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Chapter 13 A Turbulent Decade Section 1 Postwar Troubles.

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1 Chapter 13 A Turbulent Decade Section 1 Postwar Troubles

2 Demobilization Factories and war-related business’ were operating at full capacity when the war abruptly ended. The process of {demobilization- the transition from war time to peace time production levels} caused social and economic strain {The return of 4.5 million soldiers caused unemployment to raise, wages to fall and a shortage of jobs.} Causing the cost of goods to double from 1914-1920 However in 1920-1921, prices fell and there was a brief recession, caused partly by demobilization The cancellation of 2 billion dollars in wartime production contracts caused the lay-off of about 5 million laborers The impact of demobilization also hit farmers hard. They began producing food for Europe as well as the U.S. but after the war was over and farm production revived in Europe farm prices fell

3 Labor Strife Many workers went on strike due to the difficulties of demobilization The first major strike took place in the shipyards in Seattle demanding higher pay and shorter hours. 110 local unions joined these workers in the strike {The Seattle general strike began on Feb. 6 @ 10:00am. When 35,000 workers left their jobs to protest} The strike had been peaceful with no incidents of violence. The gov., however, blamed immigrants for the strike and anti-labor forces compared the strike to the mayhem in Russia’s Bolshevik revolution. The strikers came under extreme pressure from the public to go back to work. After 5 days the strike ended without any of their demands being met

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5 The Boston Police Strike In September of 1919 the Boston Police Strike began The officers had recently formed a union to seek better pay and working conditions Their police chief Edwin Curtis refused to recognize the union and in response fired 19 officers for engaging in union activities In response 75% of the Boston police went on strike. Public order quickly collapsed Again being compared Russia and denounced as “agents of Lenin” and the strike a “Bolshevist nightmare” the police voted to return to work Commissioner Curtis refused to reinstate the officer and instead hired a whole new police force of unemployed veterans

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7 The Steel Strike Two weeks after the Boston strike, 365,000 steelworkers in Pennsylvania walked off the job The strikers demanded the usual but the massive number of strikers threatened to shut down the steel industry The steel companies called on “loyal” Americans to return to work and also brought in thousands of African American and Mexican American workers to replace the strikers The companies also enlisted the aid of police officers and armed thugs to intimidate the strikers. After being jailed, beaten and sometimes shot, leaders called off the strike on Jan. 9, 1920

8 Police on duty during the strike

9 The United Mine Workers Strike The last major strike, the United Mine Workers strike, took place in Nov. 1919, when 400,000 coal miners walked out of the mines The strike was organized by John L. Lewis, the president of the United Mine Workers union Pres. Wilson stated the strike violated the unions’ wartime agreement not to strike Lewis declared the strike over, however secretly told the workers not to go back to work The tactic worked and the workers got a 14% pay increase As with most of the strikes, the public view was against the unions. They accused Lewis of having ties to Russia and the Bolsheviks

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11 The Red Scare Fear of a coming of a workers revolution, like that in Russia, would erupt reached its height in the Red Scare {The Red Scare was a period of anticommunist hysteria during 1919 & 1920} The revolution in Russia resulted in the establishment of a communist government based on Marxist teachings Under communism the gov. owned and controlled ALL private property In 1919, Lenin established the {Communist International, an organization designed to encourage worldwide communist revolution} over throwing capitalism and free enterprise

12 Karl Marx

13 Marxism in America Karl Marx’s message of an unavoidable working class revolution won some support in the U.S. The socialist party was formed based on Marxism in 1901 {Eugene V. Debs, candidate for the Socialist Party, ran on a platform that called for the collective ownership of industry,} to be achieved by non-violent means. They refused to support a violent overthrow of the government A small number of Americans did support the Bolsheviks and thought that there should be a revolution in the United States Many Americans ignored the difference between the Socialists and Communists. They thought all radicals and labor activists were Bolsheviks and were trying to destroy the gov. Both parties were subject to discrimination and abuse

14 The Palmer Raids In April of 1919, 36 bombs addressed to prominent members of society were discovered by postal workers Less than 1 month later a bomb was set off at the house of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer The bomb scare only increased Red Scare hysteria {Palmer launched a anticommunist crusade, placing J. Edgar Hoover (future head of the FBI)} in charge {Palmer Raids peaked in Jan. 1920 when thousands of suspected radicals were arrested} and/or deported Most of the arrests were unfounded and that summer the hysteria over radicalism died down

15 I.W.W. Headquarters After Palmer Raid, 1919

16 Sacco and Vanzetti Although the Red Scare was over hostilities toward immigrants and radicals continued Two anarchist Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were charged with murder during a robbery in Boston. The were tried before Judge Webster Thayer, who was know for his dislike of radicals. He dismissed eyewitnesses who could offer the men alibis The jury returned with a “guilty” verdict Judge Thayer sentenced them to death, ending the trial with a bold statement:

17 Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

18 Continued….. “This man [Vanzetti], although he may not actually have committed the crime attributed to him, is nevertheless morally culpable [guilty] because he is an enemy of our existing institutions…. The defendant’s ideals are cognate [associated] with the crime.” Defenders of civil liberties were outraged they argued the men were convicted not because of evidence, but because of their political affiliation {Nicola Sacco was executed along with Bartolomeo Vanzetti on Aug. 23, 1927}

19 Review Questions This is the transition from war time to peace time production levels What caused unemployment to raise, wages to fall and a shortage of jobs? What was the period of anticommunist hysteria during 1919 & 1920 Communist International, an organization designed to encourage what? This candidate for the Socialist Party, ran on a platform that called for the collective ownership of industry

20 Can you find Karl Marx? Can you find Karl Marx?


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