Did World War I have a greater impact on American society than World War II?

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Both World War I and World War II had profound short- and long-term impacts on American society. To answer the question, it is best to look at the societal impacts of each of these devastating conflicts, and then you can decide which of them in your opinion had the greater impact.

America entered World War I late and was only involved in active fighting for less than a year, and yet the conflict spurred numerous societal changes. One of the biggest and longest lasting was the granting of women the right to vote. For a long time women's suffrage had been a hot issue, but when women began assisting heavily in the war effort at home, they demanded the right to vote. President Woodrow Wilson declared voting rights for women a "necessary war effort" and persuaded Congress to pursue it. As a result, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified just after the war in 1920.

After World War I, African Americans who had been overseas, realizing the disparity of inequality compared to other countries when they returned home, increased their demands for civil rights.

Americans were intolerant of Germans during and after World War I, so much so that many citizens downplayed their German ancestry.

World War I also caused American to look outward beyond its borders and consider the welfare of the world. America went to war on principle, to "keep the world safe for democracy," and this attitude affected American attitudes and foreign policy for decades.

During World War II, women once again took over numerous jobs on the home front while men joined the military and went overseas. However, when the war was over, instead of reverting to their previous domestic roles, many women went on to join the workforce on a permanent basis.

The hard work and heroism of African Americans during World War II brought about increased civil rights struggles, leading to bans on discriminatory practices in federal agencies and desegregation of the military shortly after the war. Native Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and other minorities also performed heroically during the war and afterwards increased their struggles for equal rights.

The close of World War II brought about the initiation of the Cold War and anticommunism in the United States, which shaped society for a long time to come. Many servicemen returned home and received their education as a result of the GI Bill. A strong postwar economy resulted in the growth of suburbia and the baby boom. Suburbia, in turn, caused a migration of whites to the suburbs, while inner city populations were mainly composed of African Americans and other minorities.

As we can see, then, both wars greatly affected American society, and the changes brought about by World War I eventually led to further changes during and after World War II.

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World War II had a far larger impact on society that World War I. World War II ended the Great Depression, as nearly every family either sent someone to make munitions, grow food, or fight the war itself. The government took an active role in rationing, and hoarding was a punishable crime. Japanese Americans were moved off the West Coast and sent to internment camps for the duration of the war. Movie stars such as Clark Gable helped fight the war and also sold war bonds; there were many more war bonds sold in World War II than World War I. Women went to war in support roles during this war.

Also, people participated in scrap drives and victory gardens. For four years, both theaters of the war were in the news and the topic of conversation. The end of the war saw the popularization of air travel, and many Americans had savings they could spend on consumer goods. The end of the war also brought on the Baby Boom as soldiers came back home from the front. The Baby Boomers are still one of the most influential demographics in America today in terms of voting power and pension costs. The veterans of World War II also received the G.I. Bill, while the veterans of World War I received little if anything—some of them becoming Bonus Marchers of the Great Depression.

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World War II had a much greater impact on United States society than World War I for several reasons. First, our involvement in supplying the Allied war effort, which started long before we declared war, came at the end of a Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in US history. As the federal government began buying massive amounts of war materials, such as guns and planes to ship overseas, factories needed workers. Full employment returned, and this finally ended the devastating depression. American society became more vigorous, happy, and hopeful as people had money to spend or, after war rationing began, to save.

Second, while the US was the ascending world power at the start of the 20th century, WWII made that fact obvious. By the end of the war, Great Britain passed the superpower baton to the US. The 20th century became the "American century." American society was victorious, confident, and prosperous. We had defeated not just an enemy, but what was understood as evil incarnate, and we felt very good about what we stood for and who we were.

WWI did have an impact on US society, bringing in women's rights and, for a decade, prosperity, but its impact was not as long lasting or profound as that of WWII. 

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World War II had a much greater impact on American society than World War I did. 

One major impact of WWII was the movement of women into the labor force.  This happened much more in WWII than in WWI because the war went on longer and drew more men into the Armed Forces.   Another major impact of WWII was technological.  This war involved much more technology than WWI did, bringing American society things like air travel.  Finally, WWII had a much greater effect on the American psyche.  It consumed the US for four years, changing every aspect of life for a much longer time than WWI did.  Its impact on Americans’ attitudes lasted well beyond the end of the war.

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