World War II And WWII Impact

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World War I and World War II both had significant social, economic, and political impacts on the lives of African Americans and brought enormous change within American society. Many African Americans viewed the war as an opportunity to fight for their country in exchange for equal citizenship rights at home. Unfortunately this was achieved through neither WWI nor WWII despite the irony of the US fighting a war for democracy abroad when discrimination existed on the home front. The central themes explored in which African American lives have been touched by the World wars are migration, military segregation, racial violence and political power. It is evident that although WWI and WWII did not amount to the momentous leap forward that African Americans desired in the pre-war years, the events undoubtedly had profound impacts on the lives of African Americans and ultimately paved the way for the Civil rights movement. WWI was initially viewed as a European war, so far removed from the lives of African Americans. Though as the US declared war on Germany in 1917, African Americans optimistically saw an opportunity to assert their rights as citizens, demand equality and prove their loyalty through enlisting and fighting for their country. This was supported by a number of notable Black activists including W.E.B Du bois who urged African Americans to ‘close ranks’ with the whites. One of the lasting impacts of both world wars was the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the industrialised and urban North, which dramatically shifted the geographical centre of African American population and changed the racial balance of the country. War related industries such as weapon production grew exponentially in the... ... middle of paper ... ... Though both wars had a significant influence on the lives of African Americans it was also a period of disillusionment, not the transformative years that would mark the end of freedom struggles in which was hoped. Nevertheless the war years allowed African Americans to make remarkable strides ahead in terms of military service, socio-economics and politics. The northward shift provided African Americans with better job opportunities, greater prosperity and with that came greater health. More importantly war, reminded African Americans of the substandard citizenship that they endured. Those who fought overseas were given a glimpse of the respect and equality that they should be entitled to back at home. The events and turmoil experienced in these years would be the catalyst for the civil rights movement one that is momentous in the history of African Americans.

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