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World War II: Week of June 11


World War II: Week of June 11

In June we are featuring key documents from World War II. This week we highlight the Neutrality Act of 1939; Adolf Hitler’s Proclamation to the German People; Harry Truman’s Statement Announcing the Use of the A-Bomb on Hiroshima; Robert H. Jackson’s Opening Statement before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, Germany; the Munich Pact; Walter Reuther’s “500 Planes a Day” Speech; and Hugo Black’s Opinion in Korematsu v. United States. At left is a photo of Harry Truman.

  • June 11: In the context of growing U.S. isolationism and non-interventionism following World War I, the United States passed various Neutrality Acts. The Neutrality Act of 1939 lifted an arms embargo that had prevented America from supplying arms to Great Britain in its fight against Germany.
  • June 12: In his Proclamation to the German People, delivered in February 1933, the new German chancellor Adolf Hitler expressed his goal to revive the German nation and lead it back to the stature it had once enjoyed.
  • June 13: Harry S. Truman’s Statement Announcing the Use of the A-Bomb on Hiroshima was delivered by radio broadcast after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan on August 6, 1945. After a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered.
  • June 14: As chief counsel in the trials of Nazi war criminals, Robert H. Jackson delivered his Opening Statement before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, Germany, on November 21, 1945.
  • June 15: In September 1938, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression agreement and a secret codicil known as the Munich Pact, dividing eastern Europe into spheres of influence.
  • June 16: After President Franklin Roosevelt had called for the production of fifty thousand military airplanes a year to support the British in World War II, Walter Reuther delivered his “500 Planes a Day” Speech, outlining a plan for meeting the nation’s war production needs by using underutilized or idle factory capacity in the automobile industry.

  • June 17: Korematsu v. United States (1944) was a landmark Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans to be held in internment camps during World War II. Hugo Black’s Opinion in the case characterized the need to protect the American people as outweighing the need to protect the rights of any individual or any racial group.

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