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World War I

World War I

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World War I

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  1. World War I The War on the Home Front

  2. The U.S. Enters the War • WWI began in Europe in July of 1914 – the U.S. did not enter the war until April 6, 1917 • The German U-boat response to the British blockade, angered the U.S. Government and many U.S. citizens • President Wilson repeatedly warns Germany to stop its U-boat attacks but, it falls on deaf ears • By the time the Zimmerman telegram was discovered, the U.S. had made billions of dollars in loans to the Allied Powers and knew an Allied victory was in their best economic interest

  3. A Declaration of War

  4. The WWI Economy • The scope of WWI was so large that the entire economy had to focus on the war effort • The shift from consumer economy to war economy was handled primarily by the government but private industry was involved • Congress granted President Wilson broad powers over the economy such as the ability to fix industry prices • The President was also granted the power to regulate or nationalize industry

  5. War Industries Board • The WIB was the main governmental body that regulated industry • The WIB: • Set production quotas • Portioned out raw materials • Standardized products • Set price controls • Because price controls were only set at the wholesale level, corporate profits increased greatly • This profit increase showed up in the uneven distribution of income between business and labor increasing union membership Bernard Baruch

  6. The Railroad & Fuel Administrations • The railroads were nationalized in December of 1917 and put under the control of the Railroad of Administration • Prior to the nationalization, the railroads were seriously congested and holding up important war shipments • The Railroad Administration was successful in expediting the movement of war goods • At the end of the war, the railroads had incurred a debt of $1.7 billion • The Fuel Administration: • Distributed coal supplies • Set coal prices • Rationed gasoline • Rationed heating oil • They also encouraged citizens to adopt “gasless Sundays” and “lightless nights” • Daylight-saving time was instituted by the Fuel Administration in March, 1918

  7. National War Labor Board • This board was composed of representatives from labor, management, and the general public • It was put in place to settle labor disputes that might have interfered with war production • The board used its power to strong-arm management into establishing higher wages and eight-hour workdays • In return, the board expected workers to obey their decisions • The board sometimes invoked a “Work or fight” policy revoking draft exemptions

  8. The Food Administration • Headed by Herbert Hoover, he sought voluntary compliance for the food administration’s policies • To save food for export, Hoover asked Americans to observe “meatless Tuesdays” and “wheatless Wednesdays” • He also asked Americans to plant “victory gardens” • Food produced in America increased in yield by 25 percent as farmers planted 40 million additional acres • Food exported to the Allies increased three times

  9. War and Propaganda In an attempt to unify the nation, the Wilson administration undertook a remarkable propaganda campaign to sway American opinion toward embracing the European conflict “Right is Might”

  10. Committee on Public Information • The purpose of the committee was to sell the American public on the war • They mobilized about 75,000 individuals, known as “four-minute men,” to deliver pro-American speeches in public places • Additionally, they created and distributed millions of copies of pamphlets, posters, and leaflets discussing the dangers of the Central Powers • Though highly effective is promoting patriotism, the propaganda also produced hatred toward certain groups

  11. Espionage & Sedition Acts • The Espionage Act of 1917 noted that anyone convicted of aiding the enemy, obstructing military recruiting, or inciting rebellion in the military was subject to fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 20 years • The Sedition Act of 1918 made it illegal to speak against the purchase of war bonds or to “utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane or abusive language” against the U.S. government

  12. Schenckv. United States • Was this case a violation of the First Amendment? • Is it appropriate during war times to restrict freedom of speech? • The ruling in this case indicated that the mailings Charles Schenck sent to men in the military represented a “clear and present danger” • Justice Holmes creates the analogy of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre • This ruling is overturned in 1969