World War II Through the 1970's
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The major turning points during the Second World War can not be confirmed to be the real turning points. The turning points are subject to a person’s perspective (Marxist.org, 2004). Historians record the major event that happened which they feel changed the course of World War II. Some of the points considered to be turning points include, the decision by Britain and France to join the war in 1939, the Britain battle in 1940, Moscow battle in 1941, attack on Pearle Harbor (1941) midway in 1942, Stalingrad, Long Range Fighters(1943) and the D-Day that happened in 1944 (Illinois University, 2001). The turning points had several impacts to American people. For instance the attack on the Pearl Harbor in 1941 affected the American people in several ways. Initially, America had decided to be in isolationism state (Marxist.org, 2004). But attack on their harbor meant they had to respond. This forced them to join the war and fight alongside Britain and its allies. Americans felt like Japanese is going to take over the world. Because of the might power in terms of military that America had, it was confident it will win the war. The Long Range Fighters introduced by Americans changed the way people fought drastically. The Britains had insufficient and weapons of poor quality (Illinois University, 2001). As a result, they could only attack during daytime. But introduction of long range by Americans meant they could fight both day and night. They were also able to spot enemies from far. This made their opponents weak and to some extent determined the direction the war was taking. Considering the impact the Americans had on the directions of the war, it is believed by the allies that it is the Americans who won the war. This has made Americans feel superior. As a result, since then, Americans has been considered to be among the leading superpower in the world. The economy of America was opened and there was free trade and European unions formed (Marxist.org, 2004). This allowed importation and exportation of goods across borders increasing the economic potential of America. Germany’s ventured into the second world war with the aim of controlling the whole world. Were it not for the intervention of the Americans, perhaps the Germans could be the superpower of the world.
During the time when the world’s major countries were in war, America had opted to stay neutral. One of the reasons for America’s neutrality was on the basis of its desire to stay as a leading example of democracy and free market in the whole world (Marxist,org, 2004). This therefore meant that if it was to join the war, it will have to take sides. This will be contradicting its principle of being the role model in executing democracy in the world. Americans also believed that it was a tradition for Europeans to fight wars and they hoped the First World War was the last major war (Illinois University, 2001). In addition, views have been given that perhaps America had not been directly affected by the war. So there was no point of it joining the war. It would better remain as isolationist. America was of the idea that Germany will not manage to take control of Britain and other allies. As a result, it decided to remain neutral.
Women during the time of Second World War played a vital role in ensuring victory. Among the roles they played included: some of the women were called upon to help on activities of the land. As a result, in July 1939, the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was reformed (Marxist, org, 2004). They were expected to perform the duties of men since most men had joined military. By august 1940, the movement had only 7,000 women (Illinois University, 2001). The crisis caused by Hitler’s U-boats acted as stimulus for more women to join the movement. The problem posed by U-boats worried Churchill as he feared supplies from America will be cut hence starving the Britain. The government advertised that the work of WLA deserved praise. This stimulated more women to join despite of the fact that the work was so hard and tiresome. They produced food from the farms to feed the fighters. Women also participated in doing factory work. They participated in all kinds of production. They made ammunition, uniforms and aeroplanes to be used by the military (Illinois University, 2001). This ensured continuous supply of these products hence facilitating the work of military men who were in the field fighting. Women also participated in voluntary services. They formed a union called Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS). These women provided fighters with tea and refreshments that kept the fighters strong after bombing raid. By 1943, the WVS had one million members. They looked after people who had lost their homes as a result of Germany bombing. WVS also knitted socks and balaclavas among other chores. Women also participated in Auxiliary Territorial Services (ATS). They joined army, navy and air force. Posters designed to recruit more women in ATS appeared glamorous. This attracted many women to join ATS and help in fighting. Many members of ATS worked as drivers, cooks in the mess, cleaners and working on anti-aircraft guns (Marxist, org, 2004). As the war continued, many women started working as electricians, welders and carpenters. Other women acted as entertainers. Though most women did not participate directly in the fight, the work they did was invaluable. It ended playing a role in deciding the end of the war.
In America, several civil rights that went through since world war has helped in the freedom the black-Americans enjoy today. One of the key right was the Brown vs. Board of Education ofTopeka. This case acted as a landmark in the rights of black Americans. In this case, there was segregation of schools before based on race. The fight of civil right activist under the stewardship of Martin Luther king played a great role in the success of this turning point. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that segregating schools basing on race was violating rights that are established in 14th Amendment (Illinois University, 2001). In this case, Brown Linda had to cross Topeka in order for her to go to school while her white friends were attending a public school nearby. Though the two schools were equal, Linda’s parents were of the idea that they were unequal. They thought segregation had injurious effects on children. Thurgood Marshall, the first black justice in a supreme court ruled in favor of Linda’s parents (Marxist, org, 2004). The ruling was highly opposed by whites in different states. As a result, the implementation of integration of schools was at a snail pace. In the Little Rock Arkansas, troops escorted nine black students to central high school. Another break through was the role played by the freedom riders. In an endeavor to desegregate accommodation in public places like restaurants, stadiums and buses, the Freedom Riders boarded buses from Washington to New Orleans (Lyndon, 1964). Though the court had criminalized segregation in buses travelling interstates in 1946, blacks still occupied back seats. In addition, they were not allowed to use restroom labeled “whites only”. Riders were attacked in 1961 in Anniston and Birmingham. The violence forced President John F. Kennedy to provide protection to the riders. Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited all forms of segregation based on race. Though the implementation was at a slow pace, with time it became acceptable. The freedom the black Americans enjoy at the moment was greatly influenced by these civil breakthroughs.
The Vietnam War brought with it invaluable lessons that Americans should learn. Nobody expected or ever thought that America could lose the Vietnam War. But surprisingly, it lost terribly. There are some lessons that need to be learned from the war. During the period of the war, opposition was so public even within the American troops themselves (Illinois University, 2001). Some were against the war. Unlike the Americans, in Vietnam bases, anybody noticed to be causing unrest in the camp was isolated. If was a group within the camp, they were dispatched in different camps where they could not meet (Illinois University, 2004). The Vietnam people were united at the time of the war. In America, there were anti-war people. GI members published their own papers even during the time of the war. Black GIs went publicly to advocate for stopping the war and the funds be directed to buying food for the starving people. This widespread opposition is believed to have played a great role in the outcome of the Vietnam War. During the war, there was widespread of drug abuse within the camps (Illinois University, 2001). This affected the soldiers as they could not heed the orders from their seniors. Some addicts went ahead to start killing their seniors secretly. In addition, during the war, an organization named “Vietnam Veterans against the War” was formed. As the name suggests, it was mainly against the Americans attack on Vietnam. With all the mentioned opposition, America finally lost the war. As young American politicians, there is need to understand that unity is paramount when you want to achieve a certain goal.
President Johnson had several programs with the aim of achieving a great society. One of the programs included the setting up of preschools. This program was created with the intention of helping the disadvantaged students to join kindergarten schools (Lyndon, 1964). Many students arrived in such schools ready to learn. This program up to date is still being practiced. Children are expected to start from kindergarten schools as they progress upwards. The president also established “The Volunteers in Service to America” (VISTA). The program was set up as an initiative of peace. Schools located poverty-stricken areas were lucky to receive volunteer teachings. Under the program, several government funds were disbursed to communities that were poverty stricken. This was with the intent of reducing unemployment rates and illiteracy levels. According the president, he advocated for a stop in discrimination of Americans based on race. He believed that in order to achieve a great society, people should live as Americans rather than whites and blacks.
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