Essay Example on Black division that saw infantry combat in Europe









Only black division that saw infantry combat in Europe Out of 909 000 black Americans selected for active duty in the army for WWII only this division saw infantry combat in Europe The rest were assigned to segregated construction or supply units or units with unpleasant duties like graves registration It was the government's belief that blacks were not motivated or aggressive enough to fight Enlisted men and junior officers were black higher officers were white Of the 12 846 Buffalo Soldiers who saw action 2 848 were killed captured of wounded Inefficient Training Under the command of Major General Edward M Almond the 92nd began combat training at Fort McClellan Alabama October 1942 and then deployed to Italy the summer of 1944 They trained hard while struggling with high rates of illiteracy military discipline issues and racial white societal norms Racial intolerance of white society during this time prevented the unit from training together as a whole making unit cohesion very difficult After 8 months of this the division moved to Fort Huachuca Arizona to complete its training 

The qualities that made a well trained soldier conflicted with the realities of race based education in the 1930s The unequal race based education became clear when it was discovered the 13 of the 92nd soldiers were illiterate and another 62 were in the two lowest Army General Classification Test categories Many soldiers in these lower categories were untrainable and many were unreliable in combat Many African American soldiers were unable to support the goals of an Army they saw as continuing the Jim Crow system that suppressed them their whole life o JIM CROW system A racial caste system that relegated African Americans to the status of second class citizens It represented a perceived societal right for anti black racism It promoted the belief that whites were superior to blacks in all important ways including intelligence morality and civilized behavior Blacks were denied the right to vote by grandfather clauses laws that restricted the right to vote to people whose ancestors had voted before the civil war had to pay poll taxes fees charged to poor blacks white primaries only Democrats could vote only whites could be Democrats and literacy tests Name all the Vice Presidents and Supreme Court Justices throughout America's history Statutes were passed to regulate social interactions between the two races separate water fountains door entrances and exits public facilities hospitals prisons restrooms public and privates schools In most instances the black facilities were grossly inferior older and less well kept or there were no black facilities at all no Colored public restroom no public beach no place to sit or eat

The Jim Crow systems were sustained by violence real and threatened Blacks who violated the Jim Crow norms like trying to vote or drinking from a white water fountain risked everything their homes their jobs and even their lives Whites could physically beat blacks with no fear of repercussions Blacks had little help against these assaults because the Jim Crow justice system was all white police prosecutors judges juries and prison officials and it was not unusual to see white police participating in the violence against blacks or looking the other way The worst kind of Jim Crow violence were the lynchings public murders carried out by mobs Lynchings were most common in small and middle-sized towns were blacks were economic competitors to the local whites Lynchers were seldomly arrested and if arrested were rarely convicted It was not unusual for lynch mobs to not only go after one or two victims Sometimes the mobs went into black communities and destroyed additional lives and property 

The division deployed to Italy in the fall of 1944 o Ineffective leadership led to greater a greater number of stragglers in the 92nd division than any other division o Many soldiers deserted during combat which made unit cohesion impossible o Sometimes Junior officers were at or near the objective but had too few soldiers to take and hold it o The division began making straggler lines behind the regimental boundaries to stop fleeing soldiers and return them to their units Failed attack at Cinquale Canal o Most significant of the unit s several failures Infantry unit became bogged down in the canal despite having overwhelming artillery tank and engineer support Many soldiers fled to the rear exposing the remaining units to even heavier fire After 3 days the 92nd Division broke off the assault and withdrew without accomplishing the objective o After this Staff General George Marshall ordered the division reorganized Some were detached from the division for re training The War Department assigned 2 new regiments to the division the 473rd Infantry Regiment a white unit and the 442nd Infantry Regiment Nisei the Japanese American unit which would become the most decorated regiment in the US Army o This created the Army's only integrated regimental division They had great success Captured the cities of Massa La Spezia and Genoa by wars end November 1945 the 92nd Infantry Division return to the US and was inactivated o The US Army would never again field a segregated division of The army s experience with segregated units in WWII showed the weaknesses of this system o President Truman ordered the military to integrate in 1948

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