Describe the impact on US society and work during the war years

By the late 1930s, the US was still dealing with the Great Depression, and conflict was intensifying between powers in Europe and between Japan and its neighbors in Asia. At first, isolationist sentiments prevailed, but eventually the US entered the conflict. Besides developments of the overseas conflict, the next few years of a “war economy” had an enormous impact on the nature of work and the workforce that left a lasting legacy.

Choose and discuss one of the following two topics related to the American experiences in World War II:

  1. Focusing on American opinions and events of the late 1930s and early 1940s, discuss isolationist views and why those changed.
    • Identify two isolationist arguments for staying out of World War II.
    • Describe the events that led us into war despite the isolationist views. What lessons can be drawn from this experience for our modern day concerns about war and when to engage in it.
    • Identify the source(s) where you read about the New Deal responses.
  2. In the period 1940-1945, the US would go into a “war economy” that dramatically impacted the American economy and society. It was one of the most devastating economic downturns that America has ever experienced. Determine whether you believe that the federal responses to the Great Depression by President Franklin Roosevelt encouraged real economic growth and confidence or whether the arguments by critics of the day were accurate that it made the Depression last longer.
    • Give two examples of changes during the “war economy” period
    • Describe the impact on US society and work during the war years
    • Taking the long term view, explain ways our society is different due to the wartime experiences.
    • Identify the source(s) where you read these changes during World War I
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