World War I and the Home Front Essay

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America’s involvement in World War I not only impacted the war front but also the people left on the home front. When America entered World War I in 1917 the government enforced many measures on its citizens, many of which violated constitutional rights. The biggest measure inflicted on the American population was censorship. The formation of the Committee on Public Information (CPI) and the passing of the Espionage Act and Sedition Amendment stole American’s freedom of speech, created an anti-German sentiment, and led to deportation during the post-war Red Scare.
After America entered the war, President Woodrow Wilson recruited George Creel to head the CPI, a government agency established to spread pro-war propaganda to the country.
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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. With intolerance towards all things German, German-Americans became cautious and discreet in their speech and actions. 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!”
Government censorship continued with the passing of the Espionage Act in 1917 and the Sedition Amendment in 1918. The Espionage Act and Sedition Amendment condemned any antiwar activity or desecrating of the government, Constitution, flag, or military. The American public could not have an opinion, unless that opinion supported the war and government. Even Wilson stated, "Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way." Government censorship and “unpatriotic acts”, as deemed by the Espionage Act and Sedition Amendment, gave birth to a suspicious nation.
World War I ended in 1918, but a suspicious America suffered from the "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia spread fears of a similar
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