The Greatest Generation Essay

1578 words - 6 pages

“The Greatest Generation” is a term used to describe the generation who were the children of the Great Depression and who became the adults of the Second World War (Brokaw). There may be strong reasons why other generations may be considered great. The generation born during the war undertook the task of putting a man on the moon. This is perhaps the most important of all human endeavors. They are certainly worthy of being considered great but not the greatest. In fifteen years America and indeed the world endured the crushing poverty of the Great Depression and the costliest war in all of human history. The enormous struggles and accomplishments of this generation is what makes it the greatest.
I intend to show by way of reason and evidence why this generation deserves the title given to them. I will concentrate on the war years as they were the most trans formative. The America which emerged from the war was radically different from the one that entered it. We were the most powerful nation left standing. One of the groups that I will be discussing is those who were left at home. These people brought our nation to the heights of industrial output. Indeed with these hard working people, the United States supplied the Allied Nations with the implements needed to fight and win. I would like to also shine some light on those men and women who fought the war. The US Army Air Corps in the European Theater, and my fellow Marines in the Pacific.
The United States had begun to re-arm in 1940. From 1939 to 1941 the size of the US Armed forces grew from 334,473 to 1,801,101 that is a 538% increase. By the war's end there were over 12,000,000 men in the armed forces ("By the numbers: the US military"). The vast majority of those serving were the children of the depression. This led to a massive shortfall in the labor market. 12.2 million able bodied men and women were not working at a time when industry needed all available workers.
For those men and women who stayed home there was a whole new world in terms of employment. For the people who had stood in the daily work lines of the 1930s, suddenly there were full time paying jobs all over the country. For people who had not traditionally worked there were opportunities everywhere.
Women, particularly married women joined the workforce in numbers never before seen “Between 1940 and 1945, the female percentage of the U.S. workforce increased from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent, and by 1945 nearly one out of every four married women worked outside the home” (Staff). These people who stayed at home and helped the war production most certainly did their best. By the end of the war they had more than doubled the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is a modern measurement of the health of an economy ("U.S. GDP by Year"). Their hard work had truly made us “the arsenal of democracy” ("Franklin D. Roosevelt: Fireside Chat.").
When the United States entered the war in 1941 the conflagration had been raging...

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