History 104 week 9

 

WWII  The Good War

 

Among Americans World War II is remembered by many as the “Good War.”  It was good in the sense that the enemy was clearly defined, the lines were clear, and the ultimate goals unanimously agreed upon.  For millions of Americans war brought the return to work, a return to prosperity, and a chance to recover from a decade of economic hardship.  Of course, 300,000 were killed, hundreds of thousands wounded.  For Japanese Americans, the war meant years in a prison camp.  For African Americans at home, the war had two fronts, one abroad and one at home, in the fight for the rights of democracy.  For Mexican Americans the war was bittersweet at best.  Women enjoyed gains in the workplace, but many of those gains proved transient.  But it clearly was a defining time for most Americans.  

 

Background:  American foreign policy had been predominantly isolationist during the 1930s, while Japan and Germany had begun aggressive expansionism.  For example, the U.S. declined to be involved in the Spanish Civil war in which fascist General Francisco Franco overthrew the Spanish Republic.  America was increasingly concerned with Japanese expansionism in the Pacific Rim, German expansionism, and Italian ambitions.

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and China five years later, wreaking havoc on Nanking.

 

War in Europe broke out in earnest on 1 September 1939 when the German blitzkrieg rolled into Poland.  In the summer of 1940, German forces invaded Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.  The British were forced to make an emergency evacuation from Dunkirk by the first of June, leaving Britain as the only major force opposed to Germany in Europe.   Americans were reluctant to become involved, and Roosevelt took modest steps to prepare America.  He provided ships to Britain, set up the lend-Lease program, and instituted the Selective Service Act in 1940.

 

In 1941, Germany invaded Russia and Japan occupied Indo-China (Vietnam).  Japan insisted on its right to a “sphere of influence” in the region, to ensure access to petroleum.  On 7 December 1941 the Japanese launched a massive surprise attack on the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  American will, up to then reluctant to enjoin the European war, was suddenly galvanized.   The United States joined with Britain and Russia as the Allied Forces against the Axis of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

 

As in World War I the U.S. was a late entry (note Neutrality Laws), but again the industrial and demographic weight of America soon tipped the balance. America’s industrial output dwarfed that of Japan and Germany.  By 1943 America produced 47,000 aircraft, compared to 27,000 for the combined Axis powers. U.S. shipyards turned out 8,000 warships and 87,000 landing craft in four years, sixteen vessels for every one produced by Japan.  America produced twice the aircraft and heavy guns as Germany.  America was dubbed the “Arsenal of Democracy.”

 Transition to a war machine:

America's small peacetime army of a quarter-million quickly swelled to fifteen million, as men enlisted or were drafted, and as women signed up to join the newly-created women's auxiliary corps.  The mobilization and the ramp up of production created an immediate labor shortage; suddenly everyone had work.

 

Government, Industry,and Unions came together to meet production goals.

 

Caption: Meeting between officials of the OPM (Office or Personnel Management), Army, Navy and representatives of the automobile industry and the automobile unions, to discuss the problems of conversion in automobile plants. Left to right: Walter Reuther, USW-CIO (United Steelworkers of America-Congress of Industrial Organizations); R. J. Thomas, UAW-CIO (United Auto Workers-Congress of Industrial Organizations) president; Sidney Hillman, associate general, OPM; William S. Knudsen, director general, OPM; C.E. Wilson, president, General Motors. Strange bedfellows indeed!

 

The transition to war production and mobilization marked the end of the depression.  Full employment prosperity returned in full force.  People moved all over to join the service and to obtain jobs in war production (1 in 5 people moved during the war).  By 1944 unemployment was only 1%.  National income doubled.

 

Research and development received the funding needed to electronics, computers, synthetics (rubber and silk were unavailable), and medicine, and atomic power.

 

 

Warfare

1942:  German U-Boats decimated U.S. convoys, German land forces were in North Africa and approaching the gates of Moscow and Leningrad.  Japan occupied Thailand, Malaysia, Guam, the Philippines, Wake Island, threatening Australia and India.  The U.S. build up in 1942 focused on regrouping in the Pacific and undertaking a costly and laborious effort to eject Japanese forces from island bases. In 1942 the U.S. launched a counter offensive by invading the island of Guadalcanal and engaging the Japanese Navy in the Battle of the the Coral Sea that provided the U.S. with a pivotal naval victory. While MacArthuur lead U.S. troops through New Guinea enroute to liberating the Philippines, Admiral Chester Nimitz directed amphibious assaults on Japanese island bases, culminating in a decisive victory at Leyte Gulf in 1944. In 1945 American forces tightened the cordon around Japan by taking Iwo Jima and Okinawa in costly battles.

 

The Allied counterattack in Europe began with Americans and British invasions of North Africa (late 1942) and Italy (1943). The main ground war was fought in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe following Hitler's decision to invade Russia in 1941. Although the D-Day campaign opening a second front in the west was an important element of the allied victory, the real turning point of the war came earlier. In January 1943, Field Marshal Paulus surrendered more than 100,000 German troops to the Red Army at Stalingrad. Six months later, the Soviet Union finalized its rout of the Nazi army with its victory at Kursk, the biggest battle of the war. Although U.S. armed forces fought courageously, the Nazis sustained about 80 percent of their total casualties fighting the Soviet Union.  More than 8 million Soviet soldiers and 17 million civilians died in the war (compare to fewer than one-hlaf million total American deaths). Throughout the war, FDR knew well that it was the Soviets who carried the load on the battlefield, which was a clear motivation behind the Lend Lease supplies provided to the Soviets.  Roosevelt preferred that America’s primary role would be as the “Arsenal of Democracy,” the supplier of armaments, ordinance, and supplies.

 

Japanese Internment: It has been remarked that the first casualty of war is usually civil liberties, and for the Japanese living in California, Oregon, and Washington it was immediately evident that they were in trouble.

 

Background:  U.S. sparring with Japan over influence in Pacific Rim.  Issues: rubber and oil. 

 

The 1940 California Japanese community of 93,717 represented but 1.4% of the states' nearly seven million residents and was concentrated in the Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, and San Francisco Bay Areas.  Reflecting the virtual halt of immigration imposed by the National Origins Act of 1924, the total U.S. Japanese population had actually declined slightly in the 1930s: while the foreign-born (Issei) proportion of the community diminished, those born in the U.S. (Nisei) grew to comprise two-thirds of the Japanese population.

No sooner had Japan attacked Pearl Harbor than the Los Angeles Times thought it necessary to advise its readers on the peril they faced at home. "We have thousands of Japanese here. Some, perhaps many, are good Americans. What the rest may be we do not know, nor can we take a chance in the light of yesterday's demonstration that treachery and double-dealing are major Japanese weapons."   Wild rumors of local Japanese subversion flew, none of them sustained by any evidence. In fact, not a single case of sabotage by an ethnic Japanese was ever authenticated. But the press reported the rumors and Americans continued to believe them. Not only had the press over many years published stories of Japanese deceitfulness and treachery, but farm and business organizations resentful of Japanese competition encouraged those views. In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the FBI arrested high profile, foreign-born Japanese.  The Department of Justice arrested thousands of Issei within days.  Leonard Broom estimated that "about one family in six had one member, usually the Issei father, interned."  A conference to advise Congress summarized years later that "They were taken away with no notice, and their families did not know where they were taken, nor for how long." Eddie Sakamoto recalled "That same night [Dec. 7, 1941] my father was taken; he was taken without any explaining. He was taken right away.  The man from FBI or police station came...told my father to get the suitcase and toothbrush and so forth...without any reason."  Following the December confinement of many Issei by federal authorities, representatives of the Justice Department and the War Department met during the first week of January 1942 to consolidate operational security plans to protect the mainland from any “fifth column” sabotage or espionage. They delineated sensitive military and industrial areas to be “forbidden zones to enemy aliens,” organized mandatory registration for all aliens, and agreed to suspend normal procedures and requirements for search and arrest warrants.

In cooperation with the FBI, the Treasury Department froze bank accounts and assets of high-profile Issei, leaving families with no access to cash beyond what they had on hand.  Japanese banks and businesses were closed and placed under guard; licenses were suspended.  Fishing boats were seized and produce markets closed.  Many Japanese Americans, both Issei and Nisei, were quickly fired from jobs in Caucasian homes and businesses.  Miyo Senzaki remembered that Sunday; the manager where she worked "just called us in back and gave us our checks and that was it." A young father said “All Japanese funds were frozen right away on December 8...There was no money to do anything with.”

LA Times:  "U.S. Blows Lid Off Japanese Propaganda Column."  The Los Angeles Times roused racist hysteria with this graphic statement: “A viper is nonetheless a viper wherever the egg is hatched...a Japanese American born of Japanese parents and thoroughly innoculated with Japanese ideals...almost inevitably grows up to be a Japanese, and not an American.” Cartoons added to the hysteria. SF Chronicle: " VALLEJO SPY HUNT-The FBI Swooped To Crack What They Feared To Be A Deadly Nest Of Saboteurs."

In February 1942, Lt. General John L. DeWitt, of the Western Defense Command, submitted recommendations to Washington to expand sanctions to include all persons of Japanese lineage, saying “the Japanese race is an enemy race.”  The idea that the Japanese might be removed altogether from the West Coast came as welcome news to many Western farmers and merchants.  President Roosevelt responded with the issuance of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.  This order transferred responsibility for security in the West Coast region from the FBI and the Justice Department to the Army.  In the final week of March, the Western Defense Command issued Public Proclamation Number 4, which mandated supervised evacuation of all Japanese Americans and ended any option of voluntary evacuation from the restricted zones.  Under Executive Order 9066, federal authorities began the removal of all persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast -- defined as anyone who had at least one Japanese great-grandparent. Notice was posted on telephone poles and walls. They could take only a suitcase.

In San Francisco, under a newspaper headline which exclaimed "Jap Town Sells Out," the article described the scene this way: "Along Post St. you can buy anything from a pool table to a begonia plant cheap...The Junkmen are picking over the lamps, rugs, the books and toys that are excess baggage for the Japanese in times like these."  John Kanda said "my parents...literally got wiped out as far as finances go."  In retrospect, the official War Relocation Authority history acknowledged that "Some lost everything they had; many lost most of what they had."

Some 120,000 men, women, and children, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, waitedfor buses and trucks to pick them up and were transported to barren areas of the West and confined in guarded camps enclosed by barbed wire. There were ten camps in California, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Arkansas. The Japanese descended population remained in the concentration camps until 1945 (Tule Lake remained open until 1946) when they were resettled in various locations across the country.

Although national security did not justify such an evacuation (and no such removal was ordered of Italian Americans or German Americans), it was justified on both military and racial grounds. Earl Warren, California's Attorney General, explained that in dealing with Caucasians, he could be reasonably confident in judging their loyalty, but that disloyalty and sabotage were especially to be feared from persons of Japanese descent. That there had been no sabotage since the war broke out he called "the most ominous sign in our whole situation. It convinces me more than any other factor that the sabotage we are to get [is] timed just like Pearl Harbor was timed." What emerged was the perception and distinction among many Americans that the evil deeds of Germany and Italy were the deeds of bad men, but the evil deeds of Japan were the deeds of a bad race. Editors and columnists, cartoon strips and motion pictures, fed that perception by depicting "Japs" and "Nips" as less than human, as "yellow vermin" and "yellow rats."

Near the end of the war, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a series of decisions, upheld the government's position. While Justice 
Frank Murphy found in the relocation program "a melancholy resemblance" to the Nazi treatment of the Jews, Justice Hugh 
Black expressed the more popular opinion, "Hardships are a part of war, and war is an aggregation of hardships." More 
ominously, the Court appeared to suggest that a particular ethnic group could be presumed to possess political opinions that
 in the estimation of the military and President contained enough clear and present danger to justify their imprisonment. 
 
(Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81, 100 [63 S.Ct. 1375, 87 L.Ed. 1774].)  In the Hirabayashi case the United 
States Supreme Court held that despite the fact that under the Constitution of the United States "racial discriminations are in
most circumstances irrelevant and therefore prohibited, it by no means follows that, in dealing with the perils of war, Congress 
and the Executive are wholly precluded from taking into account those facts and circumstances which are relevant to measures
 for our national defense and for the successful prosecution of the war, and which may in fact place citizens of one ancestry in 
a different category from others. ...  The adoption by Government, in the crisis of war and of threatened invasion, of measures 
for the public safety, based upon the recognition of facts and circumstances which indicate that a group of one national extraction 
{Page 716} may menace that safety more than others, is not wholly beyond the limits of the Constitution and is not to be 
condemned merely because in other and in most circumstances racial distinctions are irrelevant. ...  The fact alone that attack 
on our shores was threatened by Japan rather than another enemy power set these citizens apart from others who have no 
particular association with Japan." 

 

John Dower explains the racism that fueled the American war effort against the Japanese in the Pacific. He argues that the portrayal of Germans was far more positive than the portrayal of Japanese in the Hollywood films of the

period. image  image1 image2   The enemy: poster1 poster2

An especially ironic twist in America’s racialized discourse that developed when China’s wartime alliance required America to rescind its immigration policy of exclusion at the same time that promotion of the racial ideology of the “Yellow Peril” demonized all persons of Japanese heritage, extending to the revocation of constitutional rights of American citizens. In the discussion of America’s racial discourses about Asians, the war was nether the beginning nor the end—the vitriolic rhetoric leveled against Japanese people had roots reaching back to the California Gold Rush. What directly complicated the portrayal of Japanese as an evil "race" was the fact that America was allied with China. Posters attempted to make the distinction. Here's an example of a pseudo scientific explanation. Chinese. Japanese.

Nearly half a century later, in 1988, Congress enacted legislation containing an apology for the forced relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II and awarded restitution payments of $20,000 each to the 60,000 surviving internees.

 

 

 

African Americans in Wartime

        In fighting German fascism based on the quest for racial purity, Euro-Americans could either respond by addressing their own racism given the logical conclusion of such views being played out in Europe or they could ignore the same racist tendencies in American culture in favor of a political identity grounded in democracy, military strength and platitudes regarding equality. Wartime industry proved to be one crucial battleground. About one million African Americans were added to the industrial labor force, including over half a million women, who, for the most part, took the opportunity to flee domestic service for decent paying factory jobs. Hoping to benefit from opportunities created by the wartime economy, most found only frustration and disappointment, since very few African Americans gained access to industrial jobs and training programs. By March of 1942, black workers made up only 2.5 to 3 percent of all war production workers, most of whom held low-skill, low wage positions. 

To protest unequal opportunities for Blacks, A. Philip Randolph proposed a march on Washington, in which African-Americans and sympathetic whites would converge and demand an end to discrimination against blacks in employment and the armed forces. Randolph's proposal disturbed President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The President had been trying to drum up American support for a war against Hitler and his brutal treatment of religious and ethnic minorities. Roosevelt feared that a civil rights march of this scale would bring unwanted attention to discrimination against African-Americans in the United States and embarrass the administration. FDR called Randolph to the White House for a meeting, where Randolph made the following three demands:

  1. The immediate end to segregation and discrimination in federal government hiring.
  2. An end to segregation of the armed forces.
  3. Government support for an end to discrimination and segregation in all American employment.

Roosevelt refused to meet all of Randolph's demands, but the two men did reach a compromise. In June 1941, in exchange for Randolph calling off the march on Washington, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, which created the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). The President's order stated that the federal government would not hire any person based on their race, color, creed, or national origin. The FEPC was supposed to enforce the order to ban discriminatory hiring within the federal government and in corporations that received federal contracts. Although the FEPC remained a weak body, the job situation for blacks improved: by 1944 the percentage of black war production workers increased from 3 to 8 percent.

Many black workers turned to the unions for help. The number of unionized black workers increased from 150,000 in 1935 to 1.25 million by the war's end. Spearheading the effort was the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), whose organizing drives contributed to increased wages and improved working conditions for unionized black workers (non-union workers--roughly eighty percent of the black labor force--were not so fortunate). These improvements, however, were not gained without a struggle. In places like Mobile and Philadelphia, white workers staged "hate strikes" to protest the promotion of black workers, and race riots erupted in several cities during the war, including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Detroit.

As African Americans became increasingly politicized by the war, "Double V," victory at home and abroad, became the rallying cry in black communities. Activism grew. During the war, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) enjoyed a 10-fold increase in membership, and new organizations, such as the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), came into being.

The Double V:  The Double-V campaigns, in which blacks worked for victory against enemies abroad and for victories in anti-discrimination legislation at home, simultaneously acknowledged the manner in which the war had been propagandized as a defense of democracy against the attacks of fascism yet also illustrated its hypocrisy by pointing to the ways in which blacks had been systematically disadvantaged. 

When in 1941 the United States entered World War II, most mainstream papers lauded the war effort. Patriotism among black publishers and journalists, however, was tempered by the pressing reality of segregation. While thousands of African Americans served willingly in the armed forces, many others felt that they could not support the war wholeheartedly.  Many were initially reluctant to support the war because they could not forget the unfulfilled promises generated by World War I. Then, black men had fought to make the world safe for democracy, but had returned home to segregation, lynching, and even the resurrection of the old Reconstruction-era terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan. This time around, most African Americans reasoned, they would fight on two fronts: home and abroad.

Among the latter was a cafeteria worker named James Thompson. This young man wrote a letter to the Pittsburgh Courier, troubled by the fact that he might be called upon to defend a nation in which he was treated like a second-class citizen. He suggested that African Americans espouse a 'double V' campaign. The symbol stood for victory at war over enemies 'from without,' and victory at home against the enemy of prejudice 'from within.' When other readers wrote to congratulate Thompson on his idea, the Courier launched a huge publicity campaign, complete with lapel pins and stickers, 'double V' hair styles and songs.

 

The campaign kept awareness of the injustices of segregation alive during the war. It also brought attention to Jim Crow-style segregation in the armed forces. The troops themselves were segregated, but black outfits were assigned white commanding officers. Even the military's blood supply for the wounded was segregated by race. White soldiers brutalized black soldiers, and race riots took place in camps where troops of both races resided. The military tried to suppress word of these events, with partial success; only the black press reported discrimination and discord within the troops.

 

Such controversial reporting, coupled with the double V campaign and the new international mobility and visibility of the few black war correspondents, made those in various branches of the government nervous. The power of the black press to influence public opinion and excite its readers never seemed more threatening. Concerned that the black press would actually discourage its readers from supporting the war (it didn't), the military banned black newspapers from its libraries. It confiscated black papers from newsboys, and burned the papers to keep them out of the hands of black soldiers.

 

J. Edgar Hoover saw the double V campaign as an act of sedition. With President Franklin D. Roosevelt's approval, he sought to indict black publishers for treason. Hearing of Hoover's intentions, John Sengstacke, who had replaced Robert S. Abbott as publisher of the Chicago Defender, insisted on meeting with Attorney General Francis Biddle. Sengstacke convinced Biddle that it was the black press's duty to print the truth, and that African Americans only sought their due rights and privileges as citizens. Biddle agreed to block the indictments so long as the black press did not escalate its criticism of the war. Without the cooperation of the Attorney General's office, Hoover's plan was foiled.

 

Race riots: Harlem and Detroit, 1943.

Port Chicago 1944

Despite segregation in the armed forces and at home, African American men and women served valiantly during WWII in Europe and the Pacific. Yet, when the war finally ended in 1945, for African Americans it was, once again, a bittersweet victory. Black workers, especially women, were the first fired as returning white male war veterans claimed jobs. Middle class families who tried to move into white neighborhoods often faced firebombs, burning crosses and death threats. Yet, African Americans continued to pressure the federal government and the courts to extend the promises of democracy to their own backyard. For black people all over the country, the world had changed irrevocably. The fight for racial justice on the homefront simply intensified, giving rise to one of the most important civil disobedience campaigns in modern history.


Bugs Bunny

 

Policing the racial boundary between blacks and whites in popular culture.  The Office of War Information censored instances of inter-racial mixing and interactions, all the while celebrating the triumph of inter-racial unity in defeating fascism abroad to project ideals of American liberalism.  The OWI did this without disrupting the racial hierarchy. The movie Lifeboat presented a pop cultural appeal for unity across ethnic, racial, and class boundaries and Gerstle states that the federal government, for the betterment of the war effort, recognized a need to develop racial and ethnic unity within the working class.

 

 

Zoot Suit Riots.  By wearing zoot suits, young Mexican Americans challenged the dominant culture that discriminated against them.  There was propaganda on conserving fabric for uniforms, so the pleats of the zoot suits were an act of defiance.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/

 

 

Rosie and Gender on the Homefront: Victory garden, women, united handsoff women recruiting womenwork

 

When World War II called 16 million Americans out of civilian life, the need to produce enormous amounts of military and civilian goods meant that women were allowed--and even encouraged--to do what had previously been reserved for men. Accepting the challenge, women poured into the workforce, increasing total female employment from 12 million to 19 million and making possible the production miracle that transformed the American economy. Wartime female employment increased by over 50%, many in blue collar jobs.  women aircraft1 women aircraft 2 women aircraft3 women shipyard woman at Kaiser women meatpackers welder

 

One of every three workers was a woman, and at the wartime peak in 1944, nearly half of all adult women were employed at some time. While a majority worked as typists, clerks, maids, teachers, and other jobs typically filled by women, tens of thousands replaced men in ordnance plants, shipyards, aircraft factories, steel mills, and mines. They filled men's shoes as musicians, airplane pilots, engineers, scientists, college professors, and even Santa Clauses. Although racial discrimination persisted, black women's employment became slightly more diversified as some managed to escape domestic service for commercial service or factory work. Three million women won the benefits of union representation for the first time. By the end of the war, more married women were working than single women. 

 

The government responded to the critical need for female labor by creating massive propaganda campaigns to recruit women workers, and by establishing new policies that, for example, promoted--but did not mandate--equal pay for women and men. With nearly one in every four married women employed, government policy addressed the hardships of combining jobs with traditional family duties at a time when scarcities and rationing made shopping a major problem and when production of labor-saving household appliances such as washing machines and vacuum sweepers gave way to military imperatives.

Government tax policies encouraged employers to provide child-care programs, take-home meals, and laundry, repair, and shopping services for their workers. As one in every ten mothers with young children went off to work, Washington allocated $50 million to match local and state funds for the establishment of 3,000 day care centers around the country. Yet the services to ease women's burdens provided by employers and the government did not begin to assist all who needed them; and they did not continue into peacetime. Thus, when the war ended many women were simply worn out and relinquished their jobs gratefully.

The millions of women who needed or wanted to keep their jobs confronted a wave of opinion telling them that their place was at home, such as the in-house newspaper at Kaiser Shipyards that proclaimed, "'The Kitchen'---Women's Big Post-War Goal." Within two years of V-J Day, women's share of the labor force had shrunk from 36 to 28 per cent. Women were displaced from higher paying formerly male jobs and bumped back into female jobs. A former welder who became a cashier related her experience: "It kind of hurt. . .you were back to women's wages again. . . practically in half." With a booming postwar economy, women's labor force participation began to rise again and reached the wartime peak in 1950. Yet, despite their growing numbers, women made few qualitative gains in employment; not until the 1970s, after sex discrimination became illegal, did women regain the opportunities for better-paying jobs that they had enjoyed during the war.

 

Household tasks were attributed patriotic significance, and the reproductive role of women was reinforced in popular culture. The traditional values that emphasized the virtues of domestic work, marriage, and motherhood thus did not disappear during the war. May concludes that they led to the disappearance of any positive role models of independent women who offered viable alternatives to marriage

 

 But the prevailing notion was that women workers were a temporary expedient, and the expectation was a return to norms once the war concluded.  That meant that women were expected to return to roles as wives and homemakers.

 

Gender in American Culture:  The reaction to women moving outside traditional gender roles was both welcomed, for the contribution to the war effort, but also feared as disrupting to the social order.  Many married women were living without their husbands, working in male-dominated situations, and finding recreation in the company of other singles. 

 

The war effort also shaped and reinforced those traditional cultural perceptions of gender by portraying independent or empowered women as not natural.  We can see images in posters in which the empowered female was characterized as dangerous.  Insert the loose lips sink ships etc posters. Dangers of women1 women2 women3 women4 women5 women6

women7 

 

Visions of Post war:

1944 Bretton Woods conference:  World Bank and IMF gave America economic leverage to dictate the shape of post war reconstruction, i.e. open market capitalism.

1945 Yalta:  Confirmation of “Unconditional Surrender” and support for Soviets.  Critics, like Churchill, were not pleased at the carte blanche FDR surrendered to Stalin for a Soviet sphere in Eastern Europe, but American military advisors did not want to lose Soviet support in the final push to force surrender in Japan.

 

 

Birth of the Cold War:

abomb

If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky,
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...
I am become Death,
The shatterer of Worlds.

The Bhagavad-Gita

Robert J. Oppenheimer: "We waited until the blast had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince [Arjuna] that he should do his duty and to impress him he takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."

FDR, Truman, the Russians and The Bomb: Truman at Potsdam had a new swagger after getting word of a successful detonation of an atomic bomb.

 

 

Why the atomic bomb?  Shorten the war?  Save American lives?  http://hnn.us/articles/4599.html

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis, which had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian, was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Only 316 out of 1,196 men survived the sinking and shark-infested waters.

War’s End:  Two outlooks: Wilsonian views a la the United Nations;  Real Politik expectation of a power struggle with Soviets.

 

In the end:  The federal Government got significantly larger and more powerful than before the war.   During the war the government actively oversaw production, and labor, rationed goods and set prices, and taxed and spent at unprecedented levels. Even after demobilizing, the government was considerably larger than before the war.

 

Big business got bigger. 

 

And unions grew by more than 50%, to their highest levels ever. Income distribution was the broadest level ever.

 

Extensive economic changes accompanied America's entrance into the war. Vast federal expenditures and private capital investment for the war effort revitalized and transformed the nation's economy. The massive unemployment of the Great Depression and the pervasive hard times of the 1930's gave way to full employment with plenty of overtime, high wages, and widespread prosperity as the nation became "the arsenal of democracy," producing the ships, planes and weapons needed to fight the war.

Migration:   The tremendous need for workers in defense plants and other sectors of the economy in turn produced the greatest, and swiftest, internal migration in America's history. An estimated twenty million people left their small towns and family farms and crowded into burgeoning urban war production centers all across the country. This sudden demographic change, along with changes in the economy, accelerated the forces of industrialization and urbanization that were already transforming America.

 

The war -- with its technological changes in sea and air power, and the revolution in weaponry capped by the atomic bomb -- ended the age of relatively free security that America had enjoyed for three centuries