Good morning we will continue with our exploration of World War I and World War II. This time we are going back to World War II.
Pearl Harbor has been attacked and the Japanese Admiral feared that they had awakened a sleeping giant. Admiral Yamamoto predicted that the Japanese would have success in the Pacific for the first six months but if the war went longer than he expected nothing. He had lived in the United States and had some insights into what America was. Admiral Yamamoto’s predictions came true. How did the United States turn around its defeat?
The United States built up its army from the eighteenth in the world to the second in the world. The navy was built up from 1,000 ships to 5,500 ships. It was a speedy turnaround after Pearl Harbor. The high numbers of supplies that the United States produced were war-winning. On December 11, 1941, Nazi Germany declared war on the United States. Hitler played into Roosevelt’s hands. Americans were reluctant to fight in another European War. By declaring war against the United States, the Americans could go and fight on both fronts.
The United States would fight a containment war against Japan, focusing its efforts on Germany first. At first, the United States Army was small, even smaller than Portugal. Even as the war progressed, the army got bigger. The Navy was the size of the Japanese Navy. After Pearl Harbor, those numbers were reduced, which tipped the numbers in Japan’s favor. However, the American Navy still had its three aircraft carriers. The aircraft carriers were sent to the safety of the California coast.
President Roosevelt then asked for a large budget to fight the war and the war budget was increased, a majority of the funding went to rearmament. More people also had to pay taxes to fund the war. Then he turned to private enterprise to build the materials needed to fight the war. American Enterprise turned the tide of war in the Allies’ favor.
The most powerful American industrialist met in Washington DC to sign contracts for defense production. The business owners took those contracts signed them, and immediately put people to work for defense production. The unemployment rate fell and wages went up. The American Experience with mass production because of the auto industry would help with the war effort. Over 640,000 jeeps were produced in American Factories during the war.
Some of the American Companies had a head start on war production. Ford had made vehicles for Germany. Adolph Hitler admired Henry Ford and had a portrait of Henry Ford in his office. Ford had contracts in Germany for German rearmament. Edsel Ford would go on to build a liberator bomber using mass production. Edsel had a factory built to build these aircraft. One aircraft every sixty-three minutes came out of the Ford plants.
However, with the high number of men going to the front, a void was created in the workplace. Women would step into that place and work for the war effort. In 1945, 19,000,000 women were employed.
The Axis factories were also trying to keep up with production and the Axis powers needed oil. Japan expanded to find oil. Germany lost an army in Stalingrad to find oil. Germany and the Japanese had to find oil. The Germans had to produce synthetic oil to help with the war effort. Would this oil be enough to turn the tide in the favor of the Axis powers? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out about how the defense industry turned the tide of World War II.
This would be a good episode to show in both an American and World history class about World War II.
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