As soon as America entered World War II, the lives of all Americans changed.
But even as more and more women took paid and volunteer positions outside the home, taking care of the home remained crucial. America could only fight for freedom if American households were healthy and orderly. This was made all the more difficult as many married women and mothers took paid jobs and experienced the “double shift” of working motherhood for the first time.
On top of this, many Americans faced racial discrimination, and found ways to advocate against it. Over 100,000 Japanese Americans were forced into concentration camps during the war, where they bound together and proactively shared the story of the injustice they experienced. And the country’s African American population publicly wondered whether victory abroad could result in a victory for civil rights at home. Such tensions were a not-so-subtle reminder that the nation did not always live up to the democratic ideals of freedom and equality it sought to defend overseas through war.