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;


Adopted: 2015

BIG IDEAS

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.

ESSENTIALS

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.


KEY VOCABULARY

Terms & Events

WWII

“World” War

Sentiment

military bases

Lend-Lease Act

Axis Powers

Militaristic

Pacific fleet

Embargo

“Date that will live in Infamy”

Defeat Hitler First

Island-hopping

Battles:

El Alamein

Stalingrad

Normandy (D-Day)

Midway

Iwo Jima

Okinawa

“Miracle of Midway”

Casualty

Suez Canal

Atomic Bomb

Segregation

Non-combat roles

Geneva Convention

Bataan Death March

Genocide

Final Solution

Holocaust

Nuremberg Trials

Resource allocation

Mobilization

Nationalism

War bonds

Rationing

Selective Service (draft)

Desegregation

Internment Camps

Internment

Censorship

Public morale

Stereotypes

Propaganda

Iron Curtain

Marshall Plan

Communism

United Nations

People

Harry Truman

Tuskegee Airmen

Nisei Regiments

Minorities: Women, African Americans, Japanese Americans

Rosie the Riveter

Navajo (Signal Corps)

Mexican Americans

POWs

Holocaust victims: Jews, Poles, Slavs ,Gypsies, “Undesirables,”

including homosexuals, mentally ill and political dissidents)

Political Dissents

Places

Poland

Baltic countries

Soviet Union

Germany

North Africa

France

Manchuria

China

Japanese targets: Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii

Bermuda and Caribbean

Hitler

Totalitarian Dictatorship

Battle of Britain

Pearl Harbor

Theaters of War:  North Africa, Europe and Pacific

Hiroshima

Nagasaki

Nuremberg

Geneva

Jewish homeland (creation of Israel)

Post WWII Europe

Division of Germany and Berlin 

Updated: May 18, 2018