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In what ways did WWII contribute to the civil rights movement in the US?

WWII contributed to the civil rights movement by highlighting racial inequalities and inspiring African Americans to fight for their rights.

The Second World War played a significant role in the civil rights movement in the United States. The war highlighted the stark contrast between the fight for freedom abroad and the racial inequalities at home. This contradiction was not lost on the African American community, who were fighting for a country that still practised segregation and discrimination. The hypocrisy of the situation led to increased calls for civil rights and equality.

One of the key ways in which WWII contributed to the civil rights movement was through the experiences of African American soldiers. These soldiers, who fought bravely for their country, returned home to a society that still treated them as second-class citizens. Their experiences on the battlefield, where they were often treated with more respect and equality by foreign nations, contrasted sharply with their treatment at home. This led many African American veterans to become active in the civil rights movement, using their military service as a platform to demand equal rights.

The war also led to significant changes in the economic status of African Americans. The demand for labour during the war led to a mass migration of African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North, known as the Second Great Migration. This migration led to a significant increase in the African American middle class, who used their newfound economic power to support civil rights organisations and initiatives.

Furthermore, the war led to increased international scrutiny of America's racial policies. The United States was fighting against fascist regimes that promoted racial superiority, yet it was practising racial segregation at home. This contradiction was highlighted by international media and led to increased pressure on the US government to address its own racial inequalities.

Finally, the war led to the emergence of new civil rights leaders and organisations. Many of these leaders, such as A. Philip Randolph, used the war as an opportunity to push for civil rights. Randolph's threat to organise a march on Washington led to President Roosevelt issuing Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in the defence industry. This was a significant victory for the civil rights movement and set a precedent for future civil rights legislation.

In conclusion, WWII played a crucial role in the civil rights movement by highlighting racial inequalities, inspiring African Americans to fight for their rights, and leading to significant economic and political changes.

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