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Fighting World War II at Home

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Social Studies +1 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

Preparing for World War II in the United States meant uniting the nation and encouraging citizens to support the war with their actions and funds. However, it also created divisions within the nations, as Japanese-Americans were interned, African-American soldiers were segregated, and Mexican workers recruited to help with war-time demands were discriminated against. This collection includes objects reflecting a variety of aspects of homefront life during World War II and works well as an independent activity for students to complete.

Guiding questions for discussion before and after include:

-In what ways did World War II unite the nation? In what ways did it divide the nation?

-What new opportunities were created by the need for more workers in World War II?

-How and why did government regulation of the economy increase during World War II?

-Why do you think the examples of propaganda in this collection were so effective?

Buy war bonds

Archives of American Art

Batman No. 12

National Museum of American History

Poster for war bonds depicting Tuskegee Airman Robert W. Diez

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Joe Louis Barrow

National Portrait Gallery

Asa Philip Randolph

National Portrait Gallery

Handkerchief with World War II Double V campaign design

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Navajo code talkers

Smithsonian Insider

GI Joe Navajo Code Talker

National Museum of the American Indian

"We Can Do It!"

National Museum of American History

Braceros

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Zoot Suit

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Hershey's Tropical Chocolate Bar

National Museum of American History

Blouse, Escape Map

National Air and Space Museum

Feedsack Dress

National Museum of American History

Leg Silque Liquid Stockings

National Museum of American History

Glass Christmas Ornament

National Museum of American History

"Remember Pearl Harbor" Lapel Pin

National Museum of American History

Resident I.D. card

National Museum of American History

Identification button

National Museum of American History

Fred T. Korematsu

National Portrait Gallery