One important change that occurred during WWI was The Fourteen Points. Foner’s mentions the Wilson view of the war, and reasoning why he wants the fourteen points, but I think he should go more in details about The Fourteen points, not just summary what is it about, so people can understand better. However the main point about The Fourteen Points is demanded that each nationality should have its own nation and government. It called for freedom of seas, free trade, reduced armaments and open diplomacy (an end to secret treaties), Wilson felt the most important points in his plan was the creation of a League of Nations. Wilson hoped to create a world of peaceful, democratic nations in which future was would be avoided.
Women suffrage movement had fought for a long time. However, after World War I, the U.S. government had ratified the 19th amendment which gives women right to vote at 1920. The reason why the government passed the 19th amendment on the time is women be educated and involved patriotic service. During the World War I women served in the army as war nurses in Europe, and they also went to work in war production jobs. In addition, many educated women adopted strategies of British suffrage movement and started denounce the male political system and struck. However, this power was increasing. Finally, they gained their right to vote.
One important change that occurred during World War I (The Great War) was the 18th Amendment, or better known as prohibition. As one reads Foner’s recollection of the Prohibition, you notice that Foner mentions the reasoning and support behind the 18th amendment. Even though he seems to mention every reason sarcastically, he doesn’t mention the outcome of prohibition in regard to ethical fathers/husbands, calm workers, etc. And he most certainly doesn’t mention the development of bootleggers and speakeasies that lead to the huge expansion of crime. On another note, neither did Foner mention, nor was I privy to the knowledge that during the prohibition many officers were trigger happy and caused the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of innocents as depicted by the picture below.
Prohibition is one of the drastic changes that happened during the course of World War I. Looking through the course of American history, it is perhaps unbelievable that alcohol, one of the foundations of pleasure for many citizens, would be banned. On top of that, the banned was even written in an amendment, which is ridiculously difficult to be passed. Although Eric Foner only spent a little more than half page on the topic, he was able to inform us about many details of the topic. In three paragraphs, he had informed me things that I didn’t know, such as 1) how the Anti-German attitude generated hatred toward German breweries, 2) labor reformers wanted prohibition to have a more disciplined work force, and 3) the Baptists and Methodist were opposing drinking in a political way. Foner may not have given us a full picture of prohibition, but he did well to inform us by squeezing in as much information as possible in three paragraphs.
The Red Scare as described by Foner was a changing point in America in 1919-1920. During this time there was a period of political intolerance inspired by the postwar strike wave and social tensions and fears brought up by the Russian Revolution. General A.Palmer dispatched federal agents to raid the offices of radical and labor organizations throughout the country. During these raids, over 5,000 people were arrested and the government deported hundreds of immigrant radicals. Hoover also developed files on thousands of Americans suspected of holding radical political ideas. In early 1920 the Red Scare collapsed and imprisoned immigrants were released.
The reading and the political cartoon shown above bear striking resemblance. Foner did not leave out any details that are not portrayed in the image. The cartoon illustrates Uncle Sam spanking labor unions and strikes. This appears as though these organizations were disobedient children and had to be reprimanded which was what Foner describes in the chapter reading.
The Steel Strike of 1919 was an attempt by the weakened Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers to organize the United States steel industry in the wake of World War I. The strike began on September 22, 1919, and collapsed on January 8, 1920.
The steel strike of 1919 was in Chicago and united about 365,000 mostly immigrant workers who demanded for union recognition, higher wages, and an eight hour workday. Before 1917, the managers of steel mills would just make up their own wages and working conditions. During the war, workers were in the Amalgamated Association, the union that was nearly destroyed at its defeat at Homestead. Employers responded to the strike by associating the strikers with communism and disloyalty and so the strike would eventually collapse in 1920. Foner portrays the steel strike as the bringing of the war and how workers fought for their rights. It was complete in the way of how it depicts who the workers were mostly, whether they got what they striked for, and how the strike would come to an end.
In World War I, Germany was considered the main culprit and provacateur of the war. Therefore, it stirred the movement against Germans in United States. Prior to the war, German-Americans were able to express and promote their ethnic culture through the fine arts and language. Once the war began, German-Americans came under public scrutiny and ostracism. To raise support for the war, German culture was belittled to establish the notion of superiority of America. Any traces of German culture was erased in America. For example, instead of saying “hamburger,” which has German roots, it was called “liberty sandwich.”
I thought Foner did a good job in presenting the Anti-German Crusade. He stated several statistics to demonstrate how the war negatively affected German-Americans and their culture. However, Foner could have developed and expanded the topic more to illustrate the hardships of German-Americans during the war. The three images above adds depth to the portrayal of how German-Americans were singled out and excluded from mainstream America.
According to Foner, the espionage Act of 1917 prohibited not only spying and interfering with the draft, but also “false statements” that might impede military success. It basically made it illegal to say anything against the government—anything which criticized the government, which brought the government into disrepute, as the law said. Foner also mentions the Sedition Act of 1918 that made it a crime to make spoken or printed statements that intended to cast “contempt, scorn, or disrepute” on the “form of government”, or that advocated interference with war effort. Many people were arrested under these acts. I did more research and found that citizens convicted of these crimes were subject to a fine of up to $10,000 or to imprisonment for not more than 20 years or both. I also found that other groups use these acts as the opportunity to fight old battles against old enemies (employers used these acts to get labor leaders and IWW radical laborites arrested not because of what they said about the war, but because they wanted them out of their factories).
In 1917, President Wilson’s administration came up with the CPI, or Committee on Public Information. What this committee did was it tried to manipulate the opinions of the public. They wanted to convince Americans to agree with America’s stance to go into World War 1. They did this by using “posters, newspaper advertisements, and motion pictures” to help spread the governments ideas. They also had Four-Minute Men who would go around trying to help sway the public’s opinions. These men targeted every audience, including most immigrant groups. In the end this committee proved very successful.
Foner covers this topic in less than a page, however he covers it very well. He tellsthe story like it is, and does not praise or admonish the CPI. He rather explains how this was the first time that America had dealt with this sort of mass advertising, and it influenced many people of the future, including advertisers of today. Although they did not know it at the time, this committee shifted the way America ran, and its impacts are still felt today.
Zimmerman Telegram is one important reason why the U.S went to World War I. Foner talks about how the Zimmerman Telegram was made public by the British spies in March 1917. He says how the German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman call on Mexico to join the war against the U.S and promised to help recover their territory lost in the Mexican War of 1846-1848. I think that Foner basically covered most of what the Zimmerman Telegram was.
A revolution in Russia overthrew the czar and established a constitutional government making it more plausible to believe that the U.S would be fighting on the side of democracy. The war resolution was passed the Senate 82-6 and House of Representative 373-50.
Foner’s coverage for the sinking of the Lusitania is a bit broad, he should go more in depth about how Americans reacted to the death of several Americans on the ship and how this incident changed Americans perspective and got them involved in World War I. However Foner gave a good general overview of the background of what began before and after the sinking of the Lusitania. Adding onto Foner’s coverage, on May 7, 1915 the Lusitania was carrying about 1,900 passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. Soon being spotted by the Germans, their U-boat launched a torpedo into the Lusitania; it took 18 minutes for the ship to sink. Among the passengers that were killed were 124 Americans. The sinking of the ship and the deaths of several Americans had an intense impact on the United States.
Women were gaining momemtum in the 1900s fighting their hardest for rights. They were able to gain power in the labor force and were now demanding rights as a citizen and equal human being. The movement demanded that the government expand laws to include women and to stop the discrimination based upon gender. Rights such as abortions, voting, and more working power came into effect because of the women who fought so hard during this time