By Ronald Schaffer
After such conflicts as global struggle II, Vietnam, and now the Persian Gulf, the 1st global conflict turns out a far off, virtually historical occasion. It evokes photographs of trenches, horse-drawn wagons, and outdated wide-brimmed helmets--a clash in the direction of the Civil warfare than to our personal time. It rarely turns out an American warfare in any respect, contemplating we fought for scarcely over a 12 months in a basically ecu fight. yet, as Ronald Schaffer recounts during this interesting new publication, the nice conflict wrought a dramatic revolution in the United States, wrenching a various, unregulated, nineteenth-century society into the trendy age. starting from the Oval place of work to company boardroom, from the farmyard to the battlefield, America within the nice War info a kingdom reshaped through the calls for of overall battle. Schaffer indicates how the Wilson management used persuasion, manipulation, direct keep an eye on, and the cooperation of non-public industries and corporations to mobilize a freewheeling, individualist kingdom. the end result used to be a war-welfare kingdom, implementing the government on nearly each point of yankee lifestyles. He describes the way it unfold propaganda, enforced censorship, and stifled dissent. Political radicals, spiritual pacifists, German-Americans, even normal those that voiced sincere doubts concerning the struggle suffered arrest and imprisonment. the govt prolonged its regulate over many of the nation's financial existence via a sequence of latest agencies--largely packed with managers from deepest company, who used their new positions to put off festival and safe different own and company earnings. Schaffer additionally info the efforts of students, scientists, employees, ladies, African- americans, and of social, scientific, and ethical reformers, to exploit the struggle to increase their very own agendas while they contributed to the force for victory. and never the least very important is his account of the way infantrymen reacted to the truth of war--both on the entrance strains and on the rear--revealing what introduced the doughboys to the battlefield, and the way they went via not just horror and disillusionment yet felt a fervent patriotism in addition. a number of the upheavals Schaffer describes have been fleeting--as obvious within the millions of ladies who needed to go away their wartime jobs while the lads got here home--but others intended everlasting switch and set precedents for such destiny courses because the New Deal. by way of exhibiting how American lifestyles may by no means be a similar back after the Armistice, America within the nice War lays a brand new starting place for knowing either the 1st international conflict and twentieth-century the US.
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Additional info for America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State
As early as 1914 he had expressed the fear that America might have to take defense measures fatal to her ideals and form of government. " Now he warned Americans not to copy Germany by ignoring the "sacred obligations of the law" or by attacking organizations that would produce anarchy by anarchic methods. It was "childish," he thought, to prevent school children from learning German. " The president spoke out against mobs and tried to moderate particular efforts at censorship. " He intervened to release the Nation and the World Tomorrow when Burleson's department excluded them from the mails, and he disagreed with Burleson's view that the government should take drastic action against the People's Council of America for Democracy and Peace, an antiwar organization—so long as it stayed within the law.
A Kansas council-of-defense handbook urged its readers to report immediately any person or family who criticized the government in a negative way, questioned the government's purpose, or talked against the war. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, Daily World told readers: "Watch your neighbor. " The Literary Digest asked readers to send it editorials they felt were seditious or treasonable. The chief targets of all these activities were more than eight million German-Americans, the country's second largest national minority.
On the ground that a periodical that missed one issue no longer qualified for second-class mailing privileges, he denied those privileges to the Masses. People asked Burleson what his standards were for censoring publications. " These ideas, Burleson said, made for insubordination in the armed services and bred a spirit of disloyalty in the country. It was the view of the postmaster general that when the majority had spoken, legally and properly, "in its wisdom and patriotism . . " While the Post Office was attempting to weed out literature, federal law-enforcement officials moved against suspected opponents of the war.