World War II (1933–1945) for AP U.S. History (page 3)
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Summary: Throughout the 1930s the United States followed a foreign policy based on isolationism, which emphasized noninvolvement in European affairs. After Adolph Hitler became the Nazi dictator of Germany, some Americans believed that he was a reasonable man who could serve as a European bulwark against Stalin and the Soviet Union. After World War II began in Europe, President Roosevelt sensed that America would eventually be drawn into it and began Lend-Lease and other measures to help the British. The December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor mobilized American public opinion for war. American fought on two fronts during the war: against the Germans and the Italians in Europe and against the Japanese in the Pacific. In Europe, U.S. forces and their British and Soviet allies eventually invaded Germany and crushed the Nazis. In the Pacific, superior American air and sea power led to the defeat of the Japanese. The decision to drop the atomic bomb on two Japanese cities is still considered controversial by some historians today; at the time, President Truman decided to drop the bomb based on calculations of the human cost of an American invasion of Japan. Americans contributed greatly to the war effort at home through rationing, working extra shifts, and the purchase of war bonds. As a result of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the two major world powers.
Isolationism: American foreign policy of the 1920s and 1930s based on the belief that it was in the best interest of the United States not to become involved in foreign conflicts that did not directly threaten American interests.
Yalta Conference: meeting held at Yalta in the Soviet Union between President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in February 1945; at this meeting critical decisions on the future of postwar Europe were made. At Yalta it was agreed that Germany would be divided into four zones, that free elections would take place after the war in Eastern Europe, and that the Soviet Union would join the war against Japan.
Bataan Death March: after the Japanese landed in the Philippines in May 1942, nearly 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners were forced to endure a 60-mile forced march; during this ordeal, 10,000 prisoners died or were killed.
Manhattan Project: secret project to build an atomic bomb that began in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in August 1942; the first successful test of a bomb took place on July 16, 1945.
Rosie the Riveter: figure that symbolized American working women during World War II. After the war, women were expected to return to more traditional roles.
Double V Campaign: campaign popularized by American black leaders during World War II emphasizing the need for a double victory: over Germany and Japan and also over racial prejudice in the United States. Many blacks who fought in World War II were disappointed that the America they returned to still harbored racial hatreds.
Internment Camps: mandatory resettlement camps for Japanese-Americans from America's West Coast, created in February 1942 during World War II by executive order of President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled that the camps were legal.
American Foreign Policy in the 1930s
As Italy, Germany, and Japan all expanded their empires in the 1930s, most Americans favored a continuation of the policy of isolationism. An isolationist group, the America First Committee, attracted nearly 820,000 members by 1940. Isolationists believed that it was in America's best interests to stay out of foreign conflicts that did not directly threaten American interests. A congressional committee led by Senator Gerald Nye investigated the origins of America's entry into World War I and found that bankers and arms manufacturers did much to influence America's entry into the war. On a practical level, Americans were consumed with the problems of the Great Depression and were generally unable to focus on overseas problems.
Congressional legislation passed in the period attempted to keep America out of future wars between other powers. The Neutrality Acts of 1935 stated that if countries went to war, the United States would not trade arms of weapons with them for six months; in addition, any nonmilitary goods sold to nations at war would have to be paid for up front and would have to be transported in non-American ships (this was called "cash-and-carry").
German expansionism in Europe convinced Franklin Roosevelt that the United States, at some point, would have to enter the war on the side of Great Britain (even though public opinion strongly opposed this). On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, and two days later England and France declared war on Germany. Within three weeks, Roosevelt asked Congress to pass the Neutrality Act of 1939, which would allow the cash-and-carry sale of arms to countries at war (this legislation was designed to facilitate the sale of American arms to Britain and France). The bill passed on a party-line vote.
News of rapid German advances in Europe began to change American attitudes, with more and more people agreeing with Roosevelt that the best course of action would be to prepare for eventual war. The rapid defeat of France at the hands of the Nazis was stunning to many Americans. In September of 1940, Roosevelt gave Great Britain 50 older American destroyers in return for the rights to build military bases in Bermuda and Newfoundland.
The United States and the Middle East in the Interwar Era
In the 1920s, the United States rejected Woodrow Wilson's vision of the United States as an active leader on the world stage and instead turned to a twenty-year period of isolationism. As a result, American political involvement in the Middle East became minimal, leaving France and Great Britain to exert tremendous influence in the region. As previously noted, France had a mandate to control Syria and Lebanon, while the British controlled Iraq, Transjordan, and Palestine. In 1932, the British granted Iraq independence, although the British continued to have major influence on government officials and their actions in Iraq.
In the 1920s, the Middle East remained a romantic and idealized region of the world to most Americans. They became fascinated with the adventures of T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia") leading and uniting Arab tribesmen against the Turks in World War I and went in droves to see romantic movies set in the deserts of the region, starring Rudolph Valentino. The appeal of Zionism for many American Jews waned in the post–World War I years as stories of the sufferings of Jews that were so widespread in the World War I era declined.
However, the concern among Jews in the United States for the plight of European Jews increased with the ascension of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany in 1933. With the increased persecution of the German Jews in the mid-1930s, pressure began to be exerted on European countries as well as on the United States to allow more German Jews to immigrate. In the 1930s, there was increased hope that a Jewish homeland could be established in Palestine, but this hope was dashed by a White Paper issued by the British government in 1939, which seriously limited the number of Jews who could immigrate to Palestine.
There are historians who are very critical of the conscious decision of the United States in the 1930s not to allow more Jewish refugees into the country. These critics state that if the United States had opened its shores to more Jews in the 1930s, their lives could have been saved. Provisions of the National Origins Act of 1924 limited the number of Germans who could enter the country to slightly over 25,000 per year. In addition, immigrants from all countries were refused admission if they could not prove that they could support themselves once they arrived in the United States, thus further limiting the number of Jewish immigrants who could settle in the United States. As a result, an average of fewer than 9000 Jews from Germany entered the United States annually during the 1930s.
It should be noted that American public opinion in the decade was decidedly against allowing more immigrants to enter the country, especially immigrants who were Jewish. America was in the midst of the Great Depression; editorial page writers, politicians, and many average citizens stated that under these circumstances the last thing America needed was immigrants competing for precious jobs that existed there. Unfortunately, anti-Semitism did not exist only in Germany; anti-Semitic sentiment in the United States strongly opposed allowing any more Jewish immigrants into the country.
The one resource from the Middle East that attracted great interest from American investors in the 1920s and 1930s was oil. As more and more Americans began to drive automobiles in the 1920s, reliable sources of petroleum products were needed outside of the United States. In 1928, British, French, Dutch, and American oil companies agreed to the Red Line Agreement, in which they agreed to act together to export oil from the region; as a result, America began to export oil from Iraq in late 1928.
In 1933, the King of Saudi Arabia granted Standard Oil of California the right to export Saudi Arabian oil; five years later, geologists working for Standard Oil of California discovered major oil reserves in Saudi Arabia.
During World War II, the United States would have to move to actively protect its oil reserves in Saudi Arabia from attack by the Axis powers. Thus began the trend, which has lasted into the twenty-first century, of the United States depending on the Middle East region for oil and using its military to protect its oil interests there.
The Presidential Election of 1940 and Its Aftermath
No president in American history had ever served more than two consecutive terms. Just before the Democratic National Convention, Roosevelt quietly stated that if he was nominated, he would accept. Roosevelt was quickly nominated; his Republican opponent was Wendell Wilkie, an ex-Democrat. Roosevelt emerged victorious, but by a smaller margin than in his two previous victories. A number of those who voted against Roosevelt did so as a protest against the widerspread poverty and unemployment that still existed in America.
Roosevelt interpreted his victory as a mandate to continue preparations for the eventual U.S. entry into World War II. By early 1941, Roosevelt proposed giving the British aid for the war effort without getting cash in return (it was stated that payment could be made after the war). By the terms of the Lend-Lease Act, Congress gave the president the ability to send immediate aid to Britain; Roosevelt immediately authorized nearly $7 billion in aid. As Roosevelt had stated in a 1940 speech, the United States had became an "arsenal of democracy."
In August of 1941, Roosevelt secretly met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill off the coast of Newfoundland. The two agreed that America would, in all probability, soon be in the war and that the war should be fought for the principles of democracy. Roosevelt and Churchill authorized the publication of their commonly held beliefs in a document called the Atlantic Charter. In this document, the two leaders proclaimed that they were opposed to territorial expansion for either country, and they were for free trade and self-determination. They also agreed that another world organization would have to be created to replace the League of Nations and that this new world body would have the power to guarantee the "security" of the world. Roosevelt also agreed that the United States would ship lend-lease materials bound for Britain as far as Iceland; this brought the United States one step closer to full support for the Allied cause.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor
The Japanese desire to create an Asian empire was the prime motivation behind their invasion of Manchuria in 1931, attacks on eastern China in 1937, and the occupation of much of French Indochina in 1941. As a result of Japanese actions in Southeast Asia, Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States, cut off the sale of oil to Japan, and closed the Panama Canal to Japanese ships.
From July 1941 until the beginning of December, near-constant negotiations took place between diplomats of Japan and the United States. The Japanese desperately wanted to regain normal trade relations with the United States, but American diplomats insisted that the Japanese leave China first, which the Japanese were unwilling to do. Most Japanese military and civilian leaders were convinced that the Japanese could never achieve their goal of a Pacific empire as long as the United States was militarily active in the region. By December 1, the planning was complete for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
A few revisionist historians believe that Franklin Roosevelt knew of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. These historians maintain that Roosevelt was acutely aware that many Americans were still opposed to American entry into war, but that an event such as Pearl Harbor would put the entire country squarely behind the war effort. The vast majority of historians believe that American intelligence knew the Japanese were going to attack somewhere, but didn't know that the attack would be at Pearl Harbor; many in American military intelligence believed the Dutch East Indies would be the next target of the Japanese. The "Roosevelt Knew" thesis might be good for a documentary film or two but little else.
On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, 190 Japanese warplanes attacked the American Pacific fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor. When the attack was done, 150 American airplanes were destroyed (most of them never left the ground), six battleships were sunk, as were a number of smaller ships, and nearly 2400 Americans were killed. Luckily for the American navy, the aircraft carriers based at Pearl Harbor were out at sea on the morning of the attack.
The next day Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war, stating that December 7 was "a date which will live in infamy." On December 11, Germany and Italy (who had signed a Tripartite Pact with Japan in 1940) declared war on the United States.
America Enters the War
In September of 1940, the President had authorized the creation of a system for the conscriptionof men into the armed forces; in the months immediately after Pearl Harbor, thousands were drafted and countless others volunteered for service. Soldiers in World War II called themselves "GIs"; this referred to the "Government Issued" stamp that appeared on the uniforms, tools, weapons, and everything else the government issued to them. A Council for National Defense had also been created in 1940; this body worked rapidly to convert factories over to war production. Additional legislation was also needed to prepare the country for war. In early 1942, the General Maximum Price Regulation Act immediately froze prices and established the rationing system that was in place for most of the war. The Revenue Act of 1942 greatly expanded the number of Americans who had to pay federal income tax, thus increasing the amount of federal revenue.
America was forced to fight a war in Europe and a war in the Pacific. In the European theater of war, American naval forces first engaged the Germans as they attempted to protect convoys of ships taking critical food and supplies to Great Britain. These convoys were often attacked by German submarines. In this Battle of the Atlantic, German torpedoes were dreadfully accurate (even though sonar was being used by the Americans). Between January and August of 1942, over 500 ships were sunk by German submarines.
American infantrymen were first involved in actual fighting in North Africa. American and British forces joined to defeat French North Africa in late 1942. American troops also played a role in the battles that eventually forced General Rommel's Africa Korps to surrender in May 1943. American and British soldiers also began a difficult offensive into Sicily and Italy two months later; by June of 1944, Rome had surrendered.
Ever since 1941, the Soviet Union had been the only power to consistently engage the Nazi army (the Soviet Union lost 20 million people in World War II). Stalin had asked on several occasions that a second front be opened in Western Europe; by early 1944, an invasion of France by water was being planned by Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of all Allied forces (who would become president in 1953).
The D-Day invasion took place on the morning of June 6, 1944. The initial Allied losses on Omaha Beach were staggering, yet the D-Day invasion was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. By the end of July, over 2 million Allied soldiers were on the ground in France, and the final squeeze of Nazi Germany began. American and British forces liberated French cities and towns as they moved eastward; at the same time, Russian troops were rolling westward. By August, Paris had been liberated.
The last major German offensive of the war was the Battle of the Bulge. Nearly 85,000 American soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured in this battle. The German attack moved the Allied lines back into Belgium, but reinforcement led by General George S. Patton again forced the Germans to retreat. When the German general staff learned that they had not been victorious at the Battle of the Bulge, most admitted that Germany would soon be defeated. American and British bombings did much to destroy several German cities.
Advancing American, British, and German troops were horrified to find concentration camps or the remnants of them. These camps were integral parts of Nazi Germany's Final Solution to the "Jewish problem." Between 1941 and 1945, over 6 million Jews were killed in the event now referred to as the Holocaust. Historians maintain that if the war continued for another two years, all of European Jewry might have been eliminated. Advancing troops were outraged at what they saw in these camps, and on several occasions shot all of the Nazi guards on the spot. Why the Holocaust occurred, and why it was endorsed by so many Germans, is the subject of hundreds of books and articles in scholarly journals.
Some historians are critical of the diplomatic and military actions of the United States both before and during the Holocaust. During the mid to late 1930s, the State Department made it very difficult for European Jews to immigrate to the United States; with alarming unemployment figures in the United States because of the Great Depression, American decision makers felt it unwise to admit large numbers of immigrants to the country. Franklin Roosevelt knew of the existence of the concentration camps as early as late 1943, yet chose not to bomb them (which many in the camps say they would have welcomed). Roosevelt maintained that the number one priority of America had to be winning the war. Nevertheless, historians note that concern for the plight of the Jews caused a number of world leaders to support the creation of the state of Israel in the years immediately following the war.
In March 1945, Allied troops crossed the Rhine River, and met up with advancing Russian troops at the Elbe River on April 25. After a fierce battle, the Russians took Berlin. Deep in his bunker, Hitler committed suicide on May 1, and Germany unconditionally surrendered one week later. Celebrations for V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) were jubilant in London and Paris, but were more restrained in American cities, as the United States still had to deal with the Japanese.
In February of 1945, Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill met at the Yalta Conference. Franklin Roosevelt had been elected to a fourth term in 1944, but photos reveal him to be very ill at Yalta (he would live only another two months). At Yalta, the three leaders made major decisions concerning the structure of postwar Europe. It was agreed that Germany would be split into four zones of occupation (administered by England, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union), and that Berlin, located in the Soviet zone, would also be partitioned. Stalin promised to allow free elections in the Eastern European nations he had freed from Nazi control, and said that the Soviets would join the war against Japan after the surrender of Germany. Many historians consider the decisions made at the Yalta Conference (and the failure of the Soviet Union to totally adhere to them) to be major reasons for the beginning of the Cold War.
Some historians are critical of Franklin Roosevelt for "giving in" to Stalin at Yalta. It should be remembered that, at the time of this meeting, Roosevelt had only two months to live. In addition, in February 1945, the atomic bomb was not yet a working weapon. American planning for the defeat of Japan was for a full attack on the Japanese mainland; in Roosevelt's eyes, Soviet participation in this attack was absolutely crucial (in return for this support, Roosevelt made concessions to Stalin on Eastern Europe and supported the Soviet acquisition of ports and territories in Korea, Manchuria, and Outer Mongolia). Winston Churchill had strong reservations about the ultimate goals and conduct of Stalin and the Soviet Union at Yalta; these reservations would later intensify, and were articulated by Churchill in his "iron curtain" speech of March 1946.
The Role of the Middle East in World War II
The Middle East played an important strategic role in Allied military planning during World War II. Some historians argue that this is the first time American political leaders appreciated the true significance of the region in world affairs. The Americans and the British both thought it absolutely crucial that oil resources in the region not fall in to German hands, and that these resources continue to be available for the Allied war effort.In addition, there were fears that the Germans and the Japanese might link up and cut off British access to India; control of the Middle East would be central to this plan.
Many of the efforts to maintain control of the Middle East for the strategic interests of the Allies fell on the Americans. The United States established diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and gave the Saudis large amounts of economic aid to ensure the continued flow of Saudi oil supplies. American diplomats in both Washington and Turkey worked to convince the Turks to stay neutral in the war, which would allow the Allies continued access to the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, American and British forces landed in Morocco and Algeria in 1942. Military planners placed Allied troops in the region to prepare for an eventual invasion of Italy. In 1943, British and American forces occupied Tunisia (which was controlled by the Germans), and from there began their assault on Sicily and eventually Italy itself.
American Lend-Lease efforts extended aid to both Great Britain and the Soviet Union by late 1941, and American efforts to assist the Soviet war effort also went through the Middle East. The Americans established large port facilities in Iran, where the parts for trucks, airplanes, weapons, and other war material were landed, assembled, and then sent by train to the Soviet armies fighting the Germans on the Eastern front. History of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union points to this assistance being absolutely indispensable for the eventual Soviet victory over the Nazis. The thousands of Iranians employed by the Americans in this effort were thankful for the additional income these jobs provided them, but sometimes complained about the arrogance and total disregard for local manners and customs exhibited by their employers and the majority of American soldiers stationed in Iran.
The War Against Japan
In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan advanced against British controlled islands and territories in the Pacific. By April of 1942, Hong Kong and Singapore were both in Japanese hands. General Douglas MacArthur controlled a large American and Filipino force in the Philippines. A large Japanese force landed there, and in March MacArthur was forced to abandon his troops and go to Australia. On May 6, 1942, Americans holding out on the Bataan Peninsula were finally forced to surrender. About 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners were forced to endure the 60-mile Bataan Death March, during which over 10,000 prisoners were executed or died from weakness (it was several years before Washington became aware of this march).
Just two days later, the Americans won their first decisive victory at the Battle of the Coral Sea. American airplanes launched from aircraft carriers were able to stop the advance of several large Japanese troop transports. Troops on these ships were to be used for an attack on Australia. After this defeat, the Japanese could never again mount a planned attack there. American airplanes also played a crucial role in the Battle of Midway. This battle took place in early June 1942; in it, the Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers and over 200 planes. Many military historians consider the battle to be the turning point of the Pacific War; after this, Japan was never able to launch a major offensive. By mid-1942, American industrial might became more and more of a factor; the Americans could simply produce more airplanes than the Japanese could.
The Japanese were again halted at the Battle of Guadalcanal, which began in August of 1942 and continued into the following year. American marines engaged in jungle warfare and even hand-to-hand combat. On many occasions Japanese units would fight nearly until the last man. Beginning in 1943, the Allies instituted a policy of island-hopping; by this policy, key Japanese strongholds would be attacked by air and sea power as American marines would push on around these strongholds. By late 1944, American bombers were able to reach major Japanese cities, and unleashed massive bombing attacks on them.
By 1944, the war had clearly turned against the Japanese. In late October, General MacArthur returned to the Philippine island of Leyte (although the city of Manila was not totally liberated until the following March). The Japanese began to use kamikaze pilotsin a desperate attempt to destroy Allied ships. Several more bloody battles waited ahead for American forces. America suffered 25,000 casualties at the Battle of Iwo Jima, and another 50,000 at the Battle of Okinawa. After these battles, however, nothing was left to stop an Allied invasion of Japan.
The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb
The incredibly bloody battles described in the preceding section greatly concerned military officials who were planning for an invasion of Japan. Japanese resistance to such an attack would have been fanatical. Franklin Roosevelt had suddenly died in late 1945; the new president, Harry Truman, was informed in July 1944 about the atomic bomb. The actual planning for this bomb was the purpose of the Manhattan Project, begun in August 1942. Construction of this bomb took place in Los Alamos, New Mexico, under the direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The bomb was successfully tested in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945.
Much debate has taken place over the American decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japanese cities. For Harry Truman, this was not a difficult decision. Losses in an invasion of Japan would have been large; Truman later admitted that what had happened at Pearl Harbor and on the Bataan Death March also influenced his decision. Some historians also claim that some in both the State Department and the War Department saw the Soviet Union as the next potential enemy of the United States and wanted to use the atomic bomb to "show them what we had." After the atomic bombs were dropped, American public opinion was incredibly supportive of Truman's decision. It should be noted that movies, newsreels, and even comic books made the eventual decision to drop the bomb easier by turning the war against the Japanese into a race war. The Japanese were referred to as "Japs," were portrayed with crude racial stereotypes, and were seen as sneaky and certainly not to be trusted (it is interesting to note that the war against Germany was usually portrayed as a war against "Hitler" or against "the Nazis" and almost never as a war against the German people).
On August 6, 1945, the airplane Enola Gay dropped a bomb on the city of Hiroshima. Over 75,000 were killed in the attack. Three days later another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Some historians are especially critical of the dropping of the second bomb; there is evidence that the Japanese were pursuing a surrender through diplomatic circles on the day of the attack. Japan surrendered one day later, and V-J celebrations took place in many American cities the following day.
The Home Front During the War
As previously stated, the federal government took action even before the war began, to prepare the American economy for war. Thousands of American businessmen also went to Washington to take on jobs relating to the war effort. These were called "dollar-a-year" men, as almost all still received their regular salary from wherever they worked.
The demand for workers increased dramatically during the war years, thus increasing wages for workers as well. Union membership increased during the war; unions generally honored "no-strike" agreements that were made in the weeks after Pearl Harbor. Beginning in 1943, some strikes did occur, especially in the coal mines.
The government needed money to finance the war effort. As stated previously, more money was raised by expanding greatly the number of Americans who had to pay income taxes. In addition, America followed a policy begun in World War I and sold war bonds.
During both wars, various celebrities made public appearances to encourage the public to buy these bonds.
Average Americans were asked to sacrifice much during the war. Goods such as gasoline, rubber, meat, sugar, and butter were rationed during the war; American families kept ration cards to determine which of these goods they could still buy during any given period. Recycling was commonplace during the war, and many had to simply do without the goods they desired. Women, for example, were desperate for silk stockings; some took to drawing a line up the back of their legs to make it appear that they had stockings on. City dwellers had to take part in "blackouts," where they would have to lower all shades to make any enemy airplane attacks more difficult. Men and boys both took turns at lookout stations, where the skies were constantly scanned for enemy bombers. Many high schools across the country eliminated vacations during the year; by doing this, school could end early and students could go off and do essential work. Many workers stayed for extra shifts at work, called "victory shifts."
Popular culture also reflected the necessities of war. Many movies during the war were light comedies, designed to keep people's minds off the war. Other movies, such as Casablanca, emphasized self-sacrifice and helping the war effort. "White Christmas" (sung by Bing Crosby) was a favorite during the war, evoking nostalgia in both soldiers abroad and those on the home front. Professional baseball continued during the war, but rosters were made up of players who had been classified 4-F by local draft boards (unfit for military service). The All-American Girls' Baseball League was founded in 1943 and also provided a wartime diversion for thousands of fans.
Women also entered the American workforce in large numbers during the war. Many women working in "traditional women's jobs" moved to factory jobs vacated when men went off to fight. The figure of Rosie the Riveter symbolized American working women during the war. In the 1930s, women were discouraged from working (the argument was that they would be taking jobs from men); during World War II, many posters informed women that it was their patriotic duty to work. Problems remained for women in the workplace, however. For many jobs, even in the defense industry, they were paid less than men. It is also ironic that when the war ended, women were encouraged that it was now their "patriotic duty" to return home and become housewives.
Discrimination During the War
Many blacks also took important factory jobs and eagerly signed up for military service. However, discrimination against blacks continued during the war. Black military units were strictly segregated and were often used for menial chores instead of combat. Some American blacks at home began the Double V campaign. This pushed for the defeat of Germany and Japan but also the defeat of racial prejudice. CORE (the Congress for Racial Equality) was founded in 1942, and organized the very first sit-ins and boycotts; these actions would become standard tactics of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.
Many on the West Coast feared that the Japanese who lived there were sympathizers or even spies for the Japanese cause (even though many had been born and brought up in the United States). On February 19, 1942, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese-Americans to internment camps. American public officials told the Japanese that this was being done for their own protection; however, many Japanese noted when they got to their camps that the guns guarding these relocation centers were pointed inward and never outward. Many businesses and homes were lost by Japanese citizens.
Influential Japanese-Americans were outraged by these actions, and a legal challenge was mounted against the internment camps. In a 1944 decision, Korematsu v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the internment camps were legal, since they were based "on military necessity." In 1988, the United States government formally apologized to those who had been placed in camps and gave each survivor $20,000. It should be noted that American units of soldiers of Japanese descent were created during the war, and that they fought with great bravery in the campaign against Hitler.
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