How did minoritiescontribute to Alliedvictory?VUS.11c
• World War II solidified thenation’s role as a globalpower and ushered in socialchanges and establishedreform agendas that wouldpreoccupy public discourse inthe United States for theremainder of the 20thcentury.
Still seeking equality:• African Americansand othersstruggled to obtaindesegregation ofthe armed forcesand enddiscriminatoryhiring practices onthe home front.
• Women enteredinto previouslymale job roles• Womenincreasinglyjoined the armedservices- insupport rolesrather thancombat!Riveter at Lockheed AircraftCorp., Burbank, CA.Credit: National Archives and RecordsAdministration
MINORITY PARTICIPATION:+ African Americansgenerally served insegregated militaryunits+ Most were assigned tonon-combat roles butdemanded the right toserve in combat ratherthan support roles.Colored Waiting Room-Rome, Georgia. September1943- Esther Bubley,photographer. Fighting forpeople’s freedoms in othercountries while being deniedequality at home.
All Minority Military Units:• Tuskegee Airmen(African American)served in Europe withdistinction.National ArchivesThey flew approximately 15,553sorties, and completed 1,578missions protecting the 12thTactical and 15th U.S. Army AirForce bomber squadrons overItaly and Germany. Thesecourageous men came homewith 150 Distinguished FlyingCrosses, a Legion of Merit, 744Air Medals, 8 Purple Hearts, twoSoldier Medals, 14 Bronze Stars,and a Red Star of Yugoslavia.The Tuskegee Airmen destroyedor damaged over 409 Germanaircraft.
All Minority Military Units:• Nisei regiments (JapaneseAmericans) earned a highnumber of decorations.• They served in segregatedunits and were restricted tofighting only in Europe.• Many felt the need to provethat they were loyal toAmerica, rather than to Japan.American soldiers ofJapanese descent inEurope (National Archives)
All Minority Military Units:• Navajo CodeTalkers;communication codesof the Navajo wereused in the Pacific.• Navajo language wasoral, not written, andwas impossible forJapanese to break.The Navajo Code Talkers in action in thePacific. Their language was never “cracked”by the Japanese. Without their special skills,many more Americans would have perishedin the Pacific! (National Archives)
Additional Contributions:• Mexican Americansfought in non-segregated units.• Women joined allbranches of thearmed forces tosupport theircountry!"For your countrys sake today - Foryour own sake tomorrow / Go to thenearest recruiting station of the armedservice of your choice." 1944. Colorposter by Steele Savage.Credit: National Archives and Records Administration
Cost for theContribution:• Minority unitssuffered highercasualties.• Units andindividuals wonnumerouscitations andindividualmedals forbravery inaction.A black regiment as they prepare forthe “Battle of the Bulge”- withoutminority contribution to the war effortAmerica’s fight would have beenmuch harder! (Library of Congress)
How did minority participation inWorld War II reflect socialconditions in the United States?• Segregation was the law of the South, andthe U.S. government maintained thisphilosophy through the war.• Minority soldiers had “tasted” equality inEurope, and they would demand socialchange when returning home.• Experiences in war would help to usher in anew Civil Rights Movement!