World War II through the 1970s
This paper presents a discussion of the period of the Second World War through to the 1970s. The paper analyses the major turning points during this period. The impacts of these turning points on the America’s current society politically, economically, and culturally are also examined. Other factors such as the role of women, the reasons that made Americans remain neutral at the early phases of the conflicts that led to the war are also observed. The Vietnam War and its contribution to the political awareness are also reviewed. The paper also looks at the programs of President Johnson’s “Great Society” agenda that have lived to see the contemporary society.
The Major Historical Turning Points
One of the main historical turning points at the time of the Second World War all through to the 1970s was the dropping of the atomic bomb which happened in the final stages of the war. This is perhaps the major historical turning point during the Second World War. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan using nuclear weapons was very essential more than many milestones as well as the events that sparked the First World War. Currently, the only valid way to know that nuclear weapons were used in war is by the bombings by the US. Another historical turning point during this period was Hitler’s rise to power. Even though, this was a major historical turning point which happened in the early 1930s, it is nothing compared to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan (US Dept of the Army, 2007). Its significance, however, is very fundamental since the beginning of the Second World War is attributed to the rise of Hitler who will go down in the annals of history as one of the world’s most ruthless dictator. Another historical turning point was the attack from Japan which left at least 2400 Americans dead. This ensured that the military nurses work around the clock to see to it that the badly wounded and burned soldiers were treated. The role of women was clearly seen here as the nurses, mainly women worked against all odds to treat the soldiers. These historical turning points had a lot of impacts both negatively and positively.
Impacts of the Historical Turning points
The historical turning points had major impacts that can explain the America’s current society politically, economically, socially and culturally. Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan using nuclear weapons for one brought a speedy end to the Second World War. As a result, it exposed and continues to expose America as a very powerful power. This has continued to the present society bringing about a great degree of political and economic stability. It also fundamentally restored peace, which ultimately conduces to the benefit of the society culturally, socially and economically. The perception of America being a super power has, therefore, continued to the current society.
The attack of America by Japan was a major historical turning point which led to the death of more than 2400 people. The impact of this was the realization that something had to be done quickly to solve the situation. This ultimately prompted the historic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Besides, the role of women was clearly seen as they provided nursing services to soldiers who were wounded during the attack. These historical events have contributed very significantly to the current American society in terms of culture, politics and even economy. The notion of America being economically stable, politically strong in terms of its democracy, and even cultural stability is, therefore, evident.
Why Americans in 1930s Wanted to Stay Away from the Conflicts
In the 1930s, there were conflicts in the European countries; the events that ultimately lead to the Second World War. At this time, the Americans did not want to participate in these events for certain reasons. The country wanted to remain neutral and of course be seen as neutral and not participate in the events that led to the war. First and foremost, the First World War brought about Great Depression, which prompted Americans to remain and maintain its neutrality thus leading to the Second World War. The activities of the First World War brought about this depression in America. The country, therefore, preferred to remain neutral rather than participate in another similar war after the on that had just ended.
Furthermore, the memory of the tragic losses that were associated with the First World War brought about a public opinion and policies that favored neutrality in the conflicts and events that led to the Second World War. America’s public opinion and policies, therefore, veered towards isolationism (Kennedy, Cohen, & Bailey, 2010). The implication is that they chose to remain neutral and isolated from the events leading to the war. The country wanted to expand its economy and avoid any political instability that would be associated with participation in these conflicts. They had witnessed the grievous effects of the First World War and another of the kind was to be avoided like the plague.
Role of Women in Second World War
Even though, women were not seen to engage physically in the Second World War, they played very crucial roles that led to the winning of the war thereby bringing it to termination. First and foremost, the women provided the much needed moral support (morale) to the soldiers who were involved in the war. This indeed propelled them to fight hard and bring the war to term. The soldiers were seen to get very encouraged to fight hard by the presence of women whose contribution towards their increased morale cannot be underestimated (Chandler, 2002).
Women also played a very huge role of ensuring that the soldiers and men who were involved in the war were well fed. They ensured that they prepared enough and good food for the soldiers which ensured that they continuously obtained the energy and the strength to fight. The women also played a critical role in providing the military nursing services. During the attack by Japan which left at least 2400 Americans dead, these women worked around the clock to ensure that the badly wounded and burned soldiers were cured. This contributed very significantly towards the winning of the war.
Civil Rights Breakthroughs after World War II
The Second World War brought about certain civil rights breakthroughs that moved the cause of African-Americans forward. It should be acknowledged that a lot of people lost their lives in the course of the war. Many people also lost their property while great many others were displaced from their homes. Because of the pains and the miseries that were witnessed and experienced in the war, some civil rights breakthroughs were experienced, and they have continued to propel African Americans to great heights. The blacks in America were considered as being weaker beings, discriminated against and disrespected (Dudziak, 2011). They were nothing more than slaves. However, the war demystified these theories giving them their civil rights and equality.
One of the breakthroughs was the recognition of the fundamental right to life. The killings were painful and brought people to the realization that every human being had a right to life. In the same vein, equality was acknowledged as a very fundamental issue. The African Americans were seen as equally equal to the whites. This is a major civil right breakthrough which led to a continued diminishing aspect of discriminations which were bad elements prior to the war. After all, the blood that was shed during the war had similar color and content. This has made the African Americans move a great deal forward.
Vietnam War and Political Awareness to the generation of Young Americans
The implication of the Vietnam War for American foreign policy and even to the young generation of Americans remains a hotly contested issue. Most features of the war remain open to challenge, varying from the wisdom of U.S. participation to the reasoning behind continued growth and ultimate withdrawal. The war had positive implications with it bringing about political awareness especially among the new young American generation of young men and women.
Time heals and at some point, the bloodshed and violence that impacted from the Vietnam War had to quell. Even though, the memories would continue lingering in the minds of those who witnessed the war, there were political lessons that were learnt. These lessons continued to shape the new generation of Americans, creating a great degree of political awareness among them. A new phase began to emerge among the young Americans. The phase of this generation was characterized by hope, new political friendships and political and cultural exchanges between the two countries (Wiest, Barbier, & Robins, 2009). This further enhanced the political awareness of the young generations in the American society.
Programs of President Johnson’s “Great Society”
There are certain programs that were initiated by President Johnson, popularly known as the Great Society that thrives to the current society. Before the initiation of the programs, Americans were living in conditions which if they were to be exposed to today, they would consider unacceptable. For instance, people had no medical insurance policies, black Americans in the government were very few, and access to education especially nursery and kindergarten to young children was very limited.
The program branded “The Great Society” has changed these so that today milestones in law have ensured a change in the American society today. The Great Society was driven by a desire to create opportunities for wealth creation to change the lives of Americans. President Johnson coined it with a view to transforming the American Society for the better (Helsing, 2000).
One aspect of the Great Society program that has stood to see the contemporary society is the health and medicine insurance policy. This has survived to see the current day. The Americans have lived to have and enjoy the insurance policy that continues to protect them against diseases and emergencies such as accident and other chronic illnesses. The policy enables them to get access to treatment under such emergent conditions.
Another element of the program that has thrived to the current society is the non leniency or softness to crime. This has seen the current American society free of crime and other vices that are likely to threaten the unity, peace and harmonious existence of the members of the American society. Crime is taken very seriously to the current times in the history of America.
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