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The catastrophic impact of World War II on American education.

World War 2 was a tragic event that has left its mark on the walls of history. The impact of World War 2 was damaging in the United States of America as well as the other countries. It was not very different from the era of great depression for the USA. The impact of World War 2 was devastating for the educational sector in the USA.

The focus of the government during the World War 2 shifted ultimately from the social causes like education to acquiring and maintaining war resources. Hence, the schools stopped getting the funds that they used to get and needed. Due to the weak funding, the reserved budget for the educational institute reduced drastically since most of it was redirected towards the war efforts.

As they say, nobody wins in a war because wars are simply destructive and lead to loss of life and resources. During the World War 2, the schooling of the children was drastically damaged because the dropouts became normal, and not only that, but people also refused to admit their children in schools and the enrollments rate dropped greatly. This can be judged by the stats that suggest that there were 6.7million enrollment in 1941 and 5.5 million in 1944 and when it comes to teaching, only two thirds of the pre-war staff was still serving as teachers in the schools.

Another, more surprising effect on American schools was the increase in enlistment in the armed forces. Many recruits did not pass the mandatory academic tests when signing up. Many officers in the armed forces have voiced their displeasure with the progressive education movement and the lack of a standardised curriculum devoted to defense-related topics. These outspoken detractors helped pave the way for more traditional curricula to replace progressive education in the decades after World War II.

During World War II, women were given more chances to enter the workforce and advance in their studies. When men left their regular jobs to join the military, women stepped in to help. As a result, more women were able to pursue higher education, and many of them went on to become educators. The Lanham Act of 1941, which gave relief to school districts that were overwhelmed by an inflow of children from families employed in defense, was a ray of hope for many schools.

While earnings in higher education declined, they would have dropped even further if not for the federal government's demand for specialized training and research. In addition, a form of equilibrium could be reached in terms of income to these institutions given the significant role played by colleges and universities in preparing people for the war industries and for wartime critical services.

After World War II ended, there was a concerted effort to help returning servicemen and women, particularly those whose schooling had been interrupted by military service. Nearly eight million World War 2 veterans received financial aid for various reasons, including higher education, according to the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (often referred to as the "GI Bill").

So, we can state that the World War 2 was a tragic event that had a tragic impact on the educational sector in the USA. While this piece of writing focuses on the impact of WW2 on education in America, it is very important to note that the impact of WW2 was equally, if not more, on the educational sectors of other countries that were involved.

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Maha Waheed
Maha Waheed
Dec 10, 2022

While reading your blog, the only thing that came to mind was how this situation parallels Pakistan. Most of our budget is allocated to the army due to the constant threat from India, just making the army stronger and neglecting the other sectors, especially our education sector. If we look at the situation of Balochistan, it's been in conflict for 75 years, and nothing has been done to improve the education system. But much military funding is going on in Balochistan, and then it’s the same army kidnapping the Balochi students and building this constant fear in them. Here comes a question our government is continuously funding the military and cutting off funds on our education system with the thought…


While reading the blog, I came across the line which says "many women stepped into education, was kind of amusement for me and for once i felt like that war could be a cause to opportunities for other opressed group if not the all. the only point to raise is that how the happening of war shifted focus from educational advancement to resources advancement and how men leading educational institutions started accepting women and how this all lead women to grow personally, professionally and economically. What's the two cents of the author over this issue, I would love to read any further comments/research over the issue, if any. Moreover, now coming towards that how WW2 impacted education on broader terms,…


It is a very interesting parallel to the situation in Pakistan. The time window during which the USA was fighting a war going on was six years and these six years bore a devastating impact on education because resources meant for other sectors were diverted to the military. Now imagine instead of 6 years, the situation lasts for 75 years - such is the reality of Pakistan. Since the moment it came into existence, Pakistan has been embroiled in some form of conflict. From the imminent threat from India, to the conflict in Balochistan - there has always been a conflict to combat. In order to sustain the military so that it can fend of the threat, resources from the…

Replying to

Mariam, talking about Pakistan hurts me deeply and yes, the wrong allocation of resources has damaged the situation in Pakistan the most. Children deprived from their basic rights, forced to earn for their family at such a young age, putting both their present and future at risk. Apart from having to fight conflicts, people in Pakistan always have this fear in their hearts and wish for the their country to be a safe home for their children.

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