Essay by anana387University, Bachelor'sB-, April 2005

download word file, 14 pages 5.0

The social history of the 1940s has until recently been ignored with many questions regarding the war being left unanswered. What is clear is that the war highlighted many existing problems that the African American had to face and as such there was a realization that the war provided a crisis in which civil rights could be fought for. There was an underlying ideology on behalf of the African American that if they fought for their country then their efforts should be, and more importantly would be, justly rewarded. However it soon became apparent with the outbreak of war that the government had little progress in mind. As Richard Dalfiume explained 'The hypocrisy involved in fighting with a segregated military force against aggression by an enemy preaching a master race ideology would become readily apparent to black Americans.' The essence of the problem lay with the fact that African Americans who had been first fired during the depression, found themselves the last to be rehired as defense workers and once in work often found that they were limited to 'nigger work.'

At the same time Negro soldiers were drafted on a discriminatory quota system and then trained in a segregated environment and unjustly regarded as inferior. It was felt that if they were able to fight as equals in the armed forces as well as being given the opportunity of equal employment then they could be finally recognized as something more than an inferior being. The Second World War and what it stood for within the African American belief is perhaps best illustrated through the Amsterdam-Star newspaper which stated, 'Remember, that which you fail to get now you won't get after the war.' Thus by examining both the African American development in the armed forces and the progress made economically...