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World War II and Its Aftermath

British poster encouraging women to work in factories to increase production


American medal awarded for supporting the war


Support the War!

For the Allies to succeed against the relentless Axis war machine, everyone—on the home front as well as on the battlefield—had to work tirelessly. Ships needed to be built in a matter of days, not months. Airplanes, tanks, and ammunition had to be mass-produced. As factories converted to war production, the production of consumer goods such as automobiles ceased. All efforts were focused on the massive production of the materials of war.

Focus Question How did the Allies begin to push back the Axis powers?

The Allies Turn the Tide


Understand how nations devoted all of their r irces to fighting World War II.

E`>rpiain how Allied victories began to push back the Axis powers.

Describe D-Day and the Allied advance toward Germany.

Terms, People, and Places

Rosie the Riveter Stalingrad

aircraft carrier D-Day

Dwight Eisenhower Yalta Conference

Ngte Taking

Recognize Sequence In a flowchart like the one below, sequence the events that turned the tide of the war towards the Allies.

Allies Turn the Tide





. .,roduction.

As 1942 began, the Allies were in trouble. German bombers flew unrelenting raids over Britain, and the German army advanced deep into the Soviet Union. In the Pacific, the Japanese onslaught seemed unstoppable. But helped by extraordinary efforts on the home front and a series of military victories, the tide was about to turn.

All-Out War

To defeat the Axis war machine, the Allies had to commit them­selves to total war. Total war means nations devote all of their resources to the war effort.

Governments Increase Power To achieve maximum war pro­duction, democratic governments in the United States and Great Britain increased their political power. They directed economic resources into the war effort, ordering factories to stop making cars or refrigerators and to turn out airplanes or tanks instead. Governments implemented programs to ration or control the amount of food and other vital goods consumers could buy. They raised money by holding war bond drives, in which citizens lent their government certain sums of money that would be returned with interest later. Prices and wages were also regulated. While the war brought some shortages and hardships, the increase in production ended the unemployment of the depression era.

Under the pressures of war, even democratic governments lim­ited the rights of citizens, censored the press, and used propa­ganda to win public support for the war. In the United States and Canada, many citizens of Japanese descent lost their jobs, prop­erty, and civil rights. Many Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians were even interned in camps after their governments


Jan. - Germans surrender at Stalingrad.


Chapter 17 Section 3 577

decided that they were a security risk. The British took similar action against German refugees. Some 40 years later, both the United States and Canada provided former internees with reparations, or payment for damages, but for many the compensation came too late.

Women Help Win the War As men joined the military, millions of women around the world replaced them in essential war industry jobs. Women, symbolized by the character "Rosie the Riveter" in the United States, built ships and planes and produced munitions.

British and American women served in the armed forces in many aux­iliary roles—driving ambulances, delivering airplanes, and decoding messages. In occupied Europe, women fought in the resistance. Marie Fourcade, a French woman, helped downed Allied pilots escape to safety. Soviet women served in combat roles. Soviet pilot Lily Litvak, for exam­ple, shot down 12 German planes before she herself was killed.

Checkpoint How did the Allies mobilize all of their resources for the war effort?

The Allies Forge Ahead

The years 1942-1943 marked the turning point of the war. The Allies won victories on four fronts—the Pacific, North Africa and Italy, the Soviet Union, and France—to push back the Axis tide.

Japanese Navy Battered In the Pacific, the Japanese suffered their first serious setback at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The battle lasted for five days in May 1942. For the first time in naval history, the enemy ships never even saw each other. Attacks were carried out by planes lau.~ad from aircraft carriers, or ships that transport aircraft and accommodate the take-off and landing of airplanes. The Japanese were prevented from seizing several important islands. More importantly, the Americans sank one Japanese aircraft carrier and several cruisers and destroyers.

This Allied victory was followed by an even more impressive win at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, which was also fought entirely from the air. The Americans destroyed four Japanese carriers and more than 250 planes. The battle was a devastating blow to the Japanese. After Midway, Japan was unable to launch any more offensive operations.

The Big Three Plot Their Strategy After the United States entered the war, the Allied leaders met periodically to hammer out their strategy.

Air War in the Pacific

Allied forces won decisive victories in the Coral Sea and at Midway Island. The Japanese pilots below may have taken part in these battles, which were fought from planes launched from aircraft carriers. How do you think aircraft carriers changed naval warfare?

Alaska (U.S.)

japan A/eotianlslands


Pearl Harbor

New Guinea

Coral Sea,



Guadalcanal Pacific




T Qm '1Jll r1[p°9i\ ,ifs',

D~,~llier bombs, machines that broke secret codes, dive-bombers—all of these tL.Iologies gave those who used them a military advantage. Scientists and engineers on both sides of World War II created and improved technologies at a fast and furious pace in a desperate effort to win the war.

Nylon replaced silk as a lightweight material used to make parachutes.

Radar uses the behavior of electromagnetic waves to detect objects. It helped defenders to "see" and destroy planes before they could reach their targets.

V Improved sonar technology allowed submarines to use sound waves .underwater to "see" enemy submarines.

Thinking Critically

Draw Conclusions Radar helped the British win the Battle of Britain. Explain why it made such a difference.

Determine Relevance How did Hitler use technology in his blitzkrieg tactics?

In 1942, the "Big Three"—Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin—agreed to focus on finishing the war in Europe before trying to end the war in Asia.

From the outset, the Allies distrusted one another. Churchill and Roosevelt feared that Stalin wanted to dominate Europe. Stalin believed the West wanted to destroy communism. None of the new Allies wanted to risk a breakdown in their alliance, however. At a conference in Tehran, Iran, in late 1943, Churchill and Roosevelt yielded to Stalin by agreeing to let the borders outlined in the Nazi-Soviet Pact stand, against the wishes of Poland's government-in-exile. However, Stalin also wanted Roosevelt and Churchill to open a second front against Germany in West­ern Europe to relieve the pressure on the Soviet Union. Roosevelt and Churchill replied that they did not yet have the resources. Stalin saw the delay as a deliberate policy to weaken the Soviet Union.

Allied Victory in North Africa In North Africa, the British led by Gen­eral Bernard Montgomery fought Rommel. After the fierce Battle of El Alamein in November 1942, the Allies finally halted the Desert Fox's advance. Allied tanks drove the Axis back across Libya into Tunisia.

J -r in 1942, American General Dwight Eisenhower took corn-ma ns of a joint British and American force in Morocco and Algeria. Advancing on Tunisia from the west, the Allies trapped Rommel's army, which surrendered in May 1943.

Chapter 17 Section 3 579

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