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Recount the USA’s Military Participation in the Second World War

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At 4:45 AM, September 1, 1939, the German military machine known as Blitzkrieg (lightning war) ripped through the border of Poland, its 2,000 planes and 2,800 tanks overwhelming the ill- prepared Polish defenders. Two days later Britain and France declared war against Germany. The Second World War had begun. It officially ended on September 2, 1945, when Mamoru Shigemitsu, foreign minister of Japan, signed the formal instrument of surrender on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

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America's isolation from war ended on December 7, 1941, when Japan staged a surprise attack on American military installations in the Pacific. The most devastating strike came at Pearl Harbor, the Hawaiian naval base where much of the US Pacific Fleet was moored. In a two-hour attack, Japanese warplanes sank or damaged 18 warships and destroyed 164 aircraft. Over 2,400 servicemen and civilians lost their lives. "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. Though stunned by the events of December 7, Americans were also resolute. On December 8, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan. The declaration passed with just one dissenting vote. Three days later, Germany and Italy, allied with Japan, declared war on the United States. America was now drawn into a global war. It had allies in this fight--most importantly Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But the job the nation faced in December 1941 was formidable. The United States faced a mammoth job in December 1941. Ill-equipped and wounded, the nation was at war with three formidable adversaries. It had to prepare to fight on two distant and very different fronts, Europe and the Pacific. America needed to quickly raise, train, and outfit a vast military force. At the same time, it had to find a way to provide material aid to its hard-pressed allies in Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Meeting these challenges would require massive government spending, conversion of existing industries to wartime production, construction of huge new factories, changes in consumption, and restrictions on many aspects of American life. Government, industry, and labor would need to cooperate. Contributions from all Americans, young and old, men and women, would be necessary to build up what President Roosevelt called the "Arsenal of Democracy."

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World War II had an unalterable impact on the US history and in our present life. The period was characterized by a vast number of families lost through the death of young men and women, those who became crippled, mass deportation, conflicts in cultures, religions, confusion and outright fears. Although the war was away from United States, it had a huge impact on the American society. Undeniable, it was a gruesome time in history and the many incidences from the war presented numerous lessons to be learnt. To start with, its leaders transformed U.S. to be an arsenal and produced vast numbers of war materials. Prior to the involvement in war, its economic sectors such as industries and agriculture had been mobilized to support factories which manufactured weapons. America’s business had become larger with its federal government expanding its power (Ayers, Gould and Oshinsky 766). The war brought about a 10% shift of Americans to war production centers. Japanese-Americans were evicted from their homes and were incarnated to relocation centers whilst the African Americans demanded full citizenship. More women were employed into the armed forces and in the factories which were manufacturing weapons (Ayers, Gould and Oshinsky 766). The World War II cost the U.S. approximately $304 billion. The U.S. obtained this money through deficit spending, lending and selling of war bonds. Its debt is said to have skyrocketed from $49 billion to $259 billion in 1945, which remained unsettled until 1970 (Schug 142).

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To conclude, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, ended the debate over American intervention in both the Pacific and European theaters of World War II. The day after the attack, Congress declared war on Imperial Japan with only a single dissenting vote. Germany and Italy— Japan’s allies—responded by declaring war against the United States. Faced with these realities and incensed by the attack on Pearl Harbor, everyday Americans enthusiastically supported the war effort. Isolation was no longer an option.

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Ayers Edward, Gould Lewis, and Oshinsky David. American passages: A history of the United States since 1865. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.

Norton et al. A people and a nation: History of United states. Boston, MA: Cengage learning, 2011. Print.

Schug, Mark. United States history: Eyes on the economy through 20th century. New York, NY: National Council for economic education, 1993. Print.

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Recount the USA’s Military Participation in the Second World War
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