Learning Activity: Government Spending During World War II

Students will interpret a graph showing the major components of gross domestic product (GDP) and the consequences of increased government spending during World War II on overall economic growth in the United States in the 1940s.


  • Phone or computer access to FRED®

Student Objectives:

  • Observe growth trends in overall economic activity measured through real GDP
  • Recognize the fluctuation in real GDP components over time
  • Quantify government spending during World War II

National Standards for Financial Literacy

Standard 15: Economic Growth

Benchmarks: Grade 12

  1. Economic growth is a sustained rise in a nation’s production of goods and services. Long term growth in output results from improvements in labor productivity increases in employment. It varies across countries because of differences in investments in human and physical capital, research and development, technological change, and from alternative institutional arrangements and incentives.

AP U.S. History Curriculum Alignment: Topic 7.12—World War II: Mobilization

Learning Objective Unit 7, L: Explain how and why US participation in World War II transformed American society.

KC-7.l3.III.B: The mass mobilization of American society helped end the Great Depression and the country’s strong industrial base played a pivotal role in winning the war by equipping and provisioning allies and millions of US troops.


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Find More Economics and Personal Finance Resources

Education Level: 9-12
Subjects: History AP U.S. History Economics
Concepts: Gross Domestic Product/GDP
Resource Types: Activity
Languages: English
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