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How far did the USA economy boom in the 1920s? Why did the USA turn to a policy of isolationism after the First World War? This ppt originally appeared.

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Presentation on theme: "How far did the USA economy boom in the 1920s? Why did the USA turn to a policy of isolationism after the First World War? This ppt originally appeared."— Presentation transcript:

1 How far did the USA economy boom in the 1920s? Why did the USA turn to a policy of isolationism after the First World War? This ppt originally appeared on the Langley Secondary School website at This site went down in July 2010, so I have copied it here.

2 America and the War When war broke out, Woodrow Wilson was determined to keep America out of this war. Many Americans originated from Europe and had no desire to get involved in a European war. Wilson won a tightly fought presidential election in 1916 on the slogan He Kept Us Out Of The War. The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. There will be no war. This country does not intend to become involved in this war…it would be a crime against civilisation for us to go in.

3 The Decision for War Three months after making this statement Wilson asked Congress to declare a state of war and on 6 th April 1917 the USA declared war on Germany. WHY? 1. In 1917 Kaiser Wilhelm ordered a policy of unrestricted submarine attacks including civilian ships. 2. Aggressive intentions were confirmed in February 1917 when the Zimmerman Telegraph was intercepted by intelligence. It stated that in the event of war between Germany and USA, Mexico would join on the side of Germany. They Mexicans would receive in return Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

4 Impact of the War America sent 1 million US troops to the front line by November ,000,000 men were conscripted 125,000 troops wounded 53,000 troops killed $22 million were spent on munitions $10 million was lent to the Allies at high rates of interest. Why did America return to a policy of ISOLATIONISM after the war?

5 What is isolationism? Definition of Isolationism 1. Involvement without commitment - "advantages without obligations 2. No permanent, entangling alliances 3. Keep U.S. sovereign, free, at peace 4. Emphasis on legalism, not force - a "law- bound" world of Great Powers keeping order

6 Why did America follow a policy of isolationism? 1. Tradition 2. Dislike of the Old World 3. Dangerous ideas 4. Loss of life

7 1.Tradition Isolationism was the traditional US policy towards the rest of the world. Wilson had in fact been re-elected as President in 1916 mainly because he promised to keep the USA out of WW1

8 2.Dislike of the Old World The USA is a country of immigrants. In 1919 the majority of US citizens had been born in Europe and their experiences and memories of Europe had not been happy. For them Europe meant poverty, lack of freedom, exploitation, and oppressive governments. It was not surprising that they wanted to forget Europe and get on with building new lives for themselves.

9 3.Dangerous Ideas The Europe of 1919 was full of revolutionary ideas e.g. socialism, communism and anarchism. There had been a communist revolution in Russia in 1917 and attempted revolutions in Germany and Hungary. Many people in the USA hated and feared these ideas. They did not want them to spread from Europe. Any further contact with Europe was to be avoided.

10 4.Loss of life 100,000 US soldiers had died fighting in Europe during the First World War. Many Americans regretted this loss and did not want it to happen again. They were angry that their soldiers had died fighting a European war.

11 Consequences of Isolationism not join the League of Nations 1. They did not join the League of Nations – an organisation set up by the Treaty of Versailles to keep peace in the future. restrictions on immigration 2. There were restrictions on immigration set in 1921: - total number allowed into the USA was limited literacy test - A 1917 literacy test was imposed on immigrants quota system - A quota system was introduced – numbers were only let in according to the proportion of people from that country already living in the USA. 3. High tariffs 3. High tariffs (duties/taxes) were placed on products coming into the USA from other countries. This made them expensive for US customers and encouraged people to buy the cheaper American goods.


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