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1.Based on the evidence available, the two most important effects of World War II on the way that Americans defined the meaning of freedom are the increase in rights for both women and for the African American community. Thousands of African Americans “scared the government half to death” and therefore sparked the beginning of the civil rights movement. “The contradiction between the redirect of American life and the reality of segregation and racism becomes a public issue for the first time since the reconstruction.” (Eric Foner American Liberties During WWII). With Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802, African Americans were granted slightly with more rights. In addition, since during World War II many male employees were involved war, women in America were able to fill the open positions. “Even though most women workers still labored in clerical and service jobs, new opportunities suddenly opened in industrial, professional, and government positions previously restricted by men” (Foner, GML, 686). During this time, while the men were mostly at war, the women were able to make themselves up to nearly one-third of the work force. Over time the women in America were able to prove that they could succeed in the jobs just like men and were therefore treated more as equals.
2. One of the largest effects World War II had on the American people’s view of freedom was the idea that freedom was something that was deserved everywhere. The horrors of World War II may not have been new to the history of man, but this was the first time they had hit home with the American people. Franklin Roosevelt said in his state of the union address “Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere” which embodied the American idea that freedom was something that should be universal to all people around the world (Roosevelt, State of the Union Address, 1941). This ideal was being called for by the president almost a year before the events of Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt also spoke about the four freedoms, a tool used to keep people motivated to work to support the war effort back at home. With the help of good advertisement and propaganda the American idea of freedom changed more to reflect these ideas, and it made the American people think they were fighting “the good war” (Foner, GML, 685). Americans believed that they were fighting to help spread this new idea of freedom around the world, and to stop the oppressive forces that were trying to keep people from being free.
1.Based on the evidence available, the two most important effects of World War II on the way that Americans defined the meaning of freedom are the increase in rights for both women and for the African American community. Thousands of African Americans “scared the government half to death” and therefore sparked the beginning of the civil rights movement.