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Positive effects of the Second
World War
The Second World War was a turning
point in America's attitudes to race
bringing about many positive changes,
for example:
Radicalisation of black Americans
Double V Campaign
Awareness of dangers of racism
Black Heroes
Campaigning and presidential intervention
Economic Changes…read more

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Radicalisation of black
Over 1.2 black men joined the United States army
during the war. The experience radicalised them.
This was because many were appalled by:
The fact they were fighting for their country and yet their
country was treating them like second class citizens
Segregation within the army ­ they ate in different
canteens and were forced to take different transport to
the battlefield
Many were denied the right to fight and were given jobs as
cooks and cleaners
They also noticed the marked contrast between
Europe and the USA
They were often treated as heroes in Britain and
France where there was no segregation
The effect of this radicalisation meant that after the
war, they were much more likely to demand
equality…read more

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Double V Campaign
Many blacks supported the war against the
Nazis as they believed it was for a just cause
Roosevelt argued it was right to fight so that
everyone is the world could enjoy the four basic
freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of
religion, freedom of want and freedom of fear)
However, black soldiers were struck by the
hypocrisy of fighting for these freedoms abroad
when they faced discrimination and lynching at
Consequently, they began using the `Double V'
sign, meaning they were fighting for victories
overseas and at home…read more

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Awareness of dangers of racism
They were also aware of Hitler's belief in
the `Master Race' and that in 1936 he
walked out of the Olympic stadium
rather than present the black American
athlete, Jesse Owens, with his gold
The extermination camps that were
uncovered by allied soldiers at the end
of the war showed people the dangers
of racism and convinced many that
racism had to be opposed in all
circumstances…read more

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Black Heroes
The courage shown by black soldiers during
the war changed the attitude of many white
Also, fighting in the war raised the self-
esteem of many black Americans, such as
Woodrow Crockett one of the first black
pilots in the American air force
After the war, black heroes who had risked
their lived for their country expected
recognition for their efforts and they
returned to challenge racial injustice…read more

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