There were many ways that the people of America contributed to the war effort during the Second World War, with many different areas having their own ways of pitching in. New Jersey, however, had a particularly important role in this world-changing series of events. While most of the contributions to the Allied forces included the construction of materials and ships with which to fight, a few important moments helped to bring New Jersey to the active war front. Furthermore, many social and political battles were being fought in New Jersey as a result of the change in demographics in the war, including women's rights to work.
In particular, New Jersey proved to be a very important supply and storage point for soldiers and goods during the war (Cunningham, Chapter 13). Because it was located along the Atlantic Ocean, it was an ideal place to construct ships and deploy soldiers and get them quickly to the European front. New Jersey already had a very complex sense of industry, making it perfect for war manufacturing. The existing shipyards were repurposed to create new Navy battleships, and the state itself received nearly a tenth of all the Allied war-related construction contracts allotted throughout World War II. Furthermore, New Jersey supplied tens of thousands of men and women to deploy to the front in order to fight and die for their country.
Women in particular felt a particular sense of pride operating New Jersey's defense plants. In this time, many women had to work in the war industries due to the men going off to fight; there, they overcame many obstacles, having more challenges than just on the assembly line. The men that worked with them had little faith in them, and did not think they needed to be paid the same as men did. Furthermore, many did not know what they would do after the war was over, and if they would still have jobs. Nonetheless, fighting these battles on the home front of New Jersey defense plants, building parts and weapons for the boys out on the field, allowed them to feel pride in their work and prove their viability as a part of the war effort (Green, p. 239). Women were also wanting to do something for the war effort in other ways, too - some wanted to go into the field of Army nursing, in order to find some way to help. (Green, p. 242).
In 1945, a German U-boat was sighted off the coast of New Jersey and sunk; this would prove to be one of the most hair-raising events in the war for America. Because of this event, as well as the powerful contributions New Jersey made to the Allied war machine, it can be said that New Jersey had a particularly important role to play in winning World War II. Because of the vast industry, the social systems that allowed women to work and contribute in other ways, and its strategic location, New Jersey was one of the most vital ports for American troops and personnel.
Cunningham, John T., New Jersey: A Mirror on America, Afton, 2000. ISBN: 0-89359-032-0.
Green, Howard, Words That Make New Jersey History. New Brunswick, Rutgers Univ. Press, Revised Edition. ISBN: 0-8135-2113-0