War "Studs Terkel's: The Good War In Essay

Length: 7 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Military Type: Essay Paper: #91148360 Related Topics: Concentration Camps, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Oral History, Pearl Harbor
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … War

"Studs Terkel's: The Good War

In The Good War Terkel presents the compelling, the bad, and the ugly memories of World War II from a view of forty years of after the events. No matter how horrendous the recollections are, comparatively only a few of the interviewees said that if the adventure never happened that they would be better off. It was a lively and determinative involvement in their lives. Even though 400,000 Americans died, the United States itself was not assaulted again after Pearl Harbor, the economy did begin to develop and there was a fresh contemporary feeling of humanity power that revitalized the nation.

A lot of women and Black Americans faced new liberties in the post war nation, but happy life following World War II was stained by the danger of the could be nuclear. Studs Terkel interviewed over 120 people by inquiring them to tell him about their experiences during the Second World War. Those interviews are the stories included in his book, "The Good War." This book is for those that are looking for a series of "war stories" by war veterans communicating their threads of courage under fire, look elsewhere; while there are some of those involvements here, the bulk of the book deals with the broader view of the disagreement - from "Rosie the riveter" to Japanese prisoners, to those that survived the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nightmare (consist of Americans who engaged the cities weeks after they were bombed. Unfortunately, they share similar stories.) However, the focus of this Essay is the subject of race during the "good war."

What was their recollection of the role they played in the American war effort?

According to Terkel, Many remember this time as when women of all races got an economic and psychological enhancement. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's, opened skilled, high-paying jobs to minority people were very unfortunate. Minority workers and soldiers remember making an unparalleled contact with other minorities as well as with whites. Thoughts of self-assurance and belonging, once appreciated, were not effortlessly abandoned. In short, Takaki who was interviewed says, " the war got the civil rights movement going."

The War: Was it different for Various Ethnic Minorities?

It is a thought-provoking specimen in time -- of " humbler times" -- when racism was the current situation, for instance, Terkel comprises the involvements of Tuskegee pilots and Naval ammunition trainers and stevedores, when the army was segregated, when women started taking over jobs for the effort of the war, completely supposing to be fired once the war had come to a close. As mentioned earlier, one of the interesting themes in the book was the widespread and deep-rooted racism of the average U.S. soldier and his government. As one particularly bizarre case, some white Gis told their English friends that blacks had tails. Blacks were shot and hanged by white soldiers. And while these men were fighting fascism! "I fear that in this, we have come only a short way."

Not a lot had happened to change things in the years between the two world wars. Racism was at its highest peak since slavery. Bill Broonzy, the blues singer, commemorated his doughboy life in the World War One: "When I got in the army they called me boy. I wonder when I will be called a man? "Over 2.5 million African-Americans registered for the design before and during World War Two and of that number, nearly half served in one of the four branches. None of the services, on the other hand made it to the 10% quota; most had from 8 -- 9% blacks in their positions. Nearly three-quarters of all blacks who took part in World War Two were in the Army.

However, because of the


Instead, they gave them cheap jobs.

Did they Feel Value or Slighted?

According to Terkel, most of the minorities thought they had pride in their country, felt slighted. Why? Because of the institutionalized racism that was heavy in the military against African-Americans. They felt slighted because there was a lot of institutionalized racism in the United States military. Army rules that had been put in place during World War I on the correct utilization of blacks were for the most part transmitted over into World War Two. Blacks were expended generally limited to maintain support jobs. African-Americans felt slighted because they only comprised of 14.3% of all units of support and rose to only 3.9% of all straightforward combat arms units who would in the end view combat. Even in the combat support divisions, blacks were grouped in Quartermaster units (43.6%) and units of Transportation (223%). These units of blacks would never see combat, hardly ever get promotions, and were almost always ordered by white officers. One result of never observing conflict was a loss of points compared to those who did learn a lot of action. When it came down to being slighted and humiliated, a school teacher remembers his obligation as a sergeant with the Quartermaster. "That is where most of us were put. We w serviced the service like slavery. We handled food, clothing, and equipment. We were actually just stevedores and servants."

Most of the black men who joined the military signed up for the army as the Marines did slight them because they refused to allow black volunteers and they were only offered menial tasks in the United States Navy. Three-quarters of those who served in the Army overseas were slighted because they were put to relegated to jobs like cooks, orderlies and truck drivers. The training camps were even segregated and black units nearly always had white officers. Blacks were not to be trusted in combat. To this, Coleman Young proposed an unexpected taste of history when it came down to being slighted: "The black Tenth Cavalry was with Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan Hill. They saved hit but." As the war dragged on, and fatalities multiplied, alarmingly, black soldiers were sent up front. Reluctantly, black soldiers were allowed to risk their lives in combat. Lieutenant Charles A. Gates gives an account of his experience of the all black 761st Tank Battalion.

"We had a decent order about ourselves and trained. The German army was confused. They could not know how were at various places at the same time." There was awe even with our own generals as well as theirs. Sadly, it took 35 years for the 761st to receive a Presidential Unit Citarion.

At the home front, racism was a little more undercover than it was in the military. In a way, the so called "Good War" was bitter sweet. Black people abilities, usually, sidestepped, were wanted in defense plants. The war did bring the black community jobs that would otherwise have been regarded with less than benign neglect. However, this probably would not have taken place if the African-American people had not put pressure on them.

The story of the Tuskegee Airman starts in 1940 when then President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Army Air Corps to establish an all-Negro flying corps. As stated earlier, the term "Negro" was a common and respectful term for that time period. The presidential order caused the Army to develop the 99th Pursuit Squadron, and to prepare the pilots for the new squadron, a new training camp in central Alabama, at the Tuskegee Institute was created. This process met with a great deal of skepticism and more than just a little resistance. There were some that had the notion that, not only did black lack the inelegance to be trained to accomplish complex tasks, there was no way that any Negro could learn to fly. Before the war was over, all the people that were negative would be quieted and bared for their foolishness.

According to Terkel the war was also different for other ethnic groups as well. According to the book, the Japanese-Americans also endured their tragic moment. Our people were forced into concentration camps and their lives where ripped away from them.

One of the reasons that they threw us into the poor living conditions was that they believed that we were spies for Japan during World War II, which in the end only ten people were convicted of spying for Japan, all of whom were Caucasian. The sudden rush of Pearl Harbor increased a danger of our people. Members of congress escalated fear of us among the American people. As early as January 1942, there was talk of imprisoning us. Many whites were encouraged by economic egocentrism and were concluded to destroy our businesses, which they saw as competition.

According to Terkel, directly after the attack, Japanese-American community leaders and families supposed of having ties to Japan were arrested. 23 The U.S. Treasury immobilized the bank accounts of anyone born in Japan. A obligatory curfew was put on Japanese-Americans, who had to bring ID cards on their person, and a lot of the families homes were…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Terkel, S. (1997). The Good War: An Oral History of World War II. Boston: New Press.

"Executive order 9066" Franklin Delano Roosevelt. February 19, 1942. accessed from http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=74#

Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice

Denied. (Washington, D.C.: The Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, 1997),

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