The Legacy of World War II
What was the overall impact of the second world war? Read the following information carefully, and summarize each topic in ONE complete sentence in the space below it.
The Cost of the War
Economic improvement - World War II was a time of opportunity for millions of Americans. Jobs abounded and, despite rationing and shortages, there was money to spend again. Workers complained about long hours, overtime, and night shifts, but they were able to save money for the future. Farmers also prospered during the war, as crop production increased and farm income tripled. Women also enjoyed employment gains during the war, but many left the workforce after the war ended.
The global position of the United States -
World War II, the United States assumed a new position as a global superpower.
America emerged from the war with minor casualties compared to the
other Allies and to the Axis powers, and was also the only nation possessing
the atomic bomb. Clearly, the
United States was the leader in world affairs.
The federal deficit -
military costs escalated, so did the deficit. But at the same time, social
spending plummeted. Senate liberals, for example, introduced legislation to
broaden the coverage of Social Security, and another bill to provide
comprehensive national health care. Both were pushed aside in favor of
A political shift to the right (America becomes more conservative) -
end of the New Deal and World War II brought about a political, psychological,
and economic shift to the right in the U.S. Three issues troubled Americans
during the war years and immediately afterward - that government was becoming
too big, the economy was controlled too much by the government, and Communism
was infiltrating the United States. New Deal reform measures of the past were
canceled or defeated.
The federal government and the presidency - During the war, the number of civilian employees working for the federal government rose from one million to nearly four million. At the same time, Washington's spending grew from nine billion dollars to ninety-eight billion dollars. The war also accelerated the growth of the authority of the President. Now, important decisions concerning both domestic and foreign policy were not made by Congress, but by the President and his advisors.
The "Military-Industrial Complex"
organized relationship arose between big business and the military's
spending on defense. During the war, the average daily expenditure on
military contracts was two hundred fifty million dollars, which inflated
American industrial capacity. Small companies disappeared as two-thirds of
government contracts went to the hundred largest corporations.
Discrimination in the United States
African Americans moved into crowded industrial cities, racial tensions grew
outside of the South. Blacks made
some progress in the military and the workforce, and many cities formed
committees to improve race relations. Mexican
Americans faced discrimination in Southern California.
Japanese Americans faced discrimination during the war, especially in
the relocation camps, and struggled to rebuild their lives after the war.
Horrors of the Holocaust
Horrors of the Holocaust
War Crimes Trials
decided during the war to pursue charges against war criminals after the
Allied victory, in fear of POW reprisals.
Most Nazi trials were held at Nuremburg, Germany.
At the most famous Nuremburg Trial, 21 Nazi officials were tried for
crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, many a result
from the Holocaust.
sentenced to hang, the remainder were given prison sentences. Many other trials were held concerning specific concentration
camps, including Buchenwald and Dachau.
The United Nations
- Created in response to the failure of the League of
Nations, the United Nations was based on the idea that an interna tional body
could resolve disputes through discussion and diplomacy to avert or stop wars.
The US agreed to the UN, seeing that isolationism could not protect the
country and may actually be dangerous. However,
due to the setup of the General Assembly and the veto power of the five
permanent members, the UN seemed destined to fail.
The UN has played a constructive role in the resolution of many
tional body could resolve disputes through discussion and diplomacy to avert or stop wars. The US agreed to the UN, seeing that isolationism could not protect the country and may actually be dangerous. However, due to the setup of the General Assembly and the veto power of the five permanent members, the UN seemed destined to fail. The UN has played a constructive role in the resolution of many disputes.
The Cold War and the Nuclear Arms Race - As the U.S. rose to superpower status, so did the Soviet Union, and both countries tried to spread their respective forms of government. The Soviet Union drew many Eastern European nations into their influence, especially with the organization of the Warsaw Pact. The U.S. and other Western democracies created the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, pledging to protect democracies beyond those involved in the Warsaw Pact. Nations all over the world attempted to develop their nuclear arms capability in order to improve their status among world powers.
If you would like some additional information about the war's legacy, check out Chapter 27 Section 5.