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Women in World War II

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On December 7th, 1941, approximately 360 Japanese aircrafts attacked the U.S. Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii1. The Pearl Harbor attack took the American Army completely by surprise, and angered the country as a whole. Americans took the Pearl Harbor attack as a personal blow, and changed the minds of all who still believed in American neutrality in the war. The U.S. Congress declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941, officially entering the U.S. into World War II. With the start of the war, came many changes in the everyday life of ordinary Americans. There were many shortages in household items, such as flashlights, batteries, waffle irons, plastic toys, and tea2. On the East Coast, the supply of gasoline was reduced by 20%, and the rationing of many household items and food was introduced into many homes of American citizens3. One of the biggest changes in ordinary American life during this time was brought about by the draft, which resulted in the loss of roughly 12,209,240 American men by 1945 who had gone to join the armed forces4. During World War II, the number of men away at war resulted in America being in desperate need of more factory hands to manufacture weapons and supplies for the troops and of service in the military itself. The women of America then found themselves being thrust into these positions and offered occupations of higher respect, rank, and pay than previously. The immense number of women who participated in World War II played an imperative role in increasing the freedom of American women in the workplace, in the military, and on the home front. The massive number of women who worked in factories and other workplaces were crucial to the war effort because they manufactured almost all of the m... ... middle of paper ... ...ng their country in the military. Works Cited http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-students/ww2-history/ww2-by-the-numbers/us-military.html Penny Colman, Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II, (New York, Crown Publishers Inc.) p. 8 http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-students/ww2-history/ww2-by-the-numbers/us-military.html Sherna B. Gluck, Rosie the Riveter Revisited: Women, the War, and Social Change, (Boston, Twayne Publishers) p. 137 Catherine Gourley, Rosie and Mrs. America, (Minneapolis, Twenty-First Century Books) Patience Coster, A New Deal for Women 1938-1960, (New York, Chelsea House) p. 12 Margaret Regis, When Our Mothers Went to War, (Seattle, NavPublishing) p. 70 Major General Jeanne M. Holm, In Defense of a Nation: Servicewomen in World War II, (Washington DC, Military Women’s Press) p. 9
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