How had the experience of fighting in World War II changed the mindset and determination of many African American soldiers once they returned home?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

African Americans served valuable combat roles in WWII. The Tuskegee Airmen flew many dangerous missions over Europe protecting bomber crews and thousands of African Americans served in infantry roles. WWII had many racial elements to it. The Japanese viewed themselves as the master race of Asia and Hitler promoted Aryans...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

African Americans served valuable combat roles in WWII. The Tuskegee Airmen flew many dangerous missions over Europe protecting bomber crews and thousands of African Americans served in infantry roles. WWII had many racial elements to it. The Japanese viewed themselves as the master race of Asia and Hitler promoted Aryans above all in Europe. Many African Americans were marginalized when they came home. They were passed over in terms of receiving the GI Bill and many were barred from living in the suburbs which sprang up all over America during the postwar era. African Americans who worked in defense industries during the war lost their jobs to white soldiers coming home from the war. Black soldiers were sometimes attacked when returning home and forced to ride on segregated buses. African Americans served their country in various capacities in a war in which the United States fought against racist regimes. African Americans wanted the United States to uphold the ideals for which it supposedly fought. One of the first postwar attempts at integration happened within the US armed forces when they desegregated in 1948.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Fighting in World War II convinced many African American soldiers that there was a discrepancy between the way they were treated at home and the service that they gave their country. In other words, they felt that since they had risked their lives for their country fighting in the war (as many African American soldiers served in combat roles), they should not be treated like second-class citizens at home. Many African Americans were denied the right to vote in the South, and they were subjected to segregation and discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other areas.

After returning home, many African American veterans (joined by others at home) launched the "Double Victory" or "Double V" campaign to win civil rights at home and to foster democracy both at home and abroad. However, many African American veterans were met with violence, even on the way home from the war via bus or train, as they encountered people who opposed the idea that African Americans could fight in the war and win honors from their country. Nonetheless, the experience of having fought for their country gave African Americans a sense of pride and the determination to fight for civil rights at home.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team