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Letters from the Front

( Editor’s note: Welcome to a brand new series that will debut every several months as Battlefield V’s live service continues to push out content and will depend on how well the Live Service does. If the Live Service fails, this series will be canceled since the expansions for Battlefield V will also be canceled. DICE  intends to release the expansions in chronological order and attempt to follow World War II in order. This series will delve into every aspect of the Second World War that EA DICE chooses to highlight in their expansions. I hope you enjoy this little mini-series and stay tuned for my BFV: Awakening the Giant First Impressions.)

In the wake of the Great War, Woodrow Wilson successfully managed to keep the United States out of the European War for a solid three years which ended in 1917. Various causes led the United States into World War I on the side of the Entente Powers. By the end of the Great War, the Entente Powers had won and after the Paris 1919 Peace Conference, Woodrow Wilson wanted the United States to enter the League of Nations but was rejected by the Republican-held senate as they and the American people had enough of interfering with other countries.

22 years later, the Second World War broke out across Europe with Great Britain and France declaring war on Nazi Germany. President Roosevelt would later promise the American people that he would do everything in his power to keep American soldiers and the nation out of the war in Europe. The war left many Americans divided into two separate camps: those that wanted to keep America out of the war and those that wanted America to enter the war and help Britain push back the tide. By the summer of 1940, France had fallen and the German Army made landfall in the Channel Islands and the war in Europe was heading towards a disaster. At the same time as France fell and the rest of Western Europe fell to the Germans, a national poll found that 67% of Americans believed that the Germans would win the war in Europe and that Britain would fall. If an event of that size would ever occur, that same 67 % of Americans supported that America should go to war.

As 1940 turned into 1941, the Roosevelt administration was publicly still supporting isolationism and neutrality but privately, Roosevelt was pushing the United States towards war as Britain was struggling against the Germans and tensions were flaring up as the Japanese were making great gains in Asia. The United States, by now, was involved in a very minuscule role in World War II via the Battle of the Atlantic as American merchant ships made their way across the Atlantic to supply Britain with the tools they needed to fight the Germans. As American involvement grew in the Battle of the Atlantic, by fall 1941, a national poll discovered that 72% of Americans agreed that the United States should enter and defeat Nazi Germany and 70% of Americans thought that defeating the Nazis was more important than staying out of a European conflict.

This isolationism ended on December 7th, 1941 and America was pulled into the Second World War on the side of the Allies. Although stunned by the surprise attack, Americans were resolute and the President now declared war on Japan and the rest of the Axis powers and America was now drawn into a conflict that just turned global.

In December 1941, the United States had a massive job to undertake. The American military was ill-equipped and wounded after the surprise attack, the nation was now at war with two powerful opponents. The United States had to prepare to fight on two different fronts: Europe and the Pacific.

Still reeling from the damage, the United States needed to quickly raise and train a vast military force on top of outfitting them to wage war across multiple fronts. The primary task in December 1941 to early 1942 was raising and training a powerful force for a war which it never thought of entering in the first place. America’s Army in the days and months following America’s entry into World War II was mainly “civilian soldiers.” , men were drawn from all walks of life. Many of them were volunteers but the majority of American men entered the military through the draft. Most draftees entered through the Army. The other services attracted volunteers but it wouldn’t be long until they too included draftees.

By 1942, the American military was at a good enough strength to now enter the war. The Marines and the Navy would wage war against the Japanese in the Pacific and the Army was to wage war in North Africa and Europe against the Germans. The European theater would be America’s main focus as it was the utmost priority to defeat the Germans and help Britain return to Europe. In 1942, American forces landed in North Africa during Operation Torch which would be the first step in inflicting defeat against Nazi Germany.

The Pacific Theater would be the second front. The Pacific Theater would be the Marines and Navy’s theater of operations. In the first six months of America’s entry into World War II, the Pacific would gain most of the resources and it would be home to the first American offensive of the entire war at Guadalcanal although this would change in November 1942 as Operation Torch was underway.

At home, all citizens had to contribute to the war effort. Not only was the war effort to build an armed force but help contribute to the war effort, that force had to be supplied equipment and weapons alongside ammo and armored vehicles that were needed to bring the destruction of the Axis powers. With its vast human and material resource, the United States could not only help themselves but help their allies as well.

The war production effort brought changes to the entire structure of American life. As millions of men entered the military, those at home that were barred from the military and women entered the workforce. The need for labor opened up new job opportunities not only for women but also for African Americans and other minorities. Millions of Americans would leave home for war work around the nation, economic output oozed and skyrocketed.

As the workforce boomed across the nation, rationing became part of everyday American life. Americans learned to conserve resources like food and dealt with shortages. To conserve food and produce more food, the V for Victory campaign was launched. Eating leftovers and growing food in their own backyards became a patriotic duty, millions of victory gardens were planted and maintained by ordinary civilians in their backyards.

War production caused shortages of everything, from nylons to sugar. To overcome these everyday materials, war planners looked for substitutes. One key metal would be copper and nickel, anything that can be salvaged would be substituted for regular usage. To meet America’s metal needs, everything from copper to old cars and pots and pans were gathered across the nation.

On top of metal, America’s military needed tires for jeeps and trucks alongside much more. Rubber was needed to create tanks, planes, and tires and when Japan invaded Southeast Asia in 1940, America was cut off from one of its major suppliers so in order to combat its rubber shortage, speed limits and gas rationing forced Americans to limit their driving. The public also began carpooling everywhere to contribute to the war effort and the government began a synthetic rubber industry.

During the course of World War II, the American economy flourished which ended unemployment and by war’s end, America came out flourishing and that’s when Americans started to spend. Thanks to the war effort and the means of production that help win World War II, by the end of the 1940s, saw enormous economic prosperity in America.

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