The second World War caused changes in America, for it took the men away from the home, and made the women the breadwinners of the family. The
home front also gave women more responsibility which gave them
all the more reason thto work for their equal rights. Also the home front gave support to the fighting
men and women aboard and the sacrifices that they had to go through to help the cause.
The main feeling of the Americans, in the issue of going to war with Japan and Germany, were that of mixed feelings, before Pearl Harbor that was. Pearl Harbor set off the war feeling
in America, along with the incentive to go to war.
Pearl Harbor changed the American
feeling of no hurry to urgency, for before December
7, 1941, Americans felt that, “The European War seemed far away. The American public blamed the
Europeans for their war. China, while forgotten during the invasion of Poland, the
Fall of France, and the Battle of Britain, seemed to most Americans to be the war America should fight, if America
had to fight at all” (The United States of America). The quote showed what the American opinion was before
the 7th of December 1941.
The days after Pearl Harbor, “…the
American public was incensed by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which was seen as a treacherous, even cowardly, first
strike against an unprepared America…in December 1941 the American public united against Japan in a way
that the week before seemed impossible“ (The United States of America). The quote showed true because before the tragic
day the different people that wanted war and opposed the war would have not agreed, but the many lives
that were taken during the time changed the American peoples minds to one thought of revenge against
Then on the day of
December 10th, Hitler declared war on America and “In doing so, he ensured
his own destruction. (The) UK Prime Minster Winston Churchill, when he heard of Pearl Harbor, remarked, “so we have won
after all!” The American public would have been quite content with dealing with Japan and leaving the European War to
the Europeans. The treachery of the Japanese attack burned bright in the minds of most Americans, and they wanted revenge. If not for the declaration of war by Germany, Roosevelt, would have had a hard time justifying declaring war on Germany until Japan was destroyed. But Germany did declare war, and the U-boats
moved the Eastern seaboard in January 1942“ (Japan, Italy, and Germany Declare War on the Untied States,
December 1941). “The destruction was greater than that at Pearl Harbor, and despite the
secrecy of the losses, the American people began to accept that they would have to fight Germany as well. The war right offshore
could not be hidden completely form the public” (The Pearl Harbor Raid, December 7, 1941). The quotes showed how the American opinion did change with the declaration
of war from just Japan, to Japan and Hitler, for Americans believed that the foreign powers back were
not playing fair in the different ways of war. With the acceptance of the war came the other different new ideas and ways
of the home front without the men.
With the men going to fight in the war came the job
openings that the women and the African Americans found joy in for it meant jobs for them to work at. “The American
workforce, idle or unemployed since the Great Depression, mobilized everyone, including African Americans, women, and students.
Also unlike the Axis, they did not have to initiate compulsory service in industrial plants, although the social stigma of
not supporting the war amounted to compulsory service“ (The United States of America). The quote showed how the eager
work force helped not only the workers, but the soldiers and those supplying the Allies for it gave more supplies to the cause.
During the war women worked in all different places,
the navel yard and assembly lines. “By July 1944, fully 19 million women held paid jobs, up 6 million in four years.
Women’s share of government jobs increased from 19 to 38 percent and their share of manufacturing jobs from 22 to 33
percent” (Goldfield 834). This showed that without the men’s help in the working world women could fill in for
The cause needed all the help it could get with support
and supplies so, “Although rationing was enforced, most items except gasoline were readily available. Since cars were
not made from 1942-1945, gasoline was not missed as much as it could have been. One nurse recounted decades later how ice
cream was available in every New York restaurant, even though it was impossible to find in England were she had been stationed“
(The American States of America). This showed that even without the asking of major rationing the American people seen what
they could do to help the cause without being asked to help.
To also help the war cause “youngsters saved
tin foil, collected scrap metal…(hold) scout projects with salvage drives and campaigns to sell war bonds…picked
milkweed for lifejackets…knitted sweaters and learned first aid” (Goldfield 830). The quote showed how the children
of World War Two helped out in the home front by collecting different items that were needed for the cause.
Also along with the help came the, “…War
Bonds and movies were the few items that everyone purchased. This savings would sustain the postwar boom in the United States until the 1980's, when another military buildup would be accomplished without war
bonds and turn the world's largest creditor into the world's largest debtor. The American public held the notion of a postwar
world as a time when the industry would shift from military production to consumer production. Privately, the economists feared
another worldwide recession after the war, but that never materialized” (The United States of America). The quote showed
that the things that Americans bought helped the war cause.
In propaganda agendas, “The war in Europe was
secured in the mind of the American public with a propaganda series called Why We Fight. In it, Hollywood director
Frank Capra outlined the rise of Nazism and the reasons why England and France went to war. Powerful in its simplicity, Capra
used footage from Nazi propaganda films to great effect. Roosevelt ordered the series, originally made for the Armed Forces,
to be shown in movie theatres across the United States. By the end of 1942, the was no question that the United States’
war with Nazi Germany was necessary“ (Japan, Italy, and Germany Declare War on the Untied States, December 1941). This
showed that the propaganda of the war helped change some of the hard-ed minds that the war must have been fought.
In conclusion, the home front was the
main support of the second world war in fighting men and women and in the money and supplies that were sent to Europe. Everyone
in America was effected by the war, either in good ways or in horrible ways, but the home front stayed the same; to support
the war that was started underhand and hope that everyone would come back safe. The war changed things on the home front;
which changed American history for the better and for the worse at times.
1) Goldfield, David. The American Journey: A History of the
States. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.
2) “Japan, Italy, and Germany Declare War on the United States, December 1941.”The World War II Multimedia
Database. Online. Internet. 1 June. 2006. Available. <http://www.worldwar2database.com/html/us_war.htm>
3) “The Pearl Harbor Raid, December 7, 1941“. The World War II Multimedia Database. Online. Internet. 1 June. 2006.
4) “The United States of America.” The World War II Multimedia Database.
Online. Internet. 1 June. 2006. Available. <http://www.worldwar2database.com/html/usa.htm>