The battle was marked by some of the fiercest fighting of the campaign. The Imperial Japanese Army positions on the island were heavily fortified, with vast bunkers, hidden artillery, and 18 kilometers (11 mi) of tunnels. The battle was the first American attack on the Japanese Home Islands and the Imperial soldiers defended their positions tenaciously. Of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, over 20,000 were killed and only 216 taken prisoner.
Joe Rosenthal photographed five Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the U.S. flag atop the 166 meter (546 ft) Mount Suribachi. The photograph records what was actually the second flag-raising on the mountain, which took place on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. The picture became the iconic image of the battle and may be the most reproduced photograph of all time.
D-Day: Back to the top
The D-Day operation of June 6, 1944 brought together the land, air and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest invasion force in human history. The operation, given the codename OVERLORD, delivered five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France. The beaches were given the codenames UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO and SWORD. The invasion force included 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from eight allied countries. Almost 133,000 troops from England, Canada and the United States landed on D-Day. Casualties from the three countries during the landing numbered 10,300. By June 30th, over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies had landed on the Normandy shores.
The Holocaust (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστον (holókauston): holos, "completely" and kaustos, "burnt"), also known as Ha-Shoah (Hebrew: השואה), Churben (Yiddish: חורבן), is the term generally used to describe the killing of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, as part of a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist regime in Germany led by Adolf Hitler.
Other groups were persecuted and killed by the regime, including the Roma; Soviets, particularly prisoners of war; ethnic Poles; other Slavic people; the disabled; gay men; and political and religious dissidents, such as Jehovah's witnesses. Many scholars do not include these groups in the definition of the Holocaust, defining it as the genocide of the Jews, or what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question." Taking into account all the victims of Nazi persecution, the death toll rises considerably: estimates generally place the total number of victims at nine to 11 million.
The persecution and genocide were accomplished in stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of World War II. Concentration camps were established in which inmates were used as slave labour until they died of exhaustion or disease. Where the Third Reich conquered new territory in eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppen murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings. Jews and Roma were crammed into ghettos before being transported hundreds of miles by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, the majority of them were killed in gas chambers. Every arm of Germany's bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the mass murder, turning the country into what one Holocaust scholar has called "a genocidal state."These are some good websites to learn more about the Holocaust: http://www.holocaustsurvivors.org/
Harry Truman said in regard to the atomic bomb, "it seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful..." The atomic bomb could very well be the most terrible thing ever invented. It is a weapon of destruction. When first tested with only thirteen pounds of the explosive, the bomb left a crater six feet deep and twelve hundred feet in diameter as well as causing a sixty foot steel tower to literally disappear. This test which occurred in New Mexico was visible from two hundred miles away and could be heard up to forty miles away.
With the destructive capabilities of this weapon in mind, using the bomb certainly would have been one of the most difficult decisions for Truman to make. He decided to use the bomb in order to shorten the war. His reasoning was that innumerable allied lives would be saved while delivering all people who were currently under Japanese rule. He gave Japan a chance to surrender, but they declined so he proceeded with the plan to drop the bomb called "Little Boy." This "Little Boy" happened to weigh 8,000 pounds and contained destructive power equal to 12.5 kilotons of TNT.
Once the decision was made, the decision of when and where the bomb was to be dropped shifted to General Carl Spaatz. A committee chose to drop the bomb on Hiroshima based on three main factors: Hiroshima was a very industrial city, had a military base, and had not yet been bombed, making it a good target to display the destructive power of the US's new super bomb. The bomb was dropped at 8:15 am on August 6, 1945 from a B-29 bomber. The bomb fell from the Enola Gay (the name of the bomber) with a parachute and the bomb exploded several hundred feet above the ground. "A bright light filled the plane," wrote Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay. "We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud...boiling up, mushrooming." For a moment, no one spoke. Then everyone was talking. "Look at that! Look at that! Look at that!" exclaimed the co-pilot, Robert Lewis while pounding on Tibbets' shoulder. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission; it tasted like lead. Then he turned away to write in his journal. "My God," he asked himself, "what have we done?" The bomb destroyed houses and buildings within a 1.5 mile radius. It was actually the winds created by the bomb which caused the most damage. The true damage however would not be realized for years to come. The long term effects of the bomb were discovered to be: genetic problems, malformed babies, retardations, radiation sickness, and mental trauma. The total death toll of "Little Boy" was about 200,000. After the bomb was dropped Truman once again warned Japan of the devastation which was to come if they did not surrender.
"Little Boy" and "Fat Man".
Japan failed to comply, however, and the plan was put in motion to drop a second bomb. The second bomb was called "Fat Man" and was to be dropped on the city of Kokura. Because Kokura had heavy cloud cover, the second choice city was Nagasaki. The "Fat Man," as its name would attest to, was much larger and had the destructive capabilities of 22 kilotons of TNT. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 am on August 9, 1945. It killed 150,000 people as well as causing the same long term effects as "Little Boy." By four o'clock on August fourteenth Japan had accepted unconditional surrender thus ending the war.
Go to this website to read more information about the bombing: http://www.cfo.doe.gov/me70/manhattan/hiroshima.htm
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945, and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms of office. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems. Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, many programs initiated continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce, such as the FDIC, TVA, and the SEC. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.
Roosevelt won four presidential elections in a row, causing a realignment political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of the federal government re-energized the Democratic Party, creating a New Deal Coalition which dominated American politics until the late 1960s. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. Thereafter, the new Conservative coalition successfully ended New Deal expansion; during the war it closed most relief programs like the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, arguing unemployment had disappeared.
After 1938, Roosevelt championed re-armament and led the nation away from isolationism as the world headed into World War II. He provided extensive support to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before the attack on Pearl Harbor pulled the U.S. into the fighting. During the war, Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, provided decisive leadership against Nazi Germany and made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies who later, alongside the United States, defeated Germany, Italy and Japan. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the Arsenal of Democracy, putting sixteen million American men into uniform.
On the homefront his term saw the vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, restoration of prosperity and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. With his term came new taxes that affected all income groups, price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans as well as thousands of Italian and German-Americans. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Roosevelt's administration redefined American liberalism and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals; the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief.
Stalin: Back to topic
Joseph Stalin (December 18, 1878 - March 5, 1953) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. During that time he established the regime now known as Stalinism. As one of several Central Committee Secretariats, Stalin's formal position was originally limited in scope, but through increasing control of the Party from 1928 onwards, he became the de facto party leader and dictator. His crash programs of industrialization and collectivization in the 1930s and his campaigns of political repression cost the lives of millions of people. However, it helped to make the Soviet Union the second largest industrial nation by 1937.
During Stalin's reign, the Soviet Union played a major role in the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War (1939–1945) (more commonly known in Russia and post-Soviet republics as the Great Patriotic War). Under Stalin's leadership, the Soviet Union went on to achieve recognition as one of just two superpowers in the post-war era, a status that lasted for nearly four decades after his death.
During his army career Churchill saw combat with the Malakand Field Force on the Northwest Frontier, at the Battle of Omdurman in the Sudan and during the Second Boer War in South Africa. During this period he also gained fame, and not a small amount of notoriety, as a correspondent. At the forefront of the political scene for almost sixty years, Churchill held numerous political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade and Home Secretary during the Liberal governments. In the First World War Churchill served in numerous positions, as First Lord of the Admiralty, Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. He also served in the British Army on the Western Front and commanded the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. During the interwar years, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and led Britain to victory against the Axis powers. His speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled Allied forces. After losing the 1945 election, Churchill became the leader of the opposition. In 1951, Churchill again became Prime Minister before finally retiring in 1955. Upon his death, he was granted the honour, by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, of a state funeral which saw one of the largest assemblies of statesmen in the world.
Hirohito: Back to topic
Emperor Shōwa (Shōwa tennō?) (April 29, 1901 – January 7, 1989) was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from December 25, 1926 until his death in 1989.
In the Western world, he is best known as Hirohito. The word Shōwa is the name of the era that corresponded with the Emperor's reign, and was made the Emperor's own name upon his death, the name by which he is now exclusively referred to in Japan. Although he often was and continues to be known outside of Japan by his personal name, Hirohito (裕仁, Hirohito?), in Japan an emperor's personal name is never used.
His reign was the longest of any historical Japanese emperor, and encompassed a period of tremendous changes in Japanese society, in some of which he played a significant role. At the start of his reign, Japan was still a fairly rural country with a limited industrial base. Japan's militarization in the 1930s, in which he is thought by some scholars to have been a participant, eventually led to Japan's involvement in World War II, a decision in which he has again been argued to have had some influence. After that ended with the total devastation of Japan, he co-operated with the re-organization of the Japanese state during the following Occupation of Japan, and lived to see that re-birth result in Japan becoming a highly urbanized country which was one of the industrial and technological powerhouses of the world.
Truman: Back to topic
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945–1953). As vice president, he succeeded to the office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
During World War I he served as an artillery officer. After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator. In 1945, Roosevelt replaced Henry A. Wallace as vice president with Truman for Roosevelt's fourth term.
As president, Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs. The tumultuous reconversion of the economy of the United States was marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over his veto. He confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, largely due to his famous Whistle Stop Tour of rural America. After his re-election he was able to pass only one of the proposals in his Fair Deal program. He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the U.S. armed forces and to launch a system of loyalty checks to remove thousands of communist sympathizers from government office, even though he strongly opposed mandatory loyalty oaths for governmental employees, a stance that led to charges that his administration was soft on communism. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II and his decision to use nuclear weapons in combat, the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the creation of NATO, and the Korean War. Corruption in Truman's administration reached the cabinet and senior White House staff. Republicans made corruption a central issue in the 1952 campaign.
Truman, whose demeanor was very different from that of the patrician Roosevelt, was a folksy, unassuming president. He popularized such phrases as "The buck stops here" and "If you can't stand the heat, you better get out of the kitchen." He overcame the low expectations of many political observers who compared him unfavorably with his highly regarded predecessor. At one point in his second term, near the end of the Korean War, Truman's public opinion ratings reached the lowest of any United States president, but popular and scholarly assessments of his presidency became more positive after his retirement from politics and the publication of his memoirs. He died in 1972. Many U.S. scholars today rank him among the top ten presidents. Truman's legendary upset victory in 1948 over Thomas E. Dewey is routinely invoked by underdog presidential candidates.Mussolini: Back to topic
On 10 June 1940, Mussolini entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. Three years later, Mussolini was ousted by members of his own government with the Allied invasion of Italy. However, soon after his ousting Mussolini was rescued by his German allies under orders from Hitler in Unternehmen Eiche . Following his rescue, Mussolini headed the Italian Social Republic in parts of Italy that were not occupied by Allied forces until the end of the war. In late April 1945 with total defeat looming, Mussolini attempted to escape to Switzerland, only to be captured and summarily executed near Lake Como by Communist Italian partisans. His body was taken to Milan where it was hung upside down at a petrol station for public viewing and confirmation of his demise.
Hitler: Back to topic
Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician who became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party and was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933. After the death of President Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler declared himself Führer, combining the offices of President and Chancellor into one using the power vested in him by the Enabling Act, and remained a totalitarian ruler until his suicide in 1945.
The Nazi Party gained power during Germany's period of crisis after World War I, exploiting effective propaganda and Hitler's charismatic oratory to gain popularity. The Party emphasised nationalism and antisemitism as its primary political expressions, eventually resorting to murdering its opponents to ensure success.
After the restructuring of the state economy and the rearmament of the German armed forces (Wehrmacht), a dictatorship (commonly characterized as either totalitarian or fascist) was established by Hitler, who then pursued an aggressive foreign policy, with the goal of seizing Lebensraum. This resulted in the German Invasion of Poland in 1939, drawing the British and French Empires into World War II.
The Wehrmacht enjoyed great success in the early stages of the war and the Axis Powers managed to occupy most of Mainland Europe and parts of Asia. Eventually the combined efforts of the Allies defeated the Wehrmacht. By 1945, both Hitler's policy and the Nazi Party lay in ruins; his bid for territorial conquest and racial subjugation had caused the deaths of tens of millions of people, including the deliberate genocide of an estimated six million Jews in what is now known as the Holocaust.
During the final days of the war in 1945, as the German capital of Berlin was being invaded and destroyed by the Red Army of the Soviet Union, Hitler married Eva Braun and less than 24 hours later, the two committed suicide in the Führerbunker.
Rationing: information retrieved from http://www.ameshistoricalsociety.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm
During the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a shop and buy as much sugar or butter or meat as you wanted, nor could you fill up your car with gasoline whenever you liked. All these things were rationed, which meant you were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more). The government introduced rationing because certain things were in short supply during the war, and rationing was the only way to make sure everyone got their fair share.
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor dramatically ended the debate over America's entrance into the war that raged around the world. As eager volunteers flooded local draft board offices ordinary citizens soon felt the impact of the war. Almost overnight the economy shifted to war production. Consumer goods now took a back seat to military production as nationwide rationing began almost immediately. In May of 1942, the U.S. Office of Price Administration (OPA) froze prices on practically all everyday goods, starting with sugar and coffee.War ration books and tokens were issued to each American family, dictating how much gasoline, tires, sugar, meat, silk, shoes, nylon and other items any one person could buy. View a listing of all rationed items. Across the country 8000 rationing boards were created to administer these restrictions. The 1943 Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog contains a list of all rationed farm equipment and tells the reasons and benefits of rationing as well as who is eligible. Even chicken wire fencing was rationed.
Go to this website to read about the English experience with rationing: http://www.worldwar2exraf.co.uk/Online%20Museum/Museum%20Docs/foodration.html
Women's lives changed in many ways during World War II. As with most wars, many women found their roles and opportunities -- and responsibilities -- expanded. Husbands went to war or went to work in factories in other parts of the country, and the wives had to pick up their husbands' responsibilities. With fewer men in the workforce, women filled more traditionally-male jobs. In the military, women were excluded from combat duty, so women were called on to fill some jobs that men had performed, to free men for combat duty. Some of those jobs took women near or into combat zones, and sometimes combat came to civilian areas, so some women died.
While many of the resources on the Internet, and on this site, address American women, they were by no means unique in being affected by and playing key roles in the war. Women in other Allied and Axis countries were also affected. Some ways in which women were affected were specific and unusual (the "comfort women" of China and Korea, Jewish women and the Holocaust, for example). In other ways, there were either somewhat similar or parallel experiences (British, Soviet, and American women pilots). In still other ways, experience crossed borders and characterized the experience in most parts of the war-affected world (dealing with rationing and shortages, for instance).
Rosie the Riveter: Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the six million women who worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and materiel during World War II. These women took the places of the male workers who were absent fighting in the Pacific and European theaters. The character is now considered a feminist icon in the US, and a herald of women's economic power to come. Rosie and her slogan were featured on posters, magazines, and more.
African-Americans: Back to the topic
Throughout the war years African-Americans repeatedly had to battle adversaries on two fronts: the enemy overseas and racism at home. Black Americans recognized the paradox of fighting a world war for the "four freedoms" while being subjected to prejudicial practices in the United States. Thus, as the war unfolded, they vehemently insisted on the privileges of full citizenship. African Americans were ready to work and fight for their country, but at the same time they demanded an end to the discrimination against them.
To that end, over 2.5 million African-American men registered for the draft, and black women volunteered in large numbers. While serving in the Army, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, they experienced continuing discrimination and segregation. Despite these impediments, many African-American men and women met the challenge and persevered. They served with distinction, made valuable contributions to the war effort, and earned well-deserved praise and commendations for their struggles and sacrifices.
On the homefront, black Americans also did their part to support the war. They worked in war industries and in government wartime agencies, sold war bonds, voluntarily conserved goods needed for the war, performed civil defense duties, encouraged troops by touring camps as entertainers, risked their lives on the front lines to report the war, and performed many other vital services.
The Four Freedoms - The speech delivered by President Roosevelt incorporated the following section:
|“||In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want--which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt, excerpted from the Annual Message to the Congress, January 6, 1941
Tuskegee Airmen: Back to the topic
Prior to the Tuskegee Airmen, no U.S. military pilots had been black. However, a series of legislative moves by the United States Congress in 1941 forced the Army Air Corps to form an all-black combat unit, much to the War Department's chagrin. In an effort to eliminate the unit before it could begin, the War Department set up a system to accept only those with a level of flight experience or higher education that they expected would be hard to fill. This policy backfired when the Air Corps received numerous applications from men who qualified even under these restrictions.f. Explain the U.S. role in the formation of the United Nations. Back to the top
The name "United
Nations", coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was
first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" of 1 January 1942,
during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged
their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.
States first established international organizations to cooperate on specific matters. The International Telecommunication Union was founded in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, and the Universal Postal Union was established in 1874. Both are now United Nations specialized agencies.
In 1899, the first International Peace Conference was held in The Hague to elaborate instruments for settling crises peacefully, preventing wars and codifying rules of warfare. It adopted the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which began work in 1902.
The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the First World War, and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles "to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security."
The International Labour Organization was also created under the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League. The League of Nations ceased its activities after failing to prevent the Second World War.
In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks, United States, in August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 member states.
The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year. (information from the United Nations website - http://www.un.org/english/)