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World War II Homefront
Most instructors will recall that the West and the South boomed during this period and several war-industry cities grew explosively.
A majority of migrants from the South were blacks; 1.6 million African Americans left the region in the 1940s. Instructors might want to take time to compare this to the Great Migration after World War I. In addition, a discussion of the beginning of the growth of the American Southwest might be in order to further illuminate historical changes to come in the 1960s forward.
Few events in American history have moved the American people about so massively as World War II. Using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this map illustrates population migration during the 1940s.
Questions to Consider
- Looking at the legend for the map, what do the shaded circles represent?
- What two cities appear to have grown the most from 1940 to 1950? Speculate about why you think these two cities grew more than the other cities shown on the map.
- After studying the arrows representing the movement of people during the 1940s, which area(s) of the country increased the most in population?
- From the information available to you, explain why people were moving in these patterns during World War II and the rest of the 1940s.
Thomas A. Bailey, David M. Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant,
11th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1998), 854.
- U.S. Census Bureau
As the web site for the U.S. Census Bureau, this site provides a great deal of raw data for instructors and students to utilize.