Accession Number : ADA439992


Title :   Separate and Unequal: Race Relations in the AAF During World War 2


Descriptive Note : Monograph


Corporate Author : AIR FORCE HISTORICAL STUDIES OFFICE BOLLING AFB DC


Personal Author(s) : Osur, Alan M.


Full Text : http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA439992


Report Date : 2000


Pagination or Media Count : 62


Abstract : Race relations between white and black Americans in the Army Air Forces (AAF) during World War II ran the gamut from harmonious to hostile, depending upon the unique circumstances existing within each unit, command, and theater. In analyzing racial policy as it was implemented throughout the chain of command, there are a number of themes relevant for an understanding of the utilization of African Americans during the war. First, the AAF never willingly accepted black soldiers. This service had totally excluded them for over two decades before they were permitted to enter, and then used them only reluctantly. The fact that the AAF even opened its doors to African Americans and proceeded to make additional opportunities available to them was due to pressures aimed at the War Department and the AAF. Individuals and organizations within the black community and white liberals in and out of Congress were quite vocal and were able to exert sufficient pressure to force the War Department and AAF to examine and modify their policies and practices throughout the war. Another recurring theme was that leadership within the War Department and AAF assumed that segregation was the most efficient system of race relations and accepted the "separate-but-equal" doctrine. However, the AAF did not really maintain equal facilities for black soldiers, and they were not afforded equal treatment. The policy of segregation was unsatisfactory for African Americans and many of them protested. But because of deeply ingrained racist beliefs, the American public and the military were willing to accept the additional financial burden, social unrest, and inefficiency of segregation in an attempt to keep African Americans "in their place." Because of mounting pressure upon War Department officials, there was a change in outlook from 1943 through the end of the war to recognize and alleviate the race problem. The military sought to utilize black soldiers fairly rather than view them as problems. 7


Descriptors :   *AIR FORCE , *POLICIES , *RACE RELATIONS , *SEGREGATION(SOCIOLOGY) , *ARMY AVIATION , *AFRICAN AMERICANS , *SECOND WORLD WAR , MILITARY HISTORY , ARMY PERSONNEL , ATTITUDES(PSYCHOLOGY) , OFFICER PERSONNEL , CAUCASIANS , RACIAL DISCRIMINATION , FEMALES , AVIATION PERSONNEL , CONFLICT , MANPOWER UTILIZATION , LEADERSHIP , DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.


Subject Categories : MILITARY AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS
      SOCIOLOGY AND LAW
      HUMANITIES AND HISTORY
      MILITARY FORCES AND ORGANIZATIONS


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE