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Humanities Libertexts

24.12: Primary Sources

  • Page ID
    10496
  • Charles A. Lindbergh, “America First” (1941)

    Charles Lindbergh won international fame in 1927 after completing the first non-stop, solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. As Hitler’s armies marched across the European continent, many Americans began to imagine American participation in the war. Charles Lindbergh and the America First Committee, advocating “America First,” championed American isolationism.

    The Atlantic Charter (1941)

    The leaders of the United States and United Kingdom signed the Atlantic Charter in August 1941. The short document neatly outlined an idealized vision for political and economic order of the postwar world.

    FDR, Executive Order No. 9066 (1942)

    During World War II, the federal government removed over 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent (both foreign-born “issei” and native-born “nisei”) from the West Coast and interned in camps. President Roosevelt authorized the internments with his Executive Order No. 9066, issued on February 19, 1942.

    Harry Truman Announcing the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima (1945)

    On August 6, 1945, Harry Truman disclosed to the American public that the United States had detonated an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan.

    Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1945)

    Vietnam, which had been colonized by the French and then by the Japanese, declared their independence from colonial rule—particularly the re-imposition of a French colonial regime—in the aftermath of Japan’s defeat in World War II. Proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh in September 1945, Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence reflected back the early promises of the Allies in World War II and even borrowed directly from the American Declaration of Independence.

    Tuskegee Airmen (1941)

    The Tuskegee Airmen stand at attention as Major James A. Ellison returns the salute of Mac Ross, one of the first graduates of the Tuskegee cadets. The Tuskegee Airmen who continued a tradition of African American military service while honorably serving a country that still considered them second-class citizens.

    World War II Recruitment Posters (1942 & 1943)

    This pair of US Military recruiting posters demonstrates the way that two branches of the military—the Marines and the Women’s Army Corps—borrowed techniques from advertising professionals to “sell” a romantic vision of war to Americans. These two images take different strategies: one shows Marines at war in a lush jungle, reminding viewers that the war was taking place in exotic lands, the other depicted women taking on new jobs as a patriotic duty.

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