Social Studies - 2018-19
VUS.11a - Causes and Events of World War II
The student will apply social science skills to understand World War II by
a) analyzing the causes and events that led to American involvement in the war, including the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the American response;
UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD
The United States policy of neutrality in World War II was no longer a viable option following the events of Pearl Harbor.
The war in Europe
World War II began with Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, followed shortly thereafter by the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland and the Baltic countries from the east.
During the first two years of the war, the United States stayed officially neutral while Germany overran France and most of Europe and pounded Britain from the air (the Battle of Britain). In mid-1941, Hitler turned on his former partner and invaded the Soviet Union.
Despite strong isolationist sentiment at home, the United States increasingly helped Britain. It gave Britain war supplies and old naval warships in return for military bases in Bermuda and the Caribbean. Soon after, the Lend-Lease Act gave the president authority to sell or lend equipment to countries to defend themselves against the Axis powers. Franklin Roosevelt compared it to “lending a garden hose to a next-door neighbor whose house is on fire.”
The war in Asia
During the 1930s, a militaristic Japan invaded and brutalized Manchuria and China as it sought military and economic domination over Asia. The United States refused to recognize Japanese conquests in Asia and imposed an embargo on exports of oil and steel to Japan. Tensions rose, but both countries negotiated to avoid war.
While negotiating with the United States and without any warning, Japan carried out an air attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The attack destroyed much of the American Pacific fleet and killed several thousand Americans. Roosevelt called it “a date that will live in infamy” as he asked Congress to declare war on Japan.
After Pearl Harbor, Hitler honored a pact with Japan and declared war on the United States. The debates over isolationism in the United States were over. World War II was now a true world war, and the United States was fully involved.
Terms & Events
“Date that will live in Infamy”
Defeat Hitler First
“Miracle of Midway”
Bataan Death March
Selective Service (draft)
Minorities: Women, African Americans, Japanese Americans
Rosie the Riveter
Navajo (Signal Corps)
POWsHolocaust victims: Jews, Poles, Slavs ,Gypsies, “Undesirables,”
including homosexuals, mentally ill and political dissidents)
Japanese targets: Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii
Bermuda and Caribbean
Battle of Britain
Theaters of War: North Africa, Europe and Pacific
Jewish homeland (creation of Israel)
Post WWII EuropeDivision of Germany and Berlin