The Aftermath and Effects of World War II on the United States
Despite the overall ending of World War II, the effects of the war brought both positive and negative changes to the United States. These changes included different economic, political, and social aspects that transformed America into all that it is today, and whether or not these changes where positive or negative, both are truly important to the history of the United States of America.
According to the textbook, some of the positive changes that World War II brought to the United States economy include the ending of the Great Depression, a bigger military force, and the invention of the atomic bomb (Davidson, 2017). One economic advantage came with the help of The New Deal, which provided economic relief and brought many opportunities for work to millions of unemployed Americans including minority groups like women, and people with disabilities. They’ve cut my wages but my income tax will be so much smaller. When I’m laid off, I’ll be paid off (Van & Schenk, 1921). This quote is a great representation of how hard it was to keep a job and make a living during the Great Depression, which is why the creation of these new job opportunities during World War II had such a large impact on the economy. Along with benefits for minorities, the U.S. also gained a large military force from the creation of the draft, Selective Service Act of 1917, which required all men between the ages of 18 to 64 to register and fill any remaining spots in the military force. During this time, the military also gained the creation of the atomic bomb with The Manhattan Project, authorized by President Roosevelt. This project consisted of a group that helped create the first atomic bomb, a weapon of ultimate mass destruction. This powerful weapon was used by the U.S. in the aid to end World War II all together and would change warfare forever. Along with these positive outcomes from World War II, there were also a few negative effects on the economy after the war ended.
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major negative effect included higher prices of consumer goods from inflation. In order for to U.S to intervene and help end World War II, a lot of money had to be spent for militia, weaponry, and medical supplies, which in return caused major inflation for the U.S economy.
Unlike the economic outcomes from World War II that consisted of more positive than negative outcomes, the political changes after the war seemed almost equally balanced between positive and negative changes. Some positive political outcomes included growth in healthcare, education, and government programs, due to public spending. (Davidson, 2017), which led to many educational gains after the war. For example, graduation rates increased immensely with the help of the GI Bill of 1944, which helped veterans receive tuition and living fees to pay for three years of college. On the other hand, there were also some negative gains like the U.S’s emergence as a super power with the Soviet Union, which lead to our entrance into the Cold War. The Cold War brought several more years of warfare and military spending for the United States.
World War II also caused positive and negative social changes within the United States. A major positive social gain for the U.S was the better use of communication. During the war, radio mode of communication was invented, which transformed military communication for the better and has continued to transform communication up to the speed it is today. Another social change that occurred after the war was the disappearance then return to unemployment of minorities. This change could be seen as both positive and negative, where the the disappearance of unemployment gave these people their first opportunity of economic independence, which provided them with the opportunity to feel equal(Dallas, TX: Dallas County Community College District, 2005). For example, women were no longer seen as just useful for the typical
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housewife duties. But once the war ended, that feeling was taken away from them. The return of veterans cost many minorities to lose their jobs and many fell into the last hired, first fired policy. As peace came, almost 75 percent of the working women in one survey indicated that they hoped to continue their jobs. But as the troops returned home, traditional cultural attitudes pushed women out of the workforce (Davidson, 2017). These minorities not only lost their jobs, but also the feeling of independence and equality among the normal workforce of America.
The main idea is that the United States experienced multiple positive and negative changes after World War II. As far as the economy, the nation prospered as the Great Depression came to an end and military forces increased, despite the increase in inflation and increased prices of goods. The ending of the war also helped healthcare, education, and government programs grow, but later brought the United States into another war because of politics. Socially, it gave minorities the chance to feel equality and freedom for the first time in their lives, even though that was eventually taken away. But overall there were more positive outcomes than negative outcomes after World War II, which helped the United States to get to where it is today.