Thefirst and second world wars are some of the most phenomenon events inthe world history. Some of the effects of the two wars are still feltin the modern world. In particular, the had extremeeffects on the Americans lives and America as nation. Even though thebattles did not take place on the American ground, this war affectedgreatly the economic, social and cultural aspects of the Americanlives. The war needed a lot of effort so as to organize tactics andstrategy together with other grand alliance members against the socalled axis powers which included Japan, Germany and Italy. The waralso required an increased effort in massive production of materialsand weapons for fighting. Therefore, as America stated manufacturingthe weapons that were used during the war, it became what wasdescribed by its president Roosevelt as the “arsenal ofdemocracy”1.This made the United States to undergo fundamental changes in itssocial, cultural and economic patterns. This paper outlines theeconomic, social and cultural impacts of the Second World War.
Socially,the resulted into some social changes. One of the maineffects of the war on Americans is that it created a chance for theAmerican women to participate in professions that were previouslyconsidered a male profession. Before the war started the women’splace was at home where they were supposed to take care of theirfamilies. However, when most of the American men went in Europe tofight, there was a major shortage of labor in the factories wherethese men used to work. The call for workers to replace these men wasanswered by the available women who were ready to work. By the end ofthe , women comprised of a third of the industrialworkers. The jobs done by women commonly referred to as “Rosie theRiveter” slowly led to the movement of the women’s right andultimate legally recognized equality for the American women. Duringthe war, the African American solders learned that they could betreated equally with other solders. As the war came to an end, someAfrican American launched a campaign demanding for equal civilrights. This campaign proved successful and the movement for civilrights which were established in the 1950s after the eventually led to the signing of the GI Bill which ended the militaryracial segregation. This also brought to an end to discrimination ofthe African Americans or the blacks by other races. Upon the returnof the soldiers from Europe after the war, there was a boom in thehousing markets in America like never before as laws that providedfor health care and reduced cost housing were passed by the federal,state and local governments. This led to the establishment of what isknown as suburbs today2.
TheAmericans culture changed as the economy prospered following the endof the . Having material goods, decent wages, homes oftheir own, modern conveniences and leisure time, most Americans werenow able to turn their attention on materialism and vacations,sports, arts and music. All these had been sketched out of theAmericas culture due to the great depression and poverty which hadgreatly affected the nation. There was an emergence of a new youthculture which had its own type of music known as “rock and roll”and popularized blues and rhythm. The period after alsosaw a rise of professional sports which expanded from the west to theeast coast. Movie stars and movies became popular due to televisioninvention and other entertainment technologies. Moreover, theAmericas culture started to get more reliant on the mass media. Thisis because music, television program and movies were becoming morepowerful and had a large impact on the American people since allentertainment became very important in the second half of the 20thcentury. The American theater had its boundaries expanded to caterfor the growing American public cross section. Another impact of the on the American culture is that it led to a new fashion.For example, women were permitted to dress in trousers for the firsttime after the war3.
Oneof the most significant economic effects in the UnitedStates is that it determinedly brought to an end the great depressionthat had made the nation suffer enormous economic decline. The greatdepression lasted throughout the 1930s and the beginning of the warmarked the end of the recession. The war made the American federalgovernment to come out as a powerful economic actor, with the abilityto control partially the economy and regulate the economic activitiesthrough government consumption and spending4.The revived the American industry, and by the year 1945its industrial sectors were either sharply oriented or fullydependent on production of defense weapons used during the war suchas atomic energy, electronics and aerospace. Many of the Americanswho were jobless due to the great depression started to get employedthus getting a source of income. The rapid technological andscientific changes which occurred as a result of the war createdgreat permanent opportunities to sustained innovation in engineering,science and policy analysis within and outside the government. In thesame way, the considerable rise in the Americans personal income andthe quality of their life as the war was being fought made them toanticipate permanent improvements in their economic wellbeing. Also,America and its citizens were able to enjoy exceptional economicpower after the mainly because other major economies hadbeen seriously damaged by the destructive effects of the war. ThoughAmerica participated on the war, no bullet was shot in the Americassoil thus it did not experience massive destruction of propertieslike in other powerful nations in Europe5.
Inconclusion, the affected the Americans economically,culturally, and socially greatly. The poverty that was caused by thegreat depression and racial segregation that was being experienced inschools and other public accommodations in the south ended followingthe . Socially, new job opportunities were created forthe women after most men went to fight in Europe during the war.Also, the Americas economy rose rapidly due to production of largequantities of weapons used during the war. There are also social andcultural affects of the war.
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DonaldAlbrecht. WorldWar II and the American dream,Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, (1995).
FareedZakaria. Thepost-American world,New York: Penguin Books, (2011).
Kennedy,David M. Freedomfrom Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945.Oxford University Press. (2001).
RobertHenkes. WorldWar II in American art,Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, (2001).
1 Aaron Rosenberg. World War II: Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hirohito, Dwight D. Eisenhower, New York: Scholastic, (2011), 17.
2 Fareed Zakaria. The post-American world, New York: Penguin Books, (2011), 54.
3 Robert Henkes. World War II in American art, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, (2001), 26.
4 Kennedy, David M. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945. Oxford University Press. (2001), 89.
5 Donald Albrecht. World War II and the American dream, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, (1995), 154.