World War II on the Homefront US History Ms. Weston 3/1/07 Race in World War II Racism in military Soldiers of color enlisted, but in segregated units Many of these units were the most decorated of the war African-Americans: Tuskegee Airmen Mexican-Americans: Company E of the 141st Regiment Japanese Americans: 442nd Regimental Combat Team Native-Americans: Served in Marine Corps as Navajo Code Talkers African-Americans During War Double Victory campaign: Victory against dictators abroad, and racism at home Some victories: more job opportunities, increased migration to North and West (esp. CA) Still, much racism: blacks paid less, discriminated in housing, in public facilities African-American Resistance Blacks begin organizing: 1941: Blacks threatened to march on Washington to protest prejudice against African-American workers In response to threat, Roosevelt banned discrimination in government agencies. Established the Fair Employment Practices Commission to insure equal treatment for African- Americans and other minorities in war industries. Still, results limited. When GIs returned, blacks still first to lose jobs. All of this is an important precedent to Civil Rights movement. Racial Tensions in LA during WWII Racism against Mexican Americans and the fear of teen crime Mexican American teenagers who wore “zoot suits” were targeted. June 1943: 2500 soldiers and sailors attacked Mexican American neighborhoods in LA Mobilizing the Economy for the War Government played a huge role in monitoring production, the economy, and communication. War Production Board—converted factories to military production. Rationed manufacturing materials such as rubber and tin. National War Labor Board—to settle labor disputes through mediation. Also, required unions to give 30 days notice if were going to strike. Government raised money through taxes and heavy borrowing. Mobilizing the economy ctnd. Office of Price Administration: To help control inflation. Set price ceilings, instituted rent control RATIONING—gasoline, tires, coffee, canned food and meat. Consumers given coupon books and stamps so could only get certain amount of products. Public Information in WWII Office of Censorship Censored all communication between the United States and other nations Letters from soldiers to family often censored if felt it violated military security Office of War Information To keep the public informed on the progress of the war and policies and aims of government Created propaganda Also, because of censorship, information was often not made available. Women in WWII Benefited from huge demand for labor because of wartime production Many American women entered workforce for first time “Rosie the Riveter”—icon of women worker Women told it was their patriotic duty to work Over 6 million women entered the workforce Women who worked before the war were able to get better paying jobs when war began Women in WWII ctnd. Women in military For first time, women could go overseas for non-combat duty Ex. Women flew as civilians in the Women’s Air Force Service More than 200,000 women served in armed forces Did Women’s Roles Really Change? Men continued to dominate supervisory positions Women still paid less WOMEN FORCED OUT OF THE WORKFORCE AT THE END OF THE WAR! Women veterans were not recognized for benefits until 1979.
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