AP U.S History
Q: What were the social, economic, and political implications of World War II?
On June 28th, 1919, the Allies and Germany signed the treaty of Versailles, ending World War I. This treaty left Germany in a destitute economic state, for the terms of this treaty forced them to pay reparations to the countries whose infrastructure they had destroyed. This part of the treaty caused Germany to spiral into an economic depression for many years to come; so when a young, German, World War I veteran, based his political platform on the notion of restoring the German economy and revitalizing the German workforce, he rose to power with ease (Hitler salute picture). Adolf Hitler, due to the colossal conflict he caused, World War II, would successfully alter the course of history and insight major changes in countries around the world—namely, the United States of America. As Adolf Hitler rose to power, America was also experiencing an expansive economic depression as well as a new standard of governmental intervention, due to President Roosevelt’s “New Deal.” These circumstances affected large changes in the United States of America as we further progressed into the war. During World War II, America’s culture surrounded the war, America’s economy changed in ways that are still seen today, and America’s government intruded further into the average American’s life. From the start, World War II changed the American mindset and landscape so that they revolved around the war. For the first time in history, a war grasped control of the American public in the form of greatly influencing the popular culture of the time. The main contributor of wartime support on the home front was the Office of War Information. This group encouraged advertisers to connect their products and goods to the war effort, using aspects of patriotism in how they reached out to the public. On the Hollywood scene, movies reinforced how the home front in American and the war effort were intimately connected, even though so many miles separated them. The most patriotic movies of the time were the series of documentaries directed by Frank Capra called Why We Fight. Movies that were aimed towards the war-supporting crowd featured many famous actors of the time such as John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, and Anthony Quinn. With America being greatly involved in wartime issues, the cities saw issues arise such as racial conflict. There was competition for housing and jobs, which lead to riots breaking out such as the Zoot Suit Riot in Los Angeles, which was a conflict between Hispanic teens and whites (Picture showing zoot suit teens). Even with these racial issues going on, World War II opened the “workplace door” for many people such as women and African American, who prior to the war, were often excluded from jobs (Picture showing an African American woman working on a airplane). Women became a huge part of the industrial world, working in the defense industry in positions such as riveters, ship welders, and drill-press operators (Rosie the Riveter picture). By 1945, women made up 36 percent of the workforce in America. Even though World War II was fought overseas from American, its impact changed the culture of the nation in a dramatic way.
World War II had monumental economic impacts on the continental United States. Prior to the war, between 1929-1939, the Great Depression ravaged the United States, despite Roosevelt's alphabet soup of bureaucracy. It was the defense mobilization that doubled American profits, and ended the great depression. Financing the war was a national effort, led by Roosevelt who had absolute control over the war effort through the War Powers act. In 1942, congress passed the revenue act, which expanded the expanded taxes from around 4 million people to 41 million. This new and radical system of taxation was well received amongst the general public, raising a