Attitudes, lifestyle in WWII Germany helped to end segregation in States

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Germany lay defeated and in ruins, responsible for the recent murder of millions and a world war. Yet it also became an unlikely haven for some soldiers.

“For black GIs, especially those out of the South, Germany was a breath of freedom,” Colin Powell, a former secretary of state, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and America’s most famous African-American soldier, noted in his memoir.

“They could go where they wanted, eat what they wanted and date whom they wanted. The dollar was strong, the beer good and the German people friendly. ...”

Many vowed to “never go back” to the old ways.

The occupation of Germany provided black GIs personal liberation. But it also had a monumental effect on the armed forces and, ultimately, U.S. society, according to a book by two German historians published in October....

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