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What effects did WWII have on racial tensions in the US?

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tomas090 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 9, 2010 at 6:54 AM via web

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What effects did WWII have on racial tensions in the US?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 9, 2010 at 7:32 AM (Answer #1)

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During WWII, racial tensions in the US increased to some extent.  This was largely because black people were moving to places they hadn't been before (cities in the North) and because some whites in the military were being exposed to "new" minorities (like in the Zoot Suit Riots).

You can say that the war ended up having a good effect on race relations, though.  Because of our anti-racist rhetoric that we used against Nazi Germany, it was somewhat easier for blacks to start to demand rights in the US.  This helped lead to the civil rights movement.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 9, 2010 at 7:49 AM (Answer #2)

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There was a lot of racial tension during the war. Black soldiers were not treated like white soldiers were, even though they wanted to fight in the war. They were segregated (they were desegregated in 1948 by President Truman) from the whites and given menial roles even though they put their lives on the line for the United States. They also received less medals than white soldiers did. When these soldiers came home they still faced a lot of racial tension.

Postwar did bring a massive civil rights movement to the forefront, which eventually led to equal rights. Of course many people did not like the fact that blacks were demanding equal rights. There were many people who believed that blacks are not equal to whites and there were people both black and white who fought together for equal rights.

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