Why Did America Join World War II?

The United States joined World War II as a response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941. The country had been keeping itself isolated from the global war; however, after the attack, the country declared war on Japan on Dec. 8, 1941.

Germany and Italy, who had a pact with Japan, declared war on the United States three days later on December 11. This meant the U.S. forces had to fight on two fronts: one in the Pacific and one in Europe.

Following the attacks, the U.S. military needed to mobilize quickly. Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress had implemented a draft in 1940, the draft was extended to all men ages 18 to 64 by 1942. During the war over 36 million men registered, giving the local draft boards an extremely large pool from which to work.

Industries within the country began to prepare for war by increasing production for military needs and decreasing production for non-military needs. Women and minorities needed to make up for loss in the workforce of young white men who went off to war. This resulted in unemployment virtually disappearing. Additionally, the government rationed sugar, meat and coffee on the home front to ensure there was enough food to feed the troops.