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What impact did war have on the 'home front' in the United States?

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Introduction

What impact did war have on the 'home front' in the United States? During the Twentieth century there have been two world wars that have affected America. These wars affected different sections of American society in different ways. For the government's, decisions on how and to what extent participate in the conflict remained crucial on the experiences on the home front. Despite President Wilson's hopes, the American senate refused to agree to the Treaty of Versailles. America also refused to join the League of Nations. Instead she isolated herself from world affairs throughout the 1920's and 1930's. Under this policy, the USA avoided commitments to other powers wherever possible. When dictators took control in Italy, Germany and Japan and began conquering weaker neighbours, Americans chose to ignore the danger. Between 1935 and 1937 a series of neutrality laws were passed to keep America free of foreign wars. No Americans were allowed to trade or give financial aid to any country at war. In the late 1930's American public began to change. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, many Americans realised that if Western Europe fell to Hitler, then the USA might be next. ...read more.

Middle

Other American's brought war bonds and worked overtime in shipyards and aircraft plants. It was sincerely a people's war. World War two created profound changes in American society. During the hard times of the Great Depression people generally could rely on each other as neighbours, friends and relatives. At first, World war Two reinforced this unity, bringing people together emotionally, but then moving them apart geographically. Many American's found themselves dislocated in strange surroundings. Young soldiers who had known little temptations as children and adolescents returned on leave with drinking problems or venereal diseases. A few GI's had to be committed to mental hospitals as the result of the unbearable conditions they experienced in the field. The thought of loosing a close friend or family member also affected American anxieties. In retrospect we can see that American casualties in World War Two were relatively small compared to European countries. Some 400,000 died in battle, another 670,000 were wounded. In Europe the war preyed upon civilians and soldiers alike, some 35 million lost their lives; an estimated 20 million Russians, 5 million Germans, 1.5 million Yugoslavs, and 6 million Jews throughout Central and Eastern Europe. ...read more.

Conclusion

Black people went without proper medical care and rarely went to hospital. Their mortality rate was twice that of whites; their average life span was 12 years less. They were poorly educated. Blacks suffered all sorts of physical intimidation, abuse and violence and were without legal recourse. Blacks played no role in southern law enforcement. Many of the trends and changes of the war carried over into the post war years. For example the World War Two female worker proudly wore her trousers after the war, and continued as an important part of the armed services. Her varied wartime experiences and employment were vital in bringing her to new independence and to closer sexual and economic equality with the American male. Above all, the war prompted anxieties about the future. Having survived ten years of depression, Americans entered the 1940's already searching for security. With regular employment, they seemed to have at last found it. But could it survive? Many felt certain that depression would recur, that hard earned gains would be wiped out, that the status of other groups would rise at the expense of their own. However, war created the need for national unity and the sharing of wartime prosperity brought about a sharing of national purpose. Energies and efforts stimulated by the war recovered, restored and even heightened the sense of American national confidence. ...read more.

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