18.4 The Allies Turn the Tide

As 1942 began, the Allies were in trouble. German bombers flew unrelenting raids over Britain, and the German army advanced deep into the Soviet Union. In the Pacific, the Japanese onslaught seemed unstoppable. But helped by extraordinary efforts on the home front and a series of military victories, the tide was about to turn.

Photo of in work uniforms women painting the side of a tank, with greetings to our allies in U S written on the side.

Women learned new skills in order to participate in the war effort. In some countries, they served in combat and worked in manufacturing. Women also offered day care for children of those who worked or served.


  • Understand how nations committed all of their resources to fighting World War II.
  • Explain how the Allies began to push back the Axis powers in Europe and the Pacific.
  • Describe the Normandy landings and the Allied advance toward Germany.

Key Terms

  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • Winston Churchill
  • Joseph Stalin
  • internment
  • Rosie the Riveter
  • aircraft carrier
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • Stalingrad
  • D-Day
  • Yalta Conference
  • Dwight Eisenhower

A Commitment to Total War

Like the Axis powers they were fighting, the Allies committed themselves to total war. In total war, nations devote all of their resources to the war effort.

Governments Redirect Resources

To achieve maximum war production, democratic governments in the United States and Great Britain increased their economic and political power. They directed economic resources into the war effort, ordering factories to stop making cars or refrigerators and to turn out airplanes or tanks instead.

They raised money by holding war bond drives. By buying bonds, citizens lent their government certain sums of money that would be returned with interest later.

Wartime economic policies placed limits on individual economic freedoms. Governments implemented programs to ration, or control, the amount of certain vital goods consumers could buy. Rationed items included rubber, tin, gasoline, and certain food items. Prices and wages were also regulated. In the United States, the war stimulated the economy by creating millions of new jobs. Unemployment, which had remained high during the Great Depression, was almost wiped out.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments