Minorities and Women in WWII
Considering the accomplishments the first world war has bought to the U.S., America saw the second world war as another window to gain a momentous boost in the economy. While there was noticeable growing tension between Asia and Europe (tension among Japan in Asia and Hitler to Europe), America underwent a fairly occurring normal life seeing the economy relax from its depressed state. To prevent themselves from getting dragged into another war, they realized that they had to adapt from their actions of WWI; they discovered through investigations that it was weapon manufacturing that drove them into the war. The U.S. responded accordingly with a more proper ...view middle of the document...
This had a great impact on racial issues when America finally entered the war, African Americans and women in this case. A different mentality was set on mobilization, which was to give and dedicate to the war through the economy; the workforce underwent a tremendous growth in support for war production.
Around this time was a perfect opportunity for women to gain an important position approaching the workforce, where they gained entitlement. Many women assembled into the workforce as they were needed to fill the gap of the wartime economy because most qualified men that have gone to war. Women wanted more recognition and wanted to be more than just a generic housewife. By 1945, 19.5 million women had joined in the workforce, and union membership was increased by 400%. An African American woman states “...The war made me live better, it really did... Hitler was the on that got us out of the white folk's kitchen” (doc #10). They worked in factories and were able to take on more admirable jobs to contribute to the war such as nursing (over 350,000 women served in WWII).
The nation did change their attitudes toward women during the war, but they were shifted back to their traditional family life when the soldiers wanted their jobs again as they returned. Some women were still able to work, but placed into lower-paying jobs for 'feminists'; the problem was the image of the male being dominant and the woman being forced back into lower-ranking jobs, or to the typical housewife. Another woman worker expresses how strongly feels about the situation, attempting to defend her gender stating. “...The war had provided us the unique chance to be socially and economically independent... we didn't want to give up this experience simply because the war ended” (doc #7). They saw themselves as merely a short-term substitution for men that had gone off to war. In the eyes of America, the real role of women was to simply look attractive for propaganda and to inspire men to war.
On the racial side of the war, a flexible variety of roles were taken when it came to African Americans. Roosevelt opened war industries for the colored during mobilization for some acknowledgment for blacks. Most blacks took advantage of the opportunity, however there was still discrimination within those jobs. The modern civil rights movement was the response, which stretched their progress toward equal opportunity; FDR established fair employment for blacks (Executive Order 8802) when they finally expressed the “Negro problem.” However, they stood out the most in their military performance when they had the chance to participate in war combat, rather than serving in units similar to factories or construction. More than one million African Americans had served in the armed forces, but there was still segregation. Yet again, the idea of segregation still remains even in the military area as Executive Order 8802 did not support the armed forces.
African Americans also saw the paradox...