The Second World War was one of the biggest wars to be witnessed in the world history. Countries ventured into the Second World War in order to settle their scores that were left unsettled during the First World War. German was the main problem causer and other European countries teamed up so as to oust Hitler who kept on conquering Europe. Hitler ignored advice from the military personnel but insisted that they push on further. Japan on the other hand wanted to become the world’s super power and so continued with its scathing attacks to the countries that it felt could be a threat. The United States did not join in the war as they were still in a state of depression which was caused by the First World War. They therefore decided to keep off the war as they were still contemplating on ways of recovering from their state of depression. Japan decided to attack a United States Harbor in Hawaii that prompted the US to join into the war. Immediately after the US had been attacked by Japan, German declared war on the US. The United States strategized very fast on the measures that they could take in order to bring the war to an end. After a series of attacks, they joined forces with France and the Great Britain in order to counter the attacks. Experts were imported from Europe who helped in building atomic weapons. The United States deployed military personnel in different nations and set up bases where they could operate from as they went out on a mission to attack Japan. The United States launched two atomic bombs that literally brought the Second World War to an end. The bombs were launched at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. The effects of the bombs could still be felt 45 years later. The bombs marked the end of the Second World War. However, after the end of the Second World War another war broke up. This was the cold war which involved nations showing their prowess in military by making disastrous weapons that could bring about mass destruction of cities and territories.
The Second World War has had a very significant effect in the economy of the United States both positively and negatively. Richard Polenberg in his book “War and Society: The United States, 1941-1945” takes a look at the Second World War and its effects to the United States of America.
The book Richard Polenberg, War and Society: The United States, 1941-1945 (Lippincott, 1972) covers different areas about the Second World War and how it impacted America. Some of the issues covered in the book include:
Radical alterations of the American Society which was caused by the second world war
The redefined relationship between the government and individuals
The redefined relationships between individuals to individuals
Relationship between civilians and military
Liberty and society
Special interest and national purpose
The book starts by giving a clear insight on how America decided to keep off the Second World War when it started and what prompted them to enter the war. It also gives a clear indication on the role America in the war, how they impacted, their contributions and how they helped to stop the war. The book also covers how the relationships changed between different groups in America and how the whole world viewed America.
Radical alterations of the American Society which was caused by the Second World War, America was the only Western country whose economy had not been ruined by war thus making it have a virtual monopoly on manufactured goods and agricultural products which lasted for more than a decade. This enabled it to improve its economy even further as there was no other western country which was producing such goods at that time.
This raised the living standards for the Americans but also had a negative impact at the end as labor wages went up. This later on resulted into a decline in the living standards of most of the US residents. The United States dollar became an international currency after the Second World War and there were so many top scholars who moved to the US. Most Jews migrated into the US from Europe. This is the time that the atomic bomb was created with the help of professional from Europe.
Women were employed in jobs that were initially regarded as male jobs as they realized that they could perform most of the tasks that their male counterparts could perform. This marked the beginning of women’s movement. At the end of the Second World War there was segregation of US troops which were eliminated thus giving rise to the Civil Rights Movement. This was also the time that the black men also realized that they could perform better just like their whites counterparts. This also prompted the Black movement. The US literally went from a state of depression prior to the war to a state of prosperity after the end of the Second World War. The US residents then had a sense of national pride and unity thus supporting industrial growth. The entire make up of the society was changed completely after the end of the Second World War which took place between 1941 – 1945.
Richard Polenberg wrote that the Second World War altered the character of America Society and challenged its most durable values. The problem of unemployment ended just as the Second World War started. Women also had a chance to join the workforce as men were involved in the war. The war brought about significant changes in the role of women in the society as a whole.
The United States was not involved in the Second World War when it started. However, Japan suddenly pushed it into war by attacking the American Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Hitler also declared was against the United States of America. The American President sought out for drastic measures which could be taken in order to control the situation. In 1942 several chiefs of staff in the US military came together to strategize on how to counter the attacks. The American industries were pushed into supporting the allies countries and also the military expansion. The United States collaborated with the British so as to join forces and build a stronger military base.
Relationships between the military and the civilians
A force of the US personnel comprising of both the civilians and the military went to northwest Canada so as to build logistical facilities which were needed to support the defense of the US. Some troops were replaced by civilian workers and the civilians exceeded the number that was required to perform military operations in that area. Every individual was ready to protect his/her country. Women also joined in the process. Some took jobs of taking care of the economy as they were involved in jobs that were initially meant for men. Some women even took up military positions at this time so as to ensure that their country was protected.
The Allied forces won the Second World War and America was pulled out from the great state of depression together with Great Britain and France. The however, had a very big impact in the economy of the United States.
The war left the world divided into two. The first block was led by the United States of America and the United Kingdom while the other block was led by USSR and later on the communist China. Capitalist then expanded all over the world and colonialism started to end. In 1948, the republic of Israel was formed and the United Nations Organizations was also formed.
During the last year of the Second World War, the USSR liberated the Eastern half of Europe and the allies liberated the Western half. After the end of the war, the USSR refused to retreat back to its borders. The USSR then later started the cold war with the United States of America.
After the end of the Second World Warm, the US entered the longest war in its history. There was the cold war. The US still suffers from the effects of the Second World War either directly or indirectly.
Some of the good effects that came with the Second World War is that women had a chance to work as more jobs were created. US ended the depression that they were suffering from prior to the Second World War.
The war impacted negatively on the economy of the US as civilians who could participate in the nation building process lost their lives in war, lots of resources were consumed during the war to reinforce military operations during the war.
Relationship between civilians and military
According to Richard Polenberg, the relationship between the civilians and the military improved to a great extent. Many civilians were willing to be recruited into the military. They were ready to fight for their country to protect it.
Liberty and society
The war efforts had a darker side as Civil liberties were compromised. 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their West Coast homes and sent to remote relocation camps. New technologies also emerged during the war.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Weapons were developed that could be used for combat duties during the war. The Second World War was fought over the differences that were left unresolved during the First World War. Over 400,000 American perished. The Second World War had a very big impact in the economy of United States and it also changed the values of the country on how it was being viewed by the international community.
Special interest and national purpose
The US gained a lot as a result of the Second World War. They were able to come out from the state of depression by selling their goods to other countries. This was possible as they enjoyed monopoly over other countries who were deeply involved in the war.
American entry into the war had a very big impact to the success of the war. The American army and Navy became the most powerful and this changed the way they were being viewed. Every American felt proud of the work done by the military. The American Youths could not forget the sacrifices they made. The Soviet Union and the US were allies during the war but soon after the war the relationship ended as there was mistrust between the parties and each group was suspicious of the other. This marked the beginning of the cold war. The cold war experienced in almost every part of the globe. As countries gained independence, they either adopted the capitalist or the socialist group. The American conducted tests with using atomic bombs and nuclear technology in display of their military prowess. The last half of the 1940s was marked by uncertainty that soured the sweet victory of the Second World War.
The United States became the leader of the free market capitalist world. America struggled to keep the Capitalist while trying to abolish the socialist which was advocated for by the Soviet Union. This resulted into a major cold war between the two Parties, The United States and the Soviet Union.
About the author
Richard Polenberg was judge for 15 years and later became a member of the U.S Second Circuit Court of Appeals for twenty three years. He was hailed as the best judge in America. He has been praised for his good work as a judge in the United States of America for the period of fifteen years which he served as a judge of the federal district.
Work cited List
Richard Polenberg, War and Society: The United States, 1941-1945 Lippincott, 1972