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"The Employment of African Americans in WW2" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2020 10:27 p.m. PST

"…Recognizing that the story of Negro participation in military service during World War II was of national interest as well as of great value for future military planning, the Assistant Secretary of War in February 1944 recommended preparation of a book on this subject. The opportunity to undertake it came two years later with the assignment to the Army's Historical Division of the author, then a captain and a man highly qualified by training and experience to write such a work. After careful examination of the sources and reflection Captain Lee concluded that it would be impracticable to write a comprehensive and balanced history about Negro soldiers in a single volume. His plan, formally approved in August 1946, was to focus his own work on the development of Army policies in the use of Negroes in military service and on the problems associated with the execution of these policies at home and abroad, leaving to the authors of other volumes in the Army's World War II series, then taking shape, the responsibility for covering activities of Negroes in particular topical areas.

This definition of the author's objective is needed in order to understand why he has described his work "in no sense a history of Negro troops in World War II." Writing some years ago, he explained: "The purpose of the present volume is to bring together the significant experience of the Army in dealing with an important national question: the full use of the human resources represented by that 10 percent of national population that is Negro. It does not attempt to follow, in narrative form, the participation of Negro troops in the many branches, commands, and units of the Army . . . . A fully descriptive title for the present volume, in the nineteenth century manner, would read: `The U.S. Army and Its Use of Negro Troops in World War II: Problems in the Development and Application of Policy with Some Attention to the Results, Public and Military.' " Thus, in accordance with his objective, the author gives considerably more attention to the employment of Negroes as combat soldiers than to their use as service troops overseas. Even though a large majority of the Negroes sent overseas saw duty in service rather than in combat units, their employment in service forces did not present the same number or degree of problems…"
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