During World War II, the United States population had a spirit of unity. During this time, minorities and women had new opportunities that they had not had previously.
Many African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities volunteered for military service. Racism continued to exist within the military. Segregation was widespread in the South, even for soldiers at home. Some military units were segregated. Still, some minority soldiers experienced an atmosphere of greater equality than they had previously. Soldiers were united in their fight against the Axis powers. Navajo code talkers worked diligently to create codes for the Allied powers. The complexity of the Navajo language was the reason why members of this tribe were chosen to create codes. Their efforts created unbreakable codes. Despite many attempts, he Japanese could not break these codes.
Many women entered the workforce for the first time during World War II. Women who had previously been homemakers worked in factories, served as nurses, and flew planes. Many women took jobs men vacated to go to war. Although women took a variety of jobs, they were paid significantly less than the men they replaced. Women who did not work often volunteered to help the war effort. White women and women of color joined military organizations such as the WASPs and WACs.
After the war, many conditions returned to how they had been. The spirit of unity slowly faded, and racial tensions continued. Segregation existed for the next two decades in the South. Despite racial tensions, a large number of African Americans and other minorities continued to serve in the military, including during the Korean War.
Most women went back to being homemakers, though some did stay in the workforce or chose to work part time. After the war, it became more acceptable for women to serve in military-related jobs. People witnessed the useful work women performed during World War II. Despite more opportunities, women continued to be paid significantly less than men.