At the heart of the modern Latino experience has been the quest for first-class citizenship. Within this broader framework, military service provides unassailable proof that Latinos are Americans who have been proud to serve, fight, and die for their country, the U. Thus, advocates of Latino equality often note that Latinos have fought in every U. By , people of Mexican descent in the U. Often the children of immigrants who had entered in previous decades, they strongly identified with the country of their birth.
Other families like the Sandovals had multiple members join the Armed Forces. Women Latinos wwii in positions such as Trucking private carriers, technical agents, mechanics, Latinos wwii telegram operators overseas. He'd been accepted into a seminary, but his dream was not to be fulfilled. The Hispanic community continues its selfless sacrifice in bringing freedom to people in other countries, making major sacrifices, and risking their lives to bring justice to terrorists and lay a foundation for a sustainable peace. Another point of conflict existed between the women who served overseas and women who stayed on the home front. Briefly, it was a temporary Latinos wwii agreement between the United States and Mexico through which Mexican workers would be sent to the United States for a certain amount of time, and would then return to Mexico.
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Schulungslehrgang "Elbe". He was held at Cabanatuan prison Latinos wwii in the Philippines and assigned to the "burial details" Latinos wwii hundreds of prisoners were dying each month of disease and starvation. Latinos wwii of Defense. February 5th, at am. The Austin Chronicle. When the Korean War broke out, Hispanic-Americans again answered the call to duty as they, their brothers, cousins, and friends had done in World War II. She worked as a mechanic between from to He participated in Skate ' s first three war patrols and was awarded a second Silver Star Medal for his contribution in sinking the Japanese light cruiser Agano on his third patrol. Returning veterans also found public swimming pools, schools and housing segregated in some communities, especially in the Southwest and California. Theodore Roosevelt -- better known as the "Rough Riders" -- fought in Cuba. March 16, Army large tug en route to the Philippines. Fifty men were killed and wounded. Discrimination also extended to those killed during the war.
But after declaring war against the Axis in mid, Mexico did contribute to the Allied victory in important ways.
- Rupertus far left looks on.
- Latinos came home from World War II to a different struggle.
Latina women, or women of Latin-American descent, contributed much to the U. This period gave Latina women the opportunity to express their own agency and examine their roles as women and Latinas in the context of American society. Through their support of U. In the aftermath of World War I , countries of Europe were left in debt from the war, inflation started to rise, and the United States suffered from the Great Depression.
The United States opposed the fascist regimes that were gaining ground around the world, but it was not until December that the U. While Latinos , men and women of Latin American descent, had served in World War I and promoted the efforts of the United States overseas and on the home front, Latinos in many areas of the country were still suffering from discrimination.
Many Latinos found themselves continuing to experience racial discrimination and unfair treatment in much of the United States, with fear and inequality being common threads uniting many of the Latino experiences in the United States during this time period. Latina women faced this discrimination because of their racial and ethnic backgrounds, but were also treated unfairly because of their gender.
Gender roles were clearly outlined in the U. While the 19th Amendment , which granted women the right to vote, was passed in , gaining equality in society was another issue. This gave women the chance to work not only as nurses, but as uniformed members of the armed forces.
Life overseas was difficult for many members of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps because they were not protected by the same international laws as prisoners of war. Women worked in positions such as nurses, technical agents, mechanics, and telegram operators overseas. In these positions, women gained new skills and a sense of "personal freedom" achieved by leaving their towns and communities.
This disparity is even greater when looking at the recognition of Latina Women in the armed forces and their work as nurses overseas. As Latina women returned to the United States, many expected to be welcomed as heroes who had served their country valiantly, however this was not the case. They were discriminated against because of their gender and their military status did not change the perception of Latinas in the eyes of much of the American public at the time.
To many, they were still seen as second class citizens, foreigners, and others. In their local communities, many of these women who had served in the armed forces or as nurses during the war returned to their hometowns and respective communities. Many Latinas hoped their service to military efforts would be a springboard for which to jumpstart their educational or career goals, and it was. Women entered the workforce in greater numbers after World War II and were able to bypass many of the cultural norms surrounding women's roles in and outside of the home through military service.
While Latina women made powerful connections in their time overseas and assisting various branches of the military, there were also some issues with re-acclimation. Returning home was sometimes difficult due the failure of the government to give them the same social benefits as their male counterparts.
While males experienced the same discrimination based on race back in the United States, they were also given benefits from things like the GI Bill which granted them the ability to go to college and buy homes. The contributions of Latinas throughout the war were notable and courageous, but have been overlooked by many. Another point of conflict existed between the women who served overseas and women who stayed on the home front.
There was often underlying tension and judgement of women who had enlisted to serve in the WAAC as "drinkers and smokers" or morally dubious women by those who remained in the United States. Briefly, it was a temporary work agreement between the United States and Mexico through which Mexican workers would be sent to the United States for a certain amount of time, and would then return to Mexico.
Women were not enlisted into the Bracero Program, however it still had a profound effect on Latinas. When Mexican men entered into the Bracero Program , they often left behind their wives alone to raise their family back in Mexico. With only one caretaker in Mexico, and because it took a long time for funds from the Bracero Program to actually be sent back to Mexico, many women were forced into undocumented migration into the United States.
In addition to women being forced to attempt crossing the border to support their families, there were also women who, now that their husband had left to go to the United States, they were left with the family business back in Mexico.
In addition, not only were men leaving their factory jobs to enlist in the Army, the need for factory workers was increasing as the need for defense production increased.
As this need increased, "Factory managers considered 'the degree to which womanpower might take the place of manpower Latina women started to fill the positions left behind by men, and as the war progressed these factories started to produce parts for weapons, ships, or aircraft as opposed to whatever products they produced pre-war.
The Friedrich Refrigeration Company in San Antonio, Texas, was on contract to make parts for bombs, and much of the company's workforce consisted of Mexican-American women. As well as working in these sorts of factory jobs, Latinas became a big part of the workforce in sweatshops, especially right after World War II. Latinas could be very low-wage workers, and U. The garment industry would continue to relocate to lower-wage areas, and Latina women in need of work would migrate to where the jobs were.
The transition from domestic life into working life, or from less intensive jobs into higher intensity positions, for Latinas during World War II had major societal effects. Women working in industrial jobs led to a relaxation of gender roles.
Their new roles in the workforce required new attire, such as coveralls, overalls, pants, and big heavy shoes, none of which would have been seen as women's attire prior to this shift of women into industry. In fact, the majority of women who embodied the "denim-clad, tool-wielding, can-do figure" were not white women, but rather women of color. In addition to the societal change from women in the home to working women, Latina women also took part in the Pachuca and Zoot Suit culture of World War II.
The women's participation in this, as feminizing the zoot suit to fit their needs, showcased the newfound mobility and agency gained from the War. The female zoot suiters were bold, knowing that they were challenging gender norms. They were excluded from history for their failure to fit the masculine profile, however the women pachucas can be seen as a symbol of independence. As servicemen returned home from World War II , employment opportunities for women and especially women of color decreased.
Post-war reconversion efforts lead to first the firing of Latina and African American women followed by intense social pressures for all women to leave the workforce and return to domestic lives.
With the economy shifting from wartime to peace, many war-related industries reduced production and employment. Some Latina women felt a strong sense of patriotism while working in war-related industries.
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Retrieved 15 December Southwestern Historical Quarterly. Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the s. University of New Mexico Press. University of Texas Press. Latinas in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Austin: U of Texas, University of California Press. International Labor and Working-Class Inc. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina, Hidden categories: Wikipedia articles with style issues from December All articles with style issues Articles with multiple maintenance issues.
Retrieved on September 12, Jose M. Legion of Merit. The illustration depicts Loreta Janeta Velazquez and her alias, Lt. Forty-two Medals of Honor were presented posthumously. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from October Articles with short description Articles with hCards Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the United States Army Center of Military History. Archived from the original on 19 July
Latinos wwii. 3 thoughts on “Latinas in World War II: A Little-Recognized Group”
Here are summaries of just two of the World War II Latinas highlighted on the website, but it will give you a flavor of the time and the dedication of the people:. She never left the U. Elsie Martinez was born in San Antonio, Texas in She grew up as the only child of Isabel Tessada; her father was an Army sergeant and was assigned overseas when she was 6 months old. She does not know the circumstances of his time in the service or his death.
When she was able to join, she was sent to Arkansas for a three-month training period after which she was assigned to a high-security base in Pueblo, Colorado.
She worked in a photo lab where three women and eight men were in charge of developing top-secret aerial photographs being taken by Army photographers. The classified photos were then sent back for use by the proper military units. After the war, Martinez married a fellow who opened a meat market in Mexico. Eventually the couple moved to Laredo, Texas where they had a family and ran a meat market business there.
In the s, Walker was trained as an airline mechanic. During the war she was assigned to several different bases, including Randolph Air Force Base where she was one of only three women on the air base, and the only Mexican-American woman. In Big Spring, Arkansas, she was the only woman working on the base during the time she was there.
After two years working as an airline mechanic for the government, she was surprised to go back to civilian life and encounter discrimination. She had been a sales clerk before the war and when she applied at a department store the owner said he would hire her only if she would use the name Kelly.
In her interview for the oral history project, Walker expressed the feeling that education was the only thing that would continue to create improvements for Mexican Americans. July 3, Attacked a confederate flag bearer from the 19th Virginia Infantry regiment and captured their flag. John Ortega. December Was a member of a landing party who made several raids in August and September which resulted in the capture of many confederate prisoners and the taking or destruction of substantial quantities of ordnance, ammunition, and supplies.
A number of buildings, bridges, and salt works were also destroyed during the expedition . France Silva. Peking , China. June 28, — August 17, For distinguishing himself by meritorlous conduct . David B. Company A, th Infantry, 89th Division. November 9, Volunteered to swim a river to gather information on an enemy force. When he was swimming back across the river he got cramps and drowned. Lucian Adams. October Pedro Cano. Company H, 7th Infantry.
May 28, Risked his life to destroy three hostile machine guns. Joe Gandara. He destroyed three hostile machine guns before he was fatally wounded. Marcario Garcia. November 27, April 15, Sacrificed his life to smother a grenade with his body .
David M. April 25, Was killed in action in the Philippines while digging out fellow soldiers who had been buried in a bomb explosion . Silvestre S. March 15, Injured in action while charging an enemy stronghold resulting in the capture of eight enemy soldiers . Salvador J. For courageous actions during combat operations in Aprilia, Italy before he was fatally wounded. Jose M. December 17, Single-handedly repulsed a German infantry attack, killing at least enemy troops .
Joe P. May 26, Killed in action while participating in the defeat of enemy forces in a snow-covered mountain. Manuel Perez Jr. February 13, Killed 18 enemy soldiers so his company could advance . Manuel V. Cleto L. Company B, th Infantry, 37th Division. February 9, Alejandro R. April 28, Risked his life to eliminate an enemy pillbox and kill the 12 enemy soldiers who were occupying it .
Jose F. January 25, Ysmael R. March 20, Joe R. Victor H. September 5, September 14, Eduardo C. For heroism in inflicting a heavy toll in casualties and retarding the enemy's advance. July 25, Rodolfo P.
May 31, September 15, September 6, Juan E. For courageous actions during combat operations in Kalma-Eri, North Korea. Second Battle of Seoul. September 26, Mike C. Demensio Rivera. For courageous actions during combat operations in Changyong-ni, South Korea. Joseph C. May 21, Miguel A. Leonard L. Roy P. May 2, Felix M. Emilio A.
Latino Veterans Contribution to WWII – National Latino Peace Officers Association
At the heart of the modern Latino experience has been the quest for first-class citizenship. Within this broader framework, military service provides unassailable proof that Latinos are Americans who have been proud to serve, fight, and die for their country, the U. Thus, advocates of Latino equality often note that Latinos have fought in every U. By , people of Mexican descent in the U.
Often the children of immigrants who had entered in previous decades, they strongly identified with the country of their birth. Private Armando Flores of Corpus Christi, Texas, for example, fondly recalled being rebuked for putting his hands in his pockets on a cold day during basic training. Air Force. Just 19, Maria Sally Salazar of Laredo, Texas, for example, was so eager to join the Army's Women Army Corps that she borrowed her sister's birth certificate so that she could pass for 21, the minimum age requirement for women.
After basic training, she spent 18 months in the Philippine jungle working out of an administrative building but also tending the wounded when needed. The upshot was that wartime sacrifice was often a family affair.
The Sanchez family, transplanted from Bernalillo, New Mexico to Southern California before the war, is a case in point. Of ten grown siblings, three sisters each became a "Rosita the Riveter," while all five brothers served: two as army soldiers, one as an army medic, one as a Seabee, that is, a member of U.
Navy Construction Battalion, and the eldest, who turned 50 during the war, as a civil defense air-raid warden. The family's participation was so extensive that members remember waiting to hear of one brother's fate during the Battle of the Bulge just after hearing another brother had died in combat in the Philippines.
Thus, a tiny two-block lane in Silvis, Illinois, originally settled by Mexican immigrant railroad workers, earned the nickname "Hero Street" for sending an amazing 45 sons off to war. Sent to the Philippines because of their ability to use Spanish to communicate with their Filipino allies, many New Mexicans meanwhile experienced the horrors of the Bataan death march. Among them was Joseph P. Many ethnic group members attributed their willingness to serve, and to serve so courageously to their unique cultural inheritance, one rooted in both Iberian and indigenous warrior societies.
As Medal of Honor recipient Silvestre Herrera explained his decision to enter a minefield and single-handedly attack an enemy stronghold in France, a decision that cost him both feet in an explosion, "I am a Mexican-American and we have a tradition. We're supposed to be men, not sissies. Not surprisingly, after the war, Mexican Americans found continued inequality deeply ironic and increasingly intolerable.
In recognition of Herrera's heroism, for example, the governor of Arizona decided to name August 14, Silvestre Herrera Day. Unfortunately, in advance of that date the governor also had to order Phoenix businesses to take down signs that read, "No Mexican Trade Wanted. Although local city officials charged Garcia with aggravated assault, nationally he won in the court of public opinion, especially after the radio celebrity Walter Winchell decried the injustice of the incident on his program.
It also contributed to the success of another civil rights organization dedicated to addressing Mexican American concerns. Four years after his combat death in the Philippines in , Longoria's remains were shipped to the U. The local funeral home, however, refused a request by his widow, Beatrice, to use the funeral home's chapel for a wake in his honor.
As the funeral home director explained then, "We just never made it a practice to let them [Mexican Americans use the chapel and we don't want to start now.
Across the Southwest, segregation against Mexican Americans endured less as a matter of law than as a matter of social custom. Yet what had been common practice before the war was no longer acceptable to Mexican Americans or to their Anglo American allies.
A Corpus Christi physician, Hector P. Garcia, led the charge to address the injustice. Garcia, who had served as a medic in Europe during the war, had upon his return to the States formed an organization called the American G. Forum to secure equal treatment for Mexican American veterans at Veteran Administration hospitals. Receiving a call from a Beatrice's sister to intervene in the dispute with the funeral home, Garcia called the funeral director himself to ask him to reconsider.
He was quickly rebuffed. To Garcia, the irony of enforcing segregation even in the case of dead soldier amounted to a "direct contradiction of those principles for which this American soldier made the supreme sacrifice. In response, Lyndon B. Johnson, then the junior senator from Texas, graciously arranged for Longoria to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
For Garcia, however, his work on the civil rights front had just begun. The Longoria incident propelled the American G. Forum to the front lines of the fight for Mexican American equality. Unfortunately, the experience of Puerto Ricans during World War II also echoed their experience during the previous global conflict. Once again, Puerto Ricans on the island eagerly registered for the draft or volunteered in the dual hope of contributing to the war effort and along the way helping their island through an infusion of defense dollars and technical training.
Once again, military officials limited those hopes. Although the classic bolero La Despedida has its origins in the World War II era because so many soldiers left the island during those years, the military preferred to keep islanders in security and service roles. Charged mainly with hemispheric defense, members of the 65th Infantry Regiment formerly the island's provisional regiment were stationed as far away as the Galapagos Islands and again in the Panama Canal Zone, where some soldiers became subjects in army medical experiments about the effects of mustard gas.
Army researchers concluded that Puerto Ricans burnt and blistered just like "whites. After being deployed to North Africa and Italy to guard supply lines, they came under assault from German forces in Europe. They received training in the States, and, unfortunately, in some cases experienced discrimination, before returning to Puerto Rico. On the mainland, Puerto Ricans found ways to contribute, too. Puerto Ricans who served in the regular army units versus service-oriented African American ones likewise experienced combat.
In some cases, a single family sent sons to war from both the island and the continental U. Although many Americans families saw multiple sons go off to war, the stereotype of big, Catholic families certainly held true in the case of the "Fighting Medinas," who were seven brothers from a single Puerto Rican family divided between the island and Brooklyn, all of who served. Stateside, U. Whether chosen to train black men or to be subjects of army medical tests, Puerto Ricans found that the military's continued preoccupation with racial difference framed their experiences during World War II.
Not until the Korean War did Puerto Ricans have the chance to prove themselves in battle in significant numbers. Although the armed forces had been desegregated in by presidential order, the 65 th Regiment, comprised entirely of islanders, remained an all-Puerto Rican unit.
Proud of their service, they soon adopted the nickname the Boriqueneers, a name that was both a tribute to the island's original indigenous name, Boriquen, and possibly as well a nod to Puerto Rico's pirate past and the time of the buccaneers. Thrust in the thick of a war that featured a dramatically shifting front line across a rugged, mountainous terrain, these island soldiers also slogged through mud and snow as they faced both North Korean and Chinese enemy soldiers.
Little wonder that General Douglas MacArthur, who until April was in charge of military operations in Korea, said that the 65th "was showing magnificent ability and courage in field operations. The 65th Regiment was both wholly Puerto Rican but also completely partnered to the U.
Increasingly, Puerto Ricans had settled on a middle road between independence and statehood: they looked for maximum autonomy within the U.
Thus, just as Mexican Americans used their military service to push for civil rights at home, Puerto Ricans used the demonstrated patriotism of the island's young men to ameliorate the colonial relationship between the island and the U. In the wake of World War II, islanders had received the right to elect their own governor.
During the Korean conflict, U. Shortly afterward, Puerto Rico officially became a Commonwealth of the U. This is from an essay that focuses on Latinos in the United States military during the wars of the late 19th and entire 20th centuries as well as the peacetime roles of American Latino soldiers and veterans.
The essay also discusses the economic and social significance of military service to American Latinos. Explore This Park. August United States Army At the heart of the modern Latino experience has been the quest for first-class citizenship. Related Articles Go! Last updated: October 23,