Home Front U.S.A: America during World War II

By Allan M. Winkler | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER THREE
Outsiders and
Ethnic Groups

Not all Americans fared well in World War II. German Americans, now better assimilated, were more fortunate than they had been during World War I, when they had suffered hostile attacks at home because of their heritage. But the war posed problems for other groups outside the mainstream of American life. While the struggle opened new opportunities for employment and integration for some, other outsiders encountered serious disruptions in daily life that were difficult to overcome. Women, long relegated to inferior positions in the workforce, now found better jobs in record numbers, though they still experienced discrimination on various fronts. African Americans likewise seized on the enormous industrial expansion to press for better positions. Yet they too encountered various forms of resistance wherever they turned, and soon learned that true societal change came only in response to the application of constant pressure. While other groups, such as Latinos and American Indians, made some gains, they were not as well organized and enjoyed less conspicuous success. Italian Americans at first found themselves designated enemy aliens, though that label was lifted after a few years. The wartime experi

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