World War 2 Facts

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World War 2 Facts – On the Home Front
When consideration is given to World War 2 facts, those facts differ dramatically. With each generation the recollections disappear as those who experienced the events pass on. Yet over six decades later, there still remain courageous men and women who recall first-hand, “the war to end all wars.”

The United States was thrust into “the war that raged around the world” on December 7, 1941 -- the attack on Pearl Harbor. Almost overnight, America’s economy shifted into war production. Military necessities took precedence over consumer goods. Due to the shortage and reallocation of food and non-food items, the government introduced rationing, assuring that everyone would receive their fair share. My mother, then 17, recalls my grandmother using war ration books and tokens to purchase sugar, butter, and meat. “It didn’t matter if you could afford more. Everyone got a small amount.” By the end of 1942, half of all automobiles were issued an “A” sticker, allowing only four gallons of fuel per week. Your Mileage Ration Book coupons severely restricted any driving of “A” cars for pleasure. Even the pleasure of wearing stockings gave way to the urgent demand for nylon parachutes. Bea, barely 20, recalls, “To give the illusion of stockings with seams, we used eyebrow pencils to draw lines down the back of our bare legs. You just had to be careful to never cross your legs or your ‘seams’ would smear!”

World War 2 Facts – The Woman’s Touch
Among the most impressive World War 2 facts is the unprecedented numbers of women who served as factory workers. Women devoted themselves to meeting the wartime production demands for planes, tanks, ships, and weapons. As a Property and Supply Clerk, Bea handled the distribution of parts in building the F4U1 Corsair, an aircraft known for its high durability and maneuverability in dogfights.

While fathers, brothers, and husbands fought battles halfway around the world, women sacrificially gave their support as well. An unprecedented number of women entered the ranks as factory workers:

  • In 1944, skilled female workers made an average weekly salary of $32.21, while skilled male workers earned $54.65 weekly.
  • From 1940-1945, the female labor force grew by 50%.
  • From 1940-1945, female employment in defense industries grew by 462%.

World War 2 Facts – Intelligence
Some of the most intriguing facts of World War 2 were the 20th century’s best-kept secrets. On that memorable day when Marines raised the American Flag to signal victory at Iwo Jima, the radio crackled with strange guttural noises and intonations. These inhuman sounds repeatedly frustrated and baffled the Japanese cryptologists. The Navajo “Code-Talkers” were a selected group of Navajos who sent and received errorless messages that were virtually indecipherable to Japan. The code-talkers skill, speed, and accuracy gave U.S. troops the decisive advantage at Guadacanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

In the years prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. relied heavily on Magic, the code name for the best intelligence used in decoding Japan’s Purple Machine (cipher) messages. In addition to obtaining advance knowledge of Japanese strategies, Magic provided crucial information regarding the war in Europe -- Hitler’s capabilities and plans. It was Magic that intercepted a message on November 28, 1941 instructing Japan to sever all diplomatic relations with the United States. On December 2, 1941, Magic decoded a message ordering the enemy to “destroy all Japanese codes” -- a forewarning. Sadly, only a handful of people in top positions of the U.S. government received the decrypted material and no effective “infrastructure” was in place to distribute the key information that have could prevented such a tragedy.

There are messages being sent today, not in code, but clearly spoken to be received by everyone. Yet, the question remains, who will listen? “And wars will break out near and far, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other . . . but this is only the beginning of the horrors to come” (Mark 13:7-8).

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