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HIST313: War and American Society

Unit 7: The Second World War   As war broke out in Europe at the end of the 1930s, America once again attempted to remain neutral.  Unofficially, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to support Great Britain against Nazi Germany, but public sentiment was against American involvement in the conflict.  Instead, Roosevelt used indirect means to support Britain, lending the nation badly-needed naval destroyers in exchange for American access to British bases in the Atlantic.  America finally entered the war in late 1941 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Over the next four years, the nation sustained combat operations in both the Pacific and European theatres of conflict.  This required a massive civilian and industrial commitment on the home front.  In this unit, we will examine the major strategies that the U.S. employed in World War II and take a look at how the conflict affected Americans at home.  We will also examine the cultural legacy of the war and discuss why, in hindsight, many Americans viewed the conflict as the “Good War."

Unit 7 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 4 ½ hours to complete.

☐    Introduction – Subunit 7.6: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 7.5: ½ hour

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the causes and consequences of U.S. involvement in World War II

  • Reading: Wikibooks: US History: “World War II” Link: Wikibooks: US History:World War II” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the causes and consequences of World War II.  This reading addresses subunit 7.1 through 7.6.3.
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikibooks version of this article here (HTML).

  • Web Media: PBS: The American Presidents: “FDR” Link: PBS: The American Presidents: FDR (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire 3 hour documentary to better understand FDR as president and commander in chief.  This program addresses subunit 7.1 through 7.6.3.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

7.1 The Gathering Storm   7.1.1 Political Opposition to American Military Preparedness   7.1.2 Lend-Lease and Covert Support of Western Powers   7.1.3 Economic and Political Efforts to Avert Crisis   7.2 Rearming America   7.2.1 Expanding and Rebuilding America’s Military-Industrial Capacity   7.2.2 Civilian Preparedness   7.2.3 Political Opposition to War   7.2.4 Pearl Harbor   7.2.5 America Enters the War   7.2.6 Two Front Strategy   7.3 The Conflict in Europe   7.3.1 Peripheral Strategy   7.3.2 Preparing for Invasion   7.3.3 The Ground War in Europe   7.3.4 Victory   7.4 The War in the Pacific   7.4.1 Strategic Challenges   7.4.2 Island Hopping   7.4.3 The Atomic Bomb   7.4.4 Total Victory   7.5 The Home Front   7.5.1 Mobilizing the Civilian Population   - Reading: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “A Call For Sacrifice,” April 28, 1942 Link: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of “A Call For Sacrifice,” April 28, 1942 (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entirety of this website to better
understand the American response to World War II.  President
Franklin Roosevelt delivered this speech five months after the Pearl
Harbor attack.  In it, Roosevelt describes the wartime challenges
that America faces abroad and calls on Americans at home to unite in
support of the war.  He asks Americans to make economic sacrifices
and do without luxuries in order to ensure that scarce resources go
to the war effort.  He argues that these sacrifices will guarantee
an American victory.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

7.5.2 Limits on Opposition to War   7.5.3 Internment and Civil Rights   7.5.4 Gender and Race in War   7.6 The “Good War”   7.6.1 Popular Support of War   7.6.2 Definitive Victory   7.6.3 Rapid Demobilization and a Return to Peace and Prosperity