Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th in all parts of the United States and also in Mexico where the real events took place. Cinco de Mayo is Spanish name that represent May fifth but in English the name is translated as the day of Puebla battle (Beans & Rawls 34). Mexico was formerly known as Puebla and this day therefore represent the day Mexican became free after overcoming the French forces which took place on May fifth 1862 (Ajoke 194). However, unlike what many people believe, Cinco de Mayo is not the Mexican independent day but an important day which transformed the history of the country. The events that took place on May fifth 1862 came after the occupation of Mexico by the French forces. There are several events that took place before this day which led to the battle between the Mexican and the French forces. This includes three battles that were experienced in Mexico between 1848 and 1860 (Beans & Rawls 206). First the war between Americans and the Mexicans in 1846-48 followed by civil of in Mexico in 1858 and finally the Mexican reform war of 1860 (Beans & Rawls 245). The three battles left Mexico in tatters economically which made President Juarez to suspend payments of all foreign debts for a period of two years. This action made Britain, Spain and France to demand their payments and after some negotiation, Spain and Britain accepted to withdraw their forces from Mexico (Rawls and Bean 270). However, France under the leadership of Napoleon 3 refused to withdraw and instead viewed it as an opportunity to concur Mexico.
In 1861, the French army invaded Veracruz and drove the government of President Juarez out of power (Beans & Rawls 189). As the French army continued to conquer towards the city of Mexico, they faced much opposition near Puebla from the Mexican army which was less equipped. French army was the strongest army in the world by then but on May fifth 1862, it was crushed by the Mexican army (Beans & Rawls 178). It was least expected that the French army under Napoleon 3 could be defeated and this made fifth May to be a great day of victory which is celebrated even today by all Mexicans living in all parts of US including California.
Changes in the celebration
Though these celebrations were going on in California and other states before 1900, they became more important in the first part of 20th century where the government made them official celebration. This gave the day of fifth May more importance than before where people from all places will gather in one place to celebrate this day. To celebrate this day, many activities are now held where many people carry banners with pictures, images and other drawings to show the importance of this day. There are also regional dances and music performed on this day while in some regions school districts hold special lessons to teach the importance of this day.
Issues that brought re-organization
In California as well as other states in the United States, marketers especially companies that manufacture Mexican beer started to popularize this day encouraging people to celebrate it by taking their beers. These companies invested a lot of money to inform people about this day through their advertisement in all parts of California which made many people to realize the importance of this day. The action by the marketers to popularize the day also triggered the government to pay more attention to this celebration. In addition change in lifestyle where people have adopted modern culture also played a role in the re-organization of how the day is celebrated. Many people in California have adopted modern ways of celebration as the society changes. This has dictated the way this day is celebrated in different years since it was started in the 19th century.
Celebration and young generation
The day is very important to young generation for it is one most important event that shaped the history of the country. Historians argue that the main goal of France by then was to assist in breaking the union of America during that time when civil wars were prevalent within different states in America. Napoleon wanted to support the southern side rebels to fight other groups to ensure that no unity would have been achieved. The defeated of France army in Puebla stopped Napoleon from supplying any assistance to the southern rebels which gave way to the American union. Historians also add that, Napoleon also wanted to conquer the whole American indirectly through Mexico a plan which never materialized (Carlson 9). This celebration, inform young people the struggle Americans went in order to attain the union they enjoy today. Through the victory of Mexican army which was poorly equipped, the Americans from other states got motivated to fight for unity.
Minority groups such as natives, Japanese-American, African-Americans, and Mexican American played a crucial in the success of the US military in the Second World War. During this war, the US army grew in number up to about 8 million military men. 87% of this force was made up white-Americans and the rest were from minority groups such as Japanese-American and African-American among others (Beans & Rawls 67). Though there was some tension of enlisting foreign-ancestry Americans in the army, citizens from minority ethnic groups were allowed to go and fight for the country. Americans from minority groups volunteered themselves in large number and gave valuable and distinct contributions to Second World War efforts. This made them to earn commendations and praises for their sacrifice and struggle to fight for their country.
During the initial stages of the war, soldiers from minority groups such as African-American soldiers were limited to work in the support units or construction units as a result of discrimination (Da Silva and Reis 51).They constructed highways, drove trucks and other manual tasks. However, as the war continued, manpower shortage become a problem as soldiers get killed and others wounded which left army commanders with no alternative but to allow soldiers from minority groups to replace the wounded and dying soldiers. They started carrying out combat duties beginning with artillery and later other crucial military duties. Some of them were recommended after the war because of their braveness which contributed to the success of the US military in the war. In addition, the contribution of the minority groups in the military which was highly commendable paved way for their inclusion in the US military after the war. Initially, racial segregation was high in the military and soldiers from the minority groups such as African-Americans were seen as unfit for many military duties. They were always given minor roles in the military and not put in the same units with other soldiers. However, this view totally changed after their inclusion in the Second World War.
Some minority groups in the army such as Mexican-American were not discriminated and they occupied senior position such as unit commander during the war. They also played very active role in combating since they were not segregated. As the war progressed, there was increased need of female nurses to nurse the soldiers who were being wounded in the battle. This allowed recruitment of many female nurses from minority groups particularly the Mexican-Americans. There was also increased need for manpower in the home factories that manufactured military weapons and equipments. Both male and females from minority groups were also hired to work in these factories.
Japanese-American soldiers and citizens also made a crucial contribution in the American military success during the Second World War. Though at home all the Japanese-Americans were forced to relocate their homes in states that are in the pacific coast due to public and military leaders’ fear of possible sabotage, many of them volunteered to join the military as the war progressed. The roles of these soldiers were limited and they did not take part in the combat missions due to the tension that existed between their ancestry country and the US by then (Austin 51). However, there were about six thousands Japanese-American soldiers who served in the intelligence unit of the military.
Their role was mainly translation where they helped to translate documents that were captured from the enemy, interrogating prisoners who were caught during the war and other linguistics roles. For example one Japanese-American intelligence unit soldier assisted to interpret a document which was entitled “Z Plan”. The document showed the counterattack strategy that was to be used by the Japanese army to attack central pacific region. This gave US military victory in the Philippine Sea battle where Japanese fighter planes were shot down in their way to attack.
Ajoke, Kokodoko. “America's Latinos: Their Rich History, Culture, and Traditions / Cinco de Mayo: A Mexican Holiday about Unity and Pride.” School Library Journal, 49. 9 (2003): 194. Print.
Austin, Allan. “Superman Goes to War: Teaching Japanese American Exile and Incarceration with Film.” Journal of American Ethnic History, 30.4 (2011):51-56. Print.
Carlson, Alvar. “America's Growing Observance of Cinco de Mayo.” Journal of American Culture 3), 21.2 (1998):7. Print.
Da Silva, Graziella Moraes and Reis, Elisa. “Perceptions of racial discrimination among black professionals in rio de janeiro.” Latin American Research Review46. 2 (2011): 55-78. Print.
Rawls, James J. and Bean, Walton. California: an interpretative History. New York. Mc-Grill, 1997.Print. :1-580