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World War II Transforms America

World War II was the last of the "good" wars, wars that were perceived by the country to be right and necessary. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States became involved in World War II, an all out attempt to save the American way of life. Public sentiment against the "Yellow Peril", Hitler, and Mussolini was quickly stirred up throughout the nation. Since so many men were needed at the battlefront, the homefront was transformed by necessary sacrifices. Not only did Rosie the Riveter emerge as an important part of the war effort, victory gardens, rationing, and civil defense measures all contributed to the nation's success. Between 1941 and 1945 there were 6.5 million women who entered the labor force. They manned defense plants, drove buses, trucks, tractors, and became heavy machinery operators, mechanics, welders, and riveters. This was the beginning of wartime prosperity after the Great Depression. Still, there were many problems concerning the changing role of women. They were accused of being neglectful because they were no long home with their children. Another concern was that holding down a man's job would masculinize women. Not quite as important but very popular was the Victory Garden. By growing fruits and vegetables, Americans could ensure that their troops could receive the produce from the commercial farmers. This also increased the health eating practices on the homefront. By 1943, one-third of the homefront supply of vegetables came from the Victory Gardens. This source of food helped combat shortages in other food areas. There were a total of 20 rationed items, including: butter, sugar, coffee, nylon, rubber, and gasoline. These rationed items were considered necessary for the continued war effort. Gasoline was reduced for most drivers to three gallons per week. Even with gasoline reduced for most Americans, relocation was widespread. One reason was the emergence of well-paying jobs available in the war industries. A second reason was relocation in order to be close to a loved one in a military camp or training camp. Another shortage came about in the area of housing, especially near the war industries. Crowded conditions and shortages were a fact of life during the war. Another fact of life accepted by the Americans after Pearl Harbor is that the United States was no longer invulnerable to attack. This knowledge insured that Americans would work together to protect their mainland. They were vigilant in watching for spies, aircraft, and vessels along the coastal waters. Blackouts were enforced in case aircraft was spotted. With the united efforts of all Americans, they were successful in keeping the war from their country.

Perspectives of World War II

In Memory of WW II
This site gives information and statistics on the warfront and the homefront. Well worth visiting.
Memories of the 1940's
This site is a collection of stories of those who were young in the 1940's. This includes worldwide stories about World War II.
Links to WW II Veteran Websites
This site has links to many World War II websites. It covers many different areas and aspects of the war.
Return to A Separate Peace
The Life and Times of John Knowles
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