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Home-front During WWI

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Home-front During WWI

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Home-front During WWI

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  1. Home-front During WWI

  2. Selective Services Act • Introduced Draft / Conscription: by lottery • Men aged 21-30, later 18-45 • 2m drafted, 2m volunteers • Segregation of Armed Forces continued…until the Korean War • AEF: American Expeditionary Forces - John J. Pershing – name given to our forces in WW1

  3. Nicknamed “Doughboys” after cake baked for US sailors • US troops not effective until late 1917, early 1918 • US troops had a huge impact on crucial victories over Germans at Chateau Thierry, Rheims, Argonne Forest • Death toll: 57,000 American troops died of influenza in Europe during the War, 53,000 died on the battlefield…total 110,000

  4. Financing the War • First estimates were $10b would be needed: eventual costs grew to $32b • Funded by: • Liberty Bonds, at 4% interest, sold by Sec. of Treasury William McAdoo, brought in $23b • Increased income tax, and new Corporate taxes brought in $10b

  5. Organizing the Economy • At first Wilson set up Regional planning authorities to control transport, war production, food production – were not effective • Changed to centralized, national authorities / boards • National Railroad Board: co-ordinate nation’s train system into a single unified system…trunk lines, co-operation of RR companies demanded to ensure the flow of goods from West to East

  6. Fuel Administration: headed by Harry Garfield: goal was to increase fuel and energy supplies (coal, oil, electricity, natural gas ), encourage voluntary consumer reduction – leaving more for war effort (produce more, consume less) • Public was encouraged to save fuel through campaigns such as “heatless Mondays” and “lightless nights” and “gasless Sundays” – great success • Food Administration: headed by Herbert Hoover: had already led food drive for Belgium: increase food supply, less public consumption: bigger surplus for war effort: (again, produce more, consume less)

  7. Voluntary consumer conservation through “wheat-less Mondays” and “meatless Tuesdays” campaigns: gov. encouraged the public to grow their own crops / vegetables in “Victory Gardens” (yards, parks..) – great success • War Industries Board: under Bernard Baruch: controlled huge Govt. contracts for war materials: persuaded industries to convert to producing war goods (from cars to tanks – Henry Ford, shoes to army boots, clothes to army uniforms) • Industry was again allowed to form huge trusts and monopolies: Progressive anti-trust legislation was suspended; many of the gains of the Progressive years were undone…trusts / monopolies were fast and efficient in providing for the gov’s needs

  8. National War Labor Board: type of supreme court for labor disputes, mediator to prevent disruption of industry / strikes, esp. essential war industries. Samuel Gompers was a Board member • Persuaded many employers to increase wages, this this was often offset by inflation – though for many workers over-time opportunities were unlimited • There were still many strikes during 1917-1918, but the NWLB prevented many more from breaking out

  9. Overall – these authorities were a great success in restructuring the Economy to satisfy the needs of the War • National Railroad Board • Fuel Administration • Food Administration • War Industries Board • National War Labor Board

  10. Propaganda, Repression.. • The gov. set up the Committee of Public Information (CPI): to control Propaganda and Media: under George Creel: Distributed pro-war literature: 75m pieces: posters, leaflet etc. • Employed “four minute men” who delivered patriotic speeches in factories, clubs, sports events • Promoted war efforts, campaigns of Fuel and Food Board, War Bonds, encouraged women to work in industry and business…

  11. Encouraged newspapers to engage in “self – censorship” about negative war information • Encouraged people to spy on their neighbors and inform authorities if they saw disloyalty • Espionage Act: 1917: imposed heavy fines and jail sentences on anyone convicted of spying, sabotage, or obstruction of war effort: also banned from the US mail system any “seditious material.”

  12. Sabotage Act and Sedition Act of 1917: extended Espionage Act to include any public expression of opposition to the war: prohibited disloyal or abusive remarks about the government or president • This “Legal Repression” led to the arrest of 2,000 people, with 1,000 imprisoned

  13. Wilson anticipated and feared this violation of Civil Rights and Liberties during the War – he realized that war usually brought intolerance and repression (Civil War) • The IWW and Socialist Party were targeted for their vocal opposition to the war: William Haywood was forced to flee and Eugene V. Debs was arrested and imprisoned on several occasions • The CPI also encouraged “Popular Repression”: vigilante groups set up Loyalty Leagues such as the American Protective League, and took it upon themselves to “discipline” people who opposed involvement in the War – members engaged in spying, opening mail, tapping phones, physical attacks / beatings

  14. Through “Popular Repression” Immigrant groups – Irish, Germans, Jewish – were targeted: German-Americans suffered most • Huge anti – German campaign: Discouraged affiliation with German Music (Beethoven, Wagner), Food (sauerkraut became “liberty cabbage” and hamburger became “liberty sausage”), Language, Books • German-Americans were harassed (evidence of one murder at least), and many were fired from their jobs

  15. “In the process of uniting public opinion behind the war, the civil liberties and civil rights of many people were interfered with. The US had once again shown its inability to tolerate criticism of official government policy.” (Bailyn) • Legal and Popular Repression was opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which set out to “give assistance to pacifists and conscientious objectors (religious objections)”

  16. After the war the Supreme Court considered the legality of gov. policy in Schenck v US • Schenck was General Secretary of the Socialist Party: he was convicted and imprisoned for distributing anti war literature…for violating the Espionage, Sabotage, Sedition Acts; took the gov. to court after the war for violating his constitutional rights to freedom of speech, press… • Supreme Court / Chief Justice Holmes ruled that in time of “Clear and Present Danger” the civil rights and liberties of the Constitution could be suspended (WWII / Japanese Americans)

  17. He used the analogy of someone yelling “Fire” in a public movie theatre and thereby endangering the lives of all those at the movie (not that appropriate?) – that person’s freedom of speech, to yell “fire” clearly and presently endangered the lives of the other moviegoers and so should be suspended….