History & Social Studies

Why did the civil rights movement and other reform efforts find such a boost after World War II, yet not after World War I?

Compare and contrast the impact of World War I and World War II and their aftermath on social reform, civil rights and civil liberties.

Asked by
Last updated by anonymous
1 Answers
Log in to answer
WWI was more of a competition for imperialism and not democracy. Segregation and not giving women many rights were very prominent. When the war ended, many economic, social, and political conflicts remained. Soldiers were coming back to high unemployment, housing shortage, and inflation. The women that had been working lost their jobs to men coming back from war, farmers were unable to pay their debts for machinery bought, and African Americans were disappointed with the racial inequality that resurfaced after the war. Government had lost controls on industry and employers were only interested in protecting their profits. They weren’t interested in bargaining with employees causing many strikes. The country went into a post-war depression until the 20’s when the economy started booming. However, the government focus was more on leisure and entertainment than on pursuing social reform, civil rights, and civil liberties.

Before WWII, Roosevelt had rolled out his New Deals. Many programs had been put in place that had taken the country through social reform and economic recovery from the Depression. Roosevelt also increased the power of the presidency. The U.S. came out of this war as the world’s overwhelming economic power. (Goldfield, Abbott, Anderson, Argersinger, Argersinger, Barney, Weir, 2009, pg 806) Although they had been fighting overseas, the economy never stopped. There were rations, but people were employed and the government was strong. After the war, there was a very short period of housing shortages and increase in unemployment, but with all the work that had been done before and during the war, the economy turned around quickly and flourished for the next quarter century.