The impact of World War II was tremendous for the United States. Many industries underwent serious challenges, and people needed to work hard to earn a living and protect their lives. America replaced its isolationist beliefs with internationalist rage and addressed recent technological and social progress to resist the growing power of Germany and Japan. WWII brought incredible changes to how women and African Americans were treated, how atomic bombing provoked the technological boom, and how the country re-evaluated its home and abroad ideologies.
Social and interpersonal relationships were significantly improved by reducing the presence of racial and gender discrimination concerns. The war was the period when Americans must unite their resources and skills to resist the enemy and protect their land. Women left their domestic jobs and tried to support plants and factories where men could no longer be due to their military obligations. Millions of women understood that their lives would never be the same, and they accepted this challenge to promote a better future for their country and allow their men to fight for freedom and equality. Similar transformations were observed in minority communities when African Americans struggled for their rights, demonstrating courage and determination to become a part of American democracy (Randolph 228). Negro citizens believed in national unity and equal opportunities regardless of the color of their skin (Randolph 228). When the Japanese attacked Hawaii, thousands of black citizens changed their occupations and were recognized as worthy protectors of America. Segregation in employment and military was considerably reduced, which was a positive ideological outcome of WWII.
Another war-related technological achievement included the possibility to find practical application to theoretical knowledge about atomic energy. The United States had a huge scientific potential before the war, but there were no fair opportunities to check its level without causing damage to innocent people. The war from the air at Pearl Harbor created the basis for “a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces” (Truman 236). It seems that Americans needed a kick that turned out to be a reason to demonstrate their power in a global arena. After the destruction of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States was accepted as a global economic player that showed “the greatest achievement of organized science in history” (Truman 236). The country was ready to respond to any threat, and its enemies were aware of their chance to lose everything in a minute. The development of new technologies was both a negative and positive change for America because of new unpredictable responsibilities and expectations.
Finally, WWII roused the necessity to forget about non-involvement policies and accept German and Japanese aggression as an international threat. According to Lindbergh, the United States was not prepared “to wage war in Europe successfully at this time” (223). Therefore, it was correct to respect the same opinion of millions of Americans against the war. The beliefs about isolation and freedom to follow American ideals and the chosen way of life prevailed (Lindbergh 223). However, the events in Hawaii and the spread of German winnings had to be stopped. It was time for Americans to sacrifice their normal interests and join the war to ensure safety and order at home and abroad. This alternation was necessary, but its impact remained ambiguous: on the one hand, human losses were inevitable, and, on the other hand, this step proved American global supremacy.
In conclusion, it is hard to say which event had the largest impact on America after WWII. All social, technological, and political achievements made the country what it is now. The application of atomic bombs, the obligation to join the war, and the importance of promoting national unity shaped the United States and its citizens. Still, in my opinion, the most significant outcome of the war was connected to social changes when racial and gender inequality was removed from society. All people recognized their rights and responsibilities in front of the same enemy and began cherishing social unity and mutual support.
Lindbergh, Charles A. “From Address to America First Rally (1941).” For the Record: A Documentary History of America, edited by David E. Shi and Holly A. Mayer, 6th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 222-223.
Randolph, A. Philip. “From Call to Negro America to March on Washington (1941). For the Record: A Documentary History of America, edited by David E. Shi and Holly A. Mayer, 6th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 226-228.
Truman, Harry S. “The Atomic Bombing on Hiroshima – The Public Explanation (1945). For the Record: A Documentary History of America, edited by David E. Shi and Holly A. Mayer, 6th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, pp. 236-237.