Preceding America’s entry into World War I, the country claimed autonomy wanting no affiliations with the European war; conversely, America was supplying war machinery to the European nations. In the World War I & Its Aftermaths, Tizoc Chavaz states, “In October 1914, President Wilson approved commercial credit loans to the combatants, which made it increasingly difficult for the nation to claim impartiality
In the late 1910’s Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918 (ESA). Historian Howard Zinn sees the ESA as a malicious attempt by the U.S. government to “imprison Americans who spoke or wrote out against the war.” Zinn’s argument dismisses the idea that the ESA was a necessary step to ensure the integrity of a nation at war, as he believes that America’s entrance into WWI was motivated by a selfish desire for monetary gain and economic expansion. Zinn asserts that the U.S. government allowed American investors to “tie American finance closely to the interest of a British victory.” While Zinn’s ideas are well-argued and supported, they tell only one side of a complicated story. James West Davidson, however, tells another. He argues that at the time of the ESA’s passing, the United States had been pushed by German action into the first global conflict in its history. He describes the German U-boat attacks that were devastating the Atlantic, and the reports of “cracking morale” that were trickling in from the front lines, and asserts that the ESA was passed by a desperate government in order to combat protestors who attempted to sway public opinion against the war. Davidson never explicitly describes the ESA as good or bad, but he provides some valuable context that Zinn ignores. The ESA was not, as Zinn alleges, a heartless assault on the American coordinated “with all the power of the federal government and the money of big business behind it,” nor was it a shining example of individual freedoms. It was a complicated document with complicated implications, and consideration of only Zinn’s or Davidson’s writings eliminates the intricacies that were inherent in the ESA, and the circumstances that lead to its
After Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and World War II officially began in Europe, President Roosevelt encouraged Americans to be neutral in action, but not necessarily in thought. It was clear that he favored the British, marking the beginning of the end of neutrality. President Roosevelt believed that Great Britain’s survival in the war was key to American safety, causing him to extend a “cash and carry” policy and to sell destroyers to the British. In a press conference in 1940, Roosevelt made his famous analogy in which he compared Great Britain to a house on fire and reasoned that the neighbor must give them a hose to put out the fire (Doc H). In it, he essentially described to the American people that the United States must help the British in order to keep democracy safe at home and abroad. Though the United States still remained officially neutral in the war, it was clear the nation was becoming more involved in international affairs. Many Americans opposed this increase of participation in world affairs, regardless of the threat of dictatorship and fascism. One advertisement in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch even described President Roosevelt as “America’s first dictator” (Doc F). However, President Roosevelt and the American
The American people were easily manipulated into anti-German and pro-war beliefs. More "American-like" names were given to certain things. Hamburgers became Salisbury steaks because Hamburg was located in Germany. Sauerkraut became liberty cabbage, because sauerkraut was a German name. Beethoven 's music was banned, and burning of German books was common. "These techniques were highly successful. The government found that overt and subtle forms of propaganda fanned the requisite passions of pride and prejudice to fight a total war in Europe. Indeed, aggressive propaganda helped to skirt constitutional and statutory limitations on war policies policies that would never pass rational scrutiny in peacetime. Empirically, it proved that government propaganda aimed at arousing strong feelings of American nationalism could facilitate the exercise of extralegal and
Do you know that notifying your fellow Americans of their constitutional rights was a Federal crime? Well it was during World War One (WWI). In the case Schenck v. the United States, schenck tried to remind his fellow Americans of their constitutional rights and also let them know that the draft was being used as a form of militarized slavery. This case contained men who his right was taken away after he tried to get the military draftees to fight against the draft. However Congress took his right of speech away when it was arrested and convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. This was the time the WWI one had broken out, the government need men to fight. They were short staffed for that to work and they need man to fight this
In George Washington's farewell speech he warned the American people to beware "the insidious wiles of foreign influence." Though it was never put into law, this statement has played a major role in the American foreign policy of isolationism. American isolationist sentiment stems from the fact that America is geographically isolated from the rest of the world. American isolationist sentiment was at its peak in the years following World War I. "In the war of 1914-1918 that had set the stage on which Hitler now strutted, no people had been more reluctant combatants, and few more disappointed with the result, than the Americans"(Kennedy, 385). After losing more than fifty thousand young troops in a war that was viewed to be unnecessary, the
The American home front during World War II is recalled warmly in popular memory and cultural myth as a time of unprecedented national unity, years in which Americans stuck together in common cause. World War II brought many new ideas and changes to American life. Even though World War II brought no physical destruction to the United States mainland, it did affect American society. Every aspect of American life was altered by U.S. involvement in the war including demographics, the labor force, economics and cultural trends.
No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence .” President Woodrow Wilson could not maintain neutrality after a series of events that threatened the interests of the US. Wilson knew that he would not have the support of a diverse American public upon entering the war, so he came up with a plan. He designed the Committee on Public Information to advertise pro-war propaganda. He needed to convince the people that an involvement in the war was needed “to make the world safe for democracy .” Propaganda was heavily used to mobilize the public opinion of a united war effort, and it was also an attempt on homogenizing a pluralistic nation. The positive effects of this use were it unified a heterogeneous society, and it was able to get the Americans to invest their time and effort on the war. The negative effects of this were it caused hatred to those who were of the enemies’ ancestry, and false advertising lead to a loss of many innocent lives.
Before World War One, people were allowed to watch, write, or say anything they wanted to as long as they weren’t harming anyone. However, the Republicans and Democrats were arguing over whether or not we should have more censorship. The Democrats wanted more censorship, but Republicans didn’t want more censorship. As it was stated in document 1, they didn’t want the president to be able to block himself from getting criticism. The Espionage and Sedition Acts were put in place so that people couldn’t interfere with the success of the army, it was to help find people who were disloyal to the army.
For instance, when radicals marched against the war in Boston in the year 1917, the eight-thousand marchers were attacked by sailors and soldiers who were acting on the orders given to them by their officers. Likewise, newspapers and magazines that shared and spread anti-war beliefs had their mailing privileges revoked by postal offices; while a creator of a film about the American Revolution, that alsp depicted British atrocities against the colonists, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act, with the reasoning being the film ‘questioned the intentions of an American ally’. Even schools and universities discouraged opposition to the war and often fired individuals who identified themselves as being
Americans became afraid of and disdainful towards anything German. Affairs associated with Germans or Germany ceased such as German bands, German courses in schools, and renaming German associated words such as German Measles to Liberty Measles. Many German-Americans felt loyal to America but still had ties to Germany. Ambassador James W. Gerard warned, “but now that we are in the war there are only two sides, and the time has come when every citizen must declare himself American – or traitor!” Intolerance towards all things German made German-Americans cautious and discreet in their speech and actions.
After first president George Washington left office, he delivered his Farewell Address, a warning to the future America not to get involved in foreign entanglements.The United States mainly pursued foreign policy solely for the reason of economic prosperity until WWI. Subsequently, America began to become proactive in foreign affairs by promoting democratic ideals evident in Wilson's 14 Points and began to gain public support after the issuance of the Atlantic Charter. By the end of WWII, a new threat to democracy arose that ushered in a period of hysteria. The growth of and the competition with the USSR contributed to the Red Scare. Characterized by McCarthy’s accusations and the Rosenberg trials, the public gave consent to weed out Communism
The authors stated that Wilson and the government violated the Constitution by issuing the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 which would outlaw citizens from making negative statements towards the war effort (Woods and Gutzman, 2008, p. 11). It seems as if with these two acts freedom of speech is not free. Woods and Gutzman explained in detail how these acts worked and how the courts interpreted them to fit the personal needs of the government (Woods and Gutzman, 2008, p. 13). Giving these facts the reader can only conclude that history shows in this case that the government was not following even one of the most fundamental rights the Constitution
In the early 20th Century, the United States endured a time of political unrest. During World War I, fears of socialism and communism entered the psyche of the United States and culminated in the Red Scare. Hundreds of American citizens – particularly immigrants – suffered unprecedented arrests and deportations (Fariello 4). During this time, Charles Schenck, secretary of the Socialist Party of America, actively opposed the war. Due to Schenck’s efforts, the organization distributed thousands of leaflets criticizing conscription and encouraging readers to assert rights against the draft and intimidation (Schenck v. United States 1). In the 1919 case Schenck v. United States, the defendants were charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 by causing and attempting to cause insubordination in U.S. military forces by distributing a document denouncing the draft in name of the 13th amendment (Schenck 1). When insurgency and fear continued, Congress amended the Espionage Act with the Sedition Act, which limited many more forms of speech (Fariello 14).
The U.S. had a popular opinion against Germany because Germany’s tactics of warfare were affecting the U.S. In 1915, when the United States was still a neutral country, Germany sunk a British ship, resulting in the death of 128 Americans. After this incident, President Wilson signed a document asking congress to declare war (Doc6). He also informed Germany that if they continued to illegally attack ships than the United States would have had to take action (Doc6). The loss of American lives due to German U-boat attacks outraged the majority of the United States. In 1917 British intelligence intercepted a message, known as the Zimmerman note, that the German Foreign minister was sending to the government of Mexico. The Zimmerman note was an example of how Germany was against the United States, “We intend to begin...unrestricted submarine warfare. We shall endeavor in spite of this to keep the United States of America neutral” (Doc7). The German Foreign minister was saying that in order to prevent the U.S. from aiding Britain and France they were going to go against their agreement with the U.S. and continue to illegally attack ships through submarine warfare. The messages also called for an alliance with Mexico, “We make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following basis...that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona” (Doc 7). The German Foreign minister explained to Mexico that if war broke out with the