America After World War II Essay

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Part 1

A. Compare and contrast the treatment of minority groups and their responses on the home front during World War II.

For the first time, African Americans began to be taken seriously. The Negro Soldier was released to cinemas during WW2 in an effort to draw blacks into Uncle Sam’s military. The promise of climbing the ranks—i.e., upward mobility—was something they were not used to in America. This appeal to blacks contrasted sharply with the way Germans and Asian Americans were treated during the war: both were heavily suspected as being traitors and spies in the U.S. Asian Americans on the West Coast were rounded up after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor—an attack which allowed Churchill to sleep “the sleep of the saved and thankful” (Chapter 1, n.d., p. 1) because he knew it would mean America would get into the war and save England. The Executive Order issued by Roosevelt effectively saw Asians in California put into concentration camps in the U.S.A., while Germans in the East Coast were being watched by the FBI.

African Americans, though courted by the military, never really received the opportunity for upward mobility that they were promised in Capra’s Negro Soldier, however. Jim Crow still dominated even in the military and many blacks found themselves again being subject to an abusive and racist culture—essentially the same thing that was happening on the West Coast with the placing of Asian Americans in concentration camps and the attacks on German-Americans because of what the Third Reich was doing in Germany. Minority groups did not have it easily any way one looked at it on the home front during WW2.

B. Discuss the reasons for Bill Clinton’s election as president and explain the challenges that

Reagan had left a distaste and distrust for American politics in the mouths of many, especially after the Iran-Contra scandal came to light and G. H. Bush got Americans into a war in the Middle East (and also raised taxes after promising not to). Clinton was elected primarily because he was perceived as an activist president, who, like JFK, would come to “revive the economy and rein in the federal deficit that had grown so enormously during the Reagan years” (Clinton and the New Global Order, n.d., p. 1). Clinton also “called for systematic reform of the welfare and health care systems” (Clinton and the New Global Order, n.d., p. 1). American voters were delighted by the idea of someone new actually addressing American concerns on the domestic front. They viewed Bush as untrustworthy (the former CIA Director had credibility issues and Clinton was far more suave, hip, appealing to the younger generation of voters—after all, he played the saxophone on late night TV and had the kind of sex appeal that JFK had enjoyed in the 1960s).

The challenges the Clinton faced, however, were a bit daunting. His campaign promise to admit gays into the military became Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which did not make anybody happy. The world order was crumbling, with the Soviet Union gone and Russia falling to pieces along with its satellite states. Clinton’s own shady past began to emerge—sexual harassment accusations (Paula Jones), the Whitewater scandal, and more would all come to light during his tenure in the White House. Bombings would eventually commence as those around him put the pressure on to…

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…system to deal with what the 1950s had done—and what had been left undone” (The Civil Rights Movement, n.d., p. 1). They had to take to the streets and push back—which is why MLK borrowed the idea of non-violent protest from Thoreau and conducted sit-ins, marches, and protests to get the laws changed by legislators in Congress, thus skipping over the courts altogether.

5. [CH 30] What were the goals of the Reagan revolution, and how did he hope to achieve them? Was he successful?

The goals of the Reagan revolution were to make it morning once more in America—i.e., to reintroduce the idea of economic prosperity after the very disappointing 1970s, wherein Nixon closed the window on the gold standard and introduced the petrodollar system in order to prop up demand for USD. Reagan had a single message: “It is time to reawaken the industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten the punitive tax burden” (Prime Time with Ronald Reagan, n.d., p. 2). Reagan wanted a stronger American military to pose the Soviet threat, and he wanted Americans to be less encumbered by taxes. To achieve those goals, he had to enact programs like STAR WARS—an unrealistic missile defense program that was use space as the next battlefield. He also had to put the country more heavily into debt in order to reduce people’s tax burden, because he sure was not going to cut spending. He had to expand the military and that meant spending more on the military. Overall, he was only marginally successful—i.e., short-term, yes; long-term, no. He did make those happy who hated Communism, however—and his challenge to the Soviet Union at the Berlin…

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