Presentation on theme: "The United States in World War I Preparing for war."— Presentation transcript:
The United States in World War I Preparing for war
The Draft Wilson took a number of steps to mobilize the nation. He raised income taxes, organized a vigorous Liberty Bond campaign, and initiated conscription (4 million men will be drafted) Many progressives supported the war and the draft, believing that service to a common cause might promote a sense of equality among men of many different backgrounds. 11,000 Women volunteered as nurses, clerical workers, and telephone operators.
Race and the military The military, however, was not an equalizer for African Americans, who were segregated. One African American unit was integrated into undermanned French units. Although the NAACP won some officer commissions, the military did not give high rank to any African American.
The US arrives The first doughboys with the American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) arrived in France in June 1917, boosting Allied morale. By the summer of 1918, 10,000 American troops were arriving in France a day US military strategy called for frontal assaults, a doctrine long since abandoned by the other combatents
US involvement in the war Of the more than 2 million American soldiers who went to France, nearly 1.4 million took part in active combat. United States troops helped stop a German advance at Château-Thierry, captured Cantigny, and proved a decisive presence in the Second Battle of the Marne. They then achieved a major victory at St. Mihiel. A joint Allied effort near Argonne Forest broke the German resolve to fight, leading to an armistice on November 11, 1918.
Impact of the war United States troops, who served just over a year, felt neither the despair nor the suffering endured by their European counterparts. For many, the Great War was an adventure.
The war at home Propaganda campaigns reached every corner of the United States. Women and teenagers conserved food, pitched in with farming, and took jobs in wartime industries Big businesses joined with the government in forming cooperative committees that supervised the purchasing of war supplies and the granting of contracts.
The war and labor Progressives lauded the efficiency of centralized regulation, forgetting, in the heat of the moment, their former distrust of big business. Corporate profits tripled between 1914 and 1919. Labor and womens suffrage leaders were divided on whether to back the war. Samuel Gompers, who headed the AFL, calculated the gains war might bring to labor. Gompers pledged to support the war and, in return, funds were secretly channeled into his American Alliance for Labor and Democracy, a group organized to discredit Socialists.
The American Federation of Labor The AFL attracted workers and won an 8- hour work day. However, they also labored under no-strike contracts and lost some of the Socialist firebrands who might have helped fight an anti-labor backlash after the war. In addition, women of all races and Hispanic and African American men quickly lost their jobs when soldiers came home to reclaim them.
Free speech during the war During the war, freedom of speech took a severe beating. The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Amendment of 1918 made any obstruction of the war effort illegal and curbed the civil liberties of those who spoke against the war. Wartime hysteria led to the imprisonment of Socialists such as Eugene Debs and, in some cases, mob violence against radical worker groups and people of German descent.
Not all Americans were caught up in the wartime frenzy. Some Americans spoke out against the espionage and sedition laws. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union assisted pacifists and conscientious objectors who had been subjected to abuse. After the war, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., ruled that a citizens freedom of speech should only be curbed when the words uttered constitute a clear and present danger. However, the question remained whether critics to the war constituted such a danger
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