Lesson 5: Mobilizing for War

Getting Started

The United States stayed out of World War II until December 7, 1941, when Japanese forces attacked U.S. forces in the Pacific. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the initial response to that attack and about the ways in which Americans mobilized for war.

Stuff You Need

  • A History of US: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945 by Joy Hakim
  • 1 large sheet of posterboard
  • colored pencils, crayons, markers, and other art supplies
  • glue
  • highlighter
  • scissors
  • seed packets or catalogues* (optional)

* - denotes an optional material that may or may not be needed

Ideas to Think About

  • When is it necessary to use military force to resolve a conflict and what are the costs, both for individuals and for societies, when military force is used?
  • How do leaders use their power to persuade and inspire others in different ways?

Things to Know

  • On December 7, 1941, Japanese forces attacked U.S. forces in the Pacific, leading the United States to declare war on Japan. The other Axis powers -- Germany and Italy -- declared war on the United States soon after.
  • In addition to joining the armed forces, Americans could support the war effort in a variety of ways on the homefront.

Skills

  • Analyze the political, economic, and social impact of major wars, including World War I and World War II. (SS)
  • Describe the impact of World War II on United States citizens. (SS)
  • Describe the significance of major events and military engagements associated with World War II. (SS)
  • Assess the impact of World War II on the economic, political, social, and military roles of different groups, including women and minorities. (SS)

Introducing the Lesson

Let your child know that, in this lesson, he will be learning about the entry of the United States into World War II and the ways in which Americans mobilized for war on the homefront.
Reading and Questions
Materials: A History of US: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945 by Joy Hakim
Read A History of US: War, Peace, and All That Jazz 1918-1945 by by Joy Hakim, pages 129-138 (Chapter 30-31). As you read, add to your activity page about world leaders from the previous lesson.
Questions
  1. What was blitzkrieg?
    Blitzkrieg means "lightning war" and it was a German tactic of moving troops, tanks and artillery into an area quickly and with a devastating impact.
  2. How quickly after the attack on Pearl Harbor did the United States declare war on Japan? How soon after that declaration was the United States at war with Germany and Italy as well?
    The U.S. declared war on Japan the next day and, within three days, was also at war with Germany and Italy.
  3. Describe which countries were on each side, Axis or Allies, in World War II.
    The Axis powers were Germany, Italy, and Japan and the Allied leaders were the United States, Great Britain, and the U.S.S.R.
  4. How many Russian people died in World War II?
    Some people say that 15 million or more Russian people may have died in the war.