World War II and Civil Rights Movement Impact on Democracy
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According to president Franklin D. Roosevelt the future world shout be a world that people have essential human freedoms also known as the four freedoms; freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The reason of the United States took part in the World War II was to fight for human’s freedoms to liberate humanity in Europe and Asia, and to spread the American democracy to the entire world. “A revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quick –lime in the ditch” (Franklin D. Roosevelt 1941). However the war enhanced the commitment of many white Americans to maintain the existing racial order in the United States. The war also gave birth to the civil right movement. While we were fighting for the freedom of other nations there were still inequality exist in the United States. The World War II didn’t directly push forward the democracy in the United States; on the contrary it created many inequalities on non-white races during the World War II and post war that directly lead to the civil right movement. The civil right movement is a “war” that African-Americans against inequality in education, social rights, and human rights it given people the idea that the existing racial order in the united states was wrong, so the civil rights movement directly push forward the American democracy to a step forward.
During the World War II many non-white American joined the army that fight for the United States. More than one million African Americans served in the armed forces. But those armed forces they served were segregated units and they only participated in noncombat tasks. After the war when these black veterans returned home they encountered that benefits such as GI bill were refuged to give them. The segregation of education was the most serious inequality that education benefit of black veterans could only be used at segregated school. These segregated schools were inferior schools with a bi-racial system. Moreover salary, training of teacher, and school facility and equipment were all not the same to the non-segregated schools. As a consequence the out come of education from these segregated school would be a huge different from the non-segregated school.
There were also Asian Americans that served the World War II for the United States such as Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans. However Japanese Americans that served the war were in a special case. The attack of Pearl Harbor produced hatred of Japan also the fear of Japanese invasion from the west coast pushed president Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue an Executive order. In February 1942 authorities removed more than a hundred and ten thousand Japanese Americans into internment camps. A large majority of these people were American born Japanese that they didn’t even speak Japanese. These people didn’t committed any crime the only thing they did wrong was being an American. Some of male Japanese Americans were convinced to serve the military to show their loyalty to the United States. However according to president Franklin D. Roosevelt the four freedoms that all Americans shared, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear were not applied to Japanese Americans. The image that the United States actively promoted was a country that people of all races, religion, and originally from different countries will share freedom and equality all exceptions to Japanese Americans.
The war was to fight for freedom but whose freedom, freedom people in Europe. However there were still inequalities in the United States why should these black solders fight for someone else’s freedom but not their freedom. “I would rather die for democracy here than in Germany” (Charles Wesley 1944). The war that fights for freedom and democracy should started at home, the United States where inequalities exists all the way in non-white Americans’ life. Otherwise how should the United States bring freedom and democracy to people in Europe at the same time the home were largely full of racial inequality.
The civil right movement reached its climax when Rosa Parks refused to give her sit to a white man on a bus in Montgomery. The bus boycott launched the movement for racial justice which lead to the Supreme Court ruled the segregation in public transportation was unconstitutional. Earlier in the time the Supreme Court had already outlawed the racial segregation in public school however the decision of Supreme Court didn’t represent the thoughts of white-Americans lived in the South. In the South more than one hundred congressional men signed the document of against school desegregation, “The Southern Manifesto”. They stated that the 14th Amendment didn’t mention education nor did any other amendment. So the Supreme Court decision of school desegregation of different races was based on no legal base. The idea was not the thought of one congressmen but the whole that indicated all the whites lived in the south were against the school desegregation. This brought the civil movement to a deeper level that African Americans were not just fight for their freedom against the constitutional system in the United States but also the racial biases and racial order that existed on entire white-Americans race.
Martin Luther King JR. was arrested with other marchers during marches against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham. While in prison he wrote a letter to express his feelings toward the unjust events. Injustice should not be tolerated that the white power structure left the black community with no other choice. The demand of equal rights on non-white races should not be depended on anybody else but themselves. They must realize that equal rights should not be given by whites or the Congress, but they should actively pursue by themselves. Also it was crucial to let the white-Americans to realize that it was wrong to have the idea of racial order. No one was born to be slave or second class citizens. If equal rights such as equal education could bring to African Americans that they could be educated people as white-Americans. The only way that African American can achieve equal right among white Americans is that all African Americans must be unionize, directly face the injustice, and “fight” against injustices. He and his fellow demonstrators were using nonviolent direct action in order to cause tension that would force the wider community to face the issue head on. King responded that without nonviolent forceful direct actions, true civil rights could never be achieved. This letter explains events in Birmingham in 1963 as well as in the rest of America and it demonstrates the approach King took through out the whole civil-rights movement of 1950s and 1960s.
The World War II inspired the African Americans struggle for equality in the United States while the united states were still fight in the war to give people freedom in other country. The racial inequality posed a challenge to the United States that it conflict with the “American heritage of freedom”. In another word even thought the World War II didn’t have a positive effect on equal rights among races in United States but it sparked the civil right movement that African Americans battle the “war” of equal rights on there own demand. Again the World War II didn’t directly push the democracy in the United States to a step further but it leads to the civil right movement, which had a huge leap of the democracy to forward.
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