This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. African Americans performed admirably and with valor in the wars prior to World War II. However, Commanding generals‘ attitudes on African American leadership competency and capabilities to master modern weapons remained in doubt after World War I. During World War II, the U.S. Army had to fight multiple modern militaries on several different fronts provided African Americans opportunities to change negative military attitudes towards them. Several African American units served with distinction during World War II. Large African American combat units, including infantry and cavalry divisions normally served within a prescribed command structure and were nominally excluded from interaction with white soldiers, with the exception of their commanding officers. Smaller functional combat units, anti-aircraft artillery, field artillery, and platoons integrated more frequently with Caucasian troops due to their unique task organization. This paper will examine these small unit integration experiences to determine their impact on the decision to integrate the US Army in 1948
CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION * Literature Review * CHAPTER 2 – MOBILIZATION PLANS AND SELECTIVE SERVICE * African American Perception During the Interwar Period 1919 to 1941 * Key Progressive European and African American Leaders * CHAPTER 3 – MOBILIZATION AND TRAINING (1940 to 1944) * Personnel Assignment in a Segregated Army * Formation of Small Black Combat Units * Deployment Policies and Race Tensions (1942 to 1944) * CHAPTER 4 – 761st TANK BATTALION "PATTON’S PANTHERS" CASE STUDY * Saar Basin Offensive * CHAPTER 5 – THE 5TH PLATOONS * The Beginning of Something Beautiful * Discrimination and Humiliation Home and Abroad * Need Creates Opportunity * Infantry Training * No Racial Divide in the Trenches * Dishonored * The Integration Demand * CHAPTER 6 – CONCLUSION
Military service historically created opportunities for African Americans to gain equality. The need for manpower necessitated a change in government policy to allow African Americans to be involved in America’s wars was typically the driving force. World War II was no exception as the Saar Basin Offensive, Battle of the Bulge and the subsequent Ruhr Campaign necessitated a call up from all available units to fill personnel shortages along the front lines. Once again, opportunity arose for African American combat units to display their patriotism and push for equality on the battlefield. Senior U.S. Army officers and government officials developed policies and procedures from 1919 to 1945 in order to define the appropriate size of segregated African American combat units. These leaders approximated the size of African American combat units through their own personal prejudice and bias of African Americans ability to fight in combat. Decentralized operations in small combat units, battalion and below, had the greatest impact on changing European American perceptions of African American ability to serve in an integrated Army. In the Revolutionary War, American leadership allowed five thousand African Americans to serve in direct response to the British promise of freedom for slaves who fought for Great Britain.1 In the War of 1812, Major General Andrew Jackson established the Louisiana Free Men of Color for the Battle of New Orleans.2 Military manpower was the primary reason for African American military service in the Civil War. President Lincoln recognized the lack of American volunteers left a void in the Union Army. Ultimately, 186,000 African Americans served in the Civil War.
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