Total War During the World Wars

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Total War During The World Wars

The term total war came into realization during the first and second World War. President Franklin Roosevelt (2004) stated, “When our enemies challenged our country to stand up and fight, they challenged each and everyone of us. And each and every one of us has accepted the challenge” (pg. 86). Total war involved the commitment of an entire nation and to the extent of all the participating nations, almost the entire world. The World Wars were much greater than just the amount of casualties and the extend of the countries involved. Rather, it changed the entire attitudes toward the economy, society, technology and psychology that encompassed all aspects of daily life.

Once a country entered the war, it was essential to mobilize and prioritize all resources, which included money, raw materials, food, and civilians, for an all-out effort toward victory. Lots of money needed to be devoted toward the war effort. In Franklin D. Roosevelt's Annual Message to Congress in 1942, he stated 15% of the pre-war national income was devoted to national defense and more than half of the national income was required to fund the war (Wiesner, Ruff, Wheeler, Doeringer, and Curtis. 2004). Consequently, higher taxes and bonds were issued. There also had to be cooperation between the government and manufacturers so that the factories that produced non-essential goods would be transformed into factories designated toward war resources, which lead to the limitation of luxury items and mobilization of entire populations. As a result, millions of people and occupations were relocated onto the war production line. Additionally, food and raw materials needed to be prioritized and diverted toward war efforts. This was emphasized by Reichsmarschal Hermann Goering's radio broadcast in 1942. He stated though raw materials such as coal and iron were in surplus, anyone that used any unnecessary electrical appliance or lights would be committing...
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