Section 1: American Postwar Issues • The American public was exhausted from World War I. • -Turned away from European problems to focus on ones back home (tired of sacrificing our lives and money for others problems) • New President – return to normalcy • TIME to make OUR country better
Isolationism and League of Nations • 2) Many Americans adopted a belief in isolationism. • * This meant pulling away from involvement in world affairs. • Going against Wilson’s …. • Public debate had divided the nation • Ex: It lacked its own armed force depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions League of Nations
Section 1: American Postwar Issues • 3) An economic downturn meant many faced unemployment. • Men were coming home • Factories didn’t need to produce all the war supplies anymore • 4) A wave of nativism (def: a policy of favoring native inhabitants as opposed to immigrants) swept the nation.
Fear of Communism • 5) One perceived threat to American life was the spread of Communism— • Def: an economic and political system based on a single government party, equal distribution of resources, the prohibition of private property, and rule by a dictatorship.
Communism in theSoviet Union Lenin • Remember - In 1917, a revolution in Russia transformed the nation into a Communist state, the Soviet Union. • Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks and overthrew the Czarist regime. • He was inspired by Marxism, a radical form of socialism that advocates violence. • A Communist party was formed in America too(70,000 members)
Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels – The Communist Manifesto (1848) Many Americans believed that labor troubles were in America were the result of Bolshevism. -- Evangelist Billy Sunday: Described a Bolshevik as "a guy with a face like a porcupine and a breath that would scare a pole cat.. If I had my way, I’d fill the jails so full of them that their feet would stick out the window." • Theory of class struggle • Basic principles: • (1). capitalists (haves) v. workers (have nots) • (2). Communist Party would help overthrow capitalism through violent revolution • (3). Communist Party would control a nation’s government & plan its economic activities • (4). eventually would not need government; everyone equal
Red Scare • Fear of Communism took the form of a Red Scare • (anti-communist hysteria) • and fed nativism in America. • In addition: • SOCIAL UNREST • PATRIOTISM • THE COMMUNIST REVOLUTION • POST WAR STRIKES • BOMBINGS • THE WORK OF A. MITCHELL PALMER ATTORNEY GENERAL • Also caused fear • Where was our President – Wilson? Wilson’s 6-month absence from the U.S. to negotiate Versailles Treaty began to cripple federal gov’t during the Great Unrest of 1919
One such Great unrest was in Labor - Strikes After WWI • Resulted from inflation during the war • Total - 3,000 strikes during this time period
Timed Web Research • You are now going to receive a research sheet with a highlighted strike. • You have 20 minutes to research your SPECIFIC STRIKE • Use the links on Mrs. Perella’s Website • US History 3 • US History 3 Links
Let’s look at these famous strikes • In 1919 a total of four million American workers went out on strike - one-fifth of the nation's industrial workforce
Background to Coal miners Striking • Beginning 1870-1880, coal operators and owners had established a system of oppression and exploitation • to maintain – paid “private detectives” to keep union organizers out of area • (used intimidation, harassment, espionage, murder) • By 1920, most of WV miners belonged to the UMWA (United Mine Workers of America) • except southern coalfields • Operators fired union sympathizers, blacklisting them, evicting them from homes • UMWA set up tent colonies for homeless miner families (This became a mass of angry and idle miners)
Battle of Matewan(aka Matewan Massacre) Gun battle - Matewan, West Virginia Local Miners vs. Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency *had been called in to evict families living in Coal Camp [served evictions, ate dinner, headed to train station] *Chief of Police (Sid Hatfield) intervened on behalf of families (claimed to have arrest warrants against men BUT detectives said they had arrest warrant against Chief) -As this was happening, armed miners surrounded men (windows, roofs, doorways) Don’t know who fired first (rumors) But Sid did shoot one 7 detectives and 4 townies dead
Battle of Matewan(aka Matewan Massacre) • Symbolic significance for miners but • the battle didn’t end… • *Sid Hatfield was charged with murder Trial • *National Spotlight (brought much attention to miners’ cause) • Found Not-guiltybut Union was still facing setbacks • 80% of mines reopened with REPLACEMENTS • Signing of yellow dog contracts by ex-strikers • (def: agreement between an employer • and an employee in which the employee • agrees, as a condition of employment, • not to be a member of a labor union ) • Union miners launched attack on non-union mines
The death of Sid Hatfield • In the midst of all of this, Sid was charged • with blowing up coal equipment • - Walking up to court with friend and their • wives (unarmed) • - A group of Baldwin-Felts agents standing on top of stairs opened fire • Sid killed – Miners (when heard the word) were outragedand took up arms and they rallied • - Meet with Governor with petition of the miners’ demands – But rejected • - Miners were even more restless Ain't but two sides to this world. Them that work and them that don't. You work, they don't. That's all you got to know about the enemy. - Labor Organizer
Battle of Blair MountainWest Virginia • What did they want? Safe working conditions, better pay, and union rights • 10,000 West Virginia coal workers, outraged over years of brutality and lawless exploitation, picked up their rifles and marched against the powerful mine owners • The miners were well organized • - Many were World War I veterans they appointed leaders, and arranged transportation for additional recruits and supplies. • - Lacking uniforms, they wore red bandanas to distinguish themselves from company gunmen, who wore white patches. (The miners began to refer to themselves as “ ” ) • To guard against spies, the miners created passwords that were never revealed, even decades after the conflict REDNECKS
Battle of Blair MountainWest Virginia • For ten days the miners fought a pitched battle against an opposing legion of deputies, state police, and 3,000 lawmen and strikebreakers (Logan Defenders). • Only after the declaration of martial law and the intervention of a federal expeditionary force (air squadron armed with bombs and gas), and an unwillingness to fight the U.S. Army, the miners laid down their arms and returned home
Battle of Blair MountainWest Virginia Several hundred combatants were wounded during the fighting and 16 were killed, including 12 miners and 4 of mine owners men. - Gov. Morgan tried to persuade the Army to help civil authorities arrest miners, but General refused. West Virginia courts indicted (charged) 1,217 suspected leaders of the rebellion but charges were later dropped against all Was it worth it? Although the miners’ march failed to unionize southern West Virginia coal mines, their plight garnered worldwide attention and helped build support for the National Labor Relations Act of 1935,which protects workers’ right to form unions and bargain collectively.
Still in the coal – Jump AheadAlabama coal strike1920Race Relations high (racial violence) 15,000 of the 27,000 coal miners in the state stopped work #1) Strikers killed the general manager of the Corona Coal Company along with a company guard. - But African Americans bore the brunt of the violence: #2) At least thirteen houses of strikebreakers were dynamited between September and December. ex: state troopers terrorized the small black business district in Pratt City with random machine gun fire ex: black miner Henry Junius was found in a shallow grave outside of Roebuck a few weeks into the strike.
Still in the coal – Jump AheadAlabama coal strike1920Race Relations high (racial violence) - The Alabama State Militia and the state police had been called out by the governor Once on site, state troop commanders typically placed themselves at the service of the coal companies. By February thousands of workers had been evicted from their company houses and left homeless (unprepared)
Still in the coal – Jump AheadAlabama coal strike1920Race Relations high (racial violence) After months… the enormous expense of conducting the strike with no progress led the union to seek a resolution. Governor refused : union recognition , any wage increases, and reinstate striking miners In regards to racial violence (it was written): It is rather difficult to understand how such a large number of men could be induced so deliberately to disregard such an obligation of honor. The only explanation, perhaps, lies in the fact that from 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the miners are Negroes. The southern Negro is easily misled, especially when given a permanent and official place in an organization in which both races are members Union accepted - At least 16 people were killed in the strike, more than half of them black, with an uncounted number of wounded.
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre 1922Herrin, Illinois • Background – April 1922 – UMWA • began nationwide strike • W. J. Lester (owner) complied with the strike – he had just opened the mine and had huge debts negotiated with UMWA to keep it openas long as no coal was shipped out • HOWEVER by June, he had dug out 60,000 tons of coal (profit $250,000 if he sold it) • When Union members objected (since breaking agreement, he fired them) • Brought in mine guards and 50 strikebreakers and scabs • Shipped out coal
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre Days later, a truck carrying Lester’s guards and strikebreakers was ambushed (3 men wounded) • Union miners marched into Herrin and looted the hardware store of its firearms and ammo • THEN… Surrounded mine – guards opened fire – killing 2 UMWA members • National Guard was asked to come in to stop attack and break up mob – BUT were not deployed • Lester (owner) – agreed to close mine for remainder of nationwide UMWA strike
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre • Some of Lester’s men walked into where miners were (white flag raised) asking for the UMWA to do the same (cease fire) • *There were strikebreakers pinned down inside coal cars and barricades (risked life to escape) • During the evening, union supporters stole more guns and ammo • Gunfire continued through the night and the mob destroyed mining equipment
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre 1922Herrin, Illinois • Finally, the strikebreakers emerged with white apron tied to broomstick (men would surrender IF their safety was guaranteed) • Began marching them to town (Herrin) however the mob became angry and restless • “The only way to free the county of strikebreakers is to kill them all off and stop the breed.” • Mob began striking the men with the butts of their rifles and shotguns
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre 1922Herrin, Illinois One strikebreaker (after another ½ mile) was bloodied and limping, unable to walk any further “I’m going to kill you and use you for bait to catch the other men.” – union man So, union man and another grabbed strikebreaker and led him down side road…gun shots were heard Union “higher ups” warned the men “…don’t you go killing these fellows on a public highway. There are too many women and children and witnesses around to do that. Take them over in the woods and give it to them. Kill all you can.”
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre 1922Herrin, Illinois When the mob didn’t show up 3 hrs. later (when they were suppose to), those in charge began to search (rumors of the violence) Found grisly evidence of the dead, dying, and wounded 19 dead strikebreakers out of 50 (2 union members had died at the mine) American Public Reacted with DISGUST Newspaper “Herrin, Illinois should be ostracized. Shut off from all communication with the outside world and the people there left to soak in the blood they have spilled.” President Harding – “shocking crime, barbarity, butchery, rot and madness”
Still in the coal – Jump AheadHerrin massacre 1922Herrin, Illinois Two trials were held Only 6 men were ever indicted (charged) in massacre and both trials ended with acquittal (found innocent) for all defendants
Boston Police StrikeSeptember 1919 • Over 70% of Boston’s 1,500 policemen went on strike seeking wage increases and the right to unionize. • ex: worked 73-98 hrs per week ; no pay for parade duty • Governor Calvin Coolidge called out the National Guard • Called them traitors, deserters • Told police NO RIGHT TO UNIONIZE • "no right to strike • against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime“
Boston Police Forces response to Coolidge… • When we were honorably discharged from the United States army, we were hailed as heroes and saviors of our country. We returned to our duties on the police force of Boston. Now, though only a few months have passed, we are denounced as deserters, as traitors to our city and violators of our oath of office.The first men to raise the cry were those who have always been opposed to giving to labor a living wage. It was taken up by the newspapers, who cared little for the real facts. You finally added your word of condemnation....Among us are men who have gone against spitting machine guns single-handed, and captured them, volunteering for the job. Among us are men who have ridden with dispatches through shell fire so dense that four men fell and only the fifth got through.Not one man of us ever disgraced the flag or his service. It is bitter to come home and be called deserters and traitors. We are the same men who were on the French front.Some of us fought in the Spanish war of 1898. • Won’t you tell the people of Massachusetts in which war you [Coolidge]served?
Boston Police StrikeSeptember 1919 • Police went on strike in 37 cities – • AMERICANS FEARFUL • Striking Police were fired • …New force was recruited from the National Guard. Some newspapers falsely reported that gangs were running wild and attacking women throughout the city.
Boston Police StrikeSeptember 1919 To stick it to the strikers.. Commissioner hired an entirely new police force (unemployed servicemen). The National Guard was able to return to their homes The new recruits were granted higher pay, better working conditions, and additional holidays, and gained the additional benefit of free uniforms. • AFL (American Federation of Labor – Union) leader urged strikers back to work • Asked that the striking policemen be re-hired • COOLIDGE REFUSED – • [were not allowed to return to their jobs with the Boston Police Department] • Strike dissolved
Reaching into today… • It is still illegal for police to go on strike, and even informal work actions such as the “Blue Flu,” whereby large numbers of police officers call in sick at the same time, are seriously frowned upon.
Steel Strike (Background)September 1919 • Prior to this time – Andrew Carnegie (steel tycoon) had succeeded in preventing unionization • Battle of Homestead (2nd largest dispute in history) • 1892 – Strike/Battle between strikers (Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers) and private security agents (Pinkerton National Detective Agency hired by Carnegie Steel Co.) • Striking about: regulating work hours, workload and work speeds, improving working conditions, national uniform wage scale (yearly), and prevention of strikers signing the yellow dog contracts • -100s of strikers had been wounded, dozen killed, thousands blacklisted from working at the steel mills as punishment for their participation • Aftermath – AA was broken – men wouldn’t join (since wouldn’t be hired)
Steel StrikeSeptember 1919 • Now, jump ahead to 1919 • AFL (American Federation of Labor) attempted to organize the steel industry (conditions were still terrible in the mills) • UMWA wanted shorter hours and higher wages • Problem in the organization steelworkers inability to speak English • *Steel corp. had used this to their advantage – easy to exploit and scare - wanted to create distrust of the union • AND • Judge Elbert H. Gary (Head of United States Steel Corporation) refused to negotiate (even Woodrow Wilson urged him to negotiate) • - Workers voted to strike – 400,000 walked out of work in Sept. • DIFFICULT TO ORGANIZE – workers were spread out in 10 states
Steel StrikeSeptember 1919 • Courts got involved – made it illegal to have meetings • Other actions: Groups of 3 or more on the streets were violently broken up; spies infiltrated the union and kept news from the strikers, workers didn’t even leave their homes (intimidation); children were chased back into their homes (intimidation); continuous raids • Violence – murder of 26 union organizers and strikers - Broken January 1920 (went back to work without any concessions)
Palmer Raids • Remember back – Who did many Americans blame for our Labor Problems? • Attempts to arrest and deport them out of America – known as the Palmer Raids • November 1919 and January 1920 • Leadership of Attorney General • A. Mitchell Palmer • What set off these raids?
Palmer Raids • April 1919 • 30 Italian anarchists (def: no government) mailed letter bombs to prominent American government officials and businessmen, law enforcement officials. • Only a few reached their targets, and not all exploded when opened, though some people suffered injuries, including a housekeeper in Senator Thomas W. Hardwick's residence, who had her hands blown off.
Palmer Raids • June 2, 1919 • Second wave of bombings occurred, when several much larger package bombs were detonated by same group in eight American cities, including one that damaged the home of Palmer. • - At least one person was killed in this second attack • Flyers declaring war on capitalists in the name of anarchist principles accompanied each bomb • After bomb scares, Wilson’s Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, got $500K from Congress to "tear out the radical seeds that have entangled American ideas in their poisonous theories.“
A. Mitchell Palmer claimed that Communist agents from Russia were planning to overthrow the American government • On 7th November, 1919 - over 10,000 suspected communists and anarchists were arrested. • - found no evidence of a proposed revolution but large number of these suspects were held without trial for a long time. • The vast majority were eventually released 248 people were deported to Russia. • When asked about the obvious illegal methods being used - Palmer's claim: • "There is no time to waste on hairsplitting • over infringement of liberties”
A. Mitchell Palmer claimed that Communist agents from Russia were planning to overthrow the American government • On 2nd January, 1920, - another 6,000 were arrested and held without trial. • - found no evidence of a proposed revolution but large number of these suspects, many of them members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), continued to be held without trial. • When Palmer announced that the communist revolution was likely to take place on 1st May, mass panic took place. • In New York, five elected Socialists were expelled from the legislature. Fueling the Red Scare Fire
Let’s Review What was going On? • *Feelings of wanting Isolationism from World’s Problems and Nativism (opposing immigrants) • *Anti-Communism Hysteria – RED SCARE • *Strikes and Labor Disputes blamed on Communism (Radicals) • *Palmer Raids – rounding up and kicking out the “radical seeds”
Big Case During This Time Vanzetti Sacco Let’s Listen…
Crime and Arrest Payroll Robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts Shoe Factory – 2 men killed $15,000 stolen • What was the crime? • Who was arrested and charged? • How did Guthrie show these • men to be “good men?” Sacco and Vanzetti How? Both men went to reclaim a car that police had connected to the crime Both men carrying guns and made false statements *No criminal record *No connection to stolen $