive bombers sank 4
Japanese aircraft carriers along with 22\50 aircraft on board. Many of Japanese great pilots lost their lives. The
Battle of Midway was a turning point of the war in the Pacific. It proved that the Japanese forces weren’t all
powerful. Japan would never again threaten Hawaii or dominate the Pacific. Japan was on the defensive after the
Allied victory of Midway. August 1942 was when American forces were on the offensive. They assaulted
Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The United States Marines drove the Japanese off the island on August of
1942. Guadalcanal was the first leg in a strategy to approach Japan from both the southwest Pacific and the central
Pacific. The Allies had U.S. Marine, Navy, and Army forces. They wanted Japan to fight a two front war. The
Allied forces would get islands. Many places had monsoons, heat, coral reefs, and jungles. The journey to go to
Japan would be one long enacted by the American forces.
The African American Women Military Leaders of World War II

Lieutenant Colonel Charity Executive Officer Captain Phyllis Mae Dailey was the Harriet Ida Pickens was one
Adams Earley (1918-2002) was Abbie Noel Campbell first African American woman of the two first African
the first African American women worked with the 6888th Navy nurse on March 8, American women Naval
to be an officer of the Women’s Central Postal Directory 1945. Determined to serve, officers. She was in WAVES
Army Auxiliary Corps or WACS. Battalion that helped to Daley stated that she "knew or the United States Naval
She commanded the 6888th deliver postage throughout the barriers were going to be Women’s Reserve.
Central Postal Directory Battalion. the European theater during broken down eventually and
She was the highest ranking World War II. felt the more applicants, the
African American officer of the better the chances would be
Army by the end of World War II. for each person."

Many great World War Two scholars have


written books about the battles and many
persons of the war. Yet, some scholars omit the
great contributions of African American women
during World War Two. Black women were
involved in many occupations during that time
Frances Eliza Willis Thorpe was like nurses, naval workers, factory workers, Major Della H. Raney was
one of the first two African the black chief nurse
American women Naval officers. deliverers of mail, etc. The sacrifice of black commissioned as a lieutenant
She was in WAVES or the United American women should always be honored in the Army Nurse Corp. She
States Naval Women’s Reserve. was born in Suffolk, Virginia
She lived in Philadelphia and New since their efforts heavily contributed to the end in January 10, 1912. During
York. She worked with Langston of the Axis Powers. During this time (in the end World War II, she was a
Hughes and graduated from Captain. She was later
Hunter College. Her story is found of 2018), it is always important for all of us to stationed at Fort Beale,
in her own memoirs entitled, “Navy California. She retired in 1978
Blue and Other Colors: A Memoir
show our love and appreciation to black women. as a Major.
of Adventure and Happiness.”

These are Hospital Apprentices Pauline C. Cookman was Members of the 6888th The late Alberta Martin, of
second class members by the enlisted on June 14, 1943. Central Postal Directory Mount Airy (Philadelphia),
names of Ruth C. Isaacs, She was born in 1922. She Battalion take part in a May was an African American
Katherine Horton, and Inez was a private in the reserve 1945 parade ceremony in nurse and a World War II
Patterson. Branch of the Women’s honor of Joan d'Arc at the veteran. She lived to be 92
Army Corps during World marketplace where she was years and passed away on
War Two. burned at the stake. January 24, 2012.
The Home Front
In the United States of America, World War II changed the lives of Americans forever. Patriotism grew. Many
economies recovered. There were more opportunities for women, black people, and other people of color. The
problem was that also racism, discrimination, sexism, and violations to civil liberties were abundant during this
time. America’s economy was in a war production economy heavily. The government encouraged women to
work in industrial jobs while many men were off to war. About three-fourths of the American working women
worked in the war industries and were married. About 60 percent of the women workers were older than 35 years
old. The image of Rosie the Riveter working gave Americans of an image of women in wartime production.
Women worked in blue collar and white collar jobs. After the war, more women fought for better employment.
By the 1940’s, more women joined secretarial jobs. Women used devices to create metal. Many had more
paychecks and inspired their daughters to carry onward in their dreams and aspirations. Daycare existed and many
mothers allowed their neighbors to baby sit their kids while they were off to work.

Also, African Americans fought for freedom too in America during World War II. Many black Americans wanted
the war to give black people more economic opportunities and end Jim Crow oppression including racism in
general. Yet, national defense employers didn’t employ many African Americans in meaningful jobs. Out of
100,000 Americans working in the aircraft industry in 1940, only 240 workers were African Americans.
Segregation was in government and military jobs. That is why African Americans promoted the Double V
movement which wanted to end fascism overseas and end racism at home in America. A. Philip Randolph was a
civil rights leader who didn’t want black people to have second class citizenship. He wanted freedom for black
Americans. He demanded that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would end discriminatory actions in
government funded training, employment, and the armed forces. He or Randolph planned to have a march on
Washington, D.C. to protest racism and discrimination. FDR wanted to place the issue of civil rights on the
backburner since he feared the political backlash from southern white racist Democratic segregationists. A. Philip
Randolph persisted with his demands. Only Eleanor Roosevelt inspired Randolph to end his plans and FDR
issued the Executive Order 8802. This order banned racial discrimination involving government funded defense
military jobs. It formed the Fair Employment Practices Committee to enforce this policy. It was the first anti-racist
policy from the federal government since the end of Reconstruction.
African Americans joined the NAACP in larger numbers to about 500,000 members. By 1942, CORE was created
or the Congress of Racial Equality. CORE wanted to use protest to end segregation. These groups inspired the
development of the modern day civil rights movement that would grow into the next level by the early 1950’s. The
Second Great Migration occurred during this time among black Americans. Also, Americans in general migrated
into urban areas from cities in California to Detroit plus Chicago. Billions of dollars came into many areas of the
South and the Southwest to build industries. Native Americans worked in defense industries too. Many Mexican
Americans worked in farms called the bracero program. Migration wasn’t accepted by all Americans. The summer
of 1943 saw many racial riots in America.

The Detroit riot of 1943 was very violent. It started when housing for black workers existed. Black people worked
in defense plants. Many white racists falsely scapegoated black people for economic issues when black people were
just living in Detroit and working. Some 100,000 white people and black people fought in a city park. The next
morning, the riot was larger and federal troops had to be called to end the violence. Detroit continued to deal with
many issues for years and decades to come. Mexican Americans were also scapegoated. Many lived in poor areas of
Los Angeles and the West. Some didn’t speak English. Many Mexicans and Mexican Americans wore zoot suits as
a way for them to promote confidence in their own style and heritage. Later, white sailors in June of 1943 violently
attacked Mexican Americans in the zoot suit riots. The police arrested the Mexican victims not the attackers. Also,
the racists attacked black and Filipino Americans in Los Angeles too. Lieutenant governor Earl Warren wanted an
investigation and people knew who started the riot (which were the sailors). He wanted those responsible to be
punished. Yet, the sailor criminals weren’t readily punished or prosecuted.
The aftermath of Pearl Harbor unfortunately caused more anti-Japanese racist sentiment in America. Many
Americans falsely blamed every Japanese person for the actions of a few. This racism inspired the evil internment
camp system against Japanese people. Even immigrants from Axis countries had to have fingerprints, affiliations
revealed, and others experienced more authoritarian measures. These violations to civil liberties are not justifiable
period. 11,000 German Americans and Italian Americans were held in detention camps. FDR promoted his
executive order 9066 which caused many areas to be war zones where Japanese Americans were removed from the
West Coast into internment camps. These internment camps for Japanese people were found in Arizona and
Native American reservations. Nisei and Issei were interned in such camps for the rest of the war. Some Japanese
Americans went to court to attempt to end this evil. The Supreme Court in the 1944 case of Korematsu v. United
States upheld the wartime policy of internment of Japanese Americans. Reparations in the form of $20,000 per
internment victim would be given by 1988 when Ronald Reagan was President. Japanese Americans were banned
from joining the Armed forces until 1943. The all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team fought in the Italian
campaign and was the most decorated military unit in American history. They helped to refute the lie that
Japanese Americans were not loyal citizens.

$330 billion was the cost of the war. The debt increased. America issued revenues by having a 5 percent tax on all
working Americans. War bonds were brought to save money and investments existed. The war continued and it
caused a scarcity of consumer products. Shortage had price increases. FDR created the Office of Price
Administration to handle rationing, inflation, and the costs of goods. Coupon books limited the supplies that
Americans could buy in order to fund the war effort. The Office of War Information or the OWI promoted the
war effort by using the media and movies. The problem with the OWI is that it tried to minimize the issues of
poverty, racism, and real injustices in America with their movies, TV shows, and other items of media. It was right
to say that fascism and dictatorship have no place in the world and there is greatness in democracy. Frank Capra’s
Why We Fight promoted the Allied cause. Some movies had shown racist, stereotypical images of Japanese people.
Many people in America scarified to plant gardens, sell metal, and give money to support the cause of the Allies.

The Allied Victory in Europe and in the Pacific


The Nazis were pushed back from Russia by 1943. 1944 and 1945 saw the end of the Axis Powers. In 1943,
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin disagreed on the time to execute a second front in France. Stalin wanted England
and America to fight in France since the Soviet Union had most of the military burden in the European theater.
Roosevelt understood Stalin’s views, but Churchill had a total hatred of Communism. He didn’t trust Stalin at
all, but realized that he needed Stalin to defeat the Nazis in general. Roosevelt was the peacemaker between
Churchill and Stalin. Churchill said that the English Channel had German U-Boat and did want to risk massive
British deaths in crossing that channel into France. By November of 1943, all 3 men would meet in Tehran, Iran to
have a meeting. Churchill didn’t want a cross channel invasion of France again. FDR agreed with Stalin in
Crowds of French patriots line the Champs Elysees to
wanting to do an invasion of France. Churchill
view Free French tanks and half tracks of General agreed to do this reluctantly. Churchill, Stalin,
Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division passes through the
Arc du Triomphe, after Paris was liberated on August and FDR finally agreed to attack via France
26, 1944. Among the crowd can be seen banners in
support of Charles de Gaulle.
after the Tehran Conference. They issued a
joint agreement promoting this plan. The D-
Day invasion was code named Operation
Overlord. This plan involved the most
experienced military leaders of the war. It was
led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower who
was the Supreme Commander, British General
Bernard Montgomery as the commander of
the ground forces, and General Omar Bradley
who led the United States First Army.
Eisenhower heavily planned the invasion.

It involved 21 American divisions and 26


British, Canadian, and Polish divisions. They came on a 50 mile stretch of the beaches at Normandy, France. This
fleet was the largest ever assembled in human history. It was made up of more than 4,400 ships and landing crafts.
The plan wanted to strike the five beaches in Normandy whose code names were Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and
Sword. It also wanted deception to confuse the Nazis. General Patton promoted a fake army. Eisenhower wanted
the Nazis to think that Allied forces were at Calais instead of Normandy. So, this fake manufactured army had
cardboard tanks, useless ships, and radio traffic. Hitler moved his top tank division to Calais being deceived. On
June 6, 1944, it was D-Day. The Allies attacked the German forces. More than 11,000 planes prepared the way. It
wanted to destroy German communication and transportation networks. It also wanted to soften Nazi beach
defenses.

At 6:30 am., the first Allied forces landed. On four of the beaches, casualties were low. Yet, at Omaha, the
Americans came into that section. German resistance was harsh. The Germans shot at Allied troops from pillbox
structures and had trenches. Heavily gunfire was abundant. Americans soldiers saw a rainstorm of bullets flying.
Many died quickly. Some folks drowned. Many Americans continued and fought back. By the end of the day, the
Allied people gained a foothold in France. Within one month, over 1 million Allied troops came into Normandy.
Berlin was a long way, but D-Day was an important step in defeating the Nazi enemy once and for all. After D-
Day, Germany faced a two front war and they would soon be defeated. Soviet forces forced the Nazis out of
Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary. Germany lost lands. The Allied forces were on the move in the West
too. The Allies liberated Paris on August 1944. Hitler ordered his generals to destroy Paris, but they disobeyed
him. They left Paris. Parisians celebrated. Allied forces continued to advance. Nazi Germany was defeated so bad
that Rommel and other leading general plotted to overthrow Hitler. An officer planted a bomb at Hitler’s
headquarters on July 20, 1944. It killed and wounded 20 people. Hitler survived. Rommel took poison to not be
in trial. Hitler refused to surrender.
In December of 1944, Hitler had a counterattack. Allied troops were near the Alps. German forces massed near
the Ardennes. Hitler wanted English speaking German soldiers in U.S. uniforms to cause confusion. The
counterattacks were known as the Battle of the Bulge. It almost succeeded. The Nazis caught the Allied by
surprise. It caused bulge in the American line. The Nazis captured many cities. At the Belgian town of Bastogne,
Americans forces held onward despite German assaults and frostbite. On December 23, the American forces
attacked German forces when the weather cleared up. The Allies came on the offensive after reinforcements came
through. It pushed the Nazis out of France. The Battle of the Bulge was one last attempt of the Nazis to create a
division among American plus British forces. It ultimately crippled Germany. It shortened the time of the defeat
of Hitler. By January 1945, the Soviet Army came into the Oder River outside of Berlin. The Allies came
northward in Italy. In April 27, 1945, Mussolini tried to flee to Switzerland. He was captured and executed in Italy
(along with his mistress Clara Petacci) on the date of April 28, 1945. American and British troops in April crossed
the Elbe River. This was 50 miles from Berlin. Allied forces were ready to go into Hitler’s capital. Hitler by this
time had tremors, he was drug addicted, and still desired victory. No one followed his orders. No one would fight
for him. By April 30, 1945, Hitler and his closest allies committed suicide. It was finally over when a murderer and
a racist was gone from the Earth. By May 7, 1945 Germany surrendered a French schoolhouse at Eisenhower’s
headquarters. Americans celebrated as VE day or Victory in Europe. This came after FDR sadly passed away. A
few weeks ago, he or Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away on April 12, 1945. The new President or Harry
Truman saw this victory.

Medals
Tons of stories existed of
heroes who enacted service
and sacrifice to defeat the Axis
enemy. These are three out of
many medals that
commemorated and celebrated
the heroic deeds of soldiers
(during World War Two) who
exemplify total courage and
selfless altruism. U.S. Army Medal of Honor The Medal for the
The Purple Heart
Defense of
Stalingrad (USSR)
Americans had huge advances in the Pacific too. The Allies used the island-hopping strategy. This was about
Americans and other Allied forces taking Japanese held islands and ignoring others in a way to get to Japan.
American forces defeated the Japanese at Tarawa, Makin (in the Gilbert Islands), etc. Eniwetok and Kwajalein in
the Marshall Islands were liberated by Americans. Later, Americans came to Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the
Mariana Islands. Japanese troops would fight to the death. Navajo troops in code talks helped the Pacific island
hopping campaign. They used their own coded language and the Japanese were confused in what they were
saying. They were crucial in the war effort. Japanese forces used suicide bombers called the kamikaze to attack
American ships. Japanese soldiers would kill themselves. More than 3,000 Japanese pilots died in Kamikaze
actions. General Douglas MacArthur retook the Philippines. The United States Navy sank Japanese ships.

By February and March of 1945, there was the


“Our forces stand once again on Philippine soil.” battle of Iwo Jima. It was fierce. It took 36 days
of fierce fighting and more than 23,000 U.S.
-General Douglas MacArthur
Marine casualties to allow the Americans to
win. The famous photograph of six Marines
was shown to the world. One person placing
the American flag upward was the Native
American Ira Hayes. The photograph showed
the heroism and the sacrifice of American
soldiers. Iwo Jima was 650 miles southwest of
Tokyo. The fight for Okinawa came in April of
1945. It was more deadly and was 340 miles
from Japan. Okinawa had an air base and it was
used for the invasion of Japan. It was very
costly which took a half of a million troops and
General Douglas MacArthur, President Osmeña, and staff 1,213 warships. U.S. forces took Okinawa at
land at Palo, Leyte (in the Philippines) on October 20, about 50,000 casualties came afterwards. From
1944. Okinawa and other Pacific bases, American
bombers hit factories, military bases, and sites.
One night in March of 1945, B-29 bombers destroyed 16 square miles of Tokyo. This single night of the Allied
bombings of Tokyo killed over 83,000 Japanese people and injured 100,000 more. That was an explicit war crime.
The atomic bomb ultimately ended World War completely.

The Manhattan Project helped to form the atomic bomb. The scientists of the 1930’s helped to split the nuclei of
elements. Once, Albert Einstein wrote a note to FDR to desire him to advance nuclear weapons. Einstein later
regretted sending the letter to FDR. The Manhattan Project spent billions of dollars and involved thousands of
people. General Leslie Groves and the liberal scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer worked on it. Los Alamos, New
Mexico was the site of the test. Groves promoted security, recruited scientists, and acquired the materials.
Oppenheimer ran the scientific part of the project. On July 16, 1945, the first atomic test was enacted. It caused
flash of light seen 180 miles away and the sound was heard from 100 miles away. The test was the beginning of the
end of the war. Harry Truman knew of the ethical debate about doing this and he realized that this destructive
weapon would cause tons of civilians to die. He knew that Axis scientists worked on nuclear technology too.
Truman's military advisers wanted him to drop the atomic bomb in Japan since they believed that over 1 million
American troops would be necessary to invade Japan and win without the bomb. Recent historians knew that
certain actions would end the war sooner against Japan without dropping both nuclear bombs. Truman also
wanted to show the Soviet Union that he had this power in order for it to comply with its promise to invade
Japanese controlled territory. On August 6, 1945, U.S. pilots dropped the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. It exploded
at 8:15 am. It killed thousands instantly. Within 2 minutes, more than 60,000 Hiroshima residents died or were
missing out of 344,000 people. On August 9, the Soviet Union declared war against Japan and invaded
Manchuria. Later, the U.S. dropped the second atomic bomb at Nagasaki killing 35,000 people. These atomic
bomb drops were brutal and overt crimes against humanity. Japan surrendered by August 15, 1945, It was VJ Day
or Victory in Japan. Japan surrendered completely on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri.

The bloodiest war in world history was over. As high as 80 million people (including mostly civilians) died from
World War II.
Remembering the Holocaust
The Holocaust was one of the most vicious genocides in human history. It was horrible. Adolf Hitler from the
start wanted to exterminate Jewish people in Europe. By the end of the war, 6 million Jewish people and 5 million
non-Jewish people were murdered in the Holocaust. The Holocaust or Shoah represents the evil racism and
murderous actions of the Nazis. Edward R. Murrow described the scene of one concentration camp at
Buchenwald as the most horrific chapter of the Nazi era. The Nazis believed in the lie that Aryans or Germanic,
Nordic, and Anglo-Saxon peoples were superior to everyone else on Earth (and must rule the Earth). Hitler
preached anti-Semitism. Hitler blamed Jewish people for economic problems, for communism, and for many
things. During the 1920’s, he gave speeches hating Jewish people. Hitler persecuted Jewish people immediately
when he came into power by 1933 when he was the chancellor of Germany. Hitler started by wanting Germans to
have an economic boycott of Jewish owned businesses. He banned Jewish people from having jobs in civil service,
banking, stock exchange, law, journalism, and medicine.

In 1935, Hitler promoted the Nuremberg Laws. Nuremberg was one larger center of Nazism. The Nuremberg
Laws banned German citizenship to Jewish people, it banned marriages between Jewish people and non-Jewish
people, and it segregated Jewish people in every part of society. Later, Hitler promoted the Final Solution. This
was the attempt to exterminate Jewish people in Europe. Hitler promoted anti-Semitic campaigns in his
government. Newspapers slandered Jewish people. The Hitler youth movement accused Jewish people of
polluting Germany society and culture. Comic books have racist, caricatures of Jewish people. One of the early
acts of violence against Jewish people was called Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. That was the Night of Broken
Glass. A Jewish refugee killed a German diplomat in Paris. Then, the Nazis ordered attacks on Jewish people in
Germany, Austria, and Sudetenland. Secret police and military united destroyed more than 1,500 synagogues and
7,500 Jewish owned businesses. They murdered more than 200 Jewish people and injured more than 600 others.
The Nazis arrested thousands of Jewish people.

Jewish people tried to flee Germany and Nazi occupied Austria from 1933 and 1937. 129,000 Jewish people wanted
to flee. Albert Einstein fled too. Many Jewish people weren’t welcomed in other nations. During the Great
Depression, the U.S. and other nations barred many Jewish people from coming into America. The St. Louis
ocean liner in 1939 had many in more than 900 Jewish refugees on it. Only 22 were given permission to stay in
Cuba. U.S. officials refused to accept any refugees. The ship returned to Germany. Almost 600 of the Jewish
people on the St. Louis would be murdered in Nazi concentration camps. In 1933, Nazi Germany not only denied
Jewish people citizenship rights, but promoted concentration camps to exterminate Jewish people. Hitler wanted
all Jewish people to be murdered in the Third Reich. The early camps were in Dachau, Sachesnhasuen, and
Buchenwald.

Later, Reavensbruck not far from Berlin had women prisoners for extermination. The camps had political
opponents like labor leaders, socialists, liberals, and communists. Anyone who opposed the Nazis from
journalists, novelists, ministers or priests were in concentration camps too. Many Jewish people including non-
Jewish people who dated or married Jewish people were placed into camps as well. The Nazis murdered Gypsies,
Jewish people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, homeless people, those with mental illness, the poor,
conscientious objectors, the physically disabled, those with intellectual disabilities, communists, socialists,
progressives, black people, and other human beings. Prisoners in camps were tattooed numbers on their arms.
Many had triangular insignias. Jewish people had yellow insignia, homosexuals had pink ones, political prisoners
had red, and Jehovah's Witnesses had purple. Sadistic guards beat, tortured, and raped prisoners. Some prisoners
experienced experiments on oxygen deprivation, hypothermia, and effects of attitude. Some prison guards and
doctors like Josef Mengele killed infants and did sick experiments on babies. Children were murdered. Germany
invaded Poland made more Jewish people to be forced into ghettos or crowded areas. More camps existed in
Poland and Eastern Europe. Reinhardt Heydrich was involved in the Holocaust after the Wannese Conference in
January of 1942. He was an SS leader.

Poland had death camps. The largest death camp was in southern Poland at Auschwitz. Others camps were in
Treblinka, Maidenek, Sobibor, Belsec, and Chelmno. Many people were sent to death camps and murdered. Some
were poisoned in showers with carbon monoxide or Zyklon B. Some Jewish people were shot and placed into
ditches. The human fat from the bodies were turned into soap. Human hair was woven into wigs, slippers, and
mattresses. Gold fillings and rings were stolen by the Nazis. Bodies were burned. 6 million Jewish people were
murdered by 1945. 2 million non-Jewish Polish people were murdered. Survivors told stories of their suffering and
pain. Many of them moved into United States, Israel, and other places being productive people.

The truth is that the United States, Britain, and France of course didn’t do enough to stop the Holocaust. The
early response was disgraceful. The United States had strict immigration laws. Even as late as 1943, the American
government knew of the Holocaust and did no concrete action to oppose it. By early 1944, FDR created the War
Refugee Board to try to save thousands of Eastern European Jewish people, especially in Romania and Hungary.
Too few were saved. The Soviet Union with Stalin showed no concern about the death camps. Britain and
America had sympathy, but focused more on defeating Hitler while not his genocidal campaign. The Allies
refused to pressure countries within the Nazi controlled areas to stop the transportation of Jewish people to
Germany. Later, American soldiers liberated many Nazi camps. They saw the bodies. Many of them realized that
this evil was real. Major Richard Winters defended Bastogne at the Battle of the Budge and was shocked at seeing
the survivors of the Holocaust. The liberation of camps by Americans caused the survivors to go into America and
the Americans saw how vicious the Holocaust was. The Holocaust inspired support of an independent Jewish
homeland. By 1948, the State of Israel was created and one U.N. resolution supported the establishment of both a
Jewish and Palestinian state. Truman immediately recognized the new nation of Israel. The Holocaust was evil
and we remember it in order for us to prevent such genocide from ever happening again.

Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen

These are eight Tuskegee


Airmen in front of a P-40
nd
fighter aircraft. These are the pilots of the 332 Fighter
Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Group at Ramitelli Airfield, Italy; from
Jr. was the commander of left to right, Lt. Dempsey W. Morgan, Lt.
the Tuskegee Airmen of the
nd
Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelron,
332 Fighter Group in front
Jr., Captain Andrew D. Turner, and Lt.
of his P-47 Thunderbolt in Clarence P. Lester.
Sicily.

The Tuskegee Airmen were African American military pilots (plus fighters and bombers) who
fought during World War Two. They were part of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th
Bombardment Group of the United States Air Forces. They fought racism and discrimination.
They included navigators, bombardiers, mechanics, and other personnel. The black military pilots
were trained at many places and they were educated at Tuskegee University in Alabama. They were
the first African American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces.

Calvin J. Spann was an


Daniel James Jr. was the first African
original Tuskegee Airman
Americans to reach the rank of four-
and fighter pilot with the
star General. He attended the th
100 Fighter Squadron of
Tuskegee Institute and instructed nd
the 332 Fighter Group.
African American pilots during World
He flew 26 combat
War II. He flew combat missions in the
missions before the end of
Korean War too.
World War II.
The Aftermath of World War II
World War II changed the world forever. Many Americans promoted democracy and freedom at home and
abroad. Also, the new internationalized world was a complex reality. World War II was not like World War I in
many ways. By 1918, the Kaiser surrendered before the Allies invaded Germany. World War II involved the Allied
forces invading Germany and Japan in order for the Allied forces to end Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. Allied
bombings and Allied forces ended the Axis powers. Hitler committed suicide and Germany finally surrendered.
Japanese refused to surrender until after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Allies made future plans
on what to do after World War II as soon as the Yalta Conference transpired by February of 1945. This was when
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin discussed plans on what to do about postwar Germany, Western Europe, and
Asia. These 3 men met on the Black Sea. The Big Three nations agreed that Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania would
hold free elections. Yet, Stalin later reneged on this promise. Roosevelt and Churchill knew that Stalin occupied
much of Eastern Europe. The paradox is that Stalin committed violations of civil liberties, but he and his forces
heroically defeated the Nazis and contributed heavily to the end of the Nazis. Roosevelt wanted the Soviets to
help him defeat Japan. Stalin gave vague promises. July 1945 was the time of the Potsdam Conference. Potsdam is
found in a suburb of Berlin. This had Harry S. Truman, Clement Atlee or the Prime Minister of Great Britain,
and Joseph Stalin. Truman was a hardliner and wanted more agitation against Stalin. Truman knew of the
bombing of atomic test. These three men agreed to divide Germany into four zones of occupation. These zones
would be made up of the Soviet Union, America, Britain, and France. They wanted new borders and free
elections for Poland. They also recognized the Soviets’ right to claim reparations for war damages from the
German sector they controlled. Stalin agreed to aid America in fighting Japan.
After World War II, a new situation happened. Plans for the postwar reality after August of 1945 came about.
Poland had new lands slightly to the west. The Soviet Union and the former
Allies divided Europe into communist and non-communist nations. East
Germany was Communist while West Germany was non-Communist.
Almost every nation in Eastern Europe was Communist. Many people
clashed in Eastern Europe over communism. The Chinese civil war between
Nationalists and Communists continued until Mao Zedong won by 1949.
General Douglas MacArthur worked in Japan heavily after the war. He
headed the military American occupation in the land of Japan. He had
leading role in the writing of the new Japanese constitution. That
constitution gave women the right to vote, it had democratic reforms, and it
banned the armed forces except for defense, and made policies that aided it
in its economic recovery. Overt imperialism started to decline. Western
European nations had to deal with a new anti-colonial and anti-imperialist This picture showed the ruins of
movement that legitimately wanted freedom from centuries of oppression. the Reichstag building in Berlin.
Since the 1400’s, Spain, France, Britain, etc. had massive influence on global June 3, 1945 was the date of when
affairs. They colonized much of Africa, the Middle East, Africa, and the this took place.
Americas. They dominated military power and controlled most of the world
trade. These countries exploited the Industrial Revolution as a means for these empires to dominate workers and
exploit resources for their own interests. The Nazis and Japan showed the world how evil imperialism is.

Colonial peoples after World War II continued their fight for independence. Those in the East Indies wanted to
be free from the Dutch. Those in Vietnam didn’t want to see French rule. India, Burma, and the colonies of the
Middle East including Africa wanted independence and freedom. The Age of Imperialism was ending. The
British Empire, which had the most political power of the 19th century, came out of the war having economic
shortages. In decades later, most of its colonies would leave that Empire. The new superpowers internationally
were the United States of America and the Soviet Union. The United States was the strongest superpower after
World War II. America had no major battle on its continental soil. America’s military radically increased. America
became the wealthiest nation in the world by 1945. Much of the war existed in Soviet lands and the Soviets had
most of the burden to defeat the Nazis in Europe. The Red Army has the world’s largest military force while
America had the atomic bomb.
Americans became more receptive to international organizations since they believed that the Senate rejection of
the Treaty of Versailles contributed to the rise of fascism in the world. America shaped the international economic
system with the Bretton Woods agreement that formed the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The meeting to form those groups took place at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944. The U.S. used a lot of
capital to fund global economic and financial stability. They also signed the GATT in 1948 to reduce tariffs.
GATT stands for General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The United Nations was created in 1945, which was a
dream of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was much more powerful than the League of Nations. By April 1945,
delegates from 50 nations met in San Francisco. In that city, the charter of the UN was written. The Senate
overwhelmingly ratified the charter. The UN would have its permanent home in New York City. The United
Nations wanted cooperation of large nations originally not necessary promoting the equality of nations. Later, the
UN would explicitly endorse human equality. The five permanent members are the United States, the Soviet
Union, Britain, France, and China. They were part of the Security Council with massive powers.

“Our victory must bring with it the liberation of


all peoples.”
-Sumner Welles, U.S. Under Secretary of State, May 30, 1942.

Decades later, the UN promoted anti-colonialism, helped to form the state of Israel, handled regional conflicts,
and gave food plus other forms of aid to many areas of the world. The UN issued the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights in 1948 which promoted human equality explicitly. Eleanor Roosevelt promoted the United
Nations. She was the chair of the Commission of Human Rights and helped to draft the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. She promoted equality and women’s rights throughout her life. President John F. Kennedy
named Eleanor Roosevelt to head his Commission of the Status of Women. The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights condemned slavery, and torture. It promoted the freedom of speech and religion plus promoted the right
to housing for humanity.

War criminals were punished. The Axis Powers violated the Geneva Convention that dealt with treatment of
wounded soldiers and prisoners of war. The Allies tried more than 1,000 Japanese people for their atrocities in
China, Korea, and Southeast Asia (including mistreating prisoners of War). Hundreds were condemned to death
including Prime Minister Hideki Tojo (and the general who was involved in the Bataan Death March). Americans
organized the Nuremberg Trials to convict Nazis involved in the Holocaust and war crimes. The Allied
persecutors showed the vicious evil of the Third Reich. Many of those on trial were Hermann Goring and other
Nazis. The prosecution described the crimes of the Holocaust. Many of the criminals said that they were
following orders and Hitler was the source of the crimes, but these criminals carried out genocide viciously. The
judges of Nuremberg convicted them. Some Nazis were hanged and others had long prison terms. Nazi war
criminalsare being captured to this very day. Israelis captured Adolf Eichmann, who was the major architect of the
Holocaust. He was convicted and experienced the death penalty in Israel.

After World War Two, America was changed forever. We know of the Nazis as racists, totalitarian extremists, and
evil murderers. Many Americans were racists back then. Also, other Americans were democratic, tolerant, and
very righteous. Many Americans wanted to promote positive themes in order to rise up to a standard when
America at many cases didn’t live up to the values of equality and democracy. American soldiers showed amazing
courage during that time period in fighting in North Africa, the Pacific, Europe, and in other places to defeat the
Axis powers. The world became more international after WWII. The isolationist mindset declined in American
society. America was tied more into international affairs. Furthermore, after the war, a renewed fight for civil
rights among African Americans increased. Black Americans continued to fight for freedom. Black people saw
World War Two as fighting 2 battles of fascism overseas and racism at home. Many Americans of every color after
World War II wanted America to live up to its creed of advancing freedom, democracy, and justice. Women
greatly sacrificed during this era via factory work, the WAC, etc. Economic growth increased after the war. The
South and West had industries that inspired people to migrate to those locations. There was an expanded
governmental role in the economy in dealing with inflation and raw materials. Postwar America was the
beginning of the modern American world that we see today in the 21st century.

By Timothy
The next part of this series will deal with the events of the history of
the United States from 1945 to 1964. This era spanned the start of
the Cold War, the origins of the modern day Civil Rights Movement,
and the Presidency of John F. Kennedy.