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Chapter 23

War and Society, 1914-1920

© 2003 Wadsworth Group All rights reserved.


Europe’s Descent into War
• First World War (1914-1918)
• Archduke Franz Ferdinand
• Triple Alliance
• Triple Entente
• All sides expect quick victory, all are
disappointed
• Bloody trench warfare stalemate on
Western front
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American Neutrality
• Wilson—neither threatened vital American
interest
• Edward M. House and Robert Lansing
– Wilson’s pro-British advisors
• William Jennings Bryan
– Against pro-British tilt
• Germany had no advocates in government
• British blockade of Germany
– Violates American neutrality, Wilson protests
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Submarine Warfare
• Unterseeboot (U-boat)
• Lusitania (May 1915)
– 1198 killed, 128 Americans
– Germans had warned the passenger was a target
• Bryan resigns when Wilson refuses to
criticize both British blockade and U-boats
• Sussex pledge (1916)
• 1916 preparedness measures
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The Peace Movement
• Women’s Peace Party
• Carrie Chapman Catt
• Jane Addams
• Midwestern Progressives
– Robert LaFollete, George Norris
• American Union Against Militarism
• German and Irish Americans
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Wilson’s Vision: “Peace without
Victory”
• “He kept us out of war” campaign slogan
• League of Nations
• Wilson’s crucial elements of lasting peace:
– Freedom of the seas
– Disarmament
– Democratic self-government
– Security against aggression
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German Escalation

• Russia’s imminent collapse


• Germany concentrates on Britain and
France
– Renew U-boat war
• "Zimmerman telegram“
• American declaration of war: “make the
world safe for democracy”

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American Intervention
• Russian revolution (1917)
– Vladimir Lenin and Bolshevik Party
• Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918)
– Publication of secret Allied treaties
• German 1918 offensive
• American Expeditionary Force (AEF)
– John J. Pershing
• Allied 1918 offensive
• Armistice 11-11-1918

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Mobilizing for “Total” War
• Compared to Europe, the U.S. was spared
most of the war’s ravages
• War’s effect on American society
– Biggest campaign for U.S. since Civil War
– Wilson asked for total commitment from U.S.
citizens
• Conscription
• In army, agriculture, transportation, industry

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Organizing Industry
• Food Administration
– Herbert Hoover
• U.S. Railroad Administration
– William G. McAdoo
• U.S. economy did well in war overall
• War Industries Board
– Bernard Baruch

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Organizing Civilian Labor
• Labor shortage
• “Great Migration”
• Labor movement
– Union membership
– Industrial democracy
• National War Labor Board (NWLB)
– Taft and Gompers

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Occupations with Largest Increase in Women, 1910-1920
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Total Membership of American Trade Unions, 1900-1920
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Organizing Military Labor
• Selective Service Act (1917)
• African-Americans segregated and barred from
combat
• IQ tests “prove” superiority of white Anglo-
Saxons
– Also prove half of all men are mental age 13 or less
• Alvin York
• 369th regiment

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Paying the Bills

• Raise income tax rates


– Wealthiest hit hard, 67% top income tax rate
– Corporations pay “excess profits tax”
• "Liberty Bonds"

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The First World War and
the Federal Budget

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Arousing Patriotic Ardor

• Committee on Public Information (CPI)


– George Creel
• Expand democracy at home
– Labor and industrial democracy
– Women’s suffrage

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Wartime Repression
• CRI anti-German propaganda
• Liberty cabbage and liberty sandwiches
– (Sour kraut and hamburgers)
• Immigration Restriction Act (1917)
• German Americans: object of hatred
• Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition, 1919
• Espionage, Sabotage and Sedition Acts
• IWW
• American Protective League
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The Failure of the International
Peace
• Germany’s surrender, 1918
• Wilson goes to Versailles Conference
• All combatants publicly accept Wilson’s
Fourteen Points basis for negotiation
– Free trade and freedom of the seas
– Dispute resolution through mediation
– Self-determination for nations
– League of Nations
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The Paris Peace Conference and
the Treaty of Versailles
• Allies not committed to 14 Points
– God gave us 10 commandments & we broke them,
Wilson gave us 14 points. We shall see”
• Georges Clemenceau, France
– Vittorio Orlando, Italy walks out
• Treaty of Versailles (1919)
– No free trade
– Partial self-determination
– Germany “war guilt” clause
• lost land and paid reparations

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The League of Nations
• Wilson felt creation of League as most
important point
• Would redeem failings of Versailles
Conference
• Article X
– Endowed the League with power to punish
aggressor nations via economic isolation and
military retaliation
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Wilson versus Lodge: The Fight
over Ratification
• Republicans win Senate majority in 1918
• “Irreconcilables"
• Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts
• Constitutional question of Article X
• Desire of some to humiliate Wilson
• Pueblo, Colorado
• Treaty defeated
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The Treaty’s Final Defeat
• Wilson would not accept alterations of the
Treaty
• Lodge version of the Treaty was put to vote
again – and was defeated
• United States never ratified the Treaty of
Versailles
– Legacy of Treaty’s defeat

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The Postwar Period: A Society
in Convulsion
• Continued struggles between workers and
employers
• Soldiers trying to reclaim livelihood vs.
women, blacks, Hispanics who had been
recruited to fill in
• Returning black veterans
• Federal government moved to decentralize
power that had occurred during the War

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Labor-Capital Conflict
• Boston Police strike (1919)
– Calvin Coolidge
• Steel strike (1919)

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Radicals and the Red Scare
• Radicalism sentiment on the rise in post-
WWI labor movement
• “Red Scare”
• Russian Revolution splits U.S. Socialists
• "Palmer raids“
• Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

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Racial Conflict and the Rise of
Black Nationalism

• “New Negro”
• Frustrated ad disappointed African-
Americans veterans
• Race riots
• Universal Negro Improvement Association
– Marcus Garvey

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Conclusion
• Effects of war on the U.S. social fabric
– Industrial workers, immigrants and radicals
– Fear, intolerance, and repression resulted in
extreme class, ethnic, and racial tensions
• Collapse of the Progressive Movement
• Wilson’s dashed dreams for a new and
democratic world order

(c) 2003 Wadsworth Group All rights reserved