Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lucas' week three web assignments

Web Assignment 8:

The chief concern of the Government during the early and mid 1940's was winning the war. This was a huge effort which the government sought to unite the whole country for. Sending troops overseas meant that the military had to be well equipped. Often times this meant sacrifices back home in the name of patriotism. Food was one of these sacrifices that had to be made. This document is intriguing in that it assures "under point rationing every civilian in the United States-man, woman, child-has a chance to buy an equal share of meat" (99 Ways to Share the Meat, 1). This is an assurance by the government that there is no need to panic and that there will be plenty. It is the positive attitude like this that aided the United States in the war. I also found it interesting that it asserted the military to be of the utmost importance. "Men in the fighting forces naturally have first call on our meat supplies" (99 Ways to Share the Meat, 1). This shows how much priority and respect was given to our servicemen-also one of the important factors attributing to America's success in the war.
To begin with, no American was excluded from the war effort, no matter what their age. This meant that the children of the nation were of as much importance as the older men and women. On a deeper note, children were obviously going to inherit the nation, so "They must be nourished, sheltered, and protected even in the stress of war production so that they will be strong to carry forward a just and lasting peace" (A Children's Charter in Wartime, 2). The government did not want to see America's industrial workers at home caring for their sick children. "Vital to the cause of the United Nations is an ever-increasing stream of guns, tanks, and planes and other war equipment and materials from the United States. A thousand communities are involved in their production. Broken working time due to sickness of the worker or his wife or child or to disturbed family life handicaps production at countless points" (A Children's Charter in Wartime, 3). It was vital that the country be producing goods- particularly military goods - at an optimal rate. This meant that the working force needed to be healthy and attending work day in and day out.
In response to the military's need for cooking fats, the government offered "extra ration points and up to four cents for each pound" of cooking fat (A War Job in Your Own Home, 2). Not only did turning in cooking fats give them the ability to buy more foods, such as meat, but it gave them a monetary incentive as well. Fats and oils were another thing that needed to be rationed because there would be a shortage for the military if they were not monitored closely. The uses were nearly endless for cooking fats. They could be used for "Explosives for anti-aircraft guns...Sulfa ointments...Antiseptics for treating gas gangrene...Insulin...Smallpox vaccines...Opiates" (A War Job in Your Own Home, 4). I'm sure that not only were cooking fats a cheap alternative in making some of these, but in some instances the only alternative.
The government sought to show people at home how important their everyday life was to the war effort. It says that “what is new is that total defense demands total strength of the Nation” (The Homefront in National Defense, 2). The home front was “all the villages and towns and cities-several hundred of them-that are next door neighbors to our Army posts and naval stations and defense industries” (The Homefront in National Defense, 3). This meant that any American territory was a part of the defensive effort. The typical American family I think is represented on page eight of the document. There is a picture of what appeared to be a man and wife and three sons. The family dog is also pictured. “It means that all the people throughout the whole country must put their shoulders to the wheel” (The Homefront…1). The government had to unite and inspire, the individual had to be patriotic, the family had to conserve and produce, and the community had to maintain and produce. “We must safeguard the security of families by seeing that people have decent houses to live in, and that homes are not broken up because of poverty, illness, and other disaster” (The Homefront…2). The nation needed a firm foundation from which to base this effort on, and this came down to the individuals in the families of America. The “New-Deal” type plan is personified in the statement “The Federal Government is responsible for organizing the over-all national program” (The Homefront…4). Like the New Deal, this was a very active government which really inspired and united people for a common effort.
Again, the government knew that the pre-war economy would not lead the nation to a victory in this world war. Production had to be stepped up and national consumption decreased. An overall larger economy was needed to support the military and the government. “Labor” was any American with a job. “Labor is more united than ever before in this Great War undertaking” (Labor Goes to War, 2). “Organized labor is democracy itself” shows the government’s appeal to people. People could exercise their patriotism by acting on a traditional value- working hard. The effect of organized labor was heavily emphasized in the document. “Organized labor is behind our President; organized labor is behind total defense; organized labor and the American people will be before the enemy when he goes down to ignominious defeat” (Labor Goes to War, 8). People were obviously going to work anyways, but it was important that the government enlightened them on how important their labor was; and this was one of the things that led to an eventual victory in the war.


Web Assignment 9:

These speeches show the background to the cold war and many of the reasons certain countries had the political positions they did. Churchill showed his respects for Russia, saying “I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people” (Iron Curtain, 1). It was clear that the nations involved in the cold war were allies before World War II, but they had irreconcilable differences once the war was ended, forcing them into a military muscle flexing competition. Truman set out the American policy of containing communism. He explained that “ I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures” (New Policy Set Up, 1). America would come to the aid of any country that wanted to resist communist interference.
A “cold war” is a term used when there are, in fact, no literal military battles. No troops from either side were ever sent to the other country, nor were there any skirmishes or outbreaks of fighting. The cold war meant that both countries knew that they were enemies and a wrong move by the other side could prompt them to strike.
The majority of the battlefields were government offices and conferences during the cold war. This is where the decisions on policy and action were made. Again, there was no direct combat with Russia, but events such as the Korean War and Cuban Missile crisis were spawned out of it. “President Truman signed today the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, which made the long debated European Recovery Program an actuality” (New York Times, 1). In Truman’s speech on the importance of Indochina, he explains how important it is to fight for this land to both keep communism out and to get raw materials for the US.
Domestic public policy and lifestyle was largely affected by the Cold War. In the United States, people lived in constant fear of an all-out nuclear war. People built fall-out shelters, bomb drills were done in schools, and people even purchased radiation suits. The whole country lived in a state of fear for years and was convinced that any war would mark the end times. “Security measures were required to keep the nation in a steady state of preparedness, readily justified during wartime, now extended into the very uneasy peacetime” (Out of the Many, 514). The CIA was also developed during this time, and searching for communism was done within our own borders. The cold war affected American life every bit as much as did the two previous world wars, or even the “New Deal.”


Web Assignment 10:

Africans Americans, like many other oppressed people, were able to look past their small differences and unite in a single cause: Civil Rights. They were as one the across the whole nation with the same goal. Although slavery had been outlawed for a century, society still treated them as substandard to say the least. “Jim Crow” had them more or less quarantined from the liberties of white society; particularly in the south. Their music was one of the things that they had to communicate and give each other hope. Songs such as “We Shall Not Be Moved” promised them that they “were on [their] way to victory.” In that song it is made clear that “segregation [was their] enemy.” These songs helped remind them of their common background and where they came from. Most notably the songs fed their spirituality, with verses like “God is on our side” (We Shall Overcome). I cannot recall what Bernice Reagan said in particularly, but their powerful singing let the world hear what their aim and wishes were. Music truly was an effective way of them getting their point across.
When the states more or less ignored the Supreme Court ruling to desegregate society, most African Americans were furious to see that the Federal Government was hesitant to intervene. “"I don't see how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam - I don't see how he can send troops to the Congo - I don't see how he can send troops to Africa and can't end troops to Selma, Ala.," he said. The Negroes roared their approval.” (Bloody Sunday). While this may seem an obvious and fair reaction, there is some explanation for the government’s response. With any civil dispute, patience truly is a virtue. Policemen in cities across the nation have found that encounters, say, within the family are best to not intervene with if possible. The nation as a whole during this time was no different. The government had to find a good way to appear to be fair (uphold the court ruling), while not playing favorites. Troops eventually were sent in to aid in some of these events.
The Nation of Islam took a slightly different approach to obtaining civil rights than did, say, Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X was an advocate of using force to get what they desired. He gave a famous speech that he named “The Ballot or the Bullet.” They both wanted the same thing- equality for all African Americans. But they differed in that King would not advocate the use of any force whatsoever whereas Malcolm X was more or less ready to declare war for these rights.
“He was born in Yuma, Arizona, in 1927, one of five children of Mexican immigrants. When he was ten years old, his parents lost their small farm; he, his brothers and sisters, and his parents hoed beets, picked grapes, and harvested peaches and figs in Arizona and California. There were times when the family had to sleep in its car or camp under bridges. When young César was able to attend school (he attended more than thirty), he was often shunted into special classrooms set aside for Mexican-American children” (Mexican American Voices-Cesar Chavez). This was typical for many Mexican Americans. The best they could often hope for was farm work for which they did not earn enough and their job was rarely secure. Mexican families had it very hard during this era. “In Spanish, Dolores means "sorrow" and Huerta "orchard"--appropriate names for an organizer of farm workers” (Proclamation of the Delano Grape Workers). Mexican Americans faced much adversity.
The plight of the Mexican American was soon to improve. They, like the African Americans, united in labor unions and also to vote. After achieving their political voice in a Texas town, they were sure that "If we can do it in Crystal City, we can do it all over Texas. We can awaken the sleeping giant" (The Sleeping Giant) .There were slight differences between them and the African Americans. Although oppressed, they face no “Jim Crow.” The institutions against them were much more informal and they did not face the same amount of resistance. To say they had an easy task would not be accurate, but they had some slight advantages over the African Americans.
Native Americans were not silent during this time either. After finally becoming somewhat established as a people, they wanted to restore the respect and honor that their people once had. The Native Americans were sick of decisions being made for them. They wanted to be able to “determine their own destiny” (Declaration of Indian Purpose). They also sought to restore some of the land claims they once had. “We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery” ( Seizure of Alcatraz Island, 20 November 1969). The Native Americans took a completely approach than the marching that the African Americans did. Perhaps the military action they had tried a century earlier convinced them to do it in a more civilized way. They knew that they had to use their democratic power to get public policy influenced.
Neither of these audio clips gives the point of view of a Native American. Although reports of this nature are steered towards objectivity, biases always appear. The cause of the event was not entirely clear. The American Indian Movement (AIM) wanted the historical site and some of the relics back from seventy years earlier. The audio clip begins by portraying the Native Americans to be violent. For one, “Indian” is used instead of Native American. Also, the group is described as militant and aggressive. They are not portrayed in a positive light at all. Wounded Knee is where the US massacred a group of Native Americans.


People and the Land were important during this era in terms of World War II and the Cold War. During World War II, Hitler was advancing German territory and igniting most of Europe in war. This brought America into the picture, as she supplied the Allies before eventually joining in the war after Pearl Harbor was attacked. After the war, fear of the soviets brought out a doctrine of Communist containment for Americans. America helped countries trying to fight Communism and butted heads with Russia when they tried to put missiles in Cuba. Power and Participation was very prevalent in this era as well. World War II involved every single American in the war. Everyone in the country was encouraged to work hard and help ration to supply the military. Thousands of men were also sent over seas to fight for America. The civil rights movement was also a time where people used political participation to get what they desired. The Civil Right Movement was the most notable case of disagreement probably in the twentieth century. A landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, overruled the statute of “separate but equal.” Most of the south, however, was set up under a “Jim Crow” democracy. The Federal Government had to intervene against state legislatures that would not submit to the court ruling, not to mention the disagreements on the personal level between whites and blacks. The soviets were an entire nation that disagreed with American ideals. This sort of difference nearly started a war.

I have thought about the above context and I have come to the following conclusions. The twentieth century was enormous in terms of change and ground made in America and the World over. America was able to prove to the world her power in the war and even after with the nuclear arms race with Russia. This was not to say she was bulletproof, however. Internal dissent between different people groups caused many problems. To a certain extent this dissent made the nation more vulnerable. But America made it through and became the leading power in the world and the instiller of democracy. She became a country that was willing to help give democracy to any who wanted it. It was this era from World War II to nearly the nineteen seventies which set up the America in which we live today.

5 Comments:

At 12:35 PM, Blogger H. McLure said...

Congrats on finishing your final Blog Entry, Lucas! It looks very good; of course I will have more comments later.

 
At 6:15 PM, Blogger abby said...

I agree with Lucas’ conclusion to his Blog and believe it gives a good summary of the information. I think it is interesting when he says, “this was not to say she [the country] was bulletproof, however. Internal dissent between different people groups caused many problems” (Lucas’ Blog). I agree with this because I think that many people looked at the United States at the time as “perfect” and did not see the hypocritical state the country was in. Like I said in my Blog, “the country finally realized that before it fixed any more countries problems they had to fix their own and so the Civil Rights Movement started” (Abby’s Blog). I believe that the country had for so long been solving other countries problems and had been almost completely successful; yet, it had never looked inwards towards the problems in the country. I believe that Lucas did a good job describing this and I completely agree with what he said.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Lucas, Thanks for explaining this. I had no idea that fats could be really used to serve SO many things. I just thought the poster was trying to lead housewives to believe they were performing an important task when really it was relatively unimportant. But that women could help from their home, really in the production of explorsives, guns, ointments, and antiseptics is really neat.

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Megan said...

In response to:
People and the Land were important during this era in terms of World War II and the Cold War. During World War II, Hitler was advancing German territory and igniting most of Europe in war. This brought America into the picture, as she supplied the Allies before eventually joining in the war after Pearl Harbor was attacked. After the war, fear of the soviets brought out a doctrine of Communist containment for Americans. America helped countries trying to fight Communism and butted heads with Russia when they tried to put missiles in Cuba. Power and Participation was very prevalent in this era as well. World War II involved every single American in the war. Everyone in the country was encouraged to work hard and help ration to supply the military. Thousands of men were also sent over seas to fight for America. The civil rights movement was also a time where people used political participation to get what they desired. The Civil Right Movement was the most notable case of disagreement probably in the twentieth century. A landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, overruled the statute of “separate but equal.” Most of the south, however, was set up under a “Jim Crow” democracy. The Federal Government had to intervene against state legislatures that would not submit to the court ruling, not to mention the disagreements on the personal level between whites and blacks. The soviets were an entire nation that disagreed with American ideals. This sort of difference nearly started a war.


I like how you can both clearly and succinctly give an chronology of the events here. It's helpful.

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Megan said...

In response to:
Although oppressed, they face no “Jim Crow.” The institutions against them were much more informal and they did not face the same amount of resistance. To say they had an easy task would not be accurate, but they had some slight advantages over the African Americans.

Unlike African-Americans and the Jim Crow laws, there was no formal legislation passed concerning restrictions to Mexican-Americans. However, I disagree with Lucas in saying that they did not face the same amount of resistance. The Mexican-Americans must have faced the same forces felt by African-Americans. They were second class citizens. If the Mexican-American population was as large as that of the African-Americans, similar Jim Crow laws would have been passed to suppress their voice as well.

The 'threat' perceived by whites was probably less because in addition to their smaller population, most Latinos did not speak nor understand English. Just as the whites refused blacks they also refused Latinos the same quality education, living conditions, and pay.

 

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