Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II


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Like other cities, Philadelphia faced an acute housing shortage because of the influx of people looking for work. This affected working-class areas especially as multiple families crowded into small houses, but African Americans lived in the most dilapidated houses of all, often without indoor plumbing. For cultural, ethnic, and social reasons, many Philadelphians worried that letting women work in war plants would threaten the social structure.


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Several religious organizations charged that working mothers endangered their children. The conservative Republican city government echoed such concerns by refusing to create public day-care centers until near the end of the war. But the shortage of workers ultimately led the War Manpower Commission to recruit women for factories. Most continued to fill jobs traditionally held by women, but many worked as welders, mechanics, and chemists in ship yards, in the Frankford Arsenal, and at the Pennsylvania Railroad. Before the PTC agreed to hire African Americans as drivers, the company had employed a number of women in that position.

Women were active in bond drives and in raising money for social organizations through the United War Fund. Although federal propaganda agencies emphasized unity as a necessity for victory, that unity was often missing in Philadelphia. Besides African Americans, other groups experienced discrimination during the war.

During the Depression era, Jews often suffered job discrimination and even physical attacks. These attacks increased from until during the debate in Philadelphia over whether the United States should remain neutral or provide aid to England and other Allied nations.

Opponents of aid charged that the Jews were trying to get the United States involved in another European war. As the debate heated up, Jewish stores were often vandalized, Jewish children often were attacked coming home from school, and there was an arson attack on the home of a West Philadelphia rabbi. Even after Pearl Harbor, Jews continued to face discrimination from groups spreading anti-Semitic literature and practicing job discrimination.

Despite service to the war effort on many fronts, Jews continued to face discrimination for years afterwards. Although no massive relocation occurred on the East Coast to match the forced removal of Japanese from California, Congress classified recent immigrants from Germany and Italy who had not taken out citizenship papers as enemy aliens. The FBI searched their homes and confiscated radios, telescopes, and other instruments regarded as potentially dangerous. Several hundred enemy aliens were held for a time in a facility in southern New Jersey. Enemy aliens were not allowed to work in a defense facilities, which limited their employment opportunities.

Despite such restrictions, labor shortages resulted in an unusual occurrence in Cumberland County, New Jersey, as 2, Japanese Americans from internment camps in the West were allowed to settle in to work on the Seabrook Farms and frozen foods factory. Some of them stayed after the war and formed a nucleus of Japanese presence in the region. Labor strife proved to be another area in which federal efforts to maintain unity often failed.

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Although nationally unions had agreed to a no-strike agreement, Philadelphia gained a reputation for strikes. During the Depression strikes in textiles and metal manufacturing were common and usually violent. This pattern continued through the war and affected private shipyards, steel mills, and aircraft factories. City workers also went on strike for higher wages.

Encyclopedia of Conflicts Since World War II

With the support of the War Labor Board, most disputes were settled by arbitration. Attempting to prevent inflation, the War Manpower Commission instituted a wage stabilization program capping wages at levels. Nevertheless, with full employment and with the average laborer working 48 hours or more a week, Philadelphia workers enjoyed a prosperity that was in sharp contrast to the Depression.

To circumvent government wage guidelines, unions often secured fringe benefits such as paid vacations and health benefits which lasted after the war. Decisions made by military commanders stationed in the city largely overturned local authorities. Because of the housing shortage and the refusal of the city government to build public housing, the commandant of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard ordered the construction of the Tasker Homes in South Philadelphia near the base. By the end of the war, the city reluctantly agreed to build several public housing projects.

The same disagreements occurred over civil defense. At first the city government was reluctant to play a role in civil defense, but right before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor it established a Defense Council headed by Mayor Samuel. Particularly in the first two years of the war, the city was on high alert in expectation of an attack from the air. Periodically air raid drills tied up the city as air raid wardens cleared cars and pedestrians from the streets.

A general blackout kept homes, stores, and businesses from displaying lights at night.

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By early some of the industries with the highest employment began to lay off workers as the federal government prepared for the end of the war. The shipyards were the first to face retrenchment. Most VitalSource eBooks are available in a reflowable EPUB format which allows you to resize text to suit you and enables other accessibility features. Where the content of the eBook requires a specific layout, or contains maths or other special characters, the eBook will be available in PDF PBK format, which cannot be reflowed.

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An eBook version of this title already exists in your shopping cart. If you would like to replace it with a different purchasing option please remove the current eBook option from your cart. Hardback : All artificial light was subject to legal blackouts. Not only were men and women conscripted into the armed forces from the beginning of the war something which had not happened until the middle of World War I , but women were also conscripted as Land Girls to aid farmers and the Bevin Boys were conscripted to work down in the coal mines.

The Dunkirk evacuation by the British, was the large evacuation of Allied soldiers from May 26 to June 4, , during the Battle of Dunkirk.

In nine days, more than three hundred thousand , soldiers—, British and , French —were rescued from Dunkirk, France, and the surrounding beaches by a hastily assembled fleet of about seven hundred boats. These craft included the famous "Little Ships of Dunkirk," a mixture of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and RNLI lifeboats, whose civilian crews were called into service for the emergency. These small craft ferried troops from the beaches to larger ships waiting offshore.

Huge casualties were expected in bombing raids, and so children were evacuated from London and other cities en masse to the countryside for compulsory billeting in households. In the long term, this was one of the most profound and longer lasting social consequences of the whole war for Britain. This is because it mixed up children with the adults of other classes. Not only did the middle and upper classes become familiar with the urban squalor suffered by working class children from the slums, but the children got a chance to see animals and the countryside, often for the first time, and experience rural life.

In contrast, Germany started the war under the concept of blitzkrieg.

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It did not accept that it was in a total war until Joseph Goebbels ' Sportpalast speech of February 18, Goebbels demanded from his audience a commitment to total war, the complete mobilization of the German economy and German society for the war effort. For example, women were not conscripted into the armed forces or allowed to work in factories. The Nazi party adhered to the policy that a woman's place was in the home, and did not change this even as its opponents began moving women into important roles in production. The commitment to the doctrine of the short war was a continuing handicap for the Germans; neither plans nor state of mind were adjusted to the idea of a long war until it was too late.

Germany's armament minister, Albert Speer , who assumed office in early , nationalized German war production and eliminated the worst inefficiencies. Under his direction, a threefold increase in armament production occurred and did not reach its peak until late To do this during the damage caused by the growing strategic Allied bomber offensive is an indication of the degree of industrial under-mobilization in the earlier years. It was because the German economy through most of the war was substantially under-mobilized that it was resilient under air attack.

Civilian consumption was high during the early years of the war and inventories both in industry and in consumers' possession were high. These helped cushion the economy from the effects of bombing. Plant and machinery were plentiful and incompletely used, thus it was comparatively easy to substitute unused or partly used machinery for that which was destroyed. Foreign labor, both slave labor and labor from neighboring countries who joined the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany, was used to augment German industrial labor which was under pressure by conscription into the Wehrmacht Armed Forces.

The Soviet Union USSR was a command economy which already had an economic and legal system allowing the economy and society to be redirected into fighting a total war. The transportation of factories and whole labor forces east of the Urals as the Germans advanced across the USSR in , was an impressive feat of planning.

Only those factories which were useful for war production were moved because of the total war commitment of the Soviet government. During the battle of Leningrad, newly-built tanks were driven—unpainted because of a paint shortage—from the factory floor straight to the front. To encourage the Russian people to work harder, the communist government encouraged the people's love of the Motherland and even allowed the reopening of Russian Orthodox Churches as it was thought this would help the war effort. The ruthless movement of national groupings like the Volga German and later the Crimean Tatars who Stalin thought might be sympathetic to the Germans was a development of the conventional scorched earth policy.

This was a more extreme form of internment , implemented by both the UK government for Axis aliens and British Nazi sympathizers , as well as the U. Roosevelt declared at Casablanca conference to the other Allies and the press that unconditional surrender was the objective of the war against the Axis Powers of Germany , Italy , and Japan.

Prior to this declaration, the individual regimes of the Axis Powers could have negotiated an armistice similar to that at the end of World War I and then a conditional surrender when they perceived that the war was lost. The unconditional surrender of the major Axis powers caused a legal problem at the post-war Nuremberg Trials, because the trials appeared to be in conflict with Articles 63 and 64 of the Geneva Convention of Usually if such trials are held, they would be held under the auspices of the defeated power's own legal system as happened with some of the minor Axis powers, for example in the post World War II Romanian People's Tribunals.

World War II

To circumvent this, the Allies argued that the major war criminals were captured after the end of the war, so they were not prisoners of war and the Geneva Conventions did not cover them. Further, the collapse of the Axis regimes created a legal condition of total defeat debellatio so the provisions of the Hague Conventions over military occupation were not applicable.

Since the end of World War II, no industrial nations have fought such a large, decisive war, due to the availability of weapons that are so destructive that their use would offset the advantages of victory. With nuclear weapons, the fighting of a war became something that instead of taking years and the full mobilization of a country's resources, such as in World War II, would instead take hours, and the weaponry could be developed and maintained with relatively modest peace time defense budgets.

By the end of the s, the super-power rivalry resulted in the development of Mutually Assured Destruction MAD , the idea that an attack by one superpower would result in a war of retaliation which could destroy civilization and would result in hundreds of millions of deaths in a world where, in words widely attributed to Nikita Khrushchev , "The living will envy the dead. As the tensions between industrialized nations have diminished, European continental powers for the first time in years started to question if conscription was still necessary.

Many are moving back to the pre-Napoleonic ideas of having small professional armies. This is something which despite the experiences of the first and second world wars is a model which the English speaking nations had never abandoned during peace time, probably because they have never had a common border with a potential enemy with a large standing army. I say only they will not come by sea. The restrictions of nuclear and biological weaponry have not led to the end of war involving industrial nations, but a shift back to the limited wars of the type fought between the competing European powers for much of the nineteenth century.

During the Cold War , wars between industrialized nations were fought by proxy over national prestige, tactical strategic advantage, or colonial and neocolonial resources.

Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II
Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II
Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II
Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II
Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II Encyclopedia of Conflicts since World War II

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