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How Far Do You Agree That the Impact of the Second World War Was the Main Reason Why the Position of African Americans Improved in the Years 1945-55?

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How far do you agree that the impact of the Second World War was the main reason why the position of African Americans improved in the years 1945-55?

It is clear that the Second World War played a vital part in improving the lives of African Americans between 1945 and 1955. However, the impact of the war was lessened by other factors that brought about change such as the civil rights groups and President Truman. These factors were able to convert de jure change into de facto change; something the Second World Wars alone was unable to do.

World War Two had a dramatic effect on civil rights for Black Americans. Over 1.2 million black men joined the U.S army during the war and the experience radicalised them. Northern blacks were often trained in rural military camps in the Southern states, this was their first experience of formal racial segregation. They were appalled to know they were fighting a racist opponent, yet being treated as a second class citizen and receiving prejudice treatment back home. Consequently, the black soldiers used the ‘Double V’ sign, which meant they were fighting for two victories: victory overseas and victory over racism at home. The war also began to change the racist attitudes of whites. The United States and her allies were fighting a racist opponent, Hitler, who passionately believed in a ‘Master race’. In the past, white supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan had presented racism as something that was both natural and noble, however, the racist atrocities carried out by the Nazis showed the full horror and dangers inherent in racism. This convinced many people that racism should be opposed in all circumstances. In addition, the courage shown by the black soldiers fighting in the Second World War changed the outlook of many white soldiers. In an interview after the war, a platoon sergeant from segregated South Carolina...

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