HIST465 World War II : Essay Fountain

Question:

You will select any narrowly focused topic which covers World War II or its causes and results in European history.

Be sure that all sources you use are scholarly sources (not Wikipedia) and that you cite them using formal citations in the Chicago Style.

The thesis must be relevant and appropriate to the argument and demonstrate an accurate and complete understanding of the question(s). It should do more than restate the question.

The Argument section should incorporate pertinent details from assigned coursework and outside readings when permitted. Please make sure to ask your instructor for approval.

The section must provide relevant historical evidence to support the thesis and the key claims made in the argument as needed. It should maintain focus and avoid getting

It should briefly restate the thesis and summarize the main points of the argument.

It should also demonstrate insight and understanding regarding the question(s) asked.

 

Answer:

Introduction

Tuskegee airmen were the very first black military aviators in the United States Army Air Corps- a branch of the United States Air Force. The training of the Tuskegee airmen took place in Alabama where they flew not less than 15,000 sorties in North America and Europe during the Second World War. In the 1920s there rose record-setting pilots who captivated the young nation and inspired a lot of young people to follow their footsteps and also become pilots (Jefferson and Alexander. 2017). Unfortunately, those young men and women who were African Americans and wanted to become pilots were met with large obstacles. Some of these obstacles included widespread racism where there was a belief that black people could not under any circumstance learn how to operate or even fly an aircraft. In 1938, Europe was on brink of another war and therefore there was a need for expansion of training on civilian pilots all over the U.S.

Those were the time when racial segregation was the deal of the day in the United States Armed Forces and the country at large. Most of the military settings especially those established in the Southern parts of the country believed that black soldiers were inferior to the white soldiers and would perform poorly in combat. Eventually, there were black newspapers like Chicago Defender that fought for the rights of the black and civil rights groups like the NAACP who argued that black people should also be included. In September 1940 the U.S president Roosevelt allowed the ACC to also train black pilots.The training ground was set to be at Tuskegee where the trainees were undergraduates and college students who came from all over the country. The training programs apart from pilots also included about 14,000 instructors, navigators, instructors, bombardiers and other maintenance and staff.  Despite the struggle of the Tuskegee airmen during training, on the battlefield they continued to face racism and prejudice.

 

Arguments

Hard times in the world

Black Americans faced hardest times which were worsened by prejudice and racism. In the early thirties, the American citizens had a rough ride of many of several painful years. The living standards were low and it was very unhealthy and also psychologically devastating for people to survive in America. Things were now tougher to the black people who were treated unequal and were faced with racism in the best parts of their lives. They then had to come up with survival tactics that involved being resilient and managing with all the hardships that came to their way.The black men and women of America were forced by the challenging times to develop a character of being daring and work so hard to gain freedom at all costs. These black people had to fight for their rights of inclusivity so that they could be allowed in the army. It was not easy for the white people saw them as inferior and incapable of handling war equipment. Despite the challenges, the Negro men and women fought their way to work and train as pilots, wing walkers and other positions in the Tuskegee airfield.

 

Racism and Segregation

In pursuit of becoming great airmen, African Americans faced significant racism and segregation. Dryden was one of the most active and prominent members in a group of about seven hundred Black airmen trained as pilots in Alabama.3 He explains his struggles and the struggles that all the black people went through as airmen in his book known as A-Train: Memories of a Tuskegee Airmen. He was also the commanding officer of the 332nd Fighter and 477th Composite group and he says that they depended on a single telephone for communication. To start with the training ground of the Tuskegee airmen was in an isolated training complex. Here there were no other trainees apart from the black people. Racism was the order of the day from the black people not being allowed to join the army to being segregated in one ground. The Negro women were never taken seriously and they had to fight for their position and prove that they equally deserved consideration.

African Americans were resilient in rebuilding their lives and relationships amid a strong wave of racism that is well grounded in the American history. Victor Turner’s idea of racism is used to demonstrate and show how the racism identity and racism itself are constructed in the history of the United States. The idea runs around the procession structure of a social activity where the Hawaii people are used as examples. The residents of Hawaii did not have any experience with the mainland’s bi-polar or any racial relation with the African Americans. The Hawaii people faced racial segregation and that is how they were able to relate with the black Americans as they too faced racial discrimination in the United States.They had similar struggles for equality, inclusivity, and justice where they were treated as less human who are incapable and not worthy.

African American airmen were treated with disregard even when they committed themselves to serving their country. Alexander was one of the 32 airmen in the 332nd who dedicated their life to a promise of freedom back at home. He tells of how they were treated with disrespect and different on the training and during the battle. In his book, Alexander explains how he was a prisoner of war and also how other black people were held in prison and how they faced a lot of challenges. To keep his mind busy and to let time pass, Alexander used to draw sketches of combat airplanes. They were held as prisoners by the German who feared the black army as they saw them as a dangerous weapon.7 The United States who they had gone to fight for, a country that they truly loved, never went to their rescue and did not care what they had gone through as prisoners. Alexander faced racism from his early years as a young boy when walking home and passing through the Jewish territories.7Other people especially boys always threw stones at him or mocked him as he passed their areas on his way home. This means that he had to use stones or fight his way.

 

Racism and prejudice against African American airmen resulted in inequality and unfair treatment. Despite the well-done work and the dedication of Dryden, the white people who were the rulers treated him like trash. Dryden was dismissed from being an Army Air Corps of the United States on very unfair grounds. Dryden had flown and led a flight of four P-39 Air cobras across Walterboro Army Airbase on a low attitude. The witness as other white soldiers disrespected and looked down on black people to a point that he gave the wrong information. They were flying on low attitude, yes, but they were about seventy meters from the watchtower. Unfortunately, the witness said that he looked down from the tower and saw them fly past the tower. This was known as buzzing and a criminal act due to incidents that involved crashing of the airplanes that led to injuries and also the death of the military pilot and some civilians.

Racial segregation was used to deny black people employment in the air force. There was a review of the Army Air Corps in the National Defense Plan in relation to the employment of the black people. The judge known as Hastie stated that it was not right to utilize racial segregation for the employment of the Negros in the Air Corps. He saw them as a waste of American resources as the black people were weak and limited humans. He advised that the available resources should not be wasted on them and they would rather focus on other army bases that contained the white people. The unfair treatment went on even after the war and the end of hostilities in Europe. When the men of the 332nd came home from the war, they were met with segregated reception centers and to stations that were locally separated. Unlike the other white soldiers who were welcomed by New York ticker-tape parades, the Negros had no such welcome back home.

Unlike other military bases where most of the army were provided with houses, the Tuskegee Airmen were not. They had to struggle and find houses, where they could stay with their families near the base as it was during the war and security was scarce. Dryden explains how he stayed in a one-bedroom house which was expensive despite having to share the kitchen and the bathroom. The housing was scarce and the Tuskegee men had to take anything even if it was halfway decent. During the training, they were worked on a busy schedule and have no time to rest or do other staff of their own. They were even denied freedom of having a club as the one that was there in Lufberry hall was closed on grounds that were petty and in other circumstances could have been resolved.

 

Inequality and unfair treatment

African American airmen were unfairly prejudiced and dismissed. There were other situations that minor mistakes led to the firing or dismissal of jobs. In one particular situation, the Tuskegee airmen lost the CO of the Third Fighter Command in the states. He testified to the congressional board of the United State where he was accused of lack of aggressiveness. The Congressional board stated that the officer was not aggressive enough in his work as he had only won one battle of bringing down an enemy’s airplane in two months. They did not consider these as an achievement and they expected the black people to achieve out of the ordinary. These minor mistakes should not have led to dismissal from work as there were no crimes committed.

Conclusion

The lives of the Tuskegee airmen were faced by a lot of hardships from the time they were recruited up to the time that the battle war ended. They are faced with racism where the American government and the citizens saw them as less capable and not intelligent enough to handle the war. They are faced with harsh training conditions where there is no freedom and poor housing conditions. Their training hours are a lot showing that even on the training grounds they are seen as slaves. On the battlefield for example, after the completion of a single mission the 332nd flight is sent to Italy instead of being sent home. These show how the Tuskegee Airmen have to face a lot of challenges from a lot of working hours to having no rest time. They are not allowed to go see their families and even communicate with their families is very limited. After winning a battle, instead of being celebrated as war heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen are not appreciated and those that were it is years after. Therefore, the life of the Tuskegee Airmen was that of slavery, a lot of challenges and struggles.

 

Bibliography

Ater, Renée. “Commemoration, Race, and World War II: History and Civil Rights at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.” ASJ, 2015.

Carlson, Lewis H. Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW.

New York City, NY: Fordham University Press, 2005.

Bailey, Beth, and David Farber. “The ‘Double-V’ Campaign in World War II Hawaii: African Americans, Racial Ideology, and Federal Power.” Journal of Social History, Vol. 26, No. 4 (1993): p.817-843.

Black, Helen K., and William H. Thompson, “A War within a War: A World War II Buffalo Soldier’s Story,” The Journal of Men’s Studies, vol. 20, no. 1 (2012).

Dryden, Charles W., and Benjamin O. Davis. A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.: University of Alabama Press, 2002. 

Francis, E. Charles. The Tuskegee Airmen: The Men who Changed a Nation. Wesley, MA: Branden Publishing Company, 2008.

Hunter, Andrea G., and Alethea Rollins. “We made history: Collective memory and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.” Journal of Social Issues 71, no. 2 (2015): 264-278.

Jefferson, Alexander. Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memories of a Tuskegee Airman and

POW. Fordham Univ Press, 2017.

Moye, J. Todd. Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Norris, Laureen, “The Battle for Civil Rights in the War for Peace: African-Americans in World War II,” Perspectives in History, Vol XI, (1996) p.47-52.

Taylor, Clarence. “Patriotism Crosses the Color Line: African Americans in World War II.” The Guilder Lehrman Institute of American History. www. gilderlehrman. org/history-by-era/world-war-ii/essays/patriotism-crosses-color-line-african-americans-world-war-ii 10 (2009).

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