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World War I and the Home Front Essay

Decent Essays
World War I began in 1914 but America remained neutral until its entrance into the war in 1917. The U-boats sinking of the British liner Lusitania in 1915, the sinking of five American ships in 1917, and the “Zimmerman telegram” sent from Germany to Mexico led up to America’s declaration of war. America’s involvement in World War I not only impacted the war front but also the home front.
When America entered World War I in 1917 the U.S. Government enforced many measures on its citizens. Some of these measures 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
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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. 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.
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 were almost at a point where they could not have an opinion, unless in support of the war and government. Even Wilson stated, "Woe be to the man or group of men that seeks to stand in our way." These acts of censorship gave birth to a suspicious nation.
World War I ended in 1918, but suspicious America was still
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