American History Essays

American History Essays - War has proved successful in...

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“War has proved successful in uniting Americans.” Assess the validity of this statement with respect to World War I. Few events have truly succeeded in uniting the American people. A nation is unified when all its citizens are supporting and working toward the same cause. Trying to transform the minds of people in a nation previously with such great hostility toward involvement in European conflicts seemed to almost guarantee to break apart the nation. However, World War I arguably did help Americans actually take a step closer in bringing the country together even if it may not have been completely successful in helping to unify the entire nation. Before World War I, most Americans had been united in priding themselves on their isolationism from the violence occurring in Europe. Dragging the United States into war would certainly divide the country. However, Wilson’s idealism was able to appeal to Americans and convert them from their previous antagonism toward involvement in the Old World conflicts. This alone was a crucial step in helping to unite Americans as Wilson fired up the public mind. The Committee of Public Information, headed by George Creel, was created to mobilize people’s minds for war. Trying to sell America on the war, the Creel organization was one of the most successful efforts during World War I in uniting Americans. Using propaganda, the organization helped the entire nation to catch the spirit of war by relying on voluntary compliance. Labor and workers were not completely unified by World War I, but many American workers were motivated by the War Department’s “work or fight” rule of 1918 and were working for the same cause. Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor became even more unified as they loyally supported the war. However, World War I was not able to unify the different labor organizations, like the Industrial Workers of the World. Wartime inflation was surpassing wage gains, and strikes and labor disputes resulted. On the other hand, World War I did help rally together women. Many female workers replaced men in the factories during wartime and helped solidify the need for woman suffrage. World War I developments helped more feminists to fight for more political power. The war also helped forge a unified economy, and mobilization relied more on patriotism. The Food Administration, headed by Hebert C. Hoover, helped collect support from people on a voluntary basis. With massive propaganda, the entire nation worked toward growing its own food in “victory gardens” and easing pressure on food supplies. Not only did war help Americans all work toward increased production, it also generated a spirit of self-denial that helped spread the movement of prohibition throughout the nation. Patriotic wartime spirit helped direct everyone’s efforts toward winning the war. The Fuel Administration urged all Americans to conserve fuel, and the Treasury Department helped Americans to raise a large sum of the cost of war with its
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course HIST 3316 taught by Professor Bourgeios during the Fall '11 term at Texas State.

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American History Essays - War has proved successful in...

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