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US History: World War II & Aftermath (1935 - 1949)

Updated on July 16, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish offers 25+ years successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Cartoonist Talburt, in the Pittsburgh PA Press
Cartoonist Talburt, in the Pittsburgh PA Press

The New Deal and WWII

This is a political joke from 1935, handed down through the generations via old newspaper clippings and word of mouth:

Socialism: You own two cows, so you give one to your neighbor.

Communism: You give both cows to the government and the government gives you back some milk.

Fascism: You keep both cows, but the government takes your milk, and sells some of it back to you.

New Deal: You shoot both cows and milk the government.

This type of joke divided Republicans and Democrats more fully into extreme opposite camps, one wanting more to help the less fortunate and the other wanting more for people to help themselves, despite their circumstances. The parties have maintained much of this distance into the 21st century.

After the administration of FDR, some people claimed. "He made an awful lot of lazy people" with his helping programs. Others saw him as a savior of sorts, creating jobs and preventing masses of people from dying of starvation.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Artist Douglas Granville Chandor painted this detail in 1945.
Artist Douglas Granville Chandor painted this detail in 1945.
Artist Douglas Granville Chandor painted this detail in 1945. | Source

The New Deal and WWII

President Roosevelt was the last president in the US to serve three terms. In truth, he was elected to a 4th presidential term, but died before he could serve. This is the longest US Presidency in the history of the nation, but does not approach the length of Fidel Castro's term as head of the Cuban government, which ended on February 20, 2008. While FDR could have served 16 years and did serve for 12, Fidel Castro served for a full 50 years.

FDR served three Vice Presidents as well, including John Garner, Henry Wallace, and Harry S. Truman, who became the next President.

Highlights of the Roosevelt Presidency:

  • The New Deal took affect in the first 100 days of the first Presidential term.
  • Prohibition of alcoholic drinks was repealed.
  • The Social Security Act of 1935 created a retirement income.
  • The Wagner Act.
  • Hitler's invasion of Poland.
  • USA gave much needed assistance to U.S. allies in military equipment.
  • Declared war on Japan on 12/08/1941, a day after their attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japanese government officials were meeting at the White House at the same time of the attack.
  • Instituted Japanese interment camps for detaining any Japanese in America, even those who were US citizens, including all their descendants living in America. Famous detainees these camps included actors George Takei and Pat Morita. This internment occurred despite the fact that the US military itself included Japanese and Japanese-American personnel, including 19,000 US soldiers. In the 21st century, Takei produced a theater production about the experience.

Executive Order 9066

Executive Order 9066 of the President required the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans. Some 46 years after the end of the war, the US government officially apologized to the families of these people and paid reparations to make amends. Sadly, over 55,000 of the detainees were children. About 70% of the whole group of people were US citizens. Many lost their homes and businesses while interned.

Internment Camps in the USA

Internment Camps in Canada

The Wagner Act - Labor Unions Helped Save Lives

A Summary of the Wagner Act

  1. Employees have the right to form labor organizations in order to bargain collectively for rights and benefits.
  2. Employers are not:
  • To interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees regarding their unions.
  • To dominate or interfere with labor organizations or contribute financial or other support to them.
  • To discriminate against the hire or tenure of employment; or, terms or conditions of employment with regard to the roles of labor organizations:
  • To fire or discriminate against an employee, because he or she has filed charges or given testimony under The Wagner Act.
  • To refuse to bargain collectively with the union representatives of their employees.

Give Us Unions!


Eleanor Roosevelt

The Fair Deal

Harry S. Truman

President Harry S. Truman. 1945 - 1949

Vice President Turman became President of the US when FDR died shortly after his election to an unprecedented 4th term.

Truman witnessed Japan refuse to surender after VE-Day (Victory in Europe) Truman ordered the devastating atomic bombs dropped onto Hiroshinma and Nagasaki as a result. These cities were leveled and Japan surrendered. Many Japanese surviors suffered cancerous conditons and some radiation-produced genetric mutations that passed to their offspring.

In 1947, the United Nations Charter was signed. During the same year, the 22nd Amendment was activated in order to reduce the maximum number of US presidential terms allowable to 2 full terms or 8 years.

President Truman sought to expand New Deal initiatives and his plans were renamed The Fair Deal, especially in regards to fair labor practices. He aided Turkey and Greece in withstanding Soviet attacks under the Truman Plan and aided Europe in war recovery efforts through the Marshall Plan. Japan was also provided with recovery assistance.

Read more about the work of Truman and how he stated many times: "The Buck Stops Here."

Old "Music Video" of Jimmy Durante Promoting NIRA

© 2008 Patty Inglish


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    • profile image

      newsworthy 8 years ago

      A salute to men of war this Memorial Day. The real aftermath is living without these guys. Thanks for remembering. My father was Navy First Class Seaman and Gunners Mate, 2 enlistments.

    • profile image

      Rochester New York DJ 8 years ago

      My mother, who was born in 1918, says she remembers the cartoon from the Rochester Newspaper, the Times Union. Sadly, the paper no longer exists.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      My great auncle Frank was killed in the Euopean Theater and sent home in a coffin that included a sealed glass cover over the body to protect others from diseases. I was not yet alive, but there were eerie photos taken.

      I agree with your evaluation of Truman.

      Thanks very much.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I wasn't yet 6 years old on Pearl Harbor Day, but I remember it well. Thanks for telling the story of WW II and the roles played by Roosevelt and Truman. My uncle Bill Hogan was killed on a destroyer in Guadalcanal early in the war when I was living in his home in Yonkers, N.Y. FDR was a great president, but I think HST was the country's greatest president. He refused to run again after serving almost 8 years because he believed no president should serve more than two terms. Despite the current disaster with George W. Bush, I believe the 4-year term is best.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks for suggesting it! I think I will plan to find out how to do that. If you have any ideas, I will gladly hear them.

      Thanks for contributing, adventure.

    • adventure profile image

      adventure 9 years ago from U.S.A.

      That is really brilliant. Have you tried submitting your idea to the powers that be? It would create a smooth transition.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      I would like to see a single 6-year tem for president, with incoming president beginning the new term in Year 6 of the previous president, requiring the two to work together, with the new POTUS in charge. There would be a President and a President Emeritus. This could lead to a smooth transition and also dampen partisan static.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      We Americans see that Castro suppressed the people. He saw only that he served the people. Roosevelt and Castro were both in office too long, imo.

    • adventure profile image

      adventure 9 years ago from U.S.A.

      Interesting hub. However, why did you mention that Castro has served for 50 years. Castro has been a communist dictator for 50 years, yes. He has suppressed the people of Cuba for 50 years, yes. But served? Served whom? Only himself. I fail to see the connection between Castro and Roosevelt, other than they both served long terms. I'm missing something. Are you against term limits? Are you pro-Roosevelt or pro-Castro? Or neither. Just so you know where I stand, I'm against the internment camps used in WWII.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      So much interesting - and some disturbing - events in US history. Thanks for the nice comment!

    • quotations profile image

      Robert P 9 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the great hub. I didn't know that Roosevelt was the President that repealed prohibition.