American Dream of African American soldiers after WWI

American Dream
of African American soldiers after WWI

During World War I many things changed, lives were destroyed; dreams
shattered, and many soldiers’ who went to war came back with a different
view of life. This "lost generation" was one of the main reasons why the
speakeasies and popular 20s culture arose. That culture arose because the
men returning from the battlefield did not care. Especially when the African

American soldiers returned from WWI. They changed their views also on their

American Dream. These soldiers "the lost generation" are what made the

20s. The African American soldiers when upon returning to the United States
were as lost as all the other soldiers were. They had lost faith in society.

The African American soldiers who returned from WWI were of a different
demeanor they when they had left. Before they had left they were mostly
acceptful of the status quo. They were lower class, and lacked the basic
human civil rights that the rest of the country had. The few who sought
change were suppressed or given no importance. However during the war this
all changed. Men who went into battle fought and died among men of many
different races, although their battalions were different. They realized
that the country they were fighting, and dying for was not giving them
any rights at all. They were fighting for their country yet they did not
receive the same treatment as all the other people did. "The race riots
broke out in 29 American cities as African - American soldiers returning
from Europe and demanding greater civil rights were opposed by mobs of
whites." (Jackson 25)

The rest of the United States had people left behind who did not change
and refused to give them their rights. Thus the race riots began. This
scared many white Americans and made them more suspicious of the African

Americans. It is safe to say that during this time period the American

Dream of most African American’s was to become equal among their non –
black peers. (Jackson 28) They wanted a similar good education and they
wanted the best treatment possible. The reason for this was because of
the war. The was an eye opener for many white and non – white people. They
were fighting among foreigners of many countries and ethnic backgrounds.

Most of who had equal rights in their own countries. This led them to question
why they were fighting a war for a country that did not give them their
own rights. However, this was only one of the impacts on the American Dream.

The second impact, and probably the one that caused the 20s downfall
was the symptom of the "lost generation". This term was used to describe
the soldiers who were returning from the war. Most of the soldiers returning
from the war had seen so much death and violence that they had lost faith
in society. "The First World War was simply too violent and inhuman to
be rationalized by and absorbed into the cultural fabric of early twentieth
century Western thought. As a result, those who experienced the tragedy
first hand, and many who did not, simply lost faith in the whole of Western
thought. The truth of the war stood contrary to the \'truth\' as it was commonly
known. Young men returning home after the war had seen something that simply
did not fit into their version of reality. They questioned the unquestionable
assumptions that all of their society and all of their ambitions were based
on-- they questioned these and found that they did not apply." (Klock,

On the Lost Generation)

They had come all this way thinking that war was going to be like fancy
war stories. However the reality was quite different. Trench warfare was
used in WWI and they were forced to live in mud houses for months exposed
to the elements, and inviting diseases such as gangrene. The sheer horror
of people losing limbs in battle right in front of them was starting to
take a psychological toll. Shell shock, poison gas, and fighting for 2
meters of land at a time all contributed to this generation’s loss. The
men returning from the war were depressed, disoriented and distraught.

"These 3 D’s of downfall were also on of the reasons why the American Dream
during this time was not profound in society, the result of which people
did not care about society. They just wanted to have fun and try to forget
the horrors of war. This