Name: Course: Date: Changes in American Family during World War II Introduction The occurrence of any war is known to definitely have an impact on the society, and the case was not different for the American society during the World War II, as was simply expressed by Harper, that World War II was a “… period of large and lasting changes” (7)…
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The role of Women in wars had previously started being defined during the First World War, but it became even more pronounced during World War II, when their previous roles in the Army and the war itself definitely changed (Bryant 20). During the First World War, the women role in the war was pretty much reserved to non-combative roles in the army, such as operating switchboards, driving, offering mechanical services to the war tanks and vehicles (Bryant 21). However, after the bombing of the Pearl Harbor, and with eminent shortage of sufficient manpower in the army, the need for women power was once again revived, and it became apparent that the turnabout to the social and family system had knocked the door of the American society, and there was no turning back. The changes introduced in the American social system during the World War II still define the modern family and social structure. Therefore, the period of World War II, was a period when the family experienced the most transforming structural changes in the history of America. First, the occurrence of the World War II served to uplift the status of women in the American society, such that they gained respect and recognition as an important part of the societal structure (Lamana and Riedmann 13). During the World War II, most able men were recruited and deployed to the military to take part in active combat military roles, as well as other non-combative roles that were still essential for achieving victory by America and its allies. Consequently, women were left to bear all the family responsibilities, which entailed looking after the family and feeding them, and thus “…World War II was a signal event in the history of American consumer culture” (Witkowski 9), considering that many women had not taken active jobs before then. Women were forced to take active roles in seeking and performing jobs, mostly in the industries that were involved in manufacturing the artillery and the ammunitions required in the war (Harper 12). Since women had been called upon to join the working force to avert the looming labor force shortages in the manufacturing industries after men were required to join the army, they were required to hand over the same jobs to men after the end of the war, but most women resisted, since there had already arisen the need for working (Bryant 21). It is at this point that women in America were recognized in terms of their contribution economically, through working and supporting their families. This trend is still alive to present day, where many women have taken up active employment roles, instead of staying at home to perform the household chores. The contribution of the American woman to the economy is still high currently; virtually matching that of men. The other aspect through which women gained recognition and respect during the World War II, is through their active engagement in the military roles that were reserved for men in the previous decades (Herwing 107). During the World War II, more than a hundred thousand women served in the American Military, forming what according to Bryant came to be ”…the Women Army Corps” (7). While previously women were engaged in exclusively non-combative roles in the military, the scenario changed during the World War II, and they became involved in further active war duties such as flying aircrafts. Throughout the World War II period, over 16
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