New Technology “Out with the old and IN with the new”

New Technology in World War 1

World War 1 brought in new technologies such as modern guns, modern artillery and airplanes to the battlefield. In 1914 the guns have improved remarkably, such as  that these guns  were gas-driven and had water-cooled machined. With such improvement in technology creating these guns , a double team of two men could fire hundreds of rounds of bullets per minute. Before the technology of these guns, the old guns use to fire few bullets and then stop them to reload them. These new guns could command the entire front of a trench line, to attack the other people at war. Clearly, improvements of guns, were a great contribution for the wars because machine guns ruled the battlefields.




Kiss the Flag!

I think the words in the image are a pretty adequate caption, but take a minute to think about what the flag means to us today - because according to what's written in chapter 19, its not even close to what it came to represent during WWI.

In chapter 19 there is section entitled “Coercive Patriotism”, wherein Foner briefly describes the extent to which the Patriotism of World War I era America was sometimes nothing more than a forced loyalty.

The American flag became more than just the sign of a nation, it became a symbol of commitment to democracy and a test of a person’s true patriotism. He even goes so far as to say that “Persons suspected f disloyalty were forced to kiss the flag in public; those who made statements critical of the flag could be imprisoned.”

Apparently, freedom of speech didn’t really apply to those speaking of anything other than freedom.

While Foner’s coverage of the topic does seem sufficient as compared to that of some other points (like the era’s rapid advancement of war technology), I feel that, especially when considering the book’s title ‘Give Me Liberty’, it would have made sense to go in depth to describe the extent to which the American People’s freedom seemed to be rather non existent. Maybe its just a modern ideal, but since when is forcing anything on the people of our nation really the American way…?

-C. Salama


The great migration

The great migration during 1910 to 1940 described in Foner’s book has a long-term effect on American politics, economics and culture. As picture above shows, up to 1.5 million African American moved from southern states to North, to look for jobs and search a peace place to live. Detroit, chicago and Cleveland are among the most popular destinations. And the reason simply is, the rail fare was the cheapest.

Carrying a sign in front of a milk company, Chicago, Illinois, July 1941 John Vachon, Photographer Gelatin-silver

In Foner’s book, the discrimation against newly arrived African American was not talked enough. Many black workers were having a hard time to get promoted and many of them simply couldn’t find a simple job, as second picture depicted.


League of Nations

In the center of the cartoon is Uncle Sam who represents the United States of America. In the four corners of the political cartoon are four of the other major countrites involved with the United States in the League of Nations: England, Japan, European nations, and other foreign nations not mentioned. The League of Nations was created as intergovernmental organization amongst these nations that was meant to serve as a possible peace making organziation that the nations can convene in with the notion of making peace and amending relationships between the countries. The League of Nations is commonly seen as a precursor to the United Nations which still exists today. This cartoon depicts deciet as each of the nations is taking care of the United States. The nations all have hold strings that are keeping the hands of United States (Uncle Sam) tied up, and unable to break free. This cartoonist is trying to show that the League of Nations isn’t accomplishing what it set it out to accomplish. By keeping their hands tied could symbolize the fact that the other countries aren’t letting the United States not have a voice. The League of Nations was meant to be a place where all the nations involved could speak their voice freely without objection, and the cartoonist believes that it is not being done. The League of Nations was created as a means to deter, and possibly cause a swift end to the war, yet many people saw it as being ineffective. Thus, it could be inferred that many people were pessimistic that an end to the war was near. The League of Nations handeled other minor issues as well, but overall was meant to be an open forum for discussion for any nation willing to participate.



Garveyism became on the rise in World War I. Started by Marcus Garvey, it is the complete, total and never ending redemption of the continent of Africa by people of African ancestry, at home and abroad. It was to encourage African Americans to stand up for themselves and the self-encourage one self towards equal rights. The UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) was a big supporter of the movement. Eric Foner’s coverage on this topic is restricted though. He covers it in one paragraph.


The Roosevelt Corollary

While officially being enacted prior to WWI, the Roosevelt Corollary was an important part of WWI.  This document basically stated that the United Stated had “the right to exercise “an international police power” in the western hemisphere”, in order to protect the Americas for possible imperialistic notions from European countries (Foner, 683).  Essentially this meant that if a country in “The Americas” seemed to be unstable due to economic, political etc.  reasons the US would play the part of the “good neighbor” (as called by FDR) and help the country get back on its feet.  This was done because the US feared that if a country fell, European invaders would take over that nation and make it a point to further expand in the Americas, thus causing war.  This policy became known as the “Big Stick” policy due to the fact that at the time the US had arguably the best military and we put on a show of force to ward off potential attackers.  Prior to and during WWI the US fought for Cuba and Panama and stated this policy as their reasoning.  There were tensions with the Germans in Venezuela as well in the early 1900’s that eventually blew up into them going on a imperialistic and genocidal rampage in WWI.  Foner was dead on in what he wrote about the Roosevelt Corollary; however I feel he could have written more than one page on it.  He seems to be neutral on the topic and seems to state the basic points clearly.  My images show the representation of what people thought of the US during that time, essentially that we were trying to bully them out of “our territory”.  It simply shows that the US took the time to say “we have the bigger gun” so that Europeans better back away slowly and not try to invade our areas.


War Industries Board and the intervention of government

The picture of Bernard Baruch, who was assigned to oversee the War Industries Board. From worldlyphilosophers.com

On July 28 1918 the War Industry Board was established by federal government to coordinate production war-related in the country. Very well known in our college Bernard Baruch, a successful financier at the time was set to oversee the Board. This was unprecedented intervention of government into economy dictated by U.S. involvement into WWI.

In Foner the War Industry Board is presented in the context of progressive movement, which aspired to use the momentum produced by the war to reform “the American society along scientific lines”. The 1917 Selective Service Act is mentioned just before the the War Industries Board as another example of war created “national state” with unseen before presence in Americans’ everyday lives. So it seems that the Board was touched upon in the text as an example to expanding government and progressive achievement. However the social premises of the Board were very well elaborated, the economic prerequisites were left untouched completely. From my quick research there were plenty of them, such as instant surge of demand on steel up to and beyond the edge of what economy could produce and many more. The description of the board’s functionality and structure was very brief. There was no coverage of the aftermath of War Industry Board’s activity, or any assessment of the role it had played for the US economy or strategy during the war. And as a Baruch college student I am grateful Foner had Bernard Baruch specifically mentioned in the text, however I’d love to see more information about his personal contributions into the Board’s operations.


10,000 take to the streets

     Garveyism is defined by wikipedia as the total and never ending redemption of the continent of Africa by people of African ancestry, at home and abroad.  This notion came about by Marcus Garvey, originally born in Jamaica,  after the East St. Louis riot of 1917.  During the chaos in St. Louis, $400,000 worth of property was destroyed, atleast 40 African men, women and children were slaughtered and 6,000 were driven from their homes.  To mourn the revolt, about 10,000 blacks silently marched down fifth avenue in New York carrying cards that read “Mr. President, Why Not Make America Safe for Democracy?”  Marcus Garvey organized the black community and launched a campain to unite and empower Africans.  Through out his crusade, Garvey also established the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (the UNIA).

  Foner’s coverage of this subject I feel is incomplete.  Upon research I came across much more information that I found useful in understanding the details of this event.  Some children in the procession also carried signs that read: “Mother, do lynchers go to heaven?”  Also, President Wilson continually denied any requests from African Americans to stop lynching and to obtain equallity.  Today Wilson is considered one of the most racist Presidents in American history.


Southern Renaissance

With the end of World War I, American South came to be known as the “Southern Literary Renaissance” era. The “southern Literary Renaissance” was the reinvigoration of American Southern literature that b began in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1945, Allen Tate wrote, “With the 1914-1918 war, the South again into the world; when it kick taken the boundary, it is a back care, this care has brought us Southern literary renaissance, brought about a consciousness in the past in the present literature”.

In fact, the major life change of South during the World War I is that changing the angle of perspective. After half century the material poverty and political impotence, the South stood up again; actively support and endorsement of the South’s “Native Son” Woodrow Wilson’s idealism and internationalism.

Among the writers of the Southern Renaissance, William Faulkner is arguably the most influential and most famous one. The above is William Faulkner’s picture.


Give us Money! Buy a Bond!

During WW1, War bonds were sold, These bonds were called Liberty bonds. These bonds were to help finance the war.

The first issue of these bonds was not all sold, which did not make Treasury Department look very good.  This eventually involved a launched of a massive campaigns using posters, and  movie stars to make it popular .  This was a major movement in American history during world war one, that helped make investment public.    It was an important way to raise funding for the war.


The Peace Settlement: The Fourteen Points

How easy it for a President to avoid war? Under the circumstances the world was in during the years prior to World War one, not easy. However, wartime President, Woodrow Wilson, did whatever he could to refrain from war for two whole years. His eventual decision to go to war in 1912, was only to be the world a “safe place for a democracy.” Most people would agree that Wilson was a pacifist in nature and did whatever he could to create a peaceful situation both at home and abroad. His attempts finally established the fourteen points, which served as a peace settlement. The text does not provide the terms and explain the language of these fourteen points in as much debt or clarity as I would like. In fact, this attempt on behalf of the U.S. to stress the reason of war and post-war planning should be understood in more depth with a better analysis, which was perhaps lacking from the side of Foner. It is important to understand that the fourteen points confirmed that the war was being fought for a reason, a moral one. These fourteen points pushed for the freedom of the seas, negotiations between territories and nations, redrawn borders and probably most important, the formation of the League of Nations.


Many Reasons to go to War

During the early stage of world war I, America was in a tight tension with Germany because of the Zimmerman Telegram that Germany sent to Mexico which got intercepted by US and decoded. The telegram asked Mexico to be allies with Germany so that when they win the war, Germany promise to give back the land that US took from Mexico such as Texas and arizona, back to Mexico. US were already in favor of the Great British and France so Germany had reason to go against USA. The sinking of the Lusitania was the on of the major sparks that gave American the reason to declare war on Germany because the ship was meant to carry passengers from New York to Britain, but Germany’s U boat nevertheless decided to sunk the ship down that gave the US determination to get involved in this overseas war.


Peace Treaty Gone Wrong

World War I ended with the peace treaty signing called the Treaty of Versailles. Within this treaty, the victors asked for unreasonable demands. Some of these demands include putting all the blame of this war on Germany, dividing the land up, occupying the lands rich of iron and coal, restriction on Germany’s future army size and even ask for astronomical reparations reaching between $33 billion to $56 billion. Wilson initially wanted to this to be a peace treaty that ended future wars, but with such demands, anger and frustration was bound to lead into another war. The only thing good that came out of this treaty in Wilson’s eyes was the League of Nations.

Foner’s description of the Treaty of Versailles was well made but seemed a bit vague. It didn’t seem like it completely covered all aspects of this treaty. Foner confirmed my knowledge of this history in that this treaty was unjust and over demanding.


The Test of Mental Strength

During the beginning of World War I, there brought many controversies in the United States to whether to join the war or not. There were groups such as the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party whom were completely against entering in this war. They deemed this war as “a crime against the people of the United States.” With so much negativity towards this, the Wilson administration created the Committee of Public (CPI) on April 1917 to counter these groups. The job of the CPI were to create propaganda to promote people to join the war efforts in order to fight for their liberties. Edward Barnard considered this as a “intelligent manipulation” to the masses.

Foner did a good job explaining how the Wilson Administration went about to counter the negative feelings about war and ultimately convincing people into joining the war. This confirms what I’ve thought about propaganda being used and added in a way on how propaganda was distributed


Gender Equality In America

The Nineteenth Amendment was passed by Congress June 4, 1919, but it was not ratified  until August 18, 1920. Although women helped during the Civil War, but the 14th Amendment that guaranteed all American men in the nation to vote excluded women.Through many struggles and hardships, women  finally granted their right to vote during WWI. While men were fighting the war overseas, women at home provided tremendous support to help the nation.  From then the society’s gender norm started to shift. Section 1 of the 19th Amendment: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Section 2: Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Who has the bigger stick?

Gas masks and Machine guns used in World War I

World War I brought about major changes in the advancement of weapons and technology. The arms race called for modernized and advanced weapons that could give any nation a huge advantage over others on the battle field. The latest technology such as armored cars, tanks, aircrafts and machine guns plowed the battle field killing hundreds of people with only a few blows. With quicker communication abilities such as wireless communicators and telephones, orders and commands could be sent across the country in just a few minutes. As if these advancements weren’t enough, dangerous gases were called into play. Soldiers used gas masks to protect themselves from gases such as chlorine, mustard gas and phosgene that burned enemies. U-boats (submarines), blimps and hydrophones were also used in the war.

Foner barely mentions the arms race in chapter 19. However, he does explain how such advancements led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in various countries.


Racial Violence

During War World I, there were still racial violence going on in the United States. Foner gives examples of several racial violence in his book. Black people got killed or lynched unfairly not only in the North, but also in the South. According to Foner said, for example,  in Chicago in 1919, a black teenager got drowned by white bathers just because he accidentally crossed the unofficial dividing line between black and white beaches on Lake Michigan. During the year of 1919 in Chicago, “more than 250 persons died in riots in the urban North”.


“The World Must Be Made Safe For Democracy”

This quote was from the speech he gave to congress to declare War against Germany and bring peace to the world in March, 1917. Woodrow Wilson was neutral at the time when the Great War broke out in 1914, he even won the election in 1912 by promising not to send American Soldiers to Europe according to Foner. But as the situation in Europe worsened, the straw that broke America’s stance against joining the war was the sinking of Lusitania by German Submarines where 1,198 people were killed including 124 Americans, eliciting public outrage in America. Woodrow Wilson’s decision to join the Great War was a landmark decision since America was a military superpower and had the power to quickly end the war, which was already going on for 3 years and had claimed the lives of millions. I think Foner was pretty clear and succinct in discussion of this issue where he noted America’s earlier stance of neutrality and then the later shift to joining the war.



When the first world war began, America initially declared itself as a neutral country while the fighting was going on in Europe. America was made up of people who immigrated from many different nations, some of which were involved in the war. Therefore during the time of neutrality, many different Americans had ranging opinions on which side the United States should back up. Although America was neutral, there were instances in which Americans were involved in altercations during the war. This pushed Wilson toward a policy of preparedness, expanding the American army and navy in case of war. This allowed American ships to travel freely without becoming involved in battles.

Foner covers the topic of Wilson’s policy of preparedness briefly. I feel as though he should have expanded on it more, such as the actual practices enforced to expand America’s navy and army. However I feel that it the brevity of the topic was somewhat appropriate considering there are other important parts of the war for him to have covered.



Foner’s explanation of  how prohibition came in to effect was informative. He gave reason’s for why the public supported the ban of alcoholic beverages such as the adverse changes to family life and the fact that many breweries were german-american run and by purchasing liquor during war time with Germany, it bring’s upon a sense of treason. The political cartoon accompanied support’s the prohibition of alcohol by reinforcing the explanations given by foner. Although Foner’s coverage on how prohibition came into effect, he could have went into detail about the ramifications that followed after alcohol became contraband such as the bootlegger’s who would secretly sell their home made liquor from speakeasies and the criminal gangs that deveoped as a result of this ban