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Mexican Americans and World War II by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez


Mexican Americans and World War II by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

Up to 750,000 Mexican American men served in World War II, earning more Medals of Honor and other decorations in proportion to their numbers than any other ethnic group. Mexican American women entered the workforce on the home front, supporting the war effort and earning good wages for themselves and their families. But the contributions of these men and women have been largely overlooked as American society celebrates the sacrifices and achievements of the Greatest Generation. To bring their stories out of the shadows, this book gathers eleven essays that explore the Mexican American experience in World War II from a variety of personal and scholarly perspectives. The book opens with accounts of the war's impact on individuals and families. It goes on to look at how the war affected school experiences; how Mexican American patriotism helped to soften racist attitudes; how Mexican Americans in the Midwest, unlike their counterparts in other regions of the country, did not experience greater opportunities as a result of the war; how the media exposed racist practices in Texas; and how Mexican nationals played a role in the war effort through the Bracero program and through the Mexican government's championing of Mexican Americans' rights. As a whole, the collection reveals that World War II was the turning point that gave most Mexican Americans their first experience of being truly included in American society, and it confirms that Mexican Americans of the Greatest Generation took full advantage of their new opportunities as the walls of segregation fell.


Never in one book has the diversity of the wartime Mexican American experience been covered so fully. * Military History of the West * This book provides a much-needed resource for historians of World War II and as a historical backdrop to the generational origins of the Chicano civil rights movements. * Hispanic Outlook * This text makes a valuable contribution to the growing literature on the Mexican American experience. * Western Historical Quarterly *

About the Author

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez is Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin and the founder and director of the U.S. Latino & Latina World War II Oral History Project (now Voces Oral History Project). Her previous books include, most recently, Beyond the Latino WWII Hero: The Social and Political Legacy of a Generation.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st April 2005


Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

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University of Texas Press


336 pages


General & world history
Second World War
Regional studies



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