Limits on Individual Rights

Under the pressures of war, even democratic governments limited the rights of citizens. They censored the press and used propaganda to win public support for the war. In the United States and Canada, racial prejudice and concerns about security led to the internment, or confinement during wartime, of citizens of Japanese descent. Japanese Americans on the West Coast and Japanese Canadians were forced to move to camps inland, where conditions were very poor.

In Britain, Germans, Austrians, and Italians were subjected to internment, although some of them, including Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, were released. Some 40 years later, both the United States and Canada provided former internees with reparations, or payment for damages. For most, the compensation came too late.

Women Help Win the War

As men joined the military, millions of women around the world replaced them in essential war industry jobs. Women, symbolized by the character “Rosie the Riveter” in the United States, built ships and planes and produced munitions.

British and American women served in the armed forces in many auxiliary roles—driving ambulances, delivering airplanes, and decoding messages. In occupied Europe, women fought in the resistance. Marie Fourcade, a French woman, helped downed Allied pilots escape to safety. Soviet women served in combat roles. Soviet pilot Lily Litvak, for example, shot down 12 German planes before she herself was killed.

Infographic titled W W two G D P compared to aircraft and tank production 1939 through 1945.
Image Long Description

The Allies' commitment to all-out war meant a shift in manufacturing from commercial to military goods and equipment. Producing for the war effort also helped keep Americans employed.

Analyze Charts

What generalization can you make about GDP and war production based on the data in the chart?

Progress on Three Fronts

During 1942 and 1943, the Allies won several victories that would turn the tide of battle. They fought on three main fronts—in North Africa and Italy, in the Soviet Union, and in the Pacific.

Japan Suffers Setbacks

In the Pacific, the Japanese suffered their first serious setback at the Battle of the Coral Sea. The battle lasted for five days in May 1942. For the first time in naval history, ships engaged in a battle in which they never even saw each other. Attacks were carried out by planes launched from aircraft carriers, or ships that transport aircraft and accommodate the take-off and landing of airplanes.

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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