Pearl Harbor: Catalyst for Societal Change Post-WW2

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Pearl Harbor: The Turning Point in War and American Societal Views

Life after WW2 When the United States was coming out of the Great Depression, women and other races were treated differently. One of the nation’s most defining points in history was World War II. After almost a century, the belief that gender or race should be treated unequally has come to an end. People who were not white could not get the same rights as others and still did not until ten years later. They were not able to serve in the military or any job with authority. Women were the typical stay-at-home wives who did not work outside the house.

The war started when Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler launched his invasion of Poland, allowing him to go on to conquer most of Europe. Hitler’s goal was to cause a mass genocide of the Jewish people and show that the Aryan race was dominant and that the Jews should be killed. After Hitler Conquered most of Europe, the Axis powers, which were composed of Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, began to follow Hitler. The United States entered the war later because they were neutral due to the Lend-Lease Act and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

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Pearl Harbor suffered a bad loss when the Japanese sent a surprise bombing on a U.S. base that was located there. That’s when the United States decided to join allies in the fight against Germany. In December 1941, the U.S. declared war on Japan. Sadly, in retaliation for the Pearl Harbor bombing, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

From Battlefront to Homefront: How WW2 Transformed American Society and Workforce

As the fight progressed, it was clear to the Allied Powers that they needed to help the Jewish people and bring an end to Hitler. At this time, the Jewish people were being slaughtered and treated like slaves. Since the U.S. had very little resources to engage in war, they needed all the help they could get. There were kids asked to help with bringing any scrap that could be fashioned into weapons for our army. Women were also working at factories that helped the war effort. They made ammunition, vehicles, and more. Overnight, the unemployment rate dropped by 90% because everyone had a role to play. The United States needed all it could get in order to help our men at war. Due to the rapid unemployment drop, we were carried out of the Great Depression. At this time, African Americans were finally able to serve in the military.

There were over 2.5 African Americans who served in the U.S. military during the war, including the famous Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first African-American fighter pilots.

After Hilter committed suicide a week later, the Axis powers surrendered, ending World War 2.

After the war, African Americans were allowed to serve in the war, and this was a new change for their workforce. Women, given their great effort during the war, were laid off from their factory jobs, but most girls over 14 began to work outside the house. And after the war, our factories were able to produce more supplies to support the military effort. I truly believe that the war helped break racial and sexist barriers.


  1. Personal letters and diaries from soldiers and civilians during WW2.
  2. Newspapers and periodicals from the 1940s.
  3. U.S. government publications from the time (e.g., wartime propaganda, military recruitment posters).

Cite this page

Pearl Harbor: Catalyst for Societal Change Post-WW2. (2023, Aug 30). Retrieved from

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