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The Ways in Which American Soldiers and American Civilians Responded To World War Two
After the 1st World War, America decided not to participate in other international affairs, deeming it a mistake. Most Americans sought peace through isolation, and they promoted nonintervention and disarmament policies throughout the 1920s (Capra). This move improved the relationship between the United States and Latin-American nations significantly under an anti-imperialist known as Hoover. As a result, President Franklin D. Roosevelt quickly established the Good Neighbor Policy, which renounced Latin American intervention rights altogether (Capra). This repudiation meant restraining from the region and withdrawing American troops from the Caribbean. During this period, Roosevelt increased the US stature within Latin American nations to the highest level in history. With Roosevelt’s approval, congress enacted a set of neutrality regulations that mandated against the factors that purportedly took America into the 1st World War. Unfortunately, Japan unexpectedly attacked America’s Hawaiian naval base in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (Sledge 3). This attack ended America’s isolation from international affairs by thrusting it into World War II, between 1939 and 1945 (Capra). The war dramatically affected everyday life across the country, including food, clothing, and gas rationing, and American soldiers, the Military, and civilians responded to World War Two in different ways. This paper will explore two specific aspects of America’s World War Two experience: Preparedness and race and ethnicity as features of military life, both in combat and in camp, particularly in relation to perceptions of the enemy.
Preparedness of the American civilians
Panic gripped America in the early days of WW2 because the citizens were afraid of what the Japanese were capable of doing, following the events of December 7th (Sledge 3). Fortunately, this intense fear of an attack on America’s mainland transcribed into a ready acceptance by most Americans that sacrifice was necessary for them to emerge victoriously. In the spring of 1942, the government launched a rationing program to preserve and produce more food for the citizens during the war (Terkel). The program limited the amount of food, clothing and gas that consumers could purchase. The government distributed rationing stamps to American families, which they used to purchase their allotment of everything ranging from meat to butter, sugar, fruits, vegetables, gas, clothing and fuel. The United States Officer of War Information issued posters urging Americans to do with less so that U.S. troops could have more.
Furthermore, the government urged citizens to grow vegetables and fruits in their gardens to sustain them during the war and eating scraps and leftovers became a patriotic duty across America. Citizens planted millions of victory gardens in their backyards, public parks and vacant lots. These victory gardens yielded over one billion tons of food throughout WW2, and ordinary citizens ate canned food, which they made at home by consulting victory cookbooks released by the Navy League, for recipes to make the best use of rationed products. Concurrently, communities and individual citizens collected scrap metal, rubber and aluminium cans, recycled them and used them in the production of armaments (Terkel). Meanwhile, some citizens bought U.S. war bonds to assist in the payment for the armed conflict, which was too costly.
Additionally, countless American civilians volunteered to defend their country from enemy invasion or bombing, which was prevalent during the war. These civilians trained in different critical fields, including first aid, bomb removal, aircraft spotting, and firefighting (Terkel). Air raid superintendents guided practice drills such as blackouts, and by mid-1942, more than ten million American civilians had volunteered to be civil defenders. This effort and preparedness of the United States’ civilians ensured that the mainland was secure. Hence, it was never invaded by the enemy as illustrated by Terkel quotes”Ours was the only country among the combatants in World War Two that was neither invaded not bombed. Ours were the only cities not blasted to rubble “ (Terkel). However, U-boats patrolling in American waters either damaged or sunk approximately ten U.S. naval vessels during the war.
The preparedness of the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps, also known as Unites States Marine, epitomizes the idea of “Always Faithful” (Capra). Therefore, they understand that a time will come when they will be the first ones to be called to fight and defend the country and its interests. In this view, the US marines are always ready to go to war at a short time’s notice because they are trained, well equipped, and marshaled to respond and counter any attack with sound judgment and reasonable force. Marines are the United States’ first responders in a catastrophe, whether humanitarian crisis or combat engagement. According to Capra, the US marine corps must always be ready for anything even when the nation is not prepared or in panic, like was the case during WW2 (Sledge 27). It is required to issue a balanced force in preparedness for a naval campaign and correspondingly, a ground and a striking staff ready to counter or contain international interferences. In light of this, the US marines performed a principal role in World War II, especially in the Pacific War (Sledge 27). They fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the battles of Tarawa, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Guam, and Bougainville, among others.
In 1933, the US Marine Corps comprised of only 1192 soldiers and approximately 15,343 men. This number saw an insignificant increase in the following years (Capra). However, the president’s executive order on 8th September 1939 led to a substantial enlargement of the Marine in readiness for World War II. The Marine specialized in the amphibious assault and occupied a central role in the war. Furthermore, the US Marines created the Navy Seabees in 1942, which was considered one of the Navy’s most remarkable contributions to the US Marine during the war (Capra) Innumerable Seabee units were issued with the US Marine Corps standard issue before being assigned the title “Marine.” According to the military organization, these units remained Navy despite the US Marine Corps, military training, issuing them uniforms, and designating them as Marines. Therefore, the Navy contributed significantly to the US Marine’s preparedness for the war through the Seabees.
The amphibious assault was the central tactic mastered by the US marine in preparation for WW2. During the war, the Marine waded through the surf and attacked a militant beach consisting of amphibian tractors advancing towards enemy-held shores. Following the amphibious warfare and the tactics used in the attack, Americans have closely identified the US Marine Corps with terms such as “The Marines have landed” (Sledge 112). This phrase represents the amphibious assault, which involved landing a Marine force to fight the terrain or the islands from the enemy rather than uncontested amphibious landing. Ideally, the United States Marine Corps preparedness to conduct and execute amphibious operations in the early stages of WW2 has been recognized as the result of the Marine’s useful foresight and planning in conjunction with the US Navy. Beforehand, a Joint Army-Navy Board had recommended that the US Marine Corps maintain a close relationship with the Navy to prepare for the amphibious war (Sledge 102).
A few individual Marines depicted their readiness to defend America in WW2. First, Major Earl H. Ellis, a US Marine Corps officer, conceded that the expansion-minded Japan would become a significant disaster and adversity in any future wars. In 1921, this officer predicted that the US would someday go to war and seize Japanese bases in the Marshall, Palau Islands, and Carolina. Eight more high-ranking Marines, including the Commandant, Major General John A (Sledge 75). Lejeune, shared Ellis’s views and agreed that the US Marine could not accomplish concrete planning to seize Japanese bases at the time. As a result, Major Ellis successfully drafted an ingenious and resourceful strategy for Advanced Base Operations in Micronesia, which became a blueprint for American Central Pacific’s operations during the WW2, which commenced ten years later.
Besides, Major General John H. Russell, the US Marine Corps commander in 1933, created a plan aimed at supplanting the Expeditionary Force Staff at Quantico with a Fleet Marine Force and presented it to the Chief of Naval Operations. The commandant’s new concept conceded that the Marine force would not be subjected to constant interruptions during training through the digression of tasks or detachment (Capra). The vision was to ensure that the new force became a fundamental unit within the fleet under the Commander in Chief as the head of operational control. General Russel’s proposal was approved, and it commenced on 7th December 1933. This new concept became the most significant development of the US Marine since its establishment. The new Marine Corps schools established in Quantico immediately developed an amphibious operations guide (Capra). It described the command relations philosophy, modern techniques, and concepts for a controlled ship-to-shore movement, tenets for Naval gunfire air support, and feasible means of ship-to-shore communications. All these techniques and ideas helped the Marine in preparedness for WW2, which occurred seven years later.
Race and ethnicity as features of military life, both in combat and in camp, particularly as it relates to perceptions of the enemy.
America faced a significant predicament in December 1941 after Japan attacked Perl Harbor. Millions of citizens were wounded and ill-equipped and the country was at war with three daunting enemies, Germany, Italy and Japan. In preparation for the war, America had to use the available resources to raise, train and equip civilians into a vast military force (Capra). Fortunately, America met these challenges through tremendous government spending, construction of massive industries, reconstruction of the current industries into cosmic wartime productions and putting restrictions in numerous aspects of American life. These measures supported the US military during WW2, but the fear and tension ignited by the war created notable race and ethnicity issues in military life, both in combat and in camp. Particularly race and ethnicity fueled negative perceptions of the enemy and accelerated the conflict, hence prolonging the war (Dower 3). For instance, the US military created a propaganda poster titled “This the Enemy” after the Japanese attack. The purpose of the poster was to epitomize the entire Japanese nation as animalistic and a merciless enemy that needed to be conquered by all means. The clash between the two nations dehumanized the Japanese by instilling fear in the Americans. Such propagandas initiated during WW2 elicited deep-rooted racial and ethnic biased perceptions against the Japanese, and have had numerous historical consequences for Japan over the years (Dower 6).
Capra, Robert. Why We Fight, The Battle Of Britain. 1941, https://www.c-span.org/video/?449970-1/why-fight-battle-britain. Accessed 17 Nov 2020.
Dower, John W. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War. New York: Pantheon Books, 1987. Print
Sledge, E. B. With The Old Breed At Peleliu And Okinawa. Presidio Press, 2010.
Terkel,, Studs. “Studs Terkel : Conversations With America”. Studsterkel.Matrix.Msu.Edu, 2020, http://studsterkel.matrix.msu.edu/gwar.php.
|Pages: 6, Double Spaced||Order type: Essay Subject: History Academic level: Undergraduate Style: MLA Language: English (U.S.)|
All of the paper instructions are in the doc titled “Assignment Paper Two Fall 2019”. The required materials that are websites I put as links next to their bullets, the chapter from John Dower’s “Apes and Others,” in War Without Mercy is its own pdf I apologize for it being sideways that’s just how my professor uploaded it. The book by E.B Sledge “With the Old Breed” will probably have to be supplied by me so if it can’t be found in its entirety on the internet than I’ll pay for it.
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