World War II ( Wwii ) And The Red Scare

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Throughout the mid-twentieth century, during both World War II (WWII) and the Red Scare, homosexuals in America continuously endured oppressive government policies and practices, although, the severity of oppression faced in the midst of WWII was considerably less due to the abnormal circumstances and demands of wartime. Despite the expanding antihomosexual policies and procedures of the military, many homosexuals only had to overcome a few minor obstacles when it came to getting in, fitting in, and staying in throughout the war. An array of factors such as military draft quotas, atypical living situations, thoughts of the greater good, and life or death situations often led psychiatric examiners, comrades, and military officials alike to overlook the sexuality of gay men and women in the service. Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the United States declared war and the military would no longer be able to enjoy the luxury of turning away large groups of “undesirable” Americans, including homosexuals. Even as military officials began to develop the rationale that homosexuals inherent mental and possible physical weaknesses prevented them from functioning in the armed forces, many knew that they could not afford to refuse most of the gay men who were either recruited or enlisted voluntarily. Other gay men were simply able to hide their homosexuality from examiners, managing to slip through the various holes in a new antihomosexual wall being built around the military by psychiatrists. For instance, the 1942 regulation, on military screening standards, defined the homosexual person by contrasting them with the “normal” person and further outlined the significant signs for identifying homosexuality. Listed wer... ... middle of paper ... ...l Eisenhower said, “You are entertaining soldiers. You are not fighting with machine guns-but your job is just as important. As long as you are doing your job well-and you are doing it extremely well-you will be rendering a service, and a great one, to your fellow soldiers and your country.” In the end, WWII seemed to have strengthened the generations gay community by bringing its members together in a quiet sense of belonging and allowing them to find and form their voice as a political minority group aimed at achieving equality and fair treatment as patients, veterans, and citizens upon their return to ordinary American civilian life. This development and empowerment of gay communities is in direct contrast with the breakdown and subsequent disappearance of the booming gay community in Washington, D.C. surrounding the United States government during the Red Scare.

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