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Nye Committee

Gerald Nye; chaired a senate committee that investigated why the U.S. had gone into war in 1917; concluded that greedy "merchants of death" had pushed the U.S. into war. Persuaded many Americans that profiteers might once again push the nation to war.

Good Neighbor Policy

Foreign policy established by Franklin Roosevelt which promised to end U.S military intervention in Latin America.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Japanese cities devastated by American-launched atomic bombs in 1945. Japanese government surrendered 5 days after the 2nd attack.

Neutrality Act of 1937

Legislation passed by Congress in 1937 that established a "cash and carry" policy requiring nations to pay cash for nonmilitary goods and to transport them in their own ships; aimed at protecting Americans' desire for foreign trade.

Munich Pact/ Appeasement

1938 agreement when Hitler accepted Chamberlain's terms of appeasement; Germany would regain control of Sudetenland in return for leaving the rest of Czechoslovakia alone.

Nazi-Soviet Treaty of Nonaggression

1929 agreement reached between Hitler and Stalin in which the Soviet Union agreed not to join Britain and France in opposing a German invasion of Poland.

Battle of Britain

Battle in which the British succeeded in rebuffing Hitler's attempted invasion of Britain; first significant British defeat. (1940)

Atlantic Charter

Agreement between Franklin Roosevelt and Churchill in 1941 in which both pledged their nations' commitment to freedom of the seas, free trade, and the right of national self-determination. Roosevelt assured Churchill that the U.S would provide Britain with arms.

Lend-Lease Act

Allowed the British to obtain arms from the U.S without paying cash but with the promise to reimburse the U.S when the war ended; extended to the Soviet Union.

Executive Order 9066

Authorized sending all Americans of Japanese descent to makeshift prison camps located in remote areas of the West.

War Production Board

Federal agency that coordinated industrial military production; guaranteed employment to most Americans.

Selective Service

Law enacted in 1940 requiring that all men register with local draft boards; prohibited discrimination based on race or color.

Korematsu vs. United States

Supreme Court's 1944 decision that upheld the constitutionality of Executive order 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans on the grounds of military necessity.

Pearl Harbor

Site of Japan's surprise attack on the U.S Pacific on Dec. 7th, 1941; severely handicapped U.S war capacities in the Pacific.

Battle of Midway

Decisive naval engagement in which Nimitz led American forces in a furious battle against the Japanese navy. The Japanese dealt a devastating blow and turned the tide of power in the Pacific.

Bataan Death March

Following the defeat of American and Filipino forces defending the Philippines, the Japanese led captured soldiers on a death march to a concentration camp.

Doolittle's Raids

American lieutenant who led B-25 bombers in an assault on Tokyo that demonstrated Japanese vulnerability and reinvigorated American morale.

Douglas MacArthur

American commander in the southern Pacific who faced a withering Japanese assault on the Philippines and was forced to withdraw.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

American general who was assigned overall command of Allied forces and led the Allied invasion of France on D-Day in 1944.


Systematic mass murder of Jews and other undesirables by the Nazi government.

GI Bill of Rights

Legislation passed in 1944 authorizing the government to provide education, housing, healthcare, and loans to veterans when they returned after serving overseas.

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

Civil rights organization established in 1942 that organized protests and demonstrations against segregation in public facilities.

A. Phillip Randolph

Head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters who in 1941 threatened a mass march by African Americans on Washington, D.C, if President Roosevelt did not move to end discrimination in industries receiving defense contracts.

Double V Campaign

Campaign to attack racism at home and abroad.

Manhattan Project

Top-secret project authorized by Roosevelt in 1942 to develop an atomic bomb ahead of the Germans.

Kamikaze Program

Japanese suicide pilots. Failed to destroy the Allied fleet and decimated the Japanese air force.

United Nations

International peacekeeping organization agreed to at the Yalta Conference. All nations would belong to the General Assembly, but the Allied powers would be permanent members of the Security Council, and each country would have veto power.

Yalta Conference

Secret meeting of the Allies to discuss the postwar future. Agreed to support China and the UN.


Allied assault on the beaches of Normandy launched on June 6th, 1944. Exploited the diversion of Hitler's resources toward stopping the advance of the Red Army.

Quarantine Speech

1937 - In this speech Franklin D. Roosevelt compared Fascist aggression to a contagious disease, saying democracies must unite to quarantine aggressor nations (Japan that had recently attacked China). Public response was very negative and FDR backed off.

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