SAQs for APUSH Topic 7.12 — World War II

  1. In the 1930s, most Americans opposed taking military action against the aggression of Nazi Germany and Japan. Briefly explain one reason why most Americans would oppose taking military action against Nazi Germany and Japan in the 1930s.
  2. In the early 1940s, most Americans, though increasingly concerned about the rise of fascism and totalitarianism, continued to oppose taking military action against the aggression of Nazi Germany and Japan until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II. Briefly explain one reason why most Americans would oppose taking military action against Nazi Germany and Japan in the 1940s. How did President Roosevelt refer to the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor in his speech to Congress on December 8, 1941? What did Congress do in response to this speech? What % of the American people supported the U.S entry into the war after hearing FDRs speech (according to a poll taken between December 12–17, 1941?) It is said that the attack on Pearl Harbor doomed Imperial Japan to defeat simply because it had awakened the “sleeping giant.” What does this mean?
  3. Mobilization and military service resulted in most Americans viewing the war as a fight for the survival of freedom and democracy against fascist and militarist ideologies. What are the Four Freedoms articulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy?
  4. Mobilization and military service resulted in opportunities for women to improve their socioeconomic positions for the war’s duration. Name and briefly describe one bit of evidence in support of this claim.
  5. Mobilization and military service resulted in opportunities for minorities to improve their socioeconomic positions for the war’s duration. Name and briefly describe one bit of evidence in support of this claim.
  6. Mobilization and military service resulted in the equipping and provisioning of the allies and millions of U.S. troops. Name a famous American car-making company that was hit hard during the Great Depression, was owned by a well-known pacifist who publicly opposed U.S. entry into World War II, and that built airplane engines for the British government.
  7. Mobilization and military service resulted in an increase in migration to urban centers. Name and briefly describe one major pull factor explaining the move to urban centers during World War II.
  8. Mobilization and military service resulted in challenges to civil liberties. One piece of evidence in support of this claim is the internment of the Japanese. Another piece of evidence — the US Supreme Court case of Korematsu vs. U.S. Briefly describe both, the interning of the Japanese and the related court case.
  9. Mobilization and military service resulted in debates over racial segregation. One piece of evidence in support of this claim — Executive Order 8802. What did this order ban?
  10. Mobilization and military service resulted in a transformation of American society. Name and briefly describe one bit of evidence in support of this claim.
  11. Mobilization and military service resulted in victory for the United States and its allies. Who were the allies of the United States during World War II?
  12. Mobilization and military service resulted in the ending of the Great Depression. What was the Great Depression? Approximately what percent of the American workforce, at the worst, went unemployed during the Great Depression? During the 1930s, policymakers responded to the mass unemployment and social upheavals of the Great Depression by offering Americans a New Deal. What was the New Deal?
  13. The United States and its allies achieved military victory through Allied cooperation. One piece of evidence in support of this claim is something called the Lend Lease Program? Also the Grand Alliance (aka the Big Three or the Strange Alliance.) What was strange about this alliance?
  14. The United States and its allies achieved military victory through technological and scientific advances. Name and briefly describe a technological advance and a technological advance that helped the United States and its allies achieve a military victory.
  15. The United States and its allies achieved military victory through the contributions of servicemen and women. As for the contribution of women during the war, approximately 350,000 ultimately served, with about seventy percent of these women serving in the form of “traditional female jobs.” What does that mean?
  16. The United States and its allies achieved military victory through campaigns such as Pacific “island-hopping.” What was island hopping?
  17. The United States and its allies achieved military victory through campaigns such as the D-Day invasion. What is historically significant about the D-Day invasion?
  18. The United States and its allies achieved military victory through the use of atomic bombs, though the use of these bombs, in the years to come, would spark debates. What is one debate question (other than was it right/wrong for the U.S. to drop two atomic bombs on Japan in August of 1945) that was sparked by the dropping of these two bombs?
  19. U.S. participation in World War II vaulted the U.S. into a position of global leadership, political leadership, and military leadership. What’s the difference between global leadership and political leadership?
  20. The war-ravaged condition of Asia and Europe, and the dominant U.S. role in the Allied victory and postwar peace settlements, allowed the United States to emerge from the war as the most powerful nation on earth. One thing that this most powerful nation on earth did immediately after the war was to call for and work mightily to establish the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations. Briefly describe one major similarity and one major difference between the United Nations and the League of Nations. One other thing that this most powerful nation did immediately after the war was something called the Marshall Plan. Briefly describe one major similarity and one major difference between the Marshall Plan and the Reparations Clause of the Treaty of Versaille.
  21. Shortly after the establishment of the United Nations and at the start of th Marshall Plan, US policymakers engaged in a Cold War with the authoritarian Soviet Union. What was the Cold War (being sure to include the words “tension” and “proxy” in your answer)? Also, what was a major Cold War goal of US policymakers relating to the Soviet Union?
  22. Many historians mark the beginning of the Cold War with George F. Kennan’s “Long Telegram.” In this telegram, written in 1947, Kennan advocates for a policy of containment of the Soviet Union and strong anti-communism. What was one reason Kennan gave in support of his call for action?
  23. During the Cold War, the United States developed a foreign policy based on collective security. NATO and the United Nations are both pieces of evidence in support of this claim. Briefly describe each.
  24. During the Cold War, the United States developed a foreign policy based on international aid. The Marshall Plan, Berlin Airlift, and Peace Corps are all evidence in support of this claim. Briefly describe each.
  25. During the Cold War, the United States developed a foreign policy based on economic institutions that bolstered non-Communist nations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is evidence in support of this claim. Briefly describe.
  26. During the Cold War, the United States sought to contain communism through a variety of measures, including major military engagements in Korea and Vietnam. Briefly describe one similarity and one difference between World War II and the Vietnam War.
  27. The Cold War ended in 1991. What brought the Cold War to an end?

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High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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Peter Paccone

Peter Paccone

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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