The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 560
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Southwestern Hzstorzcal Quarterly
Unlike previous conflicts in which Hispanics participated, World War
I involved Texas's Mexicans in military and civilian experiences that
promoted acceptance of American ideals and values by a significant mi-
nority of Hispanic Texans. Hispanic participants in the war developed
a Mexican American consciousness as a result of their wartime activi-
ties and promoted Americanization of less acculturated Hispanics in
the 1920s and 1930s. The World War I experience of large segments of
Texas's Hispanic population thus facilitated the greater involvement of
Mexican Americans in the American mainstream in the 1930s and
World War II. Hispanic participation in the national effort during
World War I precipitated a great acceleration of the acculturation pro-
cess, which made possible the rise of the Mexican American Genera-
tion during the Depression and World War II.
Historians of Mexican American history, like Alfredo Cullar, Jr.,
and Manuel H. Pefia, have ignored the experience of Texans and other
Americans of Mexican descent in World War I and their participation
in the national war effort. Mario T. Garcia and Richard Amado Garcia,
in their studies of early twentieth-century El Paso and San Antonio,
have emphasized the strengthening of predominant Mexican cultural
and political influence among Texas Hispanics because of increasing
large-scale immigration from Mexico in the first two decades of the
century and the resurgent nationalism of the 1910 Mexican Revolu-
tion. In Desert Immigrants, Mario T. Garcia does briefly mention the in-
volvement of a small minority of El Paso Hispanics in the American war
effort. Richard A. Garcia suggests World War I exerted an influence on
San Antonio's Mexican American veterans; however, he stresses that
the Depression, not World War I, transformed the Mexican American
consciousness. Rodolfo F. Acufia, Matt S. Meier, and Feliciano M. Ri-
vera, in contrast, have stressed Hispanics' role in World War I as a
source of agricultural and other manual labor.2
2 Alfredo Cudllar, "Perspective on Politics," in Joan W. Moore, Mexican Americans (Englewood
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970), 137-138, 145; Manuel H. Pefia, The Texas-Mexican Con-
junto: A History of Working Class Muszc (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971), 1-5, 11 9, 127;
Garcia, Desert Immigrants, 21 7- 218; Richard Amado Garcia, "The Making of the Mexican
American Mind, San Antonio, Texas, 1929-1941" (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Ir-
vine, 1980), 63-64, 88-92, 11, 127, 571-573; Rodolfo Acufia, OccupiedAmerca The Chicanos'
Struggle toward Liberation (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1972), 128-133; Matt S. Meier and
Feliciano Rivera, The Chicanos: A History of Mexican Americans (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972),
126-131. Meier and Rivera do briefly mention Chicano military participation in the war, but
fail to give details Raul Morin, Among the Valzant (Alhambra, Cal : Borden Publishing Co.,
1963), demonstrates the heroic record of Mexican Americans in World War II and the Korean
War. Ronald Schaffer, The United States in World War I A Selected Bibliography (Santa Barbara,
Cal.: Clio Books, 1978), shows that the roles of blacks, women, and European ethnics in World
War I have been studied increasingly in recent years, but this bibliography contains no studies
of Hispanics' contribution.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/626/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.