World War II reshaped ideas about American nationality and the role of the sexes
“World War II reshaped ideas about American nationality and the role of the sexes.” Assess the validity of this statement by comparing the experiences of the first generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants, women and black Americans during World War II
The beginning of the Second World War ended the economic depression. Many jobs were created and this gave minority groups a chance to earn a decent living working in different sectors. However, racial tensions increased as more African Americans relocated from the south to the north in search of employment (Brinkley 609). There was a lot of discrimination of different minority groups during the war. Despite the availability of jobs, women and African Americans could only work in low paying service and menial jobs. Women often received lower pay compared to the men (Williams 24). Many women and black Americans were forced to leave their employment when the war was over, so that the returning soldiers could get jobs. Unions were reluctant to enroll women and African Americans. This denied them a chance to fight for their rights in terms of getting employment, good working conditions, equal chances of employment, or receiving a better pay (Powell 34).
First generation immigrants faced discrimination. It was not easy for them to get employment. Those who managed to get jobs worked in areas that did not require high-level skills (Brinkley 584). In addition, many of them did not speak fluent English and they had trouble adjusting to the culture. The second-generation immigrants fared better, although they continued facing challenges. They grew up in America and some spoke English as their only language. Laws had considerably changed by the time they were old enough to get employment and they had more chances than their parents before them did. The World War II did not reshape the idea about American nationality and neither did it define the role of the sexes. Minorities who managed to find employment were merely filling a gap that had been created because of the war. The constant discrimination they faced and the relative ease at which employers terminated their employment shows this. Had the situation been different, it would have been hard, if not impossible for them to get chances of employment (Manchester 45).
Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, Volume 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
Manchester, William. American Caesar: Douglas Macarthur, 1880-1964. Boston: Little, Brown, 1978. Print.
Powell, Colin L, and Joseph E. Persico. My American Journey. New York: Random House, 1995. Print.
Williams, T H. The History of American Wars from 1745 to 1918. New York: Knopf, 1981. Print.
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