During World War II in the United States, there are various significant events that were a test for the nation and people of color, Japanese Americans. Thus, in terms of social justice and equity, there is a certain mixed domestic legacy. At the same time, despite the fact that people got more employment opportunities, crucial issues such as racism, gender inequality, wage inequality, and the inability to advance in employment persisted, given the variety of events that led to war.
Considering the lecture and the materials provided, it is necessary to note the significant role in society of such materials, since historical events in the past can indicate the mistakes of mankind in a global sense, the task of the states of our time is not to repeat these mistakes. The materials are created to provide information to people interested and the motivation can be characterized as the highlighting of acute social topics in the context of historical events. The author expresses an ambiguous opinion on the situation that develops during WWII in the United States. On the one hand, there is an increase in the economy and job opportunities for some marginalized groups of the country, “on the other hand, the complete elimination of the civil rights is observed”. (Jessica Kim, 2021) The source is directly related to the arguments of Katznelson and Blum in the secondary essays, due to which an opportunity is provided to reflect even more on the events of that time and form an opinion on this issue.
Entering the war created a new situation in the country and in military production, requiring the mobilization of all available labor and the creation of an atmosphere of national unity. In this environment, both objective factors and considerations of party political struggle forced the Roosevelt administration to make concessions to African Americans and take certain measures against racial discrimination in labor relations. As a result, the structure of employment of the African American population changed noticeably during the war years.
As for the Japanese Americans, due to the attack on Pearl Harbor, military and political leaders suspected that Imperial Japan was preparing a full-scale invasion of Hawaii and the United States. Confidence in the American Japanese was undermined, and they were suspected of espionage. Some concerns about the loyalty of the Japanese were driven by racial prejudice, which led to severe restrictions on the rights and the subsequent internment of Japanese Americans.
According to Katznelson “The United States had to make certain “moral compromises” in order to save democracy while its enemies abandoned democracy and slaughtered civilians as a matter of national policy.” These states were not guided by the postulates of democracy, headed by a citizen with equal rights and freedoms when making decisions of state importance. In both cases, ordinary people were not taken into account but were subjected to severest racism, restrictions, violence and murder at the hands of the state.
Blum notes that “for most of the American troops fighting in WWII, broad ideological ideas and battles were not at the forefront of their minds”. The generation of Americans who had to participate in the “Great War” was no longer susceptible to idealistic phrases. American soldiers did not want this war, and they did not want to fight for the beautiful ideals of freedom, justice and democracy, they fought to survive, to win the war, in order to end it. The end of the war was the reason why they fought.
To conclude, WWII provided job opportunities for the American population, but it did not guarantee any equality. Discrimination on the basis of gender and race prevailed in the society in those times, indicative is the Japanese internment and segregation of African Americans. What is more, the decisions of the American government regarding domestic and foreign policy, as a rule, we’re only a pale reflection of the opinions and interests of ordinary Americans, which does not correspond to the principles of democracy.
Jessica Kim. (2021). HIST 371 WWII. [Video]. Web.
Kim, J. (2021). 6+ WWII. [PowerPoint slides]. Web.