ABC-1 agreement (1941): An agreement between Britain and the United States developed at a conference in Washington, D.C., between January 29-March 27, 1941, that should the United States enter WWII, the two nations and their allies would coordinate their military planning, making a priority of protecting the British Commonwealth. That would mean “getting Germany first” in the Atlantic and the European theater and fighting more defensively on other military fronts.
Executive Order No. 9066 (1942): Order of President FDR authorizing the War Department to remove Japanese “enemy aliens” to isolated internment camps. Immigrants and citizens alike were sent away from their homes, neighbors, schools, and businesses. The Japanese internment policy was held constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Korematsu v. U.S. (1944)
War Production Board (WPB): Established in 1942 by executive order to direct all war production, including procuring and allocating raw materials, to maximize the nation’s war machine. The WPB had sweeping powers over the U.S. economy and was abolished in November 1945 soon after Japan’s defeat.
Office of Price Administration (OPA) (1941-1947): A critically important wartime agency charged with regulating the consumer economy through rationing scarce supplies, such as automobiles, tires, fuel, nylon, and sugar, and by curbing inflation by setting ceilings on the price of goods. Rents were controlled as well in parts of the country overwhelmed by war workers. The OPA extended after WWII ended to continue the fight against inflation, but was abolished by 1947.
National War Labor Board (NWLB): Established by FDR to act as an arbitration tribunal and mediate disputes between labor and management that might have led to war stoppages and thereby undermined the war effort. The NWLB was also charged with adjusting wages with an eye to controlling inflation.
Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act (1943): Passes amidst worries about the effects that labor strikes would have on war production, this law allowed the federal government to seize and operate plants threatened by labor disputes. It also criminalized strike-action against government-run companies.
WAACs (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps), WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and SPARs (U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve): The women’s branches of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, established during WWII to employ women in noncombatant jobs. Women now participated in the armed services in ways that went beyond their traditional roles as nurses.
Bracero program (1942): Program established by agreement with the Mexican government to recruit temporary Mexican agricultural workers to the United States to make up for wartime labor shortages in the Far West. The program persisted until 1964, by when it had sponsored 4.5 million border crossings.
Fair Employment Practices Commissions (FEPC) (1941): Threatened with a massive “Negro March on Washington” to demand equal job opportunities in war jobs and in the military, FDR’s administration issued an executive order forbidding racial discrimination in all defense plants operating under contract with the Federal Government. The FEPC was intended to monitor compliance with the Executive Order.
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (1942): Nonviolent civil rights organization founded in 1942 and committed to the “Double V”—victory over fascism abroad and racism at home. After WWII, CORE would become a major force in the civil rights movement.
Navajo Code Talkers: Native American men who served in the military by transmitting radio messages in their native languages, which were undecipherable by German and Japanese spies.
The Battle of Midway (1942): A pivotal naval battle fought near the island of Midway on June 3-6, 1942. The victory halted Japanese advances in the Pacific.
D-Day (1944): A massive military operation led by American forces in Normandy beginning on June 6th, 1944. The pivotal battle led to the liberation of France and brought on the final phases of WWII in Europe.
V-E (Victory in Europe) Day: On May 7th, 1945, what was left of the German government surrendered unconditionally. May 8 was officially proclaimed V-E (Victory in Europe) Day and was greeted with frenzied rejoicing in the Allied countries.
Potsdam Conference (1945): From July 17 to August 2, 1945, President Harry S Truman met with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and British leaders Winston Churchill and later Clement Attlee (when the Labour party defeated Churchill’s Conservative Party) near Berlin to deliver an ultimatum to Japan; surrender or be destroyed.
Manhattan Project (1942): Code name for the American commission established in 1942 to develop the atomic bomb. The first experimental bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the desert of New Mexico. Atomic Bombs were then dropped on two cities in Japan in hopes of bringing the war to an end; Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki three days later.
V-J (Victory in Japan) Day: August 15th, 1945 heralded the surrender of Japan and the final end to WWII.
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Iroquois League - Five New York area Indian tribes united in a confederation. They kept their independence, but got together in times of war.
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