ww2 Homefront

All in for the War

World War II Playlist.... If you'd like, pop in your headphones and listen (laptop, tablet, phone).

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1. the Real Rosie the Riveter?

Compare these two images from 1943 of a woman war worker. The one on the left was painted by Norman Rockwell and appeared on the cover of the popular weekly magazine Saturday Evening Post. Graphic artist J. Howard Miller for the Westinghouse Corporation produced the one on the right.

  1. What do these two women have in common? How do they differ?
  2. Which image do you think became more popular with the public during the war? Why?
  3. How do these images go against the usual portrayal of women during the era?
  4. Which image do you like better? Why?
  5. What was the purpose of these images?
  6. Would either of these pieces be considered propaganda? Why/why not?

Source: National WW2 Museum

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2. Home Front Propaganda

What is propaganda?

The widespread, systematic promotion of particular ideas, doctrines, or practices. All governments used propaganda to educate, inspire, and encourage their citizens to support the war effort. The U.S. government produced posters, pamphlets, newsreels, radio shows, even comic books to rally the country’s spirit and resolve (Natl. WW2 Museum).


  1. List the symbols, written and illustrated, used in the poster.
  2. What do the symbols on each of the hands represent?
  3. What do you think the phrase "Keep These Hands Off!" means? Explain.
  4. What does the Government hope the audience will do after viewing the poster?
  5. Based on the poster, what generalizations can be made about the role of women?
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3. Double V Campaign

1. What do the following images say about the contribution of African Americans during WW2? Apply this question to 3 images of your choosing (posted below).

2. What was the "Double V" campaign?

3. Was it successful?

4. Rationing and Victory Gardens

1. What was rationing and how did they help win the war?

2. What were victory gardens and how did they help win the war?

3. Which one was more helpful, in your opinion and why?

4. Do you think Americans could make these sorts of sacrifices today, if needed?

Wartime Nutrition 1943 US Office of War Information Eating Right during World War II Food Rationing

5. Read Akiko D. on being Japanese in America after Pearl Harbor. Then respond to the following questions.

  1. Summarize Akiko's words. How do they make you feel?
  2. What is an executive order?
  3. What did Executive Order 9066 authorize?
  4. Korematsu v. U.S..... what was the verdict of this Supreme Court case?
  5. What is the impact of this event on our history?

Akiko K. on Being a Japanese American after Pearl Harbor

Well, I'd just come home from church. And then we kept hearing, "Pearl Harbor was bombed, Pearl Harbor was bombed." I had no idea where Pearl Harbor was. My geography was not that sophisticated. I had no idea, and my father said, "Uh-oh, there's going to be trouble." And I said, "Well, how come?" He said, "Well, Japan just bombed Pearl Harbor." And, he says, "We're at war with Japan." But, I thought, "Why should it bother me?" You know, "I'm an American." And then he said, "You know, we are aliens." My parents... "We don't have the citizenship, so they're gonna' do something, we'll probably get taken away." But at that time, my parents had no feeling that we would be removed because-so they were saying my brother would have to take on the responsibility to keep the family together, because they may be removed or put into camp or whatever. And, then when I went back to school that following morning, you know, December 8th, one of the teachers said, "You people bombed Pearl Harbor." And I'm going, "My people?" All of a sudden my Japaneseness became very aware to me. I no longer felt I'm an equal American, that I felt kind of threatened and nervous about it.
(Akiko K. Interview, Copyright 1997 Densho Project)

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6. In what way did Disney shift its production to support the war and what impact did it have on the success of the American war effort?

Disney Shifts Production to Support American War Efforts

WWII Propaganda Disney Pluto Bacon Grease

7. Write a Letter

Which of the topics covered in this Smore needs more attention in WWII textbooks, courses, and classrooms: women, African Americans, propaganda, mobilization for war effort (gardens, disney, rations), or Japanese internment? Write a letter to the person you think can make this change occur and persuade them that your selected topic deserves more attention. Tell them why it matters and offer specific suggestions for change.


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Arthur Szyk Art (Choose one piece from the linked site)

  1. Who is Arthur Szyk?
  2. What is his story?
  3. Overview - What is going on in this image? Summarize.
  4. Parts - 5 specific details (not the obvious stuff).
  5. Title - If there is not title, create one.
  6. Interrelationship - How does the title match the image? Explain.
  7. Conclusion - How does this image provide a greater understanding of WW2?
  8. Why did you select this piece?
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