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How Far Do You Agree That The Impact Of The Second World War Was The Main Reason Why The Position Of African Americans Improved In The Years 1945 55?

1923 words - 8 pages

There are three main factors that improved the position of African-Americans in the years 1945-55, the first being World War II, the second is Presidents and the third is Civil Rights Organisations.

There are a few significant factors that occurred as a result of the Second World War. For example, the 'Double V Campaign' of 1942. Two months after the Bombing of Pearl Harbour by the Japanese, the Pittsburgh Courier (the most popular black newspaper in America) published the campaign to everyone. It called for a victory on two fronts, it was a campaign for African-Americans to give their all in the war effort and for black people to fight racial discrimination back home in America. The ...view middle of the document...

He flew 149 missions, protecting European harbours and ports from being attacked, not a single plane in the black squadron was ever shot down. After the war, black servicemen who had risked their lives for their country expected recognition for their efforts and achievements. They returned more determined than ever to fight racial injustice.The significance of this was substantial because black people returned with more respect and stature within society and could in turn have more of an impact in terms of bringing about change because America would listen more intently.
A final factor that was significant was the economy that transformed because of the war. Initially, black people struggled to find work in the booming war industry because of the racist employers deciding not to hire them. This sparked a series of events in motion that would change the position of African-Americans, beginning with A. Philip Randolph threatening to lead a march to Washington because of this 'colour bar'. Roosevelt, in response, issued an Executive Order that created the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) in 1941. The order forced industry employers in the war effort not to discriminate on the grounds of race, creed, colour or national origin. As a result of this, many black farmers in the South moved to the cities to find jobs in the war industry. This was significant because it enabled black people to get jobs without being discriminated against. Additionally, because the war industry was so profitable, African-Americans benefited more so than if they got a job that wasn't associated with the war effort.
Presidents were also a significant factor, for example, President Harry S. Truman succeeded Roosevelt 4 years after he passed that order in 1941. So racial equality hadn't been at the forefront until Truman became President. Originally a racist born and raised in the border state in Missouri, Truman was moved and motivated by the stories of black war veterans who were victims of racial attacks after fighting in the Second World War. He hoped that if the black vote was predominantly for the Democrats like it had been for Roosevelt, as long as he was committed to civil rights, he would gain a huge amount of votes. Truman's most significant decision was the production of the 'To Secure These Rights' report. It detailed a number of things that were outlined as enormous problems for African-Americans and it proposed radical and unconventional changes to make America a more racially equal society. The fact that one of Truman's motives was WWII and that his report outlined changes in the way African-Americans were treated in the armed forces links those two factors together. This was hugely significant because before Truman, there hadn't been a President who had focused primarily on civil rights for African-Americans and although his motives were partially controversial in that he needed the black vote, he was still very committed and improved the position...

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