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Discrimination in World War II

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1 Discrimination in World War II
Annie Schwartz, Lauren Rizzi, Kendall Meyertons, Nishiki Maredia, Erin Hawley Bonnecarrere, 4th

2 Prompt “Discrimination continued during World War II despite the patriotism of all groups of Americans.” Assess this statement with reference to the following: African-Americans Japanese-Americans Mexican-Americans

3 Thesis Antediluvian racial stereotypes and, despite the war-time American patriotism, an increasing xenophobia engendered discrimination against Japanese-, Mexican,- and African-Americans during World War II in the war to fight the Axis powers alongside the Allied Powers.

4 World War II The Treaty of Versailles brutally punished Germany, and in result, Adolf Hitler rose out of poverty-stricken Germany, attempting to strengthen Germany. After a failure of appeasement by the other European countries in hopes to mitigate Hitler's aggressive attitude and Hitler's invasion of eastern Poland, World War II began as Russia declared war on Germany in America did not enter the war until after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, and America's population pulled together to unite against the Axis powers. The entire country was launched into war and despite its patriotism, discrimination was still occurring internally.

5 African-Americans Like all other Americans, African-Americans wished to serve their country during World War II. An exodus of black Americans journeyed from the South to the North and West. The invention of the mechanical cotton picker also encouraged emigration. To create more jobs in defense and the military for blacks, A. Philip Randolph organized a “Negro March on Washington,” and, in response, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt banned discrimination in defense industries in Executive Order 8802 on June 25, Moreover, Roosevelt established the Fair Employment Practices Commission, known as the FEPC, which oversaw this discrimination ban.

6 Tuskigee Airmen

7 African-Americans Even in the army, African-Americans were segregated. Blood banks were even categorized based on race. About 90 percent of blacks in World War II were placed in menial labor units. Even with this unjust treatment, most equality efforts encouraged “Double V,” a victory overseas against the tyrannical dictators and a victory at home against racism. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, known as the NAACP, and the Congress of Racial Equality, CORE, experienced increased membership.

8 Japanese-Americans National unity was strong after the Pearl Harbor attack. In contrast to WWI, when the patriotism of millions of immigrants was questioned, WWII actually speeded the assimilation of many ethnic groups into American society. A painful exception was the dilemma of some 110,000 Japanese- Americans, concentrated on the Pacific Coast. The Washington top command, fearing that they may act as vandals for Japan in case of invasion, forcibly herded them together in concentration camps, though about two-thirds of them were American- born citizens.

9 Japanese-Americans This brutal precaution was both unnecessary and unfair, as the loyalty and combat record of Japanese-Americans proved to be admirable. But a wave of post-Pearl Harbor hysteria, backed by the long historical swell of anti-Japanese prejudice on the West Coast, temporarily robbed many Americans of their good sense-and their sense of justice. The internment camps deprived these uprooted Americans of dignity and basic rights; the internees also lost hundreds of millions of dollars in property and foregone earnings. The wartime Supreme Court in 1944 upheld the constitutionality of the Japanese relocation in Korematsu v. U.S. But more than four decades later, in 1988, the U.S. government officially apologized for its actions and approved the payment of reparations of $20,000 to each camp survivor.

10 Japanese Internment Camp

11 Mexican-Americans Discrimination against Mexican-Americans ran high during WWII despite their patriotism. Mexican-Americans patriotically volunteered for battle and were usually put in white units, since they had fair skin. However, many soldiers reported that once people in whites units found out they were Mexican-American, they were discriminated against by being treated more harshly by higher ranked officers and they were called racial slurs. Post- war, soldiers received the same discrimination as Mexican- American citizens, and were not even as respected as white citizens, much less white soldiers. Mexican-Americans received little pay compared to whites, and at times were excluded from private businesses, such as restaurants.

12 Mexican-Americans The American GI Forum was created to make sure Mexican-American soldiers were given the rights they deserved, although it was hard to put in effect. Discrimination also occurred to the patriotic Mexican- Americans killed during the war. One example is Private Felix Longoria, a soldier killed in action in the Philippines. Private Longoria's family was told he not allowed to be buried at a certain graveyard because "whites would not like it.” U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and Hector P. Garcia, the Mexican-American World War II veteran who founded the American G.I. Forum, intervened on Longoria's behalf.

13 Mexican-Americans Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, and others joined the Longoria family for a full military burial with honors at the Arlington National Cemetery on February 16, Johnson proclaimed "This injustice and prejudice is deplorable. I am happy to have a part seeing that this Texas hero is laid to rest with the honor and dignity his service deserves."

14 Effects After the war, many Mexican-, Japanese-, and African-Americans wanted an end to discrimination after they had just helped fight a war for their country, America. Mexican-Americans took advantage of the G.I. bill which veterans with opportunities. The Civil Rights Movement came about to end segregation in the United States for African-Americans. And in 1948, the Japanese-American Claims Act was passed to compensate Japanese-Americans for their economic losses during World War II during their forced evacuation.

15 Conclusion Despite American ideals of equality, many classes of Americans, such as African-, Japanese-, and Mexican-Americans experienced severe discrimination due to traditionalist views on race and growing xenophobia in the midst of the Second Great War.

16 Bibliography Bailey, Thomas Andrew, David M. Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. 12th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Print. "Fair Employment Practices Committee." The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project. George Washington University, n.d. Web. 21 Mar Pike, Brett. "Discrimination Against African American Soldiers in World War II: Racial Policies and the March to Desegregation." Ed. Benowitz. University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, 11 Apr Web. 21 Mar

17 Bibliography Rochín, Refugio I., and Lionel Fernandez. "U.S. Latino Patriots: From The American Revolution to Afghanistan, An Overview." Julian Samora Research Institute. Ed. Jose A. Oliveros. Michigan State University, Jan Web. 21 Mar Roosevelt, Franklin D. "Executive Order 8802: Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry (1941)." General Records of the United States Government. National Archives, 25 June Web. 21 Mar

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