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Answered 2010-03-02 01:19:37

War is a powerful instrument of social and economic change.

When WWII began, the United States attempted to remain neutral because the country was dealing with a severe economic depression and did not want to repeat WWI. However, little did America know that the war was a powerful tool that brought about significant social and economic changes, such as the end of the Great Depression, the beginning of the Women's Movement, and the start of other race movements.

  1. Ends Great Depression
    • Sure FDR helped combat GD through his New Deal (unemploymentàpublic works projects), but WWII:
      • Promoted defense spending-more money into circulation
      • 17 million new jobs were available for people
      • Agriculture and organized labor increased
      • Per capita income increases from $573 to $1074
      • Corporate profits increase 70%
    • Because of all of this: people are spending more à no more depression
    • During GD:
      • women lost jobs gained in 1920s (b/c of WWI) and were looked down upon for working if their husband was not
      • Took lower wages
      • Low pt for womens' movement-it was low pt for anything, since everyone was depressed…
    • Even though women was granted right to vote in 19th Amendment on Aug. 26, 1920, their respect was not held. They still needed to push forward in gaining more equality.
    • WWII allowed them this change-over 200,000 women served the military:
      • Women's Army Corps, WAC packed parachutes
      • women pilots known as WASP transported aircraft and performed flying duties around the US so that more male pilots could help the war effort
      • while in the Navy, Waves operated Links trainers and inspected aircraft to help male Navy pilots take the skies
    • Helping At Home-over 6 million women took wartime jobs in factories or filling in for men on farms, 3 million women volunteered with the Red Cross
      • A woman's role had traditionally been in the home--their children, and sometimes even husbands didn't believe that they were smart enough or strong enough to hold down a real job
      • Rosie the Riveter-icon that urged women into the workplace
        • Rosie the Riveter too became the true sweetheart of all the men overseas who knew that she was the riveter, welder, drill-press operator or machinist behind each and every tank, airplane, and machine gun that saved their life
  2. Sparks the Women's Movement
    • African Americans-sparking civil right movement
      • Over 2.5 million African-American men registered for the draft
      • they experienced discrimination and segregation but met the challenge and persevered
      • Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC)-created to insure fair hiring practices in defense industries
      • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-membership increased 0.5 mill.
    • Native Americans
      • 25,000 serve-many as codetalkers in Navajo language
      • Many move into cities and off reservations
    • Mexican-Americans
      • 200,000 serve and many move to cities for jobs
  3. Sparks other races' movements
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