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State on the Brink
 

<= This Is War

War Comes to California =>


Californians faced the decade of the 1940s both hopeful and uneasy. On one hand, the state had not suffered, as greatly during the Great Depression as had many of the other 48. The economy also had begun to improve, due in great measure to increased defense manufacturing. But war had been raging in Europe since September of the previous year, and America was inching closer to involvement. Relations with Japan, strained over that country’s ongoing invasion of China, deteriorated daily. President Franklin Roosevelt worked to prepare the nation for the possibility of America’s entry into the conflict. Warships crowded California’s harbors and more and more enlistees and draftees trained at the state’s growing number of military bases.


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San Francisco World Fair, Golden Gate International Exposition, May 25 to September 29, 1940

California State Fair Attractions, Sacramento, August 29 thru September 7, 1941

Amusement Center, Mission Beach, San Diego, California

San Francisco World Fair, Golden Gate International Exposition, May 25 to September 29, 1940. California State Fair Attractions, Sacramento, August 29 thru September 7, 1941. Amusement Center, Mission Beach, San Diego, California. In 1941, Californians could still ride roller coasters or enjoy a trip to the fair. The appearance of so many sailors at San Diego's Mission Bay amusement park, however, testified to an increasing military presence.

Destroyers and Tenders at Anchor, San Diego Bay U. S. S. Pennsylvania in Foreground

Destroyers and Tenders at Anchor, San Diego Bay U. S. S. Pennsylvania in Foreground. As California entered the 1940s, her harbors were filling with ships of war.

Shall We Enter the War?

America First! Words and Music by Sara Quinn Hill

Shall We Enter the War? In 1941, Californians debated whether America should get involved in conflicts in Europe and Asia. On December of that year the debate would end. America First! Words and Music by Sara Quinn Hill.

Chemical Warefare

Defense on Main Street

Events in Europe and Asia had shown Californians that in war, civilians often would be on the front lines. They sought to prepare by attending civil defense training schools.



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