1930s Japan leadership decided that imperialism would lead to great wealth, recovery from depression, took Manchuria from China in 1931, left League of Nations when they objected, Rape of Nanjing killed 3E5 in 1937, by 1938 Japan controlled much of coastal China.

Benito Mussolini took power 1920s, resentment over Versailles treaty boosted racist National Socialist/Nazi party/movement, Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, portrayed self as last refuge against Communism & won industrialists, got ~.33 vote, used brown-shirted storm troopers in streets to become dictator & rebuild armed forces. Italy conquered/colonized Ethiopia 1935, Hitler occupied Rhineland 1936, both supported Francisco Franco’s fascist rebels in Spanish civil war and then formed Rome-Berlin axis 1936. Hitler then tried to get Lebensraum by annexing Austria, Czechloslovakian Sudentenland in 1938, England & France practiced appeasement & didn’t intervene, on 1938 Nov 9 Kristallnacht (beating & murdering Jews, breaking Jewish-owned stores, burning synagogues), then in March 1939 Hitler took rest of Czechloslovakia. On 1940 Sep 27 Germany,Italy,Japan signed anti-communist cooperation & mutual defense Tripartate Pact.

FDR wanted to work w/threatened European democracies, but lots of Congress & public isolationist. Gerald P Nye(R)-headed committee accused profit-seeking arms manufacturers of causing USA involvement in WWI. 1st Neutrality act (1935) prohibited sale/shipment of munitions to belligerents. In 1937 70% USA thought WWI mistake. 1937 Oct FDR enlarged Navy. 1939 Neutrality Act allowed wartime arms sales to GB, China, France.

War broke out 1939 fall: Germany & USSR (prior enemies) signed nonagression pact, Sep 1 Hitler invaded Poland, GB & France declared war on Germany, Sep 17 USSR invaded Poland, Warsaw surrendered & let Germany&USSR split Poland. USSR siezed small Baltic republics, attacked Finland. Germany began to fight Western Europe 1940 Apr, used blitzkrieg (fast tanks, airplanes), conquered all but Britain, Battle of Britain began June.

USA still wanted to stay out, felt security depended on defense & defeating Hitler, FDR said all aid to the Allies short of war, could not admit inevitability of war in election season. When reelected FDR aided GB, early 1941 Lend-Lease act let USA sell/lease/exchange arms to countries President said were vital to USA security, the merchant marine could sail fully armed. FDR met w/Churchill 1941 Aug, did not enter war, wrote Atlantic Charter (freedom from want, fear, tyranny).

1941 June Germany broke Nazi-Soviet pact by invading USSR, Roosevelt sent USSR arms, ordered warships to sink U-boats on sight.

Worrying about Pacific, ships moved from CA to full forward Pearl Harbor HI position 1940 May. <5mo later Japan formally joined Axis. USA&Japan wanted time (USA to get anti-German resources, Japan to conquer Southeast Asia [in part for oil for combat due to no internal supply] while USA distracted). 1941 July Japan took French Indochina, USA froze Japanese assets in USA & cut off oil supplies. USA knew Japan would attack somewhere (Philippines?) by 1941 Nov, as Japan wanted to strike blow to buy time to take Southeast Asia & western Pacific. 1941 Dec 7 Pearl Harbor bombed, USA shocked by skill, 2.4E3 killed, 1.2E3 wounded, 200 planes destroyed, (aircraft carriers out), USA Philippines, Guam, Wake Island bases also bombed, British fleet & East Asian colonies attacked.

1941 Dec 8 FDR called 7th day that will live in infamy, all of Congress (except pacifist Jeanette Rankin) declared war on Japan. 1941 Dec 11 Germany declared war on USA, Italy followed.

USA economy became war-centered starting 1938, full swing in 1940, FDR: Arsenal of Democracy. War Powers Act increased Presidential authority (reorganize government to create new agencies, censor all news/information, abridge civil liberties, seize foreign-owned property, award government contracts sans competitive bidding). FDR then created Supply Priorities and Allocation Board (rationing), Office of Price Administration (anti-inflation price control), National War Labor Board (union disputes), War Manpower Commission (organizing military/civilian workers), Office of War Mobilization (coordinating the above), Office of War Information (propaganda in existing media & leaflets), $ 1.857E11 war bonds sold, war bond ads used to sell war, used anti-Japanese stereotypes b/c USA more anti-Japanese than anti-German. Anti-subversive measures include unauthorized FBI wiretapping use for domestic surveillance, Office of Strategic Services (assess militaries, intelligence/espionage, psych warfare). Office of Scientific R&D (coordinated military research: radar, early warning, medicines, pesticides, weapons). government size quadrupled, $ 2.5E6/day cost, 10*cost/year in Depression.

New Deal programs CCC, WPA cut, FSA, REA shrunk (labor shortages meant no unemployment worries, New Deal coalition weak, resources needed for war).

Success depended in part on USA outproducing foes, not just on strategy/strength. USA advantages: hard to bomb/invade, large industrial base, lots of natural resources & workers. Whole civilian economy needed for supply production, war orders huge, factories ran 24/7, military production grew from 2% to 40% GNP 1939-1943. West, South profited hugely. Rural population decreased, agriculture industrialized (fertilizer&pesticides), big businesses did well.

Labor shortages led to more employment of Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican immigrants, women (even married & >35yo), but women labor of last resort and expected to leave workforce post-war. Wages did not increase as much as profits, causing strikes (breaking HQ no-strike pledges, so-called wildcat strikes, were attacked but got major gains), union membership huge & more diverse.

Marriages occurred younger, wage gains allowed separate households younger, housing shortages & high rents common, goods rationed leading to black markets, women had to work & run households making childcare problematic, leading to latchkey kids, kids left school for work/crime, factories made to hire only older workers, health improved via paying for meds & growing victory garden veggies, draftees got free care, typhoid & diphtheria & tuberculosis dropped a lot, infant mortality fell, life expectancy rose by 3yrs.

1941 Dec 8 government froze Issei assets, anti-Japanese racism grew. 1942 Feb 19 FDR signed Executive Order 9066 forcibly detaining 1.2E5 Japanese-Americans (many citizens) in CA, WA, AZ, OR relocated to internment camps, Japanese American Citizens League said internment racism (not necessity) -motivated, called worst civil-liberty violation of war.

African-American activists used Double-V campaign: victory over racism @home & abroad. Demands: fair housing, equal employment as minima. Rally @ DC planned, Roosevelt approved Executive Order 8802 on 1941 Jun 25 banning employment discrimination in government, defense industries. Congress Of Racial Equality ran restaurant sit-ins, anti-employment-discrimination NAACP grew, 1944 Supreme Court Smith v. Albright prohibited disenfranchising white primaries. Hate strikes occurred when African-Americans hired/promoted, mobs broke out when African-Americans bought houses in white neighborhoods, often only African-Americans arrested.

Zoot Suit riots: 1943 Jun 4 sailors searched East LA for zoot-suit-clad Mexican-American youths to assault/strip, sailors saw zoot suits as defiance/un-patriotism signal due to fabric use, only 10% Hispanic youth wore them, more served than any other ethnicity & in most dangerous fields or were in war industries, riots resolved by banning military from parts of LA and banning zoot suits.

Global events affected USA only indirectly, prosperity & full employment not detracted from by long hours and fears for soldiers, recreational spending soared. Music crossed racial lines, wartime movies promoted various Allied countries (including Tender Comrade promoting USSR!), Why We Fight series targeted to soldiers, movie stars sold war bonds, comic superheroes became patriotic, fashion reduced use of military-required materials.

1.64E7 Americans in armed forces, 34% men saw combat, pre-war only Marine Corps combat-ready, 1940 Oct 16 National Registration Day & men 21-36 had to register, after Pearl Harbor age lowered to 18 & youngest drafted first, draft law exempted religious conscientious objectors, 2.5E4 were noncombatants, 1.2E4 did alternative service, 6E3 jailed for refusing to register. 1/3 examined men rejected, men screened for neurodivergence for first time, 1.6E6 rejected for that, many turned away for illiteracy b/c 1/4 Americans HS graduates. Officers came from Command & General Staff school @ Ft. Leavenworth, skewed professional, conservative, autocratic. MacArthur admired German discipline and disparaged political democracy, but Eisenhower projected new spirit and modeled leadership to troops. 17wk officer training schools opened to meet demand for officers, this brought officer corps closer to civilian population. GIs (vast majority of draftees) formed bonds not w/high-ranking people but rather w/men in their units & company commanders.

Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rodgers(R) proposed womens’ corps, Eleanor Roosevelt approved, 1942 May Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later Women’s Army Corps) created, later WAVES (Navy), Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. 3.5E5 women served, better-educated and more skilled but paid less, could not supervise male workers, barred from combat but nurses & pilots still in danger, but most stayed far from fronts. Subject to hostility, accused of prostitution/immorality/being lesbian, subject to stricter rules.

African-Americans allowed to fight in segregated units, served mostly in construction and cargo work, only late in war were they allowed to fight due to necessity. Even blood banks segregated. Nisei allowed to enlist from within internment camps but often rejected. Navajo code talkers used. 2nd gen European immigrants found service Americanizing. Gay relationships easier to conceal as friendship in military.

Diseases (malaria, typhus, diarrhea, dengue fever) & PTSD (battle fatigue) major problems, so many discharged for psych problems that 8mo in combat limit was set, soldiers needed medics for anything beyond 1st aid: ~35 medics/battalion, advanced surgery & wonder drugs like pencillin & dried blood plasma from Red Cross saved lives, nurses needed so much there was almost a draft for them.

WWII tactics was not trench/chemical warfare but rather offensive maneuvers & surprise attacks, tanks & planes & aircraft carriers & submarines primary weapons, 2-way radio key.

After Germany could not conquer Britain it tried to invade USSR, delayed 6wk for Italy, began in 1941 Jun 22, 3E6 Red Army killed/captured @ first, Nazi brutality led to civilian resistance, German supply lines overextended as winter began, Nazis made to retreat at Moscow. Tried again 1942 for Caucasus oil fields, in Battle of Stalingrad alone USSR had more casualties than US for entire war, Nazis finally gave up 1943 Feb, defeated again at Kursk 1943 Jul, USSR still had more people and was outproducing Germany.

1942 Axis started losing ground: Japan’s planned Hawaiian/Australian invasion stopped by US Navy, USA shipbuilding outpaced U-boat attacks on Allied shipping, submarine-hunting destroyers also helped, USA beat German production of landing craft & amphibious vehicles. FDR, Churchill, generals worked out offensive plan, prioritizing Europe over Japan, compromized to attack thru both France & Mediterranean. GB & USA drove Germany out of North Africa, FDR & Churchill agreed @ Casablanca to only accept unconditional surrender, Germany bombed by GB & USA B-2 bomber planes which failed to distinguish between civilians & factories, cities indiscriminately destroyed, including non-military city Dresden. 1943 Sep 8 Italy surrendered to Allies, Germany sent troops to reclaim. Internal resistance against Nazis occurred by underground fighters called partisans and others, untrained and barely armed people distributed antifascist propaganda, sabotaged things, rescued downed Allied pilots, killed collaborators.

Operation Overlord (retake Europe thru France) planned starting early 1944, D-Day 1944 Jun 6 sent troops to Normandy beaches, ~1E6 troops came onshore, mid-July they headed to interior France, Bastille Day celebrations & strikes occurred as resistance to Nazis, De Gaulle reentered 1944 Aug 25. Allied commanders took wrong route to invade Germany, went near heavily-defended Arnhelm, 6E3 Americans captured, 2.5E5 German soldiers mobilized in Ardennes as last reserve in Battle of the Bulge, retreated on 1944 Dec 25, Red Army besieged Berlin by 1945 Jan, German defense became hopeless.

US aircraft carriers not in Pearl Harbor Dec 7 important in 1942 Battle of Coral Sea, USA cryptanalysts predicted Battle of Midway’s location (long-distance airplane fight). Japan had relatively easy time taking western Pacific islands b/c colonized peoples uninterested in defending European interests, but Japanese colonists very cruel, Phillipine nationalists & Chinese Nationalists & Communists defended against Japan, island-hopping strategy used to hurt import-reliant Japan, USA took various islands w/high casualties. Atomic bomb used in part due to concerns about Red Army taking Japanese territory.

FDR, Stalin, Churchill met in 1944-5 to discuss postwar plans, alliance fragility became obvious.

Holocaust killed 6E6 Jews, 2.5E5 Roma, 6E4 homosexuals, other inferior races such as Slavs (begun w/various disabled Germans, who were seen as financial burden on society). People murdered in conquered countries & in unethical experiments. Death camps developed. Genocide reports showed up in liberal news sources but major media treated them as minor. American Jewish community ignored when they lobbied for suspension on immigration quotas to allow refugee Jews, policy only changed in 1944 due to Morgenthau, War Department & FDR refused to bomb rail lines to camps or focus on rescuing civilians due to concerns about diverting military resources.