Significant Impacts of the World Wars on American Society

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Throughout the twentieth century, both World War I and World War II significantly impacted American society in several ways. From 1917 to 1918, the United States’ involvement in World War I began an increase in the number of women in the workplace that would steadily continue throughout much of the twentieth century. The United States once again played a major role in World War II from 1941 to 1945, and this war is actually seen as a turning point for women in the workplace. During the two world wars, women workers were impacted by discrimination, the danger of the work they completed, and the portrayal of women in propaganda during both world wars, and yet the different time periods of the two world wars led to differences in how women were impacted in the workplace. Although there are several similarities and differences in how World War I and World War II impacted women in the workplace throughout the 20th century, both world wars played a role in challenging the accepted role of women in society. In order to understand how the world wars had such a significant change in how women were viewed in the workplace, we must first understand their experience in the workplace before the wars even started. Contrary to popular belief, women did in fact play a role in the workforce before World War I. In the early 1900s, the number of women in the workforce greatly increased. During this time, it is estimated that approximately one in five workers were women. This statistic is mainly due to industrialization, a period of significant economic expansion that took place from the 1870s to 1900 due to the process of mechanization. Mechanization is the use of machines to complete tasks formerly done by hand. As a result of both mec... ... middle of paper ... ...'s History 13.2 (2001): 154-57. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. Marcellus, Jane. "These Working Wives: Representation of the "Two-Job" Woman Between the World Wars." American Journalism 23.3 (2006): 53-78. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. Musto, R.J. "Struggle, Strife and Sacrifice On the Home Front." History Magazine Aug.-Sept. 2009: 12-15. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. United States National Park Service. "Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II." National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. "Women at War." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2014. Yesil, Bilge. "'Who Said This Is a Man's War?': Propaganda, Advertising Discourse and the Representation of War Worker Women during the Second World War." Media History 10.2 (2004): 103-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.

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