World War II FRQ World War II was a period of great change for the United States in terms of race, economics, and the demographic of American life. World War II pulled America out the Great Depression and revitalized the nation. Jobs were being created by the thousands and pulling people into big cities. The cities demographics were changing with the influx of immigrants and minorities looking for work. However, with the new increase in economic prosperity brought by America’s helping supply the world with war goods, World War II also showed America’s still heavy racial tensions.
World War II brought America out the Great Depression of the 30s and reenergized the economy. Jobs were created as America’s factories were producing goods for the war effort. Places such as Mobile, Alabama grew exponentially across the United States, beyond anyone’s expectations. The war was creating thousands of jobs in these cities where all the factories were and that in turn attracted people from all over to these cities in search of work. People were able to get well-paying jobs in these factories and the quality of life for many increased.
However, as the war dragged on, there was a decrease in goods and the government began demanding that people begin rationing. This created a sort of black market for goods. In fact, one in every nine transactions during the war was illegal. The increase of jobs in these cities also helped change the demographic of America. Waterbury, Connecticut’s work force was mainly comprised of Italian immigrants during World War II. Japanese people were a large part of Sacramento’s overall population. Mobile, Alabama attracted many people, many families from hundreds of towns from around the state.
With this huge influx of workers, Mobile’s schools became over flooded, making it one of the worst school systems in the nation. World War II was somewhat of a double-edged sword at the home front in the United States. Even though it helped pull America out of one of the worst depressions in its history, it also unveiled the heavy racial tensions that were still apart of American life. In Mobile white and black people got along well as long as the status quo was minded. However, as people began getting better pay, blacks were able to afford to buy houses and cars.
They were being paid more or less the same amount as their white counterparts. This made most whites upset, they felt that black people were getting out of place and were behaving “uppity. ” Racial tensions grew and began exploding in race riots in cities like Detroit. The tensions between the white and black workers in Mobile got so intense, the shipyard became segregated and there were two separate ferries; one for blacks, the other for whites. Also, people began weary of Japanese loyalty to America. This fear turned into action when the Nisei Japanese were put into internment camps.
Despite this, Italian and German immigrants’ assimilation into America was sped up because of the war, unlike during the First World War. In conclusion, World War II caused various changes in the different facets of American life. The war helped revive America’s economy and helped drag it out of the grips of depression. The war also shook up the make-up of American society and caused an increase of people living in large cities. However, it also showed America that it still had a long way to go in terms of racial equality and was an omen for the Civil Rights movement that was to come during the Fifties.