Was WW2 a Good War Or not

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By definition, the Good War stands for “a time of nation unity in pursuit of indisputably noble goals” (Foner, 688). On December 8, 1941, the US officially joined World War II, “the largest war in human history,” after the Pearl Harbor attack by Japan (Foner, 682). Fighting for freedom, the primary purpose of the US, could be considered as the “noble goal” of the US in WWII. Since the human rights of minorities were begun to be valued but still often ignored during World War II, it was not the Good War.

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In World War II, the United States planned on fighting against racism, but inequalities still existed. Black racial group, the group which was often targeted throughout history, was again one of the victims of racism during this period. In the early 1940s, more and more blacks were looking for jobs in industry for a higher quality of lives (Foner, 701). Many of them “encountered violent hostility” from the white workers (Foner, 701). Within the same army, the segregation of blacks still occurred. During the war, though blacks had the opportunity to join the army, they were often sent to “segregated units, largely confined to construction, transport, and other noncombat tasks” (Foner, 701). According to Dempsey Travis, a black soldier who experienced the inequality in the American army, the army was always “arranged to have black soldiers back up against the woods someplace. Isolated” (Terkel, 152). Serving as the same soldiers as white Americans in the same army, blacks had treated different experiences with those white soldiers. In an interview with Dempsey Travis, he told his experience of racism in the army. He mentioned that one day, many white soldiers went into black soldiers’ segregated areas in the military camp (Terkel, 152). Then he heard “firing, firing, firing, just shooting into the goddamn crowd” from those white soldiers (Terkel, 152)

The next thing he realized was that a large number of black soldiers died on the street (Terkel, 152). Being hurt, Dempsey Travis and his friend were on the ambulance and heard the Southern ambulance driver said that “who ever told you niggers were our soldiers? Where I come from we shoot niggers like we shoot rabbits” (Terkel, 153). Words of the ambulance driver showed how white soldiers mistreated blacks. White soldiers did not consider both blacks as human beings but as animals which they could shoot freely. The unfair treatment of black soldiers received did not end with coming back from armies. With the GI Bill guaranteeing the benefits of veterans, black veterans did not get equal benefits with white veterans. Southern black veterans got “education benefits only at segregated colleges,” service jobs with “unskilled work and low-wage,” and “restricted loans for farm purchase” (Foner, 701). With all of the inequalities black born with, racism in the United States remained.

Besides blacks, after the Pearl Harbor Attack by Japan, Japanese American populations were also often aimed. Persuaded by the military, FDR issued Executive Order 9066 which sent Japanese and Japanese Americans into concentration camps (Foner, 698). Living conditions were awful at the camp. They lived in “former horse stables, makeshift shacks, or barracks behind barbed-wire fences” (Foner, 699). “It was like a prison camp,” said Peter Ota, who had spent some time in camps since he was a kid, in an interview (Terkel, 30). Though living in concentration camps was not pleasant, Japanese and Japanese Americans were forced to do so. Their freedoms were threatened (Foner, 699). Korematsu, was an example. He went to court because he did not live in a camp, but when he was at the court, “there was no court hearings, no due process, and no writs of habeas corpus” (Foner, 699). At the end, he was arrested for that (Foner, 700). Beyond strict rules about living in concentration camps, Japanese and Japanese Americans were expected to “swear allegiance to the government that had imprisoned them and to enlist in the army” (Foner, 700).

Besides being racist, freedom in the United States progressed. During World War II, women had much more power than they had ever obtained. They took “industrial jobs vacated by men” (Foner 690). They had “new opportunities in industrial, professional, and government positions” which were even restricted to men before (Foner, 690). Women also “forced unions like the United Auto Workers to confront issues like equal pay for equal work, maternity leave, and child-care facilities for working mothers” (Foner, 690). Compared to years before World War II, women had gained a large amount of power. Therefore World War II was still a Good War. However, all the power women held was gone with the end of the war (Foner, 691). After the war, when men came back from combat, “most female war workers, especially those in better-paying industrial employment, did indeed lose their jobs” (Foner, 691). No matter how much power women once owned, it was gone after men were back. Men still held absolute significant power.

Overall, World War II was not the Good War because although the United States began to value the human rights of minorities, they were still often ignored. Black citizens and soldiers still had unequal treatment; women still had no power in general.

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