Impact of Battalion and Smaller African-American Combat Units on Integration of the U.S. Army in the European Theater of Operations During World War II
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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African Americans performed admirably and with valor in the wars prior to World War II. However, Commanding generals attitudes on African American leadership competency and capabilities to master modern weapons remained in doubt after World War I. During World War II, the U.S. Army had to fight multiple modern militaries on several different fronts provided African Americans opportunities to change negative military attitudes towards them. Several African American units served with distinction during World War II. Large African American combat units, including infantry and cavalry divisions normally served within a prescribed command structure and were nominally excluded from interaction with white soldiers, with the exception of their commanding officers. Smaller functional combat units, anti-aircraft artillery, field artillery, and platoons integrated more frequently with Caucasian troops due to their unique task organization. This paper will examine these small unit integration experiences to determine their impact on the decision to integrate the US Army in 1948. Thesis Decentralized operations in small combat units battalion and below had the most impact on changing European American perceptions of African Americans ability to serve in an integrated Army.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics