Presentation on theme: "Goal 9. Returning to Normalcy in the 1920’s President Warren Harding’s suggestion that America “return to normalcy” indicated a desire to “return” to."— Presentation transcript:
Returning to Normalcy in the 1920’s President Warren Harding’s suggestion that America “return to normalcy” indicated a desire to “return” to more traditional values. This mindset manifested itself in several areas that helped define the decade. Political and economic conservatism: less government regulation and more “laissez faire” capitalism less internationalism and more isolationism a tendency toward nativism and racism rejection of religious modernism in favor of more traditional/fundamentalist beliefs Let’s take them one at a time.
All three presidents of the 1920’s were conservative and business-oriented. They tended to ignore Progressive-Era regulations such as anti-trust laws. The stock market and real estate boomed in the 1920’s, but without much government oversight. Over -speculation and practices such as “buying on margin” helped bring about the “crash” in Warren Harding Calvin Coolidge: “The business of America is business” Herbert Hoover
The United States declined to join the League of Nations. The United States did not retreat into complete isolationism, but foreign policy was limited to a handful of initiatives. At the Washington Naval Conference ( ), three treaties dealing with arms limitations were signed. The most-important was the Five-Power Treaty that set ratios for the USA, the British Empire, Japan, France, and Italy for the building of navies. The Dawes Plan (1924) was a convoluted scheme for the collection of war debts owed to the US from WWI. The Kellogg-Briand Treaty (1928) – 63 nations renounced wars of aggression.
A “Red Scare” (fear of communism) began around 1919 that lasted into the early 1920’s. US Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer led “raids” to round up suspected communists and radicals. The main group affected by the Red Scare was immigrants – several thousand were deported. Sacco and Vanzetti – two Italians charged with murder – became symbolic of the anti-immigrant atmosphere. Their trial was tainted by prejudicial officials and their subsequent guilty verdict and execution gained international attention. Amidst this general intolerance, nativism flourished and the Immigration Act of 1924 imposed the first quota system for immigrants based on nationality.
The “New” Ku Klux Klan The New Klan considered itself defenders of WASP culture and expanded its list of “enemies” beyond African – Americans to include Catholics, Jews, religious modernists, as well as “Un- American” groups like communists and immigrants in general. The Klan reached the peak of its influence in the 1920’s with about 3-4 million members and dozens of openly- supportive state legislators, governors, and even US Congressmen. Klan March in Washington DC, 1928
1915 “blockbuster”. A silent film based on the book, The Clansman. It was widely hailed for its technical innovations, but was also popular for its positive portrayal of the Klan. President Wilson was reported to have liked it (and perhaps agreed with its message) though he issued a (lukewarm) statement to the contrary.
The Scopes Trial Held in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925 is the most notable example of the tension between religious modernism and religious fundamentalism typical of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution (which was illegal in Tennessee). Clarence Darrow defended Scopes and former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan served for the prosecution. Darrow embarrassed Bryan (and, by extension, fundamentalism) as he tried to defend a literal interpretation of the Bible. John T. Scopes Darrow and Bryan
Prohibition The 18 th Amendment was in effect from 1920 – It made all of American “dry,” or without alcohol. Prohibition was a victory for the century-long temperance movement. The Volstead Act was the enforcement legislation that implemented the Amendment.
Prohibition is difficult to categorize, primarily because its effect did not match its intent. Was it an example of the conservatism of the decade or did it encourage wild, lawless behavior? Supporters favored it for several reasons. (1)Conservative Christians felt that drinking was sinful. (2)Some women favored it because they (and their children) tended to be the primary victims of male drunkenness. (3)Social reformers hoped that prohibition would make for better citizens and/or more productive workers.
On the other hand, Prohibition is also associated with behaviors that were the opposite of those intended: organized crime, bootlegging, speakeasies, and violation of the law by millions. Al Capone A speakeasy A “flapper” with flask
Prohibition was repealed by the 21 st Amendment in 1933.
Though a decade of intolerance and fear, the 1920’s also had elements of modernism. The Harlem Renaissance celebrated African-American culture. Langston Hughes Zora Neale Hurston
Jazz was the music of the 1920’s. It began as an African-American sound, but was adopted by white bands. In some ways, it broke racial barriers. Louis Armstrong Bessie Smith
The 1920’s celebrated youth. Young women (“Flappers”) enjoyed more freedom than women of earlier generations.
The 1920’s was a prosperous decade for many. Cities grew, the middle class expanded, the stock market and real estate boomed. Henry Ford’s Model T was the best-selling US car. Radio was big. Movies were too.
Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.
Babe Ruth was the hero of America’s pastime: Baseball.
To an extent, the economic “boom” of the 1920’s was an illusion. Many people had made a lot of money in real estate and stock market speculation. Business had benefited from the growing habit of people to buy on credit. In the natural cycle of “boom” and “bust” that tends to characterize a free market system, the growth stopped and a contraction began.
The contraction was triggered by a sudden drop in stock prices starting in October, This is sometimes called the Stock Market “Crash.” The terms “Black Thursday” (October 24), “Black Monday” (October 28) and “Black Tuesday” (October 29) are associated with the dramatic drop in stock prices. It is important to note two things: First, the “crash” triggered an economic decline, but did not cause the depression that followed. Second, the term “crash” makes it seem as though the entire economy “crashed” suddenly. That was not the case. It took four years of steady decline for the depression to reach its worst year (1933).
The term Great Depression eventually came to refer to the economic downturn that began in 1929, reached its worst year in 1933, and did not entirely disappear until the US ramped up industrial production during World War II (1939 – 1945). The Great Depression had a profound impact on American society and on the relationship between the people and the federal government.
Herbert Hoover was president from 1929 – He did not cause the depression, but did not respond very vigorously to it either. Hoover believed that the business cycle, if left alone, would correct itself. Meanwhile, unemployment began to rise, banks failed, farms and homes were foreclosed, businesses closed, and a dangerous hopelessness set in.
The Election of 1932 was about little except the economy. Herbert Hoover sought re-election. He ran against Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). FDR promised a “New Deal” for the “forgotten man.” He won the election.
In the first “Hundred Days” of his presidency, FDR and Congress were busy. A “bank holiday” was declared. Banks closed and were audited by the government. Sound banks reopened. The Glass-Steagall Act created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that insures bank accounts. Bank failures dropped to almost zero.
FDR’s New Deal eventually grew into a huge federal program made up of hundreds of government agencies. They were known as “Alphabet Agencies” because they were often referred to by their initials. The programs of the New Deal fall into three main categories: Relief, Recovery, and Reform. Major Relief Agencies FERA – gave direct money to the needy. CWA – Money to states to build 225,000 miles of roads, 30,000 schools, 3700 athletic playing fields. PWA – Loans to private industry to build public works like dams, ports, bridges, power plants, airports, etc. FCA – helped the 40% of farms that were mortgages by providing low-interest loans. CCC – jobs for young men who worked in rural areas cutting fire trails, planting trees, draining swamps, etc. WPA - public works – gave jobs to millions of unemployed
Major Recovery measures: NIRA: National Industrial Recovery Act – Created the National Recovery Administration (NRA) to foster fair business practices. Symbol was the Blue Eagle. AGRICULTURAL ADJUSTMENT ACT [AAA]: limited farm production to help raise prices. Declared unconstitutional by Supreme Court – a second AAA was passed that endured. FEDERAL HOUSING ACT [FHA]: helped repair, rebuild, and insure older homes.
Major Reforms GLASS/STEAGALL ACT –government oversight of banks – FDIC SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [SEC]: regulates stock market WAGNER ACT created NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD [NLRB] which reaffirmed labor's rights to bargain for wages, hours, and working conditions, to strike, and to arbitration of grievances. FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT [FLSA]: set minimum wages and maximum working hours. TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY [TVA] and RURAL ELECTRIFICATION AUTHORITY [REA]: helped to bring electricity to rural "pockets of poverty" that could not afford lines. SOCIAL SECURITY: Forced savings for old-age pensions. Also provides for the unemployed, widows with dependent children, and the handicapped.
The New Deal had many critics, but the majority of Americans supported it. FDR was re-elected in FDR was angry when the Supreme Court struck down several key New Deal laws, so he devised a scheme to “pack the court” – a plan that was not approved by Congress and proved unpopular with the public. FDR’s attempts to scale back government programs in 1937 resulted in a reversal of the economic improvement.
The New Deal relied heavily on the ideas of economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynes argued that, during a recession, the government must spend money to counteract the contraction, even if it must deficit spend (borrow) to do so. To one extent or another, Keynesian solutions have been the way all presidents since FDR have dealt with periods of recession.
The New Deal significantly enlarged the role of the federal government. It created a large government bureaucracy, many new regulatory agencies, and gave direct help to the poor and unemployed. Since the 1930’s, Americans have tended to look to the government for solutions to large problems.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, a totalitarian form of government called fascism had taken control of Italy, Germany, and Spain. FDR began to see the danger posed by fascism and suggested as early as 1937 that the US should oppose the “aggressors” of Europe. FDR’s speech, known as the Quarantine Speech, was not well-received by Congress or the America public. America was not ready for another European war. In 1936, 1937, and 1938, Congress passed Neutrality Acts to ensure US non- involvement. When World War II began in Europe in 1939, a majority of Americans wished to remain neutral.
By 1940, the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) were advancing. In Europe, all the democratic nations “fell” except Great Britain. In the Pacific, Japan invaded China and was advancing into southeast Asia. Americans were increasingly alarmed and willing to provide aid to nations fighting the Axis. The most important law was the Lend- Lease Act of The law authorized the production of war goods for the Allies.
The Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor, a US naval base in Hawaii, brought the US formally into the war on the side of the Allies. (December 7, 1945) The US would fight the war in two large Theatres of Operation: Europe and the Pacific.
The European Theatre consisted of four fronts. The US would be involved in three of them. The North Africa Front Patton (US) and Montgomery (UK) v Rommel (Germany – Afrika Korps) The Italian Front Allies advance up the “soft underbelly” of Europe. Brought the surrender of Italy The Western Front Opened at D-Day – the Normandy Invasion. Liberated France and led to Germany’s defeat. The Eastern Front was fought between Germany and the Soviet Union. It was the deadliest of the fronts.
Hitler committed suicide on April 30, Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945 – V-E Day The European Theatre was over.
The Pacific Theatre was fought between the US and Japan. Two “turning point” battles in 1942: Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea. Stopped the Japanese advance. Island-hopping cleared the way for eventual invasion of Japan. Iwo Jima Island battles were brutal. The Japanese rarely surrendered. Kamikazi attacks on US ships revealed the nature of the Japanese fighting spirit.
The war against Japan ended with two atomic bombs. The US “Manhattan Project” had produced the bombs. One was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, A second bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 ended the war.
WWII on the Home Front Internment of Japanese-Americans Women in industry (Rosie the Riveter) Rationing of food and fuel Massive industrial productivity
FDR won two more elections: 1940 and (He died early in his fourth term – Vice President Harry Truman succeeded him.) His four election victories broke the two-term tradition that had been followed since George Washington. The 22 nd Amendment (1951) limits presidents to two terms or ten years.
The Cold War began almost as soon as World War II ended. Winston Churchill sounded the alarm with his “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946.
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere…
The division of Germany into East Germany (Soviet dominated and communist) and West Germany (US dominated and democratic) was the beginning.
The Marshall Plan followed…
Then the Berlin Airlift,
The Soviets got “the bomb” in 1949
The US formed NATO The Soviets answered with the Warsaw Pact
President Truman announced the US policy of containment: the US would aid any nation fighting communism. This is also known as the Truman Doctrine. Communism seemed to making gains all over the world. It was scary…
China became communist in 1949
The US and the United Nations fought against communists in Korea. The Korean War lasted from 1950 – The Korean War Memorial in Washington DC
The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) held hearings to find communists in America. They particularly targeted Hollywood.
Senator Joseph McCarthy held hearings in the Senate. He was so influential, the post-WWII “Red Scare” is sometimes called McCarthyism or the McCarthy Era.
From 1948 – 1991, the Cold War dominated and defined US foreign policy. The struggle between communism and capitalism / totalitarianism and democracy would be waged with war, propaganda, spies, a nuclear arms race, a space race, assassinations, and money. Some Cold War highlights of the Eisenhower-Kennedy years: The US commits to the protection of South Vietnam The Soviet launch of Sputnik panics the US
The U-2 Incident A nuclear arms race… and a new nuclear vocabulary: massive retaliation… more bang for the buck… brinksmanship… mutual assured destruction
Disaster at the Bay of Pigs Kennedy v Khrushchev face off during the Cuban Missile Crisis Berlin Wall is built