FROM PEARL HARBOR TO CASABLANCA. AMERICA: THE WAR YEARS 1941-1942. On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States found itself suddenly and unexpectedly plunged into a global war. As American society coped with the wrenching change imposed by mobilizing 15 million men into the armed forces, women entered the work force in unprecedented numbers to fill the millions of new defense manufacturing jobs. While “GI Joe” came to represent a new global flexing of American military power, Rosie the Riveter became a symbol of the new role of women in society and the far-reaching social changes it was creating.
1942 started badly for the allies. In the Pacific, Japanese forces advanced relentlessly through the western a Pacific. Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, all fell before the onrush of Japanese armies. In the west, German armies seemed equally invincible as the Nazi blitzkrieg rolled through the Balkans and then struck with savage ferocity at the Soviet Union. But the turn was not long in coming.
In June, U.S. naval forces routed a Japanese carrier task force at the Battle of Midway, effectively stopping Japanese expansion in the Pacific. In the meantime, five months later and a half a world away, less than a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor, allied forces landed on the shores of French North Africa while in the east, the British 8th army broke through the German lines at El Alamein and advanced across Libya to meet them. These two singular events, separated by a few months and thousands of miles in two disparate theatres of war, provided dramatic evidence of what Winston Churchill called the “turning of the tide”.
This program contains a yearly chronicle of world and national events from 1941 and 1942 as captured in the original newsreel footage of the period.
Episode 1: America the War Years, 1941
Episode 2: America the War Years, 1942
Approximately 100 minutes
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