Japan believed that attacking Pearl Harbor in 1941 would intimidate the USA and stop them from challenging their conquest of the Pacific. However, the opposite occurred. Many Americans wanted to be neutral in foreign conflicts, until Pearl Harbor. After the attack, five million volunteered for military service. The Selective Service Act draft brought this number up to ten million soldiers. America was ready to fight back against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan. Together the USA, France, Britain, the USSR, and China formed the Allies.
Women were able to serve as noncombatants in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC). Women served as nurses, factory workers, and other noncombatant roles. Many African American leaders, like A. Philip Randolph, were concerned that African American men would be dying for a nation that treated them unjustly through segregation. Despite the unfair treatment, more than one million African Americans served in World War II. After WW II, many Civil Rights leaders pointed to the brave sacrifice of African Americans to demand Civil Rights for all.
American factories were redesigned for war. For instance, Car factories made tanks and bottling companies added ammunition to missiles. Many Americans found work in this new war industry. Like in WW I, millions of women began working in factories to make war supplies. A. Phillip Randolph threated to march over 100,000 people in Washington D.C. to protest, if the war industry efforts discriminated. FDR desegregated the war industry sector as a result. This was a major victory for Civil Rights.
The industrial activity needed to create supplies for the war eventually brought the USA out of the Great Depression. Despite the improved economy, the War Production Board (WPB) heavily rationed materials. This entity converted many factories to make war supplies. Americans had to practice rationing. Food, fuel, textiles, and other goods were in limited supply, so that these items could be sent to soldiers fighting in the war effort.
Many Japanese people lived in the USA when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Massive prejudice arose and Japanese Americans were accused of helping Japan. Over 100,000 people of Japanese descent, many of which were American citizens, were taken from their homes in California and other states and forced into internment camps. There was never evidence of wrong doing or even charges given to these citizens. This was a radically unjust, racist action taken by the United States government.
When the war ended, the USA was forever changed. The massive economic endeavors ended the Great Depression. Not only did the war efforts end the Great Depression, but the economy became radically reinvigorated and America entered into a very prosperous era. Congress passed the GI Bill of Rights for returning soldiers. This bill paid for college for those who wished to attend. This led to a surge in college attendance in the USA.
US History Lesson Plans Include
1) Bell ringer / opening activity
2) PowerPoint presentation
3) Guided notes worksheet for PowerPoint presentation
4) Bonus worksheet (vocabulary, crosswords, word search, etc.)
5) Daily quiz / assessment - exit slip!
6) Content reading handout
7) Compatible with ALL textbooks
8) Answer keys for all worksheets, handouts, & assessments
9) Editable documents (word, PowerPoint, etc.)
10) PDF copies for easy viewing & printing
11) Aligned to national standards
12) Works with Unit or as a stand alone lesson
13) Other bonus materials (videos, extra worksheets, etc.)
Most of our plans include the contents of this list. Please see the photo above for actual contents.