Please provide a post in response to one of the following questions.

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Question description

An ideal post would be two solid paragraphs (that includes a thesis statement, a body of supporting evidence, and a conclusion that summarizes the main points). The post should be well constructed and free of grammatical errors, and be between 250 and 300 words.

You must cite your sources both in your response and below it (Bibliography), using the Chicago Style citation format.

Please using the textbook as your only source.

Choose one (1) question. (chapter22-23)

1. How did President Wilson's administration mobilize the home front during the Great War? How did these mobilization efforts affect American society?

2. How did Wilson promote his plans for a peaceful world order as outlined in his Fourteen Points?

3. What were the consequences of the World War I at home and abroad?

4. What contributed to the growth of "mass culture" following the Great War?

5. Discuss the sexual revolution, c. 1900s-1920s.

Choose one (1) question. (chapter 24-25)

1. How did the reactionary conservatism during the 1920s manifest itself in social life and governmental policies?

2. How did the Great Depression impact the American people?

3. How did President Herbert Hoover's administration respond to the Great Depression?

4. How did Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal evolve? How did it transform the role of the federal government in American life?

Choose one (1) question. (chapter 26)

1. What were the affects of the Second World War on American society?

2. What were the major factors that enabled the United States and its allies to win the war in Europe?

3. How did President Franklin Roosevelt and the Allies work to shape the postwar world?

22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 Make American History In this U.S. Navy recruiting poster in New York City, a sailor encourages a young man to play an active role in the Great War. T hroughout the nineteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean had protected America from the major land wars on the continent of Europe. During the early twentieth century, however, the nation’s centurylong isolation from European conflicts ended. Ever-expanding world trade meant that U.S. interests were becoming deeply entwined with the global economy. In addition, the development of steam-powered ships and submarines meant that foreign navies could directly threaten American security. At the same time, the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912 brought to the White House a self-righteous moralist determined to impose his standards on what he saw as renegade nations. This combination of circumstances made the outbreak of the “Great War” in Europe in 1914 a profound crisis for the United States. The war would become the defining event of the early twentieth century. For almost three years, President Wilson maintained America’s stance of “neutrality” in the war while providing increasing amounts of food and supplies to Great Britain and France. In 1917, however, German submarine attacks on U.S. ships forced Congress into declaring war. The decision would turn the tide in the fighting and reshape America’s international role as a dominant world power. focus questions 1. What caused the outbreak of the Great War, and why was the United States drawn into it? What was distinctive about the fighting on the Western Front? 2. How did the Wilson administration mobilize the home front? How did these mobilization efforts affect American society? 3. What were the major events of the war after the United States entered the conflict? How did the American war effort contribute to the defeat of the Central Powers? 4. How did Wilson promote his plans for a peaceful world order as outlined in his Fourteen Points? 5. What were the consequences of the war at home and abroad? 987 988 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 An Uneasy Neutrality Woodrow Wilson once declared that he had “a first-class mind,” and he was indeed highly intelligent, thoughtful, principled, and courageous. Upon learning of death threats against him, for example, he refused to change his schedule of public appearances. “The country,” he explained, “cannot afford to have a coward for President.” For all of his accomplishments and abilities, however, Wilson had no experience or expertise in international relations before he was elected president. He confessed that “it would be an irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign affairs”—a topic he did not even mention in his 1913 inaugural address. But from the summer of 1914, when war erupted in Europe, Wilson was forced to shift his attention from the New Freedom’s progressive reforms to foreign affairs. Wilson did have strong beliefs and principles about global issues. “Sometimes people call me an idealist,” he once said. “Well, that is the way I know I’m an American.” He saw himself as being directed by God to help create a new world order governed by morality and ideals rather than by selfish national interests. Both Wilson and William Jennings Bryan, his secretary of state, believed that America had a duty to promote democracy and Christianity around the world. “Every nation of the world,” Wilson declared, “needs to be drawn into the tutelage [guidance] of America.” The Great War Woodrow Wilson faced his greatest challenge beginning in the summer of 1914, when a war that few wanted yet no one could stop broke out in Europe. The “dreadful conflict” erupted suddenly, like “lightning out of a clear sky,” a North Carolina congressman said. Wilson admitted that he was shocked by “this incredible European eruption.” Unfortunately, it coincided with a sharp decline in the health of his wife Ellen, who died on August 6. “God has stricken me,” the president wrote a friend, “almost beyond what I can bear.” Wilson would also have trouble bearing the accelerating horrors of the war in Europe. Its scope and destruction shocked everyone. Lasting for more than four years, from 1914 to 1918, it would become known as the Great War because it would involve more nations and cause greater destruction than any previous war: 20 million military and civilian deaths, and 21 million more wounded. The Great War would topple monarchs, destroy empires, create new nations, and set in motion a series of events that would lead to an even greater war in 1939. An Uneasy Neutrality 989 causes The Great War resulted from complex and long-simmering national rivalries and ethnic conflicts in central Europe. At the core of the tensions was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an unstable collection of eleven nationalities that was determined to stop the expansionism of its neighbor and longstanding enemy, Serbia, in the Balkan Peninsula. Serbia had long hoped to create “Yugoslavia,” a nation encompassing all Serbs from throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the same time, a recklessly militaristic Germany, led by Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II, sought to assert its dominance against its old enemies, the Russian Empire and France, while expanding its navy to challenge the British Empire’s supremacy on the seas. fighting erupts War erupted after Gavrilo Princip, a nineteenyear-old Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo (the capital of Austrian Bosnia), shot and killed the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, 50-year-old Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his pregnant wife Sophie, on June 28, 1914. The killings in Sarajevo set Europe on fire. To avenge the murders, Austria-Hungary, with Germany’s unconditional approval, sought to bully and humiliate Serbia by demanding a say in its internal affairs. Serbia gave in to virtually all of the demands, but AustriaHungary declared war anyway. In turn, Russia mobilized its army to defend Serbia, which triggered reactions by a complex set of European military alliances: the Triple Alliance, or Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy), and the Triple Entente, or Allied Powers (France, Great Britain, and Russia). Germany, expecting a limited war and quick victory, declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914, and on France two days later. Germany then invaded neutral Belgium, murdering hundreds of civilians. Events spiraled out of control. The “rape of Belgium” brought Great Britain into the war against Germany on August 4 on the Western Front, the line of fighting in northern France and Belgium. Despite the Triple Alliance, Italy at first declared its neutrality before joining the Allies in return for a promise of territory taken from Austria-Hungary. On the evening of August 4, as five global empires—Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Russia—mobilized for war, the British foreign minister, Sir Edward Grey, expressed the fears of many when he observed that “the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our time.” On the Eastern Front, Russian armies began clashing with German and Austro-Hungarian forces as well as those of the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire. Within five weeks of the assassination in Sarajevo, a “great war” had consumed 990 America and the Great War 1914–1920 CHAPTER 22 THE GREAT WAR IN EUROPE, 1914 NORWAY LT I C GREAT BRITAIN DENMARK BA IRELAND Memel NETHERLANDS London Berlin Dover Strait Danzig (Gdansk) RUSSIA GERMANY BELGIUM Paris ATLANTIC OCEAN St. Petersburg SEA SWEDEN NORTH SEA LUXEMBOURG Vienna SWITZERLAND AUSTRIA-HUNGARY FRANCE MONTENEGRO PORTUGAL ITALY S PA I N ROMANIA SERBIA BLACK SEA BULGARIA ALBANIA SPANISH MOROCCO M E D I NORTH AFRICA Central Powers (Triple Alliance) Allied Powers (Triple Entente) Neutral countries ■ ■ ■ T TURKEY (OTTOMAN EMPIRE) GREECE E R R A N E A N S 0 0 250 250 E A 500 Miles 500 Kilometers How did the European system of military alliances spread conflict across all of Europe? WWN64 How was the Great War different from previous wars? Figure M22_01 How did the war in Europe lead to ethnic tensions in the United States? First proof all of Europe. (It would not be called the First World War until the second one came along in 1939.) An Industrial War No one envisioned that a local conflict in the Balkans would develop into a catastrophic war that would reshape the twentieth-century world. But by its end, in November 1918, more than forty nations had joined the fighting. The Great War was the first industrial war, involving the total mobilization of the economy and civilians as well as warriors. Of the approximately An Uneasy Neutrality 991 70 million soldiers and sailors who fought on both sides, more than half were killed, wounded, imprisoned, or unaccounted for. New weapons dramatically changed the nature of warfare. Machine guns, submarines, aerial bombing, poison gas, flame throwers, land mines, mortars, long-range artillery, and armored tanks produced appalling casualties and widespread destruction, a slaughter on a scale unimaginable to this day. An average of 900 Frenchmen and 1,300 Germans died every day on the Western Front. The early weeks of the war involved fast-moving assaults as German armies swept across Belgium and northeastern France. The casualties were appalling. On a single day, August 22, 1914, the French army lost 27,000 men. trench warfare But the war on the Western Front soon bogged down into hellish trench warfare, in which often inept generals sent masses of brave soldiers (German generals referred to the British army as “lions led by donkeys”) out of waterlogged, zigzagging trenches—some of them 40 feet deep and swarming with rats—that had been dug along the Western Front from the coast of Belgium across northeastern France to the border of Switzerland. On either side, the attackers were usually at a disadvantage as they slogged across muddy acres of devastated “no-man’s-land” between the opposing Trench warfare American troops eat amid the reek of death and threat of enemy fire in a frontline trench in France. 992 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 entrenchments, where they encountered corpse-filled shell holes, webs of barbed wire, and constant gunfire and artillery shelling that left the barren landscape pockmarked with craters and whole forests shattered into nothingness. Along the Western Front, not a blade of grass was left, only ruin and rubble, flooded trenches and thickets of barbed wire. From 1914 to 1918, the opposing armies in northeastern France attacked and counterattacked but gained hardly any ground, while casualties rose into the millions. By the end of 1914, the Germans had captured 19,500 square miles of territory in France and Belgium; by the end of 1915, the Allies had recaptured only 8 of those miles. Words cannot convey the titanic scale of the fighting and its impact on the home front as telegrams arrived telling families that their son would not be returning. By 1918, the Allies (France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, and the United States, among others), had suffered 5.4 million killed and 7 million wounded. “The War is everything,” a British diarist wrote. “It is noble, filthy, great, petty, degrading, inspiring, ridiculous, glorious, mad, bad, hopeless yet full of hope.” Heroism was entangled with futility as battles were now determined not so much by skillful maneuvers or courageous leadership but by overwhelming firepower, the huge cannons and weighty shells that turned the ritual of close combat into a long-distance contest of killing machines. Bayonets gave way to bombardments. Two-thirds of the casualties in the Great War resulted from long-distance artillery barrages. Thousands of soldiers on both sides fell victim to “shell shock,” now known as post-traumatic stress disorder, as they were bombarded into numbness. Trenches shook, trees tumbled, and the ground trembled under the feet of panicked combatants. The unprecedented firepower ravaged the landscape, obliterated whole villages, and turned farmland and forests into cratered wastelands. The scars of war are still visible 100 years later. Trench warfare gave the Great War its lasting character. Soldiers often ate, slept, lived, and died without leaving their crowded underground homes. A French soldier described life in the trenches as a “physical, almost animal” existence in which “the primitive instincts of the race have full sway: eating, drinking, sleeping, fighting—everything but loving.” The object in such a war of attrition was not so much to gain ground as to keep inflicting death and destruction on the enemy until its manpower and resources were exhausted. In one assault against the Germans at Ypres in Belgium, the British lost 13,000 men in three hours of fighting—during which time they gained 100 meaningless yards. As the war ground on, nations on An Uneasy Neutrality 993 Total ruin German soldiers stand before the French Fort Souville between the Battles of Verdun in September 1916. The constant artillery fire gouged out huge craters and destroyed forests. both sides found themselves using up their available men, resources, courage, and cash. Amid the senseless killing in the mucky trenches, the innocence about the true nature of warfare died, too. “Never such innocence again,” wrote the English poet Philip Larkin. An American journalist covering the war in Europe reported that the massive casualties changed the way men looked at war. In earlier conflicts, soldiers were eager to fight and confident they would return unscathed. Now, the new recruits seemed to have “left hope behind” and were confident that they were “going to their death.” By 1915, the great powers were engaged in a global war with no end in sight. In 1917, George Barnes, a British official whose son had been killed in the war, went to speak at a military hospital in London where injured soldiers were being fitted with artificial limbs. At the appointed hour, the men, in wheelchairs and on crutches, all with empty sleeves or pants legs, arrived to hear the speaker. Yet when Barnes was introduced and rose to talk, he found himself speechless—literally. As the minutes passed in awkward silence, tears rolled down his cheeks. Finally, without having said a word, he simply sat down. What the mutilated soldiers heard was not a war-glorifying speech but the muted sound of grief. The war’s mindless horrors had come home. 994 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 Initial American Reactions Disbelief in the United States over the bloodbath in Europe mingled with relief that a wide ocean stood between America and the killing fields. President Wilson, an avowed pacifist, maintained that the United States “was too proud to fight” in Europe’s war, “with which we have nothing to do, whose causes cannot touch us.” He repeatedly urged Americans to remain “neutral in thought as well as in action.” Privately, however, Wilson sought to ensure that the United States could provide Great Britain and France as much financial assistance and supplies as possible. That most Americans wanted the nation to stay out of the fighting did not keep them from choosing sides. More than a third of the nation’s citizens were first- or second-generation immigrants still loyal to their homelands. Eight million German-born Americans lived in the United States in 1914, and most of the 4 million Irish-born Americans detested England, which had ruled the Irish for centuries. For the most part, these groups supported the Central Powers, while other Americans, largely of British origin, supported the Allied Powers. supporting the allies By the spring of 1915, the Allied Powers’ need for food and supplies had generated an economic windfall for American businesses, bankers, and farmers. Exports to France and Great Britain quadrupled from 1914 to 1916. To finance their record-breaking purchases of American supplies, the Allies, especially Britain and France, needed loans from U.S. banks and “credits” from the U.S. government that would allow them to pay for their purchases later. Early in the war, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a strict pacifist, took advantage of Wilson’s absence from Washington after the death of his wife to tell J. Pierpont Morgan, the world’s richest banker, that loans to any nations at war were “inconsistent with the true spirit of neutrality.” Upon his return, an angry Wilson reversed Bryan’s policy by removing all restrictions on loans to the warring nations (“belligerents”). American banks and other investors would eventually send more than $2 billion to the Allies before the United States entered the fighting, and only $27 million to Germany. What Bryan feared, and what Wilson did not fully realize, was that as Britain and France borrowed and purchased more from the United States, it became harder for America to remain neutral. Despite the disproportionate financial assistance provided to the Allies, the Wilson administration maintained its official neutrality for thirty months. In particular, Wilson tried valiantly to defend the age-old principle of “freedom of the An Uneasy Neutrality seas.” As a neutral nation, the United States, according to international law, should have been able to continue to trade with all the nations at war. On August 6, 1914, Bryan urged the warring nations to respect the rights of neutral nations to ship goods across the Atlantic. The Central Powers agreed, but the British refused. In November 1914, the British ordered the ships of neutral nations to submit to searches to discover if cargoes were bound for Germany. A few months later, the British announced that they would seize any ships carrying goods to Germany. neutral rights and submarine attacks With its war- 995 “The Sandwich Man” To illustrate America’s biased brand of neutrality, this political cartoon shows Uncle Sam wearing a sandwich board that advertises the nation’s conflicting desires. ships bottled up by a British blockade, the German government announced a “war zone” around the British Isles. All ships in those waters would be attacked by submarines, the Germans warned, and “it may not always be possible to save crews and passengers.” The Germans’ use of submarines, or U-boats (Unterseeboot in German), violated the long-established wartime custom of stopping an enemy vessel and allowing the passengers and crew to board lifeboats before sinking it. During 1915, German U-boats sank 227 British ships in the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. The United States called the submarine attacks “an indefensible violation of neutral rights,” and Wilson warned that he would hold Germany to “strict accountability” for the loss of American lives and property. Then, on May 7, 1915, a German submarine sank the Lusitania, an unarmed British luxury liner. Of the 1,198 persons on board who died, 128 were Americans. The sinking of the Lusitania, asserted former president Theodore Roosevelt, was mass murder that called for a declaration of war. Wilson at first urged patience: “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.” Critics scolded Wilson for his bloodless response. Roosevelt dismissed it as “unmanly,” called the president a “jackass,” and threatened to “skin him alive 996 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 if he doesn’t go to war.” Wilson privately admitted that he had misspoken. The timid language, he said, had “occurred to me while I was speaking, and I let it out. I should have kept it in.” Wilson’s earlier threat of “strict accountability” now required a tough response. On May 13, Secretary of State Bryan demanded that the Germans stop unrestricted submarine warfare, apologize, and pay the families of those killed on the Lusitania. The Germans countered that the ship was armed (which was false) and secretly carried rifles and ammunition (which was true). On June 9, Wilson dismissed the German claims and reiterated that the United States was “contending for nothing less high and sacred than the rights of humanity.” Bryan resigned as secretary of state in protest of Wilson’s pro-British stance. Upon learning of Bryan’s departure, Edith Bolling Galt, soon to be Wilson’s second wife, shouted: “Hurrah! Old Bryan is out!” She called the former secretary of state an “awful Deserter.” The president confided that he, too, viewed Bryan as a “traitor.” He complimented Edith on her vindictiveness: “What a dear partisan you are . . . and how you can hate, too!” Bryan’s successor, Robert Lansing, signed the second “Lusitania Note.” Stunned by the global outcry over the Lusitania, the German government told its U-boat captains to quit attacking passenger vessels. Despite the order, however, a German submarine sank the British liner Arabic, and two Americans on board were killed. The Germans paid a cash penalty to their families and issued what came to be called the Arabic Pledge on September 1, 1915: “Liners will not be sunk by our submarines without warning and without safety of the lives of non-combatants, provided that the liners do not try to escape or offer resistance.” In early 1916, Wilson sent his closest adviser, Colonel Edward M. House, to London, Paris, and Berlin in hopes of stimulating peace talks, but the mission failed. On March 24, 1916, a U-boat sank the French passenger ferry Sussex, killing eighty passengers and injuring two Americans. After Wilson threatened to end relations with Germany, its leaders renewed their promise not to sink merchant and passenger ships. The Sussex Pledge implied the virtual abandonment of submarine warfare. Colonel House noted in his diary that Americans were “now beginning to realize that we are on the brink of war and what war means.” preparing for war The sinking of U.S. passenger vessels led to efforts to strengthen the army and navy in case the nation was forced into war. On December 1, 1914, a “preparedness” movement, led by Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, created the National Security League to convince Congress and the president to begin preparing for war. An Uneasy Neutrality 997 Wilson, too, believed in preparedness. After the Lusitania sinking, he directed the War and Navy Departments to develop plans for a $1 billion military expansion. His efforts were controversial, however. Many Americans— pacifists, progressives, and non-interventionists—opposed the “preparedness” effort, seeing it as simply a propaganda campaign to benefit defense industries (“war traffickers”) that made weapons and other military equipment. Despite such opposition, Congress in 1916 passed the National Defense Act, which provided for the expansion of the U.S. Army from 90,000 to 223,000 men over the next five years. While Bryan and others complained that Wilson wanted to “drag this nation into war,” the reverse was actually true. Wilson told an aide that he was determined not to “be rushed into war, no matter if every damned congressman and senator stands up on his hind legs and proclaims me a coward.” Opponents of “preparedness” insisted that the expense of military expansion should rest upon the wealthy munitions makers who they believed were promoting it in order to profit from trade with the Allies. The income tax became their weapon. The Revenue Act of 1916 doubled the income tax rate from 1 to 2 percent, created a 12.5 percent tax on munitions makers, and added a new tax on “excessive” corporate profits. The new taxes were the culmination of the progressive legislation that Wilson approved to strengthen his chances in the upcoming presidential election. Fearing that Theodore Roosevelt would be the Republican presidential candidate challenging Wilson, Colonel House believed that the “Democratic Party must change its historic character and become the progressive party in the future.” The 1916 Election As the 1916 election approached, Theodore Roosevelt hoped to become the Republican nominee. But his decision in 1912 to run as a third-party candidate had alienated many powerful Republicans, and his eagerness to enter the European war scared many voters. So instead, the Republicans nominated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, a progressive who had served as governor of New York from 1907 to 1910. The Democrats, staying with Wilson, adopted a platform centered on social-welfare legislation and prudent military preparedness. The peace theme, refined in the slogan “He kept us out of war,” became the campaign’s rallying cry, although the president now acknowledged that the United States could no longer refuse to play the “great part in the world which was providentially cut out for her. . . . We have got to serve the world.” Colonel House was more blunt. He told Secretary of State Robert Lansing that they “could not permit the Allies to go down in defeat, for if they did, we would follow.” 998 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 Peace with honor Woodrow Wilson’s neutrality policies proved popular in the 1916 campaign. Both Wilson and Hughes were sons of preachers; both were attorneys and former professors; both had been progressive governors; both were known for their integrity. Hughes called for higher tariffs, attacked Wilson for being hostile to Big Business, and implied that Wilson was not neutral enough in responding to the war. Theodore Roosevelt, who was devastated that his party did not nominate him, called the bearded Hughes a “whiskered Wilson.” Wilson, however, proved to be the better campaigner—barely. By midnight on election night, Wilson went to bed assuming that he had lost. Roosevelt was so sure Hughes had won that he sent him a congratulatory telegram. At 4 a.m., however, the results from California were tallied. Wilson had eked out a victory in that state by only 4,000 votes, and thus had become the first Democrat to win a second consecutive term since Andrew Jackson in 1832. His pledge of “peace, prosperity, and progressivism” won him the western states, Ohio, and the Solid South. America Goes to War After his reelection, Wilson again urged the warring nations to negotiate a peace settlement, but to no avail. On January 31, 1917, desperate German military leaders renewed unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic. All An Uneasy Neutrality 999 vessels from the United States headed for Britain, France, or Italy would be sunk without warning. “This was practically ordering the United States off the Atlantic,” said an angry William McAdoo, Wilson’s secretary of the Treasury. The German decision, Colonel House wrote in his journal, left Wilson “sad and depressed,” for the president knew it meant war. For their part, the Germans greatly underestimated the American reaction. The United States, the German military newspaper proclaimed, “not only has no army, it has no artillery, no means of transportation, no airplanes, and lacks all other instruments of modern warfare.” When his advisers warned that German submarines might cause the United States to enter the war, Kaiser Wilhelm scoffed, “I don’t care.” the zimmermann telegram On February 3, President Wilson informed Congress that the United States had formally ended diplomatic relations with the German government. Three weeks later, on February 25, Wilson learned that the British had intercepted a message from a German official, Arthur Zimmermann, to the Mexican government, urging the Mexicans to invade the United States. In exchange, Germany would give Mexico “lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.” On March 1, newspapers broke the news of the so-called Zimmermann telegram. Infuriated Americans called for war against the Germans, whose attacks on American vessels increased. america enters the war In March 1917, German submarines torpedoed five U.S. ships in the North Atlantic. For Wilson, this was the last straw. On April 2, he called on Congress to declare war against Germany. In one of his greatest speeches, Wilson insisted that “the world must be made safe for democracy.” He warned that waging war in Europe would require mobilizing “all the material resources of the country” and he called for 500,000 men to bolster the armed forces. The United States, he asserted, was entering the war to lead a “great crusade” not simply to defeat Germany but to end wars forever. Congress greeted Wilson’s message with thunderous applause. On April 4, the Senate passed the war resolution by a vote of 82 to 6. The House followed, 373 to 50, and Wilson signed the measure on April 6. Jeanette Rankin of Montana, the first woman elected to the House, was one of the few members who voted against war. “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake,” she explained. “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war.” Wilson had doubts of his own. The president feared— accurately, as it turned out—that mobilizing the nation for war and stamping out dissent would destroy the ideals and momentum of progressivism: “Every reform we have made will be lost if we go into this war.” Yet he saw no choice. 1000 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 America’s long embrace of isolationism was over. The nation had reached a turning point in its relations with the world that would test all of President Wilson’s political and diplomatic skills—and his stamina. Mobilizing a Nation In April 1917, the U.S. Army remained small, untested, and poorly armed. With only 107,000 men, it was only the seventeenth largest army in the world. Now the Wilson administration needed to recruit, equip, and train an army of millions and transport them across an ocean infested with German submarines. Mobilizing the nation for war led to an unprecedented expansion of federal authority. The government drafted millions of men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty into the armed services, forced the conversion of industries and farms to wartime needs, took over the railroads, and in many other respects assumed control of national life. Soon after the U.S. declaration of war, President Wilson called for complete economic mobilization and created new federal agencies to coordinate the effort. The War Industries Board (WIB), established in 1917, soon became the most important of all the federal mobilization agencies. Bernard Baruch, a savvy financier, headed the WIB, which had the authority to ration raw materials, construct new factories, and set prices. Wilson appointed Republican Herbert Hoover to head the new Food Administration, whose slogan was “Food will win the war.” Its purpose was to increase agricultural production while reducing civilian food consumpThe immigrant effort This Food tion, since Great Britain and France Administration poster emphasizes that “wheat is . . . for the allies,” an important needed massive amounts of American message to immigrants who hailed corn and wheat. Hoover organized a from Central Powers nations such as huge group of volunteers who fanned Germany and Austria. out across the country to urge house- Mobilizing a Nation 1001 wives and restaurants to participate in “Wheatless” Mondays, “Meatless” Tuesdays, and “Porkless” Thursdays and Saturdays. Fighting in the Great War would cost the U.S. government $30 billion, which was more than thirty times the entire federal budget in 1917. In addition to raising taxes to finance the war effort, the Wilson administration launched a campaign across the nation to sell “liberty bonds,” government securities in the form of paper certificates that guaranteed the purchaser a fixed rate of return. The government recruited dozens of celebrities to promote bond purchases, arguing that a liberty bond was both a patriotic investment in the nation and a smart investment in one’s own financial future. Even the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts sold bonds, using advertising posters that said “Every Scout to Save a Soldier.” By war’s end, the government had sold over $20 billion in bonds, most of which were purchased by banks and investment houses rather than by individuals. a new labor force Removing 4 million men from the workforce to serve in the armed forces created an acute labor shortage. To meet it, women were encouraged to take jobs previously held mostly by men. One government poster shouted: “Women! Help America’s Sons Win the War: Learn to Make Munitions.” Another said, “For Every Fighter, a Woman Worker.” Initially, women had supported the war effort mostly in traditional ways. They helped organize fund-raising drives, donated canned food and warrelated materials, volunteered for the Red Cross, and joined the army nurse corps. As the scope of the war widened, however, women were recruited to work on farms, loading docks, and railway crews, as well as in the armaments industry, machine shops, steel and lumber mills, and chemical plants. “At last, after centuries of disabilities and discrimination,” said a speaker at a Women’s Trade Union League meeting in 1917, “women are coming into the labor [force] and festival of life on equal terms with men.” But the changes in female employment were limited and brief. About 1 million women participated in “war work,” but most were young and single and already working outside the home, and most returned to their previous jobs once the war ended. In fact, after the war, male-dominated unions encouraged women to go back to domestic roles. The Central Federated Union of New York insisted that “the same patriotism which induced women to enter industry during the war should induce them to vacate their positions after the war.” The Great War also generated dramatic changes for many members of minority groups. Hundreds of thousands of African American men enlisted or were drafted into the military, where they were required to serve in racially segregated units commanded by white officers, as in the Civil War half a century earlier. 1002 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 At the munitions factory Women on both sides played crucial roles in the war effort, from building airplanes to cooking for soldiers overseas. Here, American women use welding torches to build bombs. On the home front, northern businesses sent recruiting agents into the southern states, which were still largely rural and agricultural, to find workers for their factories and mills. For the first time, such efforts were directed at African Americans as well as whites. More than 400,000 southern blacks, mostly farmers, joined what came to be known as the Great Migration, a mass movement that would continue through the 1920s and change the political and social chemistry of northern cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia. By 1930 the number of African Americans living in the North was triple that of 1910. Recruiting agents and newspaper editors, both black and white, portrayed the North as the “land of promise” for southern blacks. Northern factory jobs were plentiful and high paying by southern standards, and racism was less obvious and violent—at least at first. A black migrant from Mississippi wrote home from Chicago in 1917 that he wished he had moved north twenty years earlier. “I just begin to feel like a man [here],” he explained. “It’s a great deal of Mobilizing a Nation 1003 pleasure in knowing that you have some privilege. My children are going to the same school with the whites, and I don’t have to be humble to no one.” Many Mexican Americans found similar opportunities to improve their status during the war and after. Some joined the military. David Barkley Hernandez had to drop his last name when he enlisted in San Antonio, Texas, because the local draft board was not accepting Mexicans. In 1918, just two days before the war ended, he died in France while returning from a dangerous mission behind German lines. Hernandez became the first person of Mexican descent in the U.S. Army to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Even more Latinos pursued economic opportunities created by the war effort. Between 1917 and 1920, some 100,000 Mexicans crossed the border into the United States. The economic expansion caused by the war enabled migrant farmworkers already living in states such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California to take better jobs in factories and mills in rapidly growing cities such as Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Houston, where they moved into Spanishspeaking neighborhoods called barrios. Segregation in the military Most African American enlistees served in support units because whites believed them unfit for combat, despite evidence of black military contributions since the Revolution. Here, soldiers in the 92nd Infantry Division (one of the few “colored” units sent overseas) march in Verdun, France. 1004 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 But the newcomers, whether Latinos or blacks, were often resented rather than welcomed. J. Luz Saenz, a Mexican American from Texas, noted in his diary that it took only three days after he was discharged from the army to have whites “throw us out from restaurants and deny us service as human beings.” In 1917 more than forty African Americans and nine whites were killed during a riot in a weapons plant in East St. Louis, Illinois. Two years later, a Chicago race riot left twenty-three African Americans and fifteen whites dead. a loss of civil liberties Once war was declared, Americans often equated anything German with disloyalty. German Americans were publicly harassed and discriminated against. Many Americans quit drinking beer because most breweries were owned by German Americans. Symphonies refused to perform music by Bach and Beethoven, schools canceled German language classes, and grocers renamed sauerkraut “liberty cabbage.” President Wilson had predicted as much. “Once [we] lead this people into war,” he said, “they’ll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance.” What Wilson did not say was that he himself would lead the effort to suppress civil liberties, for, as he claimed, subversive forces in a nation at war must be “crushed out.” Under the Espionage and Sedition Acts, Congress prohibited any criticism of government leaders and war policies. The Espionage Act of 1917 called for twenty years in prison for anyone who helped the enemy; encouraged insubordination, disloyalty, or refusal of duty in the armed services; or interfered with the war effort in other ways. During the war, 1,055 people were convicted under the Espionage Act. Most were simply critics of the war. Keep out of it In this 1918 war poster, Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, a milithe Kaiser— with his famous moustache tant pacifist, was convicted simply for and spiked German helmet— is depicted opposing the war and was sentenced to as a spider, spinning an invisible web to ten years in prison. He told the court catch the stray words of Allied civilians. he would always criticize wars imposed The American Role in the War 1005 by the “master” class: “While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” The Sedition Act of 1918 broadened the Espionage Act to those who tried to impede the sale of war bonds or promoted cutbacks in production; it even outlawed saying, writing, or printing anything “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive” about the American form of government, the Constitution, or the army and navy. The Supreme Court endorsed the Espionage and Sedition Acts in two rulings issued just after the war ended. Schenck v. United States (1919) reaffirmed the conviction of Charles T. Schenck, head of the Socialist party, for circulating leaflets opposing the war among members of the armed forces. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the unanimous court opinion that freedom of speech did not apply to words that represented “a clear and present danger to the safety of the country.” In Abrams v. United States (1919), the Court upheld the conviction of a man who had distributed pamphlets opposing military intervention in Russia to remove the Bolsheviks, who had seized power in 1917. The American Role in the War In 1917, America’s war strategy focused on helping the struggling French and British armies on the Western Front. The Allied leaders stressed that they needed at least a million American troops (called “doughboys”) to defeat the Germans, but it would take months to recruit, equip, and train that many new soldiers. On December 21, 1917, French premier Georges Clemenceau urged the Americans to rush their army, called the American Expeditionary Force, to France. “A terrible blow is imminent,” he told an American journalist about to leave Paris. “Tell your Americans to come quickly.” Clemenceau was referring to the likelihood of a massive German attack, made more probable by the end of the fighting on the Eastern Front following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in November 1917. the bolshevik revolution Among the many casualties of the Great War, none was greater in scale than the destruction of the backward Russian Empire and its monarchy. It was the first nation to crack under the stress and strain of the Great War. On March 15, 1917, bumbling Tsar Nicholas II, having presided over a war that had ruined the Russian economy and the nation’s transportation system, abdicated his throne and turned the nation over to the “provisional government” of a new Russian republic committed to continuing the war. 1006 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 The fall of the tsar gave Americans the illusion that all the major Allied powers were now fighting for the ideals of constitutional democracy—an illusion that was shattered after the Germans in April helped exiled radical Vladimir Ilyich Lenin return to Russia from Switzerland. The Germans hoped that he would cause turmoil in his homeland. He did much more than that. As Lenin observed, power in warweary Russia was lying in the streets, waiting to be picked up. To do so, he mobilized the Bolsheviks, a group of ruthless Communist revolutionaries who were convinced that they were in the vanguard of the irresistible force of history. During the night of NovemVladimir Lenin Communist ber 6, the Bolsheviks seized power revolutionary who led the Bolsheviks from the provisional government, in overthrowing the Russian monarchy established a dictatorship, and called and ultimately establishing the Soviet Union. for a quick end to the war. Lenin banned political parties and all organized religions (atheism became the official belief), eliminated civil liberties and the free press, and killed or imprisoned opposition leaders, including the tsar and his family. In short, he imposed his totalitarian blueprint of the perfect society on the Russian people. In 1918, Lenin instructed Bolshevik leaders to crack down on peasants who resisted the revolution: “Comrades! Hang (hang without fail, so that people will see) no fewer than one hundred kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers. Yours, Lenin.” The Bolshevik Revolution triggered a prolonged civil war throughout Russia. President Wilson sent 20,000 American soldiers to Siberia to support the anti-Communist Russian forces, but they were unsuccessful. fourteen points Woodrow Wilson was determined to ensure that the Great War would be the last world war. In September 1917, he asked Colonel Edward House to organize a group of 150 experts in politics, history, geography, and foreign policy, called the Inquiry, to draft a peace plan, since America, according to Wilson, had no selfish goals; it was simply “one of the champions of the rights of mankind.” Drawing upon their advice, Wilson developed what The American Role in the War 1007 would come to be called the Fourteen Points, which he presented to Congress on January 8, 1918, calling it “the only possible program” for peace. The first five of the fourteen points endorsed the open conduct of diplomacy rather than secret treaties, the recognition of neutral nations’ right to continue maritime commerce in time of war (“freedom of the seas”), the removal of international trade barriers, the reduction of armaments, and the transformation of colonial empires. Most of the other points dealt with territorial claims. In redrawing the map of Europe, Wilson demanded that the victors follow the difficult principle of “self-determination,” allowing overlapping nationalities and ethnic groups to develop their own independent nations. Point thirteen called for a new nation for Poland, long dominated by the Russians on the east and the Germans on the west. Point fourteen, the capstone of Wilson’s postwar scheme, called for the creation of a “league” of nations to preserve global peace. When the Fourteen Points were made public, African American leaders asked the president to add a fifteenth point: an end to racial discrimination. Wilson did not respond. Overall, the reaction to the speech was positive. The headline for the New York Times editorial proclaimed: “The President’s Triumph.” As the war ground on, the battling nations grew weary of the costs and shortages of food, clothing, and gasoline. But no diplomatic solution was in sight. In Germany, food and fuel shortages led to growing discontent. Workers went on strike, and servicemen mutinied and deserted. “The Monarchy,” said a German official, “is lurching toward the edge of the abyss.” russia surrenders Conditions were even worse in Russia. After taking power, Lenin declared that the world would be freed from war only by a global revolution in which capitalism was replaced by communism. To that end, he wanted Russia out of the Great War as soon as possible. On March 3, 1918, Lenin signed a humiliating peace agreement with Germany, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The treaty forced Russia to transfer vast territories to Germany and Turkey and to recognize the independence of the Ukraine region, thereby depriving Russia of much of its population, coal and wheat production, and heavy industry. In addition, Russia had to pay $46 million to Germany. Lenin was willing to accept such a harsh peace because he needed to concentrate on his internal enemies in the ongoing Russian civil war. With Russia out of the war, the Germans could focus on the Western Front. Erich Ludendorff, the German army commander, said that the ability to move hundreds of thousands of soldiers from the Russian front to France would give him numerical superiority for the first time and enable him to “deal an annihilating blow to the British before American aid can become effective.” 1008 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 Meuse-Argonne Offensive American soldiers of the 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division, fire machine guns at the Germans from what was left of the Argonne Forest in France. americans on the western front On March 21, the Germans began the first of several offensives in France and Belgium designed to win the war before the American soldiers arrived in force. By May, the German armies had advanced within fifty miles of Paris, and the British Fifth Army was destroyed. The massive German offensive nearly defeated the Allies. In early April, however, the Germans suddenly lost their momentum. On April 5, the German commander called a halt because so many soldiers were exhausted and demoralized, convinced, as one officer admitted, that their “hope [for victory] had been dashed” by their inability to sustain the supply lines needed for such a widespread advance. In May, French and British leaders pressed Wilson to hurry American troops into the fighting. By the end of the month, some 650,000 American soldiers were in Europe. In June, they were ready to fight. At the month-long Battle of Belleau Wood, which began on June 2, U.S. forces commanded by General John J. Pershing joined the French in driving the Germans back. A French officer watching the high-spirited, if untrained, American soldiers remarked that The American Role in the War 1009 they were providing “a wonderful transfusion of blood” for the Allied cause. Pershing was determined to use U.S. troops to break the stalemate on the Western Front. During the ferocious fighting, a French officer urged an American unit to retreat. In a famous exchange, U.S. Marine Captain Lloyd W. Williams refused the order, saying: “Retreat? Hell, we just got here.” In a massive Allied offensive, begun on September 26, 1918, American troops joined British and French armies in a drive toward Sedan, France, and its strategic railroad, which supplied the German army occupying northern France. With 1.2 million U.S. soldiers involved, including some 200,000 African Americans, it was the largest American casualties A Salvation Army worker writing a letter home for a American action of the war, and it wounded soldier. resulted in 117,000 American casualties, including 26,000 dead. But along the entire French-Belgian front, the outnumbered Germans were in retreat during the early fall of 1918. “America,” wrote German General Erich Ludendorff, “became the decisive power in the war.” On October 6, the German government asked Wilson for peace negotiations based on his Fourteen Points. British and French leaders accepted the Fourteen Points as a basis of negotiations, but with two significant reservations: the British insisted on the right to discuss limiting freedom of the seas to preserve their naval dominance, and the French demanded massive reparations (payments) from Germany and Austria for war damages. the german collapse By the end of October 1918, Germany was on the verge of collapse. Revolutionaries rampaged through the streets. Sailors mutinied. Germany’s allies (Bulgaria, Turkey, and Austria-Hungary) dropped out of the war, and panicked military leaders demanded that the civilian government ask for an armistice (cease-fire agreement). On November 9, the German Kaiser resigned, and a republic was proclaimed. Early on the morning of November 11, an armistice was signed in which the Germans were assured that Wilson’s Fourteen Points would be the basis for the peace conference. 1010 America and the Great War 1914–1920 CHAPTER 22 THE GREAT WAR, THE WESTERN FRONT, 1918 ENGLAND Rotterdam NETHERLANDS Rh ra it St m e Ri de r Koblenz Oi s e R i v er Versailles LUXEMBOURG Soissons A is ne Riv ReimsV Château-Thierry Épernay Paris iver rne Ma R es le FRANCE R. Verdun Étain Metz ST r Sedan A E FOR NE ON RG er Se ve GERMANY er Cambrai ve r BELLEAU WOOD Ri Riv Arras m Compiègne e e M eu s Mons Amiens Cantigny in Cologne Brussels BELGIUM Lille So Ri R Calais Ypres Armentières Boulogne Antwerp l Ghent S ch e e iv r ve er Oostende ov D Dieppe ine of NORTH SEA St.-Mihiel Strasbourg Nancy Mo sel le Ri ve r Western front, March 1918 German offensive, spring 1918 Allied counteroffensive Western front, November 1918 0 0 25 25 50 Miles 50 Kilometers SWITZERLAND Why was the war on the Western Front a stalemate for most of the war? was the effect of the arrival of the American troops? Figure M22_2 ■ Why was the Second Battle of the Marne the turning point of the war? First proof ■ WWN64 ■ What Six hours later, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and after 1,563 days of terrible warfare, the killing ended. From Europe, Colonel House sent Wilson a telegram: “Autocracy [government by an individual with unlimited power] is dead; long live democracy and its immortal leader.” The end of fighting led to wild celebrations throughout the world. “The nightmare is over,” wrote African American activist W. E. B. Du Bois. “The world awakes. The long, horrible years of dreadful night are passed. Behold the sun!” Wilson was not as joyful. The Great War, he said, had dealt a grievous injury to civilization “which can never be atoned for or repaired.” During its nineteen months in the Great War, the United States had lost 53,000 servicemen in combat. Another 63,000 died of diseases, largely casu- The Politics of Peace 1011 Armistice Night in New York (1918) George Luks, known for his vivid paintings of urban life, captured the unbridled outpouring of patriotism and joy that extended into the night of Germany’s surrender. alties of the influenza epidemic that swept through the world in 1918. Germany’s war dead totaled more than 2 million, including civilians; France lost nearly 1.4 million combatants, Great Britain 703,000, and Russia 1.7 million. The war also ruined the economies of Europe while decimating a whole generation of young men. The new Europe would be very different from the prewar version: much poorer, more violent, more polarized, more cynical, less sure of itself, and less capable of decisive action. The United States, for good or ill, emerged from the war as the world’s dominant power. The Politics of Peace On June 25, 1918, Colonel Edward House wrote President Wilson from France, urging him to take charge of the peacemaking process. “It is one of the things with which your name should be linked during the ages.” House was right. Woodrow Wilson and the peace agreement ending the Great War would be forever linked, but not in a positive light. In the making of the peace agreement, Wilson showed himself both at his best and worst. His Fourteen Points embodied his vision of a better world governed by fairer principles. He felt guided “by the hand of God.” His vision of a peacekeeping “League of Nations” was, in his view, the key element to a “secure and lasting peace” and was the “most essential part of the peace settlement.” If the diplomats gathering 1012 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 to draft the peace treaty failed to follow his ambitious plans to reshape the world in America’s image, he warned, “there will be another world war” within a generation. Wilson’s Key Errors Whatever the merits of President Wilson’s peace plan, his efforts to implement it proved clumsy. He made several key decisions that would come back to haunt him. First, against the advice of his staff and of European leaders, he decided to attend the peace conference in Paris that opened on January 18, 1919. Never before had an American president left the nation for such a prolonged period (six months). During his months abroad, Wilson lost touch with political developments at home. Wilson’s second error of judgment involved politics. In the congressional elections of November 1918, Wilson defied his advisers and political tradition by urging voters to elect a Democratic Congress as a sign of approval of his policies in handling the war—and the peace. He “begged” the public not to “repudiate” his leadership. Prior to that time, presidents had remained neutral during congressional elections and abstained from campaigning. Republicans, who for the most part had backed Wilson’s war measures, were not pleased. Theodore Roosevelt, whose son Kermit, a pilot, had been killed in the war, called Wilson’s self-serving appeal for votes “a cruel insult to every Republican father or mother whose sons have entered the Army or Navy.” Voters were not impressed, either. In the elections, the Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress, which was a bad omen for Wilson’s peacemaking efforts, since any treaty to end the war would have to be approved by at least two-thirds of the Senate, now controlled by Republicans. Meanwhile, Wilson had dispatched Colonel House and several aides to Europe to begin convincing Allied leaders to embrace the Fourteen Points. The lopsided defeat of Wilson and the Democrats in the elections, said House, “made his difficulties enormously greater.” Gordon Auchincloss, House’s sonin-law who was serving as one of his lieutenants in Europe, displayed the brash confidence symptomatic of many American diplomats when he boasted from London that “before we get through with these fellows over here, we will teach them how to do things and to do them quickly.” It would not be so easy. Wilson further weakened support for his peacemaking efforts when, in a deliberate slight, he refused to appoint a prominent Republican to the American delegation headed to the peace conference. Although House had urged him to appoint Theodore Roosevelt or Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, the president’s archenemy and the leading Republican in Congress, Wilson refused. In the end, he appointed Harry White, an obscure Republican. Former president William Howard Taft groused that Wilson’s real intention in going to Paris was “to hog the whole show.” He almost did. The Politics of Peace 1013 Wilson’s participation in the Paris Peace Conference would be the climactic event of his career, an opportunity for him to convince Europe to follow his impassioned idealism in creating a very different postwar world. As Wilson prepared to board the George Washington with 113 staff members bound for Europe over a ten-day voyage, Ray Stannard Baker, a muckraking journalist, wrote that the president “has yet to prove his greatness. The fate of a drama lies in its last act, and Wilson is now coming to that.” Wilson’s last act would indeed be dramatic—tragically so. Initially, however, his entrance on the European stage was triumphant in December 1918. The cheering crowds in London, Paris, and Rome verged on hysteria. Millions of grateful Europeans greeted him as an almost mystical hero, even a savior. An Italian mayor described Wilson’s visit as the “second coming of Christ.” The ecstatic welcome led Wilson to think he truly was being directed by God to save the world. In a sign of his growing egotism, he claimed that he was now “at the apex of my glory in the hearts of these people.” He was determined to shape a peace treaty and postwar world based on principles of justice, fairness, and self-determination. Fit for a messiah Wilson rode down the Champs Élysées as the crowds showered him with flower petals and cheered, “Vive Wilson! Vive l’Amérique! Vive la liberté!” 1014 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 From such a height, there could only be a fall. Although popular with the European people, Wilson had to negotiate with tough-minded, wily European statesmen who shared neither his lofty goals nor his ideals. In fact, they resented his efforts to forge a peace settlement modeled on American values. That Wilson had not bothered to consult them about his Fourteen Points peace proposal before announcing it to the world did not help. In the end, the European leaders would force him to abandon many of his ideals. The Paris Peace Conference The Paris Peace Conference lasted from January to June 1919. The participants had no time to waste. The German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman thrones and empires were in ruins. Across much of Europe, food was scarce and lawlessness rampant. The threat of revolution hung over central Europe as Communists in the defeated nations threatened to take control. The peace conference dealt with immensely complex and controversial issues (including creating new nations and redrawing the maps of Europe and the Middle East) that required both political statesmanship and technical expertise. The British delegation alone included almost 400 members, many of them specialists in political geography or economics. The peacemakers met daily, debating, arguing, and compromising. the big four From the start, the Paris Peace Conference was controlled by the Big Four: the prime ministers of Britain, France, and Italy, and the president of the United States. Georges Clemenceau, the seventy-seven-year-old French premier known as “The Tiger,” had little patience with President Wilson’s preaching. In response to Wilson’s declaration that “America is the only idealistic nation in the world,” Clemenceau grumbled that talking with Wilson was like talking to Jesus Christ. “God gave us the Ten Commandments and we broke them,” the French leader sneered. “Wilson gave us the Fourteen Points—we shall see.” The Big Four fought in private and in public. The French and the British, led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George, insisted that Wilson agree to their harsh provisions to weaken Germany, while Vittorio Orlando, prime minister of Italy, focused on gaining territories from defeated Austria. the league of nations Although suffering from chronic health issues, including hypertension and blinding headaches, Wilson lectured the other statesmen about the need to embrace his beloved League of Nations, which he insisted must be the “keystone” of any peace settlement. He believed that a world peace organization would abolish war by settling international disputes and mobilizing united action against aggressors. Article X of the char- The Politics of Peace 1015 ter, which Wilson called “the heart of the League,” allowed member nations to impose military and economic sanctions, or penalties, against military aggressors. The League, Wilson predicted, would have such moral influence that it would make military action to preserve peace unnecessary. These unrealistic expectations became, for Wilson, a self-defeating crusade. On February 14, 1919, Wilson presented the final draft of the League covenant to the Allies and left Paris for a ten-day visit home, where he faced growing opposition among Republicans. The League of Nations, Theodore Roosevelt complained, would revive German militarism and undermine American morale. “To substitute internationalism for nationalism,” Roosevelt argued, “means to do away with patriotism.” Henry Cabot Lodge, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also scorned Wilson and his idealism. Lodge told Roosevelt, “I never expected to hate anyone in politics with the hatred I feel toward Wilson.” He dismissed the League of Nations because he feared it would involve the U.S. military in foreign conflicts without Senate approval. The Treaty of Versailles When Wilson returned to Paris in the spring of 1919, he had lost his leverage with the British and French because it was increasingly uncertain that the U.S. Senate would approve any treaty he endorsed. Although a skilled debater, Wilson was forced to concede many controversial issues to ensure that the Europeans would approve his League of Nations. Wilson yielded to French demands that Germany transfer vast territories to France on its west and to Poland on its east and north. In other territorial matters, Wilson had to abandon his principle of national self-determination, whereby every ethnic group would be allowed to form its own nation. As Secretary of State Robert Lansing correctly predicted, allowing each ethnic group to determine its own fate “will raise hopes which can never be realized.” (Wilson himself later told the Senate that he wished he had never said that “all nations have a right to self-determination.”) In their efforts to allow for at least some degree of ethnic self-determination in multiethnic regions, the statesmen at Versailles created the independent countries of Austria, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia in central Europe and four new nations along the Baltic Sea: Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. The victorious Allies, however, did not create independent nations out of the colonies of the defeated and now defunct European empires. Instead, they assigned the former German colonies in Africa and the Turkish colonies in the Middle East to France and Great Britain to govern while they prepared themselves for independence at some undesignated point in the future. At the same time, Japan took control of the former German colonies in east Asia. 1016 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 The issue of reparations—payments by the vanquished to the victors— triggered especially bitter arguments. The British and the French (on whose soil much of the war was fought) wanted Germany to pay the entire financial cost of the war, including their veterans’ pensions. On this point, Wilson made perhaps his most fateful concessions. Although initially opposed to reparations, he eventually agreed to a crucial clause in the peace treaty by which Germany was forced to accept responsibility for the war and its entire expense. The “war guilt” clause, written by American John Foster Dulles, a future secretary of state, so offended Germans that it became a major factor in the rise of the Nazi party during the 1920s. Wilson himself privately admitted that if he were a German, he would refuse to sign the flawed treaty. Colonel House, the president’s closest confidante, privately blamed Wilson for many problems associated with the treaty. He found the president “so contradictory that it is hard to pass judgment on him.” He “speaks constantly of teamwork but seldom practices it.” Wilson was “becoming stubborn and angry, and he never was a good negotiator.” House worried that Wilson was too “unreasonable” about the League of Nations, “which does not make for solutions.” It was an eerily accurate prediction of what was in store. On May 7, 1919, the victorious powers presented the treaty to the German delegates, who returned three weeks later with 443 pages of criticism. Among other things, they noted that Germany would lose 13 percent of its territory, 10 percent of its population, and all of its colonies in Asia and Africa. A few minor changes were made, but when the Germans still balked, the French threatened to launch a new military attack. Finally, on June 28, the Germans gave up and signed the treaty in the glittering Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, the magnificent palace built by King Louis XIV in the late seventeenth century. Thereafter, the agreement was called the Treaty of Versailles. None of the peacemakers was fully satisfied. As France’s Clemenceau observed, “it was not perfect,” but it was, after all, the “result of human beings. We did all we could to work fast and well.” A British official reversed Wilson’s claim that it had been a “war to end all wars” by saying it was a “peace to end peace”—as turned out to be the case. When Adolf Hitler, a young German soldier who had been wounded in the war, learned of the treaty’s provisions, he vowed revenge. “It cannot be that two million Germans have fallen in vain,” he screamed during a speech in Munich in 1922. “We demand vengeance!” the treaty debate On July 8, 1919, Wilson arrived back in Washington, D.C., to begin working for approval of the treaty by the Senate, where the Republicans outnumbered the Democrats. Before leaving Paris, he had assured a French diplomat that he would not allow any changes to the treaty. The Politics of Peace 1017 EUROPE AFTER THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES, 1918 FINLAND NORWAY ESTONIA DENMARK LATVIA BA GREAT BRITAIN LT IC SEA IRELAND SEA SWEDEN NORTH LITHUANIA DANZIG (Gdansk) ´ GERMANY NETHERLANDS POLISH CORRIDOR SCHLESWIGHOLSTEIN London Berlin GER MANY BELGIUM ATLANTIC Paris OCEAN RHINELAND CZ SAAR LUX. ALSACELORRAINE FRANCE SILESIA EC HOS Vienna RUSSIA POLAND LOVA KIA AUSTRIA HUNGARY SWITZ. SOUTH TYROL ROMANIA PO RT U GA L Fiume YUGOSLAVIA S PA I N BULGARIA ITALY BLACK SEA ALBANIA M E D I T E R R NORT H AFRI C A 1914 boundaries New nations Plebiscite areas Occupied area ■ ■ GREECE A N E A TURKEY N S E A 0 0 250 250 500 Miles 500 Kilometers Why was self-determination so difficult to apply in Central Europe? How did territorial concessions weaken Germany? WWN64 Figure M22_3 First proof “I shall consent to nothing,” he vowed. “The Senate must take its medicine.” Thus began one of the most brutally partisan and bitterly personal disputes in American history. On July 10, Wilson became the first president to enter the Senate and deliver a treaty to be voted on. He called upon senators to accept their “great duty” and ratify the treaty, which had been guided “by the hand of God.” Wilson then grew needlessly confrontational. He dismissed critics of the League of Nations as “blind and little provincial people.” The world, he claimed, was relying on the United States to sign the treaty: “Dare we reject it and break the heart of the world?” Yes, answered Senate Republicans, who had decided that Wilson’s commitment to the League was a reckless threat to America’s independence. Henry Cabot Lodge denounced the treaty’s “scheme of making mankind suddenly 1018 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 virtuous by a statute or a written constitution.” Lodge’s strategy was to stall approval of the treaty in hopes that public opposition would grow. He took six weeks simply reading aloud the lengthy text to his Foreign Relations committee. He then organized a parade of expert witnesses, most of them opposed to the treaty, to appear at the hearings on ratification. In the Senate, a group of “irreconcilables,” fourteen Republicans and two Democrats, refused to support American membership in the League. They were mainly western and midwestern progressives, isolationists who feared that such sweeping foreign commitments would threaten domestic reforms. Lodge himself belonged to a larger group called the “reservationists,” who insisted upon limiting American participation in the League in exchange for approving the treaty. The only way to get Senate approval was for Wilson to meet with Lodge and others and agree to revisions, the most important of which was the requirement that Congress authorize any American participation in a Leagueapproved war. Colonel House urged the president to “meet the Senate in a conciliatory spirit.” Wilson replied that he had long ago decided that you “can never get anything in this life that is worthwhile without fighting for it.” House courageously disagreed, reminding the president that American civilization was “built on compromise.” It was the last time the two men would speak to or see each other. As Republican senator Frank B. Kellogg of Minnesota noted, the proposed changes were crafted not by enemies of the treaty but by friends who wanted to save it. Republican senator James Watson of Indiana told Wilson that he had no choice but to accept some revisions: “Mr. President, you are licked. There is only one way you can take the United States into the League of Nations.” But the self-righteous president was temperamentally incapable of compromising. He refused to negotiate, declaring that “if the Treaty is not ratified by the Senate, the War will have been fought in vain.” let the people decide In September 1919, after a summer of fruitless debate, an exhausted Wilson decided to bypass his Senate opponents by speaking directly to voters. On September 2, against his doctor’s orders and his wife’s advice, he left Washington for a grueling railroad tour through the Midwest to the West Coast, intending to visit twenty-nine cities and deliver forty speeches on behalf of the treaty. No president had ever made such a strenuous effort to win public support. In St. Louis, Wilson said that he had returned from Paris “bringing one of the greatest documents of human history,” which was now in danger of being rejected by the Senate. He pledged to “fight for a cause . . . greater than the Senate. It is greater than the government. It is as great as the cause of mankind. . . .” Wilson traveled and spoke, sometimes as many as four times a day, despite suffering from pounding headaches. It did not help his morale to learn that The Politics of Peace 1019 his secretary of state, Robert Lansing, had said that the League of Nations was “entirely useless.” By the time Wilson’s train reached Spokane, Washington, the president was visibly fatigued. But he kept going through Oregon and California. Some 200,000 people greeted him in Los Angeles. In all, he had covered 10,000 miles in twenty-two days and given thirty-two major speeches. Then disaster struck. After delivering an emotional speech on September 25, 1919, in Pueblo, Colorado, Wilson collapsed from headaches so severe that he had to cancel the trip. On the train heading back, as he looked out the window with tears rolling down his cheeks, he told his doctor that he had suffered the “greatest disappointment of [his] life.” a stricken president Back in Washington, D.C., a week later, the president suffered a crushing stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) that left him paralyzed on his left side; he could barely speak or see. Only his secretary, his doctor, and his wife, Edith, knew his true condition. For five months at the end of 1919 and in early 1920, Wilson lay flat on his back while his doctor issued reassuring medical bulletins. If a document needed Wilson’s signature, his wife guided his trembling hand. Lansing urged the president’s aides to declare him disabled and appoint Vice President Thomas Marshall in his place; they angrily refused. Soon thereafter, Lansing was replaced. The stroke made Wilson even more arrogant and stubborn and paralyzed his administration as well. He became emotionally unstable, at times crying uncontrollably and displaying signs of paranoia. For the remaining seventeen months of his term, his protective wife, along with aides and trusted cabinet members, kept him isolated from all but the most essential business. When a group of Republican senators visited the White House, one of them said: “Well, Mr. President, we have all been praying for you.” Wilson replied, “Which way, Senator?” the treaty under attack Such presidential humor was rare, however. Wilson’s hardened arteries seemed to have hardened his political judgment as well. For his part, Lodge pushed through the Senate fourteen changes (the number was not coincidental) in the draft of the Treaty of Versailles. The exiled Colonel House became so concerned that he wrote Edith Wilson a letter in which he said how “vital” it was for some form of the treaty to be approved: The president’s “place in history is in the balance.” He pleaded for Wilson to negotiate a compromise. The First Lady refused to share his concerns with her husband. In the end, Wilson rejected any proposed changes to the treaty. As a result, his supporters in the Senate were thrown into an unlikely alliance with the irreconcilables, who opposed the treaty under any circumstances. The final Senate vote in 1920 on Lodge’s revised treaty was 39 in favor and 55 against. On the question of approving the original treaty without changes, 1020 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 the irreconcilables and the reservationists, led by Lodge, combined to defeat ratification, with 38 for and 53 against. Woodrow Wilson’s grand effort at global peacemaking had failed miserably. (Although, he did receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.) When told of the final Senate vote, he said it “would have been better if I had died last fall.” After refusing to ratify the treaty, Congress tried to declare an official end to American involvement in the war by a joint resolution on May 20, 1920, which Wilson vetoed in a fit of spite. It was not until July 2, 1921, four months after he had left office and almost eighteen months after the fighting had stopped, that another joint resolution officially ended the state of war with Germany and AustriaHungary. Separate peace treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary were ratified on October 18, 1921, but by then Warren G. Harding was president. The U.S. failure to ratify the Versailles Treaty or to exercise strong world leadership would prove to have long-range consequences. With Great Britain and France too exhausted and too timid to keep Germany weak and isolated, a dangerous power vacuum would emerge in Europe, one which Adolf Hitler and the Nazis would fill. Stumbling from War to Peace After the war, most Americans were far more concerned with domestic issues than with the Treaty of Versailles, as celebration over the war’s end soon gave way to widespread inflation, unemployment, labor unrest, socialist and Communist radicalism, race riots, terrorist bombings, and government tyranny. With millions of servicemen returning to civilian life, war-related industries shutting down, and wartime price controls ending, unemployment and prices for consumer goods spiked. Bedridden by his stroke, the president became increasingly distant, depressed, and peevish. Wilson, observed David Lloyd George, the British prime minister, was “as much a victim of the war as any soldier who died in the trenches.” His administration was in disarray, he had never been so unpopular, and the Democratic party was floundering along with him. the spanish flu Beginning in 1918, many Americans confronted an infectious enemy that produced far more casualties than the war. It became known as the Spanish flu (although its origins continue to be debated), and its contagion spread around the globe. The disease appeared suddenly in the spring of 1918. Its initial outbreak lasted a year and killed as many as 100 million people worldwide, twice as many as died Stumbling from War to Peace 1021 Influenza epidemic Office workers wearing gauze masks during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. in the war. In the United States alone, it accounted for 675,000 deaths, more than ten times the number of U.S. combat deaths in France. A fifth of the nation’s population caught the flu, and the public health system was strained to the breaking point. Hospitals ran out of beds, and funeral homes ran out of coffins. By the spring of 1919, the pandemic had run its course, ending as suddenly—and as inexplicably—as it had begun. Although another outbreak occurred in the winter of 1920, people had grown more resistant to it. No disease in human history had killed so many people, and no war, famine, or natural catastrophe had killed so many in such a short time. suffrage at last As the first outbreak of the Spanish flu was ending, American women finally gained a Constitutional guarantee of their right to vote. After six months of delay, debate, and failed votes, Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment in the spring of 1919 and sent it to the states for ratification. Tennessee’s legislature was the last of thirty-six state assemblies to approve the amendment, and it did so in dramatic fashion. The initial vote was 48–48. Then a twenty-four-year-old Republican legislator named Harry T. Burn changed his vote to yes at the insistence of his mother. The Nineteenth Amendment became official on August 18, 1920, making the United States the twenty-second nation to allow women’s suffrage. It was a climactic achievement of the Progressive Era. Suddenly, 9.5 million women were eligible to vote in national elections; in the 1920 presidential election, they would make up 40 percent of the electorate. 1022 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 Their first votes Women of New York City’s East Side vote for the first time in the presidential election of 1920. economic turbulence As consumer prices rose, discontented workers, released from wartime controls on wages, grew more willing to go out on strike. In 1919, more than 4 million hourly wage workers, 20 percent of the U.S. workforce, participated in 3,600 strikes. Most of them wanted nothing more than higher wages and shorter workweeks, but their critics linked them with the worldwide Communist movement. Charges of a Communist conspiracy were greatly exaggerated, however. In 1919, fewer than 70,000 Americans nationwide belonged to the Communist party. The most controversial labor dispute was in Boston, where most of the police went on strike on September 9, 1919. Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge mobilized the National Guard to maintain order. After four days, the striking policemen offered to return, but instead Coolidge ordered that they all be fired. When labor leaders appealed for their reinstatement, Coolidge responded in words that made him an instant national hero: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” race riots The summer of 1919 also brought a wave of deadly race riots. As more and more African Americans, including many of the 367,000 who were war veterans, moved out of the South to different parts of the country, Stumbling from War to Peace 1023 Safe, briefly Escorted by a police officer, an African American family moves its belongings from their home, likely destroyed by white rioters, and into a protected area of Chicago. developed successful careers, and asserted their civil rights, resentful whites reacted with an almost hysterical racism. In 1919 alone, seventy-six African Americans, including nine military veterans, were killed by southern whites. Among the victims was Sergeant Major Joe Green in Birmingham, Alabama, because he “had the insolence” to ask for his change on a streetcar, and Private William Little in Blakely, Georgia, because he had walked around town wearing his army uniform. What African American leader James Weldon Johnson called the Red Summer (red signifying blood) began in July, when a mob of whites invaded the black neighborhood in Longview, Texas, angry over rumors of interracial dating. They burned shops and houses and ran several African Americans out of town. A week later, in Washington, D.C., exaggerated and false reports of black assaults on white women stirred up white mobs, and gangs of white and black rioters waged a race war in the streets until soldiers and driving rains ended the fighting. The worst was yet to come. In late July, 38 people were killed and 537 injured in five days of race rioting in Chicago, where some 50,000 blacks, mostly from the rural South, had moved during the war, leading to tensions with local whites 1024 CHAPTER 22 America and the Great War 1914–1920 over jobs and housing. White unionized workers especially resented blacks who were hired as strikebreakers. Altogether, twenty-five race riots erupted in 1919, and eighty African Americans were lynched, including eleven war veterans. The race riots of 1919 were a turning point for many African Americans. “We made the supreme sacrifice,” a black veteran told poet-journalist Carl Sandburg. “Now we want to see our country live up to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” Another ex-soldier noted how much the war experience had changed the outlook of blacks: “We were determined not to take it anymore.” the red scare With so many people convinced that the strikes and riots were inspired by Communists and anarchists (two very different groups who shared a hatred for capitalism), a New York journalist reported that Americans were “shivering in their boots over Bolshevism, and they are far more scared of Lenin than they ever were of the [German] Kaiser. We seem to be the most frightened victors the world ever saw.” Fears of revolution were fueled by the violent actions of a few militants. In early 1919, the Secret Service discovered a plot by Spanish anarchists to kill President Wilson and other government officials. In April 1919, postal workers intercepted nearly forty homemade mail bombs addressed to government officials. One mail bomb, however, blew off the hands of a Georgia senator’s maid. In June, another bomb damaged U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer’s house. Palmer, who had ambitions to succeed Wilson as president, concluded that a “Red Menace,” a Communist “blaze of revolution,” was “sweeping over every American institution of law and order.” That August, Palmer appointed a twenty-four-year-old attorney named J. Edgar Hoover to lead a new government division created to collect information on radicals. Hoover and others in the Justice Department worked with a network of 250,000 informers in 600 cities, all of them members of the American Protective League, which had been founded during the war to root out “traitors” and labor radicals. On November 7, 1919, federal agents rounded up 450 alien “radicals,” most of whom were law-abiding Russian immigrants. All were deported to Russia without a court hearing. On January 2, 1920, police in dozens of cities arrested 5,000 more suspects. What came to be called the First Red Scare (another would occur in the 1950s) represented one of the largest violations of civil liberties in American history. In 1919, novelist Katharine Fullerton Gerould announced in Harper’s Magazine that, as a result of the government crackdown, America “is no longer a free country in the old sense.” Panic about possible foreign terrorists erupted across the nation as vigilantes took matters into their own hands. At a patriotic Stumbling from War to Peace pageant in Washington, D.C., a sailor shot a spectator who refused to rise for “The Star-Spangled Banner”; the crowd cheered. In Hammond, Indiana, a jury took only two minutes to acquit a man who had murdered an immigrant for yelling “To hell with the U.S.” In Waterbury, Connecticut, a salesman was sentenced to six months in jail for saying that Vladimir Lenin was “one of the brainiest” of the world’s leaders. By the summer of 1920, the Red Scare had begun to subside. Although Attorney General Palmer kept predicting more foreign-inspired terrorism, it never came. But the Red Scare left a lasting mark by strengthening the conservative crusade for “100 percent Americanism” and new restrictions on immigration. 1025 J. Edgar Hoover Fresh out of law school, Hoover joined the Justice Department and rose the ranks to become the first director of the FBI. Effects of the Great War The extraordinary turbulence in 1919 and 1920 was an unmistakable indication of how the Great War had changed the shape of modern history: it was a turning point after which little was the same. It had destroyed old Europe—not only many of its cities, people, economies, and four grand empires, but also its self-image as the center of civilized Western culture. Winston Churchill, the future British prime minister, called postwar Europe “a crippled, broken world.” Peace did not bring stability. Most Germans and Austrians believed they were the victims of a harsh peace, and many wanted revenge. At the same time, the war had hastened the already simmering Bolshevik Revolution that caused Russia to exit the war, abandon its western European allies, and, in 1922, reemerge as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Thereafter, Soviet communism would be one of the most powerful forces shaping the twentieth century. Postwar America was a much different story. For the first time, the United States had decisively intervened in a major European war. The American economy had emerged from the war largely unscathed, and bankers and business executives were eager to fill the vacuum created by the destruction of the major European economies. The United States was now the world’s dominant power. What came to be called the “American Century” was at hand. CHAPTER REVIEW Summary An Uneasy Neutrality The Wilson administration declared the nation neutral but allowed businesses to extend loans to the warring nations, principally the Allies (Britain, France, and Russia), to purchase food and military supplies. Americans were outraged by the Germans’ use of submarine (U-boat) warfare, especially after the sinking of the Lusitania. In 1917, submarine attacks and the publication of the Zimmermann telegram, which revealed that Germany had tried to encourage Mexico to wage war against the United States, led America to enter the Great War. Mobilizing a Nation The Wilson administration drafted young men into the army and created new agencies such as the War Industries Board and the Food Administration to coordinate industrial production and agricultural consumption. As white workers left their factory jobs to join the army, hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated from the rural South to the urban North as part of the Great Migration. Many southern whites and Mexican Americans also migrated to industrial centers. One million women participated in war work but were encouraged to leave these jobs as soon as the war ended. The federal government severely curtailed civil liberties, and the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918 criminalized virtually any public opposition to the war. The American Role in Fighting the War Communists seized power in November 1917 in Russia and negotiated a separate peace treaty with Germany, thus freeing the Germans to focus on the Western Front. By 1918, however, the arrival of millions of American troops turned the tide of the war. German leaders sued for peace, and an armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Woodrow Wilson insisted that the United States wanted a new, democratic Europe. His Fourteen Points (1918) speech outlined his ideas for a League of Nations to promote peaceful resolutions to future conflicts. The Fight for the Peace At the Paris Peace Conference, President Wilson was only partially successful. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) did create a League of Nations but included a “war guilt clause” that forced Germany to pay reparations for war damages to France and Britain. In the end, Wilson’s illness following a stroke, his refusal to compromise on the terms of the treaty, and his alienation of Republican senators resulted in the Senate voting against ratification. Lurching from War to Peace The United States struggled to come to terms with its new status as the leading world power and with changes at home. As wartime industries shifted to peacetime production, wage and price controls ended. As former soldiers reentered the workforce, unemployment rose, and consumer prices increased, provoking labor unrest in cities across the nation. Many Americans believed these problems were part of a Bolshevik plot. Several 1026 incidents of domestic terrorism provoked what would be known as the First Red Scare (1919–1920), during which the Justice Department illegally arrested and deported many suspected radicals, most of whom were immigrants. At the same time, race riots broke out as resentful white mobs tried to stop African Americans from exercising their civil rights. The summer of 1919 also brought the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (1919) to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. Chronology 1914 1915 March 1917 April 1917 January 1918 November 11, 1918 1919 1920 The Great War (World War I) begins in Europe The Lusitania is torpedoed by a German U-boat Germany announces unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic United States enters the Great War Woodrow Wilson delivers Fourteen Points speech Representatives of warring nations sign armistice Paris Peace Conference convenes Race riots break out during the Red Summer First Red Scare leads to arrests and deportations of suspected radicals Woodrow Wilson suffers stroke The Senate rejects the Treaty of Versailles The Nineteenth Amendment is ratified Key Terms Central Powers p. 989 Great Migration p. 1002 Allied Powers p. 989 Fourteen Points (1918) p. 1007 Western Front p. 989 League of Nations p. 1014 trench warfare p. 991 Treaty of Versailles (1919) p. 1016 U-boats p. 995 Nineteenth Amendment (1920) p. 1021 Lusitania p. 995 Zimmermann telegram p. 999 First Red Scare (1919–1920) p. 1024 IJK Go to InQuizitive to see what you’ve learned—and learn what you’ve missed—with personalized feedback along the way. 1027 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 Nightclub (1933) With all its striking sights and sounds, the roar of the twenties subsided for some at the heart of it all. In this painting by American artist Guy Pène du Bois, flappers and their dates crowd into a fashionable nightclub, yet their loneliness amid the excitement is deafening. T he decade between the end of the Great War and the onset of the Great Depression at the end of 1929 was perhaps the most dynamic in American history, a period of rapid urbanization, technological innovation, widespread prosperity, social rebelliousness, cultural upheaval, and political conservatism. Women were at last allowed to vote in all states (although most African American women—and men—in the South were prevented from doing so) and to experience many freedoms previously limited to men. At the same time, the Eighteenth Amendment outlawed alcoholic beverages in 1920 (“Prohibition”), setting off an epidemic of lawbreaking—by citizens, police, and public officials. Cultural conflicts resulted largely from explosive tensions between rural and urban ways of life. For the first time in the nation’s history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. While the urban middle class prospered, farmers suffered as the wartime boom in exports of grains and livestock to Europe ground to a halt. Four million people moved from farms to cities during the twenties, in part because of the better quality of life and in part because of the prolonged agricultural recession. Amid this massive rural/urban population shift, bitter fights erupted between traditionalists and modernists, as old and new values fought a cultural civil war that continues today. The postwar wave of strikes, bombings, anti-Communist hysteria, and race riots created a widespread sense of alarm that led many to cling to traditional religious beliefs and moral values and “native” ways of life. America during the twenties, said one social commentator, was the most “volcanic of any area on earth.” It was a period of “deep domestic strife” as new and old ways of life fought for influence. All of the changes punctuating the twenties created what one historian called a “nervous generation” of Americans “groping for what certainty they could find.” focus questions 1. Assess the consumer culture that emerged in America in the 1920s. What are the factors that contributed to its growth? 2. What were the other major new social and cultural trends and movements that became prominent during the twenties? How did they challenge traditional standards and customs? 3. What does “modernism” mean in intellectual and artistic terms? How did the modernist movements influence American culture in the early twentieth century? 1029 1030 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 During the twenties, the new and unusual clashed openly with the conventional and the commonplace. Modernists and traditionalists waged cultural warfare with one another, one group looking to the future for inspiration and the other looking to the past for guidance. Terrorist attacks increased, as did labor and racial violence. In 1920, a horse-drawn wagon loaded with dynamite exploded at the corner of Wall and Broad streets in New York City, killing thirty-eight people and wounding hundreds. That the bombers were never found fueled public concern that the United States was on the brink of chaos and revolution. The scope and pace of societal changes were bewildering, as the emergence of national radio networks, talking motion pictures, mass ownership of automobiles, and national chain stores, combined with the soaring popularity of spectator sports and the rise of mass marketing and advertising, transformed America into the world’s leading consumer society. The culture of mass consumption fueled the explosive growth of middle-class urban life while assaulting traditional virtues such as frugality, prudence, and religiosity. In the political arena, reactionaries and rebels battled for control. The brutal fight between Woodrow Wilson and the Republican-led Senate over the Treaty of Versailles, coupled with the administration’s crackdown on dissenters and socialists, had weakened an already fragmented and disillusioned progressivism. As reformer Amos Pinchot bitterly observed, President Wilson had “put his enemies in office and his friends in jail.” By 1920, many progressives had grown skeptical of any politician claiming to be a reformer or an idealist. Social reformer Jane Addams sighed that the 1920s were “a period of political and social sag.” The desire to restore traditional values and social stability led voters to elect Republican Warren G. Harding president in 1920. He promised to return America to “normalcy.” Both major parties still included progressive wings, but they were shrinking. The demand for honest, efficient government and public services remained strong; the impulse for social reform, however, shifted into a drive for moral righteousness and social conformity. By 1920, many veteran progressives had withdrawn from public life. Mainstream Americans were also shocked by new, “modernist” forms of artistic expression and sexual liberation. Mabel Dodge Luhan, a leading promoter of modern art and literature, said that the generation of young literary and artistic rebels that emerged during and after the war was determined to overthrow “the old order of things.” In sum, postwar life in America and Europe was fraught with turbulent changes, contradictory impulses, superficial frivolity, and seething tensions. As the French painter Paul Gauguin acknowledged, the upheavals of cultural A “New Era” of Consumption 1031 modernism and the chaotic aftermath of the war produced “an epoch of confusion,” a riotous clash of irreverent new ideas with traditional manners and morals. The Nation in 1920 The 1920 census reported that 106 million people lived in the United States, a third of the number today. America’s population was remarkably young. Over half the people were under the age of twenty-five. The average life expectancy was just fifty-six years for men and fifty-eight for women. American society remained overwhelmingly white—90 percent (persons of Hispanic origin were considered to be white). African Americans were 9 percent, and Native Americans and Asian Americans made up most of the rest. Almost half of the white population were either immigrants or the children of immigrants, the highest percentage since the late eighteenth century. For the first time in American history, over half of the population lived in “cities,” meaning towns and cities with more than 2,500 residents. Towns with less than 3,000 residents could hardly be called urban. But some 16 million Americans lived in the ten largest cities. American society was relentlessly becoming more urban and less rural. The South remained the most rural and poorest region of the nation. Only about half of the farmers in the former Confederate states owned their land. Three-quarters of farmers in the rest of the nation owned their lands. The others were either tenants who rented lands or sharecroppers who gave the landowner a share of the crop in exchange for access to land. Most sharecroppers, especially black sharecroppers, were grimly poor, in large part because the entire agricultural sector struggled with low crop prices during the twenties. And most tenants and sharecroppers were in the South. A “New Era” of Consumption America experienced so many dramatic changes during the twenties that people referred to it as a “New Era.” The robust U.S. economy became the envy of the world. Following the brief postwar recession in 1920–1921, economic growth soared to record levels. Jobs were plentiful, and average income rose throughout the decade. The nation’s total wealth almost doubled between 1920 and 1930, while wage workers enjoyed record-breaking increases in average income. By 1929, the United States enjoyed the highest standard of living in the world. 1032 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 Construction led the way. The war had caused people to postpone building offices, plants, homes, and apartments. By 1921, however, a building boom was underway that would last the rest of the decade. At the same time, the remarkable growth of the automotive industry created an immediate need for roads and highways. New construction and new cars stimulated other industries such as lumber, steel, concrete, rubber, gasoline, and furniture. Technology also played a key role in the prosperity of the twenties. Manufacturing grew more mechanized and efficient. Powerful new machines (electric motors, steam turbines, dump trucks, tractors, bulldozers, steam shovels) and more-efficient ways of operating farms, factories, plants, mines, and mills generated dramatic increases in production. In 1920, the nation’s factories produced 5,000 electric refrigerators; in 1929, almost a million. A Growing Consumer Culture In the late nineteenth century, the U.S. economy had been driven by commercial agriculture and large-scale industrial production—the building of railroads and bridges, the manufacturing of steel, and the construction of housing and businesses in cities. During the twenties, the dominant aspect of the economy involved an explosion of new consumer goods. The success of mass production made mass consumption more important than ever. A 1920 newspaper editorial insisted that, with the war over, the American’s “first importance to his country is no longer that of citizen but that of consumer.” To keep factory production humming required converting once-frugal people into enthusiastic shoppers. “People may ruin themselves by saving instead of spending,” warned one economist. During the Great War, the government had urged Americans to work long hours, conserve resources, and do without. After the war, a new consumer culture encouraged carefree spending. “During the war,” a journalist noted in 1920, “we accustomed ourselves to doing without, to buying carefully, to using economically. But with the close of the war came reaction. A veritable orgy of extravagant buying is going on. Reckless spending takes the place of saving, waste replaces conservation.” To keep people buying, businesses developed new ways for consumers to finance purchases over time (“layaway”) rather than have to pay cash up front (“Buy Now, Pay Later”). As paying with cash and staying out of debt came to be seen as needlessly “old-fashioned” practices, consumer debt almost tripled during the twenties. By 1929, almost 60 percent of American purchases were made on the installment plan. During the New Era, advertising, first developed in the late nineteenth century, grew into a huge enterprise. President Calvin Coolidge declared that A “New Era” of Consumption 1033 advertising had become “the most potent influence in adopting and changing the habits and modes of life, affecting what we eat, what we wear, and the work and play of the whole nation.” A modern home This 1925 Westinghouse advertisement urges homemakers to buy its “Cozy Glow, Jr.” heater and “Sol-Luk Luminaire” lamp, among other new electrical appliances that would “do anything for you in return.” 1034 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 The visibility of ads helped shape how people behaved and how they defined the pursuit of happiness. Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, the writer and wife of the wildly popular novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, recalled that “we grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promises of American advertising.” New weekday radio programs popular with middle-class housewives, for example, were often sponsored by national companies advertising laundry detergent and hand soap—hence the term “soap operas.” Because women purchased two-thirds of consumer goods, advertisers targeted them. An ad in Photoplay magazine appealed to the “woman of the house” because “she buys most of the things which go to make the home happy, healthful, and beautiful. Through her slim, safe fingers goes most of the family money.” The consumer culture generated bewildering changes in everyday life. The huge jump in the use of electricity was a revolutionary new force. In 1920, only 35 percent of homes had electricity; by 1930, the number was 68 percent. Similar increases occurred in the number of households with indoor plumbing, washing machines, and automobiles. Moderately priced creature comforts and conveniences such as flush toilets, electric irons and fans, handheld cameras, wristwatches, cigarette lighters, vacuum cleaners, and linoleum floors, became more widely available, especially among the urban middle class. As always, the poor, with little discretionary income, remained on the margins of the consumer culture. The Rise of Mass Culture The powerful consumer culture helped create a marketplace of retail stores and national brands (Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, General Electric toasters, etc.) in which local and regional businesses were increasingly squeezed out by giant department stores and national “chain” stores. By the 1920s, Woolworth’s, for example, had 1,500 stores scattered across the country; Walgreen’s had 525. Such national retailers bought goods in such large quantities that they were able to get discounted prices that they passed on to consumers. Mass advertising and marketing campaigns promoting national products increasingly led to a mass culture: more and more Americans now saw the same advertisements and bought the same products at the same stores. They also read the same magazines, listened to the same radio programs, drove the same cars, adored the same sports stars and celebrities, and watched the same movies. movie-made america In 1896, a New York audience viewed the first moving-picture show. By 1924, there were 20,000 theaters showing 700 A “New Era” of Consumption 1035 new “silent” films a year, and the movie business had become the nation’s chief form of mass entertainment. Hollywood, California, became the international center of movie production, grinding out cowboy Westerns, crime dramas, murder mysteries, and the timeless comedies of Mack Sennett’s Keystone Company, where a raft of slapstick comedians, most notably Londonborn Charlie Chaplin, a comic genius, perfected their art, transforming it into a form of social criticism. Movie attendance during the 1920s averaged 80 million people a week, more than half the national population, and attendance surged even more after 1927 with the appearance of “talk- Charlie Chaplin An English-born actor ies,” movies with sound. In 1930, some who rose to international fame as the 115 million people attended weekly “Tramp,” pictured above in the 1921 movies out of a total population of silent film The Kid. 123 million (many people went more than once). Americans spent ten times as much on movies as they did on tickets to baseball and football games. But movies did much more than entertain. They helped expand the consumer culture by feeding the desires of moviegoers, setting standards and tastes in fashion, music, dancing, and hairstyles. They also helped stimulate the sexual revolution. One boy admitted that it was the movies that taught him how “to kiss a girl on her ears, neck, and cheeks, as well as on the mouth.” A social researcher concluded that movies made young Americans in the twenties more “sex-wise, sex-excited, and sex-absorbed” than previous generations. radio Radio broadcasting enjoyed even more spectacular growth. In 1920, station WWJ in Detroit began transmitting news bulletins, and KDKA in Pittsburgh began broadcasting regularly scheduled programs. The first radio commercial aired in New York in 1922. By the end of that year, there were 508 stations. In 1926, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), a subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), began linking its stations into a national network; the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) entered the field the next year. 1036 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 In 1920, some 41 million radios were manufactured in the United States. The widespread ownership of radios changed the patterns of everyday life. At night after dinner, families gathered around the radio to listen to live music, political speeches, news broadcasts, weather forecasts, baseball and football games, boxing matches, comedy shows, and worship services. One ad claimed that the radio “is your theater, your college, your newspaper, your library.” Calvin Coolidge was the first president to address the nation by radio, and his monthly talks paved the way for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s influential “fireside chats” during the thirties. Radio transformed jazz music into a national craze. Big band leaders Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey regularly performed live over the radio. Country western music also developed a national following as a result of radio broadcasts. In 1925 a Nashville, Tennessee station, WSM, began offering a weekly variety show, The Grand Ole Opry, which featured an array of country music stars. flying machines Advances in transportation were as significant as the impact of commercial radio and movies on popular culture. In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright, owners of a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, had built and flown the first “flying machine” over the beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The development of airplanes advanced slowly until the outbreak of war in 1914, when Europeans began using the airplane as a military weapon. When the United States entered the war, it had no combat planes; American pilots flew British or French warplanes. An American aircraft industry arose during the war but collapsed in the postwar demobilization. Under the Kelly Act of 1925, however, the federal government began to subsidize the industry through airmail contracts. The Air Commerce Act of 1926 provided federal funds for the advancement of air transportation and navigation, including the construction of airports. The aviation industry received a huge psychological boost in 1927 when twenty-six-year-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., a St. Louis–based mail pilot, made the first solo transatlantic flight, traveling from New York City to Paris in thirty-three and a half hours through severe storms and dense fog. When Lindbergh, known as the “Lone Eagle,” landed in France, 100,000 people greeted him with thunderous cheers. The New York City parade celebrating his accomplishment surpassed the celebration of the end of the Great War. (When Lindbergh met Britain’s King George V soon after his long flight, the monarch asked him, “How did you pee?” “In paper cups,” the pilot answered.) Five years after Lindbergh’s famous flight, New York City celebrated another A “New Era” of Consumption 1037 Amelia Earhart The pioneering aviator would tragically disappear in her 1937 attempt to fly around the world. pioneering aviator—Amelia Earhart, a former stunt pilot at air shows who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. the car culture By far the most significant economic and social development of the early twentieth century was the widespread ownership of automobiles. In 1924, when asked about the changes transforming American life, a resident of Muncie, Indiana replied: “I can tell you what’s happening in just four letters: A-U-T-O.” A neighbor in Muncie said he would “go without food before I’ll see us give up the car.” The first motorcar (“horseless carriage”) had been manufactured for sale in 1895, but the founding of the Ford Motor Company in 1903 had revolutionized the infant industry. The first cars were handmade, expensive, and designed for the wealthy. Henry Ford changed all that by building “a car for the multitude.” During the twenties, he became the godfather of mass production. He vowed “to democratize the automobile. When I’m through, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everyone will have one.” Ford’s Model T, the celebrated “Tin Lizzie,” cheap and rugged, “built to last forever,” came out in 1908 at a price of $850 (about $22,000 today). By 1924, as a result of Ford’s ever-more efficient production techniques, the same car sold for $290 (less than $4,000 1038 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 Ford Motor Company’s Highland Park plant, 1913 Gravity slides and chain conveyors contributed to the mass production of automobiles. today). The Model T changed little from year to year, and it came in only one color: black. Other automakers followed Ford’s mass production/low-priced model. In 1920, there were more than 8 million registered vehicles; in 1929, there were more than 23 million. The automobile revolution was in part propelled by the discovery of vast oil fields in Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and California. By 1920, the United States produced two-thirds of the world’s oil and gasoline. The automobile industry also became the leading example of modern mass-production techniques. Ford’s Highland Park plant outside Detroit used a moving conveyor system that pulled the chassis down an assembly line of sequential work stations. Each worker performed a single task, such as installing a fender or a wheel, as the car-in-process moved down the line. Through this technique, a new car could be pieced together in ninety-three minutes. Such efficiency enabled Ford to lower the price of his cars, thereby increasing the number of people who could afford them. His high profits helped him pay his workers the highest wages in the industry. Although Ford was a notorious taskmaster—he prohibited his workers from talking, sitting, smoking, or singing while on the job—his methods worked. During the twenties, the United States built ten times more automobiles than all of Europe combined. Just as the railroad helped transform the pace and scale of life in the second half of the nineteenth century, the automobile changed social life during the twentieth century. Americans literally developed a love affair with cars. In the words of one male driver, young people viewed the car as “an incredible engine A “New Era” of Consumption 1039 of escape” from parental control and a safe place to “take a girl and hold hands, neck, pet, or . . . go the limit.” Cars and networks of new roads enabled people to live farther away from their workplaces, thus encouraging suburban sprawl. Cars also helped fuel the economic boom of the 1920s by creating tens of thousands of new jobs and a huge demand for steel, glass, rubber, leather, oil, and gasoline. The car culture stimulated road construction, sparked a real estate boom in Florida and California, and dotted the landscape with gasoline stations, traffic lights, billboards, and motor hotels (“motels”). By 1929, the federal government was constructing 10,000 miles of paved highways each year. spectator sports During the 1920s, automobile ownership and rising incomes changed the way people spent their leisure time. Americans fell in love with spectator sports; people in cities could drive into the countryside, visit friends and relatives, and go to ballparks, stadiums, or boxing rinks to see baseball or football games and prizefights. Baseball, created in the 1870s, had become the “national pastime” by the 1920s. Its popularity fed on superstars. With larger-than-life heroes such as New York Yankee legends George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. and Henry Louis “Lou” Gehrig, baseball teams attracted intense loyalties and huge crowds. Ruth may well have been the most famous athlete of all time. In 1920, more than a million spectators attended Ruth’s games. Two years later, the Yankees built a new stadium, dubbing it the “House That Ruth Built,” and went on to win World Series championships in 1923, 1927, and 1928. More than 20 million people attended professional games in 1927, the year that Ruth, the “Sultan of Swat,” set a record by hitting sixty home runs. Because baseball remained a segregated sport in the 1920s, socalled Negro Leagues were organized for African Americans. Football, especially at the college level, also attracted huge crowds. It, too, benefited from outsized heroes such as running back Harold Edward “Red” Grange of the University of Illinois, the first athlete to appear on the cover of Time magazine. In a game against the University of Michigan, the “Galloping Ghost” scored a touchdown the first four times he carried the ball. After Illinois won, students carried Grange on their shoulders for two miles across the campus. When he signed a contract with the Chicago Bears in 1926, he singlehandedly made professional football competitive with baseball as a spectator sport. What Ruth and Grange were to their sports, William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was to boxing. In 1919, he won the world heavyweight title from Jess Willard, a giant of a man weighing three hundred pounds and standing 1040 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 Babe Ruth This star pitcher and outfielder won the hearts of Americans, first with the Boston Red Sox, then the New York Yankees, and, finally, the Boston Braves. Here, he autographs bats and balls for soldiers at training camp. six and a half feet tall. Dempsey knocked him down seven times in the first round. Willard, his face bruised and bloodied, gave up in the fourth round, and Dempsey thereafter became a dominant force in boxing. Like Babe Ruth, the brawling Dempsey was especially popular with working-class men, for he too had been born poor. In 1927, when James Joseph “Gene” Tunney defeated Dempsey, more than 100,000 people attended, including a thousand reporters, ten state governors, and numerous Hollywood celebrities. Some 60 million people listened to the fight over the radio. The “Jazz Age” While the masses of Americans devoted their free time to spectator sports, radio programs, and movies, many young people, especially college students, focused their energies on social and cultural rebellion. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a boyishly handsome Princeton University dropout, was labeled “the voice of his generation” after his first novel, This Side of Paradise (1920), became a best The “Jazz Age” 1041 seller with its colorful account of rowdy student life at Princeton. Fitzgerald fastened upon the “Jazz Age” as a label for the spirit of rebelliousness and spontaneity he observed among many young Americans. The Birth of Jazz Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age label referred to the popularity of jazz music, a dynamic blend of several musical traditions. It had first emerged as piano-based “ragtime” at the end of the nineteenth century. Thereafter, African American musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Bessie Smith (the “Empress of the Blues”) combined the energies of ragtime with the emotions of the blues to create jazz, originally an African American slang term meaning sexual intercourse. With its improvisations, variations, and sensual spontaneity, jazz appealed to people of all ethnicities and ages because it was all about pleasure and immediacy, letting go and enjoying the freedom of the moment. Louis Armstrong, an inspired trumpeter with a uniquely froggy voice, was the Pied Piper of jazz, an inventive and freewheeling performer who reshaped the American music scene. Born in a New Orleans shack in 1900, the grandson of slaves, he was abandoned by his father and raised by his prostitute mother, who was fifteen when he was born. As a youth, he saw the mean and ugly side of America. “I seen everythin’ from a child comin’ up,” he said once. “Nothin’ happen I ain’t never seen before.” Then he found music, using his natural genius to explore the fertile possibilities of jazz. As a teen, he sneaked into music halls to watch Joe “King” Oliver and other early jazz innovators. In 1922, Armstrong moved to Chicago, where he delighted audiences with his passionate trumpet performances and openhearted personality. Throughout the twenties, Armstrong and his band crisscrossed the United States, spreading the gospel of jazz. The culture of jazz quickly spread from its origins in New Orleans, Kansas City, Memphis, and St. Louis to the African American neighborhoods of Harlem in New York City and Chicago’s South Side. Large dance halls accommodated the demand for jazz music and the new dances it inspired, like the Charleston and the Black Bottom. Affluent whites flocked to the dance halls as well as to “black” nightclubs and “jazz joints.” During the 1920s, people commonly spoke of jazzing something up” (invigorating it) or “jazzing around” (acting youthfully and energetically). Many Americans, however, were not fans of jazz or the sexually suggestive dances it inspired. Dr. Francis E. Clark, a Christian moralist, denounced “indecent dance” as “an offense against womanly purity.” Princeton professor 1042 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 Henry van Dyke dismissed jazz as “merely an irritation of the nerves of hearing, a sensual teasing of the strings of physical passion.” Such criticism, however, failed to stem the popularity of jazz, which swept across Europe as well as America. Europeans, including modernist painters Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, grew infatuated with the inventive energies of jazz music. A Sexual Revolution? What most shocked old-timers during the Jazz Age was a defiant sexual revolution among young people, especially those on college campuses. “None of the Victorian mothers—and most of the mothers were Victorian—had any idea how casually their daughters were accustomed to being kissed,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in This Side of Paradise (1920). During the twenties, Americans learned about the hidden world of “flaming youth” (the title of a popular novel): wild “petting parties,” free love, speakeasies, “joyriding,” and skinny-dipping. A promotional poster for the 1923 silent film Flaming Youth asked: “How Far Can a Girl Go?” Other ads Duke Ellington and his band Jazz emerged in the 1920s as a uniquely American expression of the modernist spirit. African American artists bent musical conventions to give freer rein to improvisation and sensuality. The “Jazz Age” 1043 claimed the movie appealed especially to “neckers, petters, white kisses, red kisses, pleasure-mad daughters, [and] sensation-craving mothers.” the impact of sigmund freud The increasingly frank treat- ment of sex resulted in part from the influence of Sigmund Freud, the Austrian founder of modern psychoanalysis. Freud, trained as a physician, insisted that the human mind was mysteriously “conflicted” by often unconscious efforts to repress powerful irrational impulses and sexual desires (“libido”). In 1899, Freud had published The Interpretation of Dreams, a pathbreaking book that stressed the crucial role of the subconscious in shaping behavior and moods. He also highlighted the Sigmund Freud Founder of modern significance of dreams as providing psychoanalysis, in 1926. the “royal road to the unconscious,” for dreams revealed “repressed” sexual yearnings, many of which resulted from early childhood experiences. Women and men, Freud argued, are endowed with equal sexual energy, and human behavior is driven by a variety of intense sexual desires and efforts to release pent-up aggression. These natural human conflicts cause unhappiness because people desire more pleasures than they can attain. It did not take long for Freud’s ideas to penetrate society at large. Books, movies, and plays included frequent references to Freud’s ideas, and some of the decade’s most popular magazines—True Confessions, Telling Tales, and True Story—focused on romance and sex. Likewise, the most popular female movie stars—Madge Bellamy, Clara Bow, and Joan Crawford—projected images of sensual freedom, energy, and independence. Advertisements for new movies reinforced the self-indulgent images of the Jazz Age: “brilliant men, beautiful jazz babies, champagne baths, midnight revels, petting parties in the purple dawn, all ending in one terrific climax that makes you gasp.” Traditionalists were shocked by the behavior of rebellious young women. “One hears it said,” lamented a Baptist magazine, “that the girls 1044 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 are actually tempting the boys more than the boys do the girls, by their dress and conversation.” Psychoanalysis, whose purpose is to explain activities in the mind, soon became the world’s most celebrated—and controversial—technique for helping troubled people come to grips with the demons haunting them by using “talk therapy,” getting patients to tell the story of their lives and inner frustrations and repressed fears and urges. By 1916, there were some 500 psychoanalysts in New York City alone. Freud’s emphasis on unruly sexual desires swirling about in the subconscious fascinated some people and scared others. For many young Americans, Freud seemed to provide scientific justification for rebelling against social conventions and indulging in sex. Some oversimplified his theories by claiming that sexual pleasure was essential for emotional health, that all forms of sexual activity were good, and that all inhibitions about sex were bad. margaret sanger and birth control Perhaps the most controversial women’s issue of the Jazz Age was birth control. Christians— both Protestants and Catholics—opposed it as a violation of God’s law. Other crusaders saw it differently. Margaret Sanger, a New York nurse and midwife in the working-class tenements of Manhattan, saw many young mothers struggling to provide for their growing families. Born in 1883, one of eleven children born to Irish immigrants, she herself had experienced the poverty often faced by large immigrant families. “Our childhood,” she remembered, “was one of longing for things that were always denied.” As a nurse and midwife, Sanger witnessed at firsthand the consequences of unwanted pregnancies, tragic miscarriages, and amateur abortions. To her, the problems had an obvious solution: birth control, a term she and friends coined in 1914. In 1912, Sanger began to distribute birth-control information to working-class women and resolved to spend the rest of her life helping women gain control of their bodies. To do so, she began publishing a magazine called Woman Rebel in which she promoted woman’s suffrage, workers’ rights, and contraception to frighten the “capitalist class.” In 1916, she was arrested and charged with disseminating obscenity through the mail, but months later the case was dropped. She then opened the nation’s first birth-control clinic, in Brooklyn. In 1921, Sanger organized the American Birth Control League, which in 1942 changed its name to Planned Parenthood. The Birth Control League distributed information to doctors, social workers, women’s clubs, and the scientific community, as well as to thousands of women. In the 1920s, however, Sanger alienated supporters of birth control by endorsing sterilization The “Jazz Age” 1045 for the mentally incompetent and for people with certain hereditary conditions. Birth control, she stressed, was “the most constructive and necessary of the means to racial health.” Although Sanger did not succeed in legalizing the distribution of contraceptives and contraceptive information through the mail, she had laid the foundation for such efforts. In 1936 a federal court ruled that physicians could prescribe contraceptives—a vital step in Sanger’s efforts to realize her slogan, “Every child a wanted child.” the “new women” New clothing fashions reflected the rebellion against traditional female roles in an especially powerful way. The emancipated “new women” of the twenties The “new woman” of the 1920s Two seized the right to vote while eagerly risk-taking flappers dance atop the Hotel Sherman in Chicago, 1926. discarding the confining wardrobe of their mothers’ generation—pinched-in corsets, layers of petticoats, and floor-length dresses. In 1919, skirts were typically six inches above the ground; by 1927, they were at the knee. The Utah legislature in 1921 debated a bill that would have jailed women wearing “skirts higher than three inches above the ankle.” The shortest skirts were worn by the so-called flappers, pleasure-seeking young women who—in defiance of proper prewar standards—drove automobiles, “bobbed” their hair (cut it short, requiring the invention of the “bobby pin”), and wore minimal underclothing, gauzy fabrics, sheer stockings, dangling necklaces, and plenty of makeup, especially rouge and lipstick. They often joined young men in smoking cigarettes, drinking, gambling, and dancing to jazz music. Flappers attracted so much attention in part because they were both defiantly independent and desperately seductive. After interacting with flappers in New York City, British novelist Elinor Glynn asked: “Has the American girl no innate modesty—no sub-conscious self-respect, no reserve, no dignity?” The flappers wanted more out of life than marriage and motherhood. Their carefree version of feminism was fun-loving, defiant, self-indulgent, and often 1046 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 self-destructive. F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed that his rebellious wife, Zelda, was the “First American Flapper.” The wayward daughter of a strict Alabama judge, Zelda was wild to the point of exhaustion. Stimulated by alcohol, she loved doing “crazy things”: dancing in New York City fountains and stripping off her clothes in the middle of Grand Central Station. The craziness of such flappers shocked and scared observers. A Catholic priest in Brooklyn complained that the feminism of the 1920s had provoked a “pandemonium of powder, a riot of rouge, and a moral anarchy of dress.” not so new women Most women in the 1920s were not flappers, however. Lillian Symes, a longtime activist, stressed that her “generation The beautiful and the damned In an outfit typical of flappers, Zelda of feminists” had little in common Fitzgerald poses with her husband, with the “spike-heeled, over-rouged author F. Scott Fitzgerald, on the Riviera flapper of today. We grew up before in 1926. the postwar disillusionment engulfed the youth of the land.” Although more middle-class women attended college in the 1920s than ever before, a higher percentage of them married soon after graduation than had been the case in the nineteenth century. The conservative political mood helped to steer women who had worked for the war effort back into their traditional roles as homemakers, and college curricula began to shift accordingly. At Vassar College, an all-women’s school outside of New York City, students took courses such as “Husband and Wife,” “Motherhood,” and “The Family as an Economic Unit.” At the same time, fewer college-educated women pursued careers: the proportion of physicians who were women fell during the twenties from 6 to 4 percent, and similar reductions occurred among dentists, architects, and chemists. A student at allfemale Smith College in Massachusetts expressed frustration “that a woman must choose between a home and her work, when a man may have both. There must be a way out, and it is the problem of our generation to find the way.” The “Jazz Age” 1047 As before, most women who worked outside the home labored in unskilled, low-paying jobs. Only 4 percent of working women in the 1920s were salaried professionals. Some women moved into new vocations created by the growing consumer culture, such as accounting assistants and department-store clerks. The number of beauty shops soared from 5,000 in 1920 to 40,000 in 1930, creating jobs for hair stylists, manicurists, and cosmeticians. But the majority of women were still either full-time wives and mothers or household servants. Fortunately, the growing availability of electricity and electrical appliances—vacuum cleaners, toasters, stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, irons—made housework easier. Likewise, “supermarkets” offered year-round access to fruits, vegetables, and meats, which greatly reduced the traditional tasks of food preparation—canning, baking bread, and plucking chickens. African American and Latino women faced the greatest challenges. As a New York City newspaper observed, they were forced to do “work which white women will not do.” Women of color usually worked as maids, laundresses, or seamstresses, or on farms. the color line In addition to sexism, racism also continued to limit the freedom of women during the twenties. For example, in 1919, an interracial couple from Ayer, Massachusetts, Mabel Puffer, a wealthy college graduate, and Arthur Hazzard, a handyman and leader within the local black community, decided to get married in Concord, New Hampshire. They checked into separate rooms in a hotel, then met in the lobby and walked three blocks to the courthouse to apply for a marriage license, only to be told that there was a fiveday waiting period. So they waited and made preparations for the wedding. The mayor of Concord agreed to perform the service, and Hazzard’s siblings and mother made plans to attend. When news of the interracial couple strolling the streets of Concord reached the Boston newspapers, the first story’s headline, in the Boston Traveller, read: “Will Marry Negro in ‘Perfect Union’: Rich Ayer Society Woman Determined to Wed Servant Although Hometown Is Aflame with Protest.” The news had outraged many residents of Ayer. The next day, the Boston Evening Globe ran the now provocative story on its front page. The headline was sensational: “Hope to Prevent White Woman Wedding Negro: Two Friends of Mabel E. Puffer Have Gone to Concord, N.H.” Suddenly, the mayor of Concord reversed himself and announced he could not perform the wedding. The betrothed couple, after being turned down several times, finally found a minister willing to marry them. The night before the wedding was to occur, the Ayer police chief arrived, arrested Hazzard on a charge of “enticement,” and took Puffer into custody because she had been 1048 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 deemed “insane.” In reporting the story, the Concord newspaper concluded that the community “gazed after their departing dust with no regrets.” The nation that Woodrow Wilson had led into World War I to “make the world safe for democracy” remained an unsafe place for those bold enough to cross the color line. African American Life The most significant development in African American life during the early twentieth century was the Great Migration northward from the South. The mass movement of blacks began at the start of the twentieth century but accelerated in 1915–1916, when rapidly expanding war industries in the northern states needed new workers. It continued throughout the twenties, as poor blacks boarded trains with one-way tickets, bound for the “promised land” up North. Between 1920 and 1930, almost a million African Americans, mostly sharecroppers, joined the exodus from the South. Many landed in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and other large cities. The Great Migration continued in fits and starts throughout the twentieth century, producing dramatic social, economic, and political changes. In 1900, only 740,000 African Americans lived outside the South, just 8 percent of the nation’s black population. By 1970, more than 10.6 million African Americans lived outside the South, 47 percent of the nation’s total. The African Americans making up the Great Migration were lured by what writer Richard Wright called the “warmth of other suns”—better living conditions and better-paying jobs. In the North, for the most part, they were able to speak more freely and were treated more equally than in the South, and educational opportunities for children were much better. Collectively, blacks gained more political leverage by settling in populous states like New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, with many electoral votes. The political effects of the Great Migration were evident in 1928 when a Chicago Republican, Oscar De Priest, became the first black elected to Congress since Reconstruction and the first ever from a northern district. The Great Migration was fraught with challenges, however. For the black migrants, the difficult decision to leave their native South ended one set of troubles only to begin another. “Never in history,” said Richard Wright, “has a more utterly unprepared folk wanted to go to the city.” The refugees arriving in northern cities from the Jim Crow South were strangers in a strange land, where they were not always welcomed. In densely populated northern cities, black newcomers sometimes clashed with local ethnic groups, especially Irish and Italians who feared that the newcomers would take their jobs. Many The “Jazz Age” 1049 The Migration of the Negro, Panel no. 1 In Jacob Lawrence’s series of paintings, African Americans leave the South behind for the northern industries of cities like New York, Chicago, and St. Louis. southern blacks, ignorant of city ways, were taken advantage of by white landlords, realtors, and bankers, forced into substandard and segregated housing, and paid lower wages than whites. But northern discrimination still paled beside the ferocious injustices faced by African Americans in the segregated South. “If all of their dream does not come true,” a black newspaper in Chicago stressed, “enough will come to pass to justify their actions.” The Missouri-born black poet Langston Hughes spoke for many when he wrote that he was “fed up With Jim Crow laws, / People who are cruel And afraid, /Who lynch and run, / Who are scared of me And me of them.” Over time, the transplanted African Americans forged new lives in a strange new land, building new churches, new communities, new families, even new cultures while reconstructing new identities. the naacp The mass migration of southern blacks northward helped spur the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), founded in 1910 by black activists and white progressives. Black NAACP members came mainly from the Niagara movement, a group formed in 1905 to fight racial discrimination nationwide. W. E. B. Du Bois became the organization’s director of publicity and research and the editor of its journal, Crisis. 1050 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 Politically, the NAACP focused on legal action to bring the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments back to life. One early victory came with Guinn v. United States (1915), in which the Supreme Court struck down Oklahoma’s efforts to deprive African Americans of the vote. In Buchanan v. Worley (1917), the Court invalidated a residential segregation ordinance in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1919, the NAACP launched a national campaign against lynching, then a still-common form of vigilante racist violence. An anti-lynching bill to make mob murder a federal crime passed the House in 1922 but was defeated by southerners in the Senate. the harlem renaissance So many blacks converged in New York City during the twenties that they inspired the Harlem Renaissance, the nation’s first black literary and artistic movement. It started in the fastgrowing African American community of Harlem in northern Manhattan. In 1890, one in seventy people in Manhattan had been African American; by 1930, it was one in nine. The “great, dark city” of Harlem, in poet Langston Hughes’s phrase, contained more blacks per square mile than any other urban neighborhood in the nation. Such rapid population growth generated a sense of common identity, growing power, and distinctive self-expression that transformed Harlem into the cultural capital of African American life. Writer James Weldon Johnson described a “Black Manhattan” as a “typically Negro” community of 175,000 in that it featured “movement, color, gaiety, singing, dancing, boisterous laughter, and loud talk.” Dotted with lively taverns, lounges, supper clubs, dance halls, and saloons (“speakeasies”) that hosted writers and painters talking about literature and art while listening to jazz and drinking illegal booze, Harlem became what journalists called the “Nightclub Capital of the World.” Alain Locke, the first black Rhodes Scholar, announced that the Harlem Renaissance was led by a self-confident “new Negro” who no longer felt subservient to white culture. Hughes explained that the Harlem writers and artists were at last ready “to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.” In poetry and prose, Harlem Renaissance writers celebrated African American culture, including jazz and the blues. As Hughes wrote, “I am a Negro— and beautiful. . . . The night is beautiful. So [are] the faces of my people.” But while Hughes loved Africa and its cultural heritage, his outlook emphatically “was not Africa. I was [shaped by] Chicago and Kansas City and Broadway and Harlem.” The “Jazz Age” 1051 Women, both black and white, were active in the Harlem Renaissance. In January 1925, a thirty-four-year-old African American woman named Zora Neale Hurston arrived in Harlem from Eatonville, an all-black community in rural central Florida. Born in Alabama in 1891, she was an aspiring writer and inventive storyteller in search of the “New Negro Movement.” With only $1.50 in her purse, “no job, no friends and a lot of hope,” she became the first African American to enroll at Barnard College, the woman’s college of Columbia University on the edge of Into Bondage This painting by Aaron Douglas Harlem, where she majored in cultural exemplifies how black artists in the Harlem Renaissance used their African roots and anthropology. collective history as artistic inspiration. A brassy, flamboyant woman, Hurston had mastered the art of survival by learning to reinvent herself as the need arose. Motherless at nine, a runaway at fourteen, she became a calculating opportunist blessed with remarkable willpower. The spirited Hurston said she came to Harlem to immerse herself in the “clang and clamor” of city life, in a continuing effort to “jump at the sun,” to stretch her ambitions well beyond her resources. Within a few months, Hurston was behaving, in her words, as the queen of the Harlem Renaissance, writing short stories and plays about the “Negro furthest down” on the social scale while positioning herself at the center of the community’s raucous social life. (“How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company! It’s beyond me.”) She reveled in the black pride and cultural confidence enlivening Harlem. Her outspokenness invited controversy, as when she claimed that she “did not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it.” Hurston went on to become a leading anthropologist, folklorist, and novelist, expert at describing the ways in which African Americans in the Lower South forged cohesive communities in the face of white bigotry and violence. The Harlem Renaissance also celebrated the distinctive contributions of poor African Americans to American culture. Hurston spoke out on behalf of those who “having nothing, still refused to be humble.” So did many other members of the Harlem Renaissance. Writer James Weldon Johnson coined 1052 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 the term “Aframerican” to designate Americans with African ancestry and to emphasize that blacks were no longer divided by their heritage; they were proud to be Americans who happened to have an African ancestry. Aframericans, he insisted, were “conscious collaborators” in the creation of American society and culture. The black sculptor Augusta Savage agreed. She explained that African Americans for three centuries had shared the “same cultural background, the same system, the same standard of beauty as white Americans. . . . It is impossible to go back to primitive [African] art for our models.” By 1930, Harlem Renaissance writAugusta Savage The sculptor, shown ers had produced dozens of novels with her statue Realization (1938), found and volumes of poetry; several Broadsuccess in America and abroad, despite way plays; and a flood of short stories, experiencing racial prejudice along the way. essays, and films. A people capable of producing such great art and literature, Johnson declared, should never again be “looked upon as inferior.” garveyism The celebration of black culture found much different expression in what came to be called Negro nationalism, which promoted black separatism from mainstream American life. Its leading spokesman was Marcus Garvey, who claimed to speak for all 400 million blacks worldwide. In 1916, Garvey brought to Harlem the headquarters of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which he had started in his native Jamaica two years before. Garvey insisted that blacks had nothing in common with whites. In passionate speeches and in editorials in the UNIA’s popular newspaper, the Negro World, Garvey urged African Americans to remove themselves from the surrounding white culture and to cultivate black solidarity and “black power.” The UNIA quickly became the largest black political organization in the nation. By 1923, Garvey, who often wore gaudy military uniforms and featherplumed hats, claimed the UNIA had as many as 4 million members served by The Modernist Revolt 1053 800 offices. His goal was to build an allblack empire in Africa. To that end, he began calling himself the “Provisional President of Africa,” raising funds to send Americans to Africa, and expelling any UNIA member who married a white. Garvey’s message of black nationalism and racial solidarity appealed especially to poor blacks in northern cities, but he also had supporters across the rural South. Garveyism, however, appalled some black leaders, especially those leading the NAACP. W. E. B. Du Bois labeled Garvey “the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race. . . . He is either a lunatic or a traitor.” An African American newspaper pledged to help “drive Garvey and Garveyism in all its sinister viciousness from the American Marcus Garvey The Jamaicansoil.” born founder of the Universal Negro Garvey’s eccentric crusade col- Improvement Association and leading lapsed in 1923 when he was convicted spokesman for “Negro nationalism” in the 1920s. of fraud for overselling shares of stock in a steamship corporation, the Black Star Line, which he founded to transport American blacks to Africa. Sentenced to a five-year prison term, he was pardoned in 1927 by President Calvin Coolidge on the condition that he be deported to Jamaica, where he received a hero’s welcome. Garvey died in obscurity in 1940, but the memory of his movement kept alive an undercurrent that would reemerge in the 1960s under the slogan “black power.” The Modernist Revolt The dramatic changes in society and the economy during the twenties were spurred by transformations in science and the arts during the previous two decades. Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, conventional wisdom had held that the universe was governed by basic underlying laws of time 1054 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 and energy, light and motion. This rational world of order and certainty disintegrated in the early twentieth century, thanks to the discoveries of European physicists. Albert Einstein During a century remarkable for its scientific discoveries and technological advances, one genius stands out: Albert Einstein, a scientific rebel with an unrivaled imagination. Many of his greatest discoveries emerged not from research but from his remarkable ability to picture in his mind the strange effects of natural forces, from the infinitesimally small to the infinitely large. In 1905, Einstein, a twenty-six-year-old German-born physicist working in Switzerland, published several research papers that changed science forever while at times defying common sense. The first paper, which would earn him the Nobel Prize in 1921, revealed that light was not simply a wave of continuous energy but a stream of tiny particles, called quanta (now called photons). This breakthrough would provide the theoretical basis for quantum physics and new electronic technologies such as television, laser beams, and semiconductors used to make computers. In his second research paper, Einstein confirmed the existence of molecules and atoms by showing how their random collisions explained the jerky motions of tiny particles in water. Einstein’s third paper introduced the special theory of relativity, which argues that no matter how fast one is moving toward or away from a source of light, the speed of that light beam will appear the same, a constant 186,000 miles per second. But space and time will appear relative to the speed of light. So if a train were traveling at the speed of light, time would slow down from the perspective of an observer, and the train itself would Albert Einstein One of the most get shorter and heavier. influential scientists of the twentieth In 1916, Einstein unveiled his general century, Einstein was awarded a Nobel theory of relativity, which maintained that Prize in 1921. the fundamental concepts of space, time, The Modernist Revolt 1055 matter, and energy are not distinct, independent things with stable dimensions, as Sir Isaac Newton had assumed in the eighteenth century, but that they are interacting elements constantly changing one another. As a beam of light travels through space-time, gravity causes it to curve. Likewise, the hands of a clock traveling at high speeds move more slowly than those of a stationary clock. Nothing is fixed or absolute in Einstein’s bewildering universe; everything is relative to the location and motion of the observer and the distorting effects of gravity, which warp space and time. Things are big or little, long or short, slow or fast, light or heavy only by comparison to something else. Einstein also explained that all matter is a special form of energy, and that a very small amount of material could yield enormous energy if its atomic structure were disrupted. By showing that much more was going on in the universe than had long been assumed, Einstein’s discoveries revolutionized the way scientists perceived the natural world. A British newspaper said the general theory of relativity was “one of the most momentous . . . pronouncements of human thought.” In 1919, after astronomers had spent three years testing Einstein’s theories, the New York Times announced: “Einstein’s Theory Triumphs.” Einstein was so influential in deciphering the forces of the cosmos that his ideas became impossible to ignore—and almost as difficult to explain. Many of his complex discoveries entered popular culture as people oversimplified his theory of relativity by claiming that there were no absolute standards; all was “relative.” During the twenties, the idea of “relativity” emerged in popular discussions of topics such as sexuality, the arts, and politics; there was less faith in absolutes. Notions of relativity shaped many of the intellectual, cultural, and social currents of the twentieth century. Modernist Art and Literature The scientific breakthroughs associated with Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and other scientists helped to inspire a “modernist” cultural revolution. Modernism as a recognizable movement appeared first in the capitals of Europe (London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna) in the 1890s. By the second decade of the twentieth century, it had spread to the United States, especially New York City and Chicago. Put most simply, modernism was the widespread awareness that new ideas and ways of doing things were making a sharp break with tradition. The modernist point of view arose out of recognition that new technologies, modes of transportation and communication, and scientific discoveries were transforming the nature of everyday life as well as the way people “saw” the world. The horrors of the Great War served to accelerate and expand the appeal of modernism—and helped explain why modernists cared little for established 1056 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 standards of good taste or for history. To be “modern” was to break free of tradition, take chances, violate artistic rules and moral restrictions, and behave in deliberately shocking ways. “Art,” said a modernist painter, “is meant to disturb.” As an experimental cultural movement, modernism was loosely based on three unsettling assumptions: (1) God did not exist; (2) “reality” was not rational, orderly, or obvious; and, in the aftermath of the Great War, (3) social progress could no longer be taken for granted. In the arts, these modernist premises challenged writers, artists, musicians, and architects to risk poverty and humiliation by rudely rebelling against good taste, old-fashioned morals, and old-time religion. Modernists were artistic revolutionaries who delighted in the madness of the unexpected and refused to be conventional. In its simplest sense, modernism was a disrespectful war of new values against old ones. Experimental poet Ezra Pound provided the slogan for the modernist movement: “Make It New!” Much about modernism provoked, perplexed, and upset people. Until the twentieth century, most writers and artists had taken for granted an accessible “real” world that could be readily observed, scientifically explained, and accurately represented in words or paint or even music. The modernists, however, applied Einstein’s ideas about relativity to a world in which “reality” no longer had an objective or recognizable basis. They agreed wholeheartedly with Freud that reality, in fact, was an intensely inward and subjective experience— something deeply personal and even unrecognizable by others, something to be imagined and expressed by one’s innermost being rather than observed and reproduced. Walter Pach, an early American champion of modern art, explained that modernism resulted from the discovery of “the role played by the unconscious in our lives.” the armory show The crusade to bring European-inspired modernism to the United States reached a climax in the Armory Show of 1913, the most scandalous event in the history of American art. Mabel Dodge, one of the organizers, wrote to Gertrude Stein that the exhibition would cause “a riot and revolution and things will never be the same afterwards.” To house the 1,200 modernist works collected from more than 300 painters and sculptors in America and Europe, the two dozen young painters who organized the show leased the vast 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. The Armory Show, officially known as the International Exhibition of Modern Art, opened on February 17, 1913. It created an immediate sensation. For many, modern art became the thing that they loved to hate. Modernism, grumbled a prominent critic, “is nothing else than the total destruction of the The Modernist Revolt 1057 Russian Ballet (1916) Jewish American artist Max Weber’s painting is a modernist take on a traditional subject. Splicing the scene of the performance into overlapping planes of jarring colors, this painting exemplifies the impact of psychoanalysis and the theory of relativity on the arts. art of painting.” The New York Times warned visitors that they would enter “a stark region of abstractions” at the “lunatic asylum” show that was “hideous to our unaccustomed eyes.” The experimentalist (“avant-garde”) artists whose works were on display (including paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Matisse, as well as Cezanne and Picasso) were “in love with science but not with objective reality,” the Times critic complained, and had produced paintings “revolting in their inhumanity.” Former president Theodore Roosevelt dismissed the show as “repellent from every standpoint.” Yet the show also generated excited praise. “A new world has arisen before our eyes,” announced an American art magazine. “To miss modern art,” an art critic stressed, “is to miss one of the few thrills that life holds.” From New York, the show went on to Chicago and Boston, where it aroused similarly strong responses and attracted more huge crowds. 1058 CHAPTER 23 A Clash of Cultures 1920–1929 After the Armory Show, modern art became one of the nation’s favorite topics of debate. Many found a new faith in the disturbing powers of art. “America in its newness,” predicted Walt Kuhn, a painter who helped organize the exhibition, “is destined to become the coming center” of modernism. Indeed, the Museum of Modern Art, founded in New York City in 1929, came to house the world’s most celebrated collection of avant-garde paintings and sculpture. pound, eliot, and stein The leading American champions of modern art and literature lived not in Chicago or in New York but in England and Europe: Idaho-born Ezra Pound and St. Louis–born T. S. Eliot in London, and Californian Gertrude Stein in Paris. Working separately but spreading their influence together, they were self-conscious revolutionaries deeply concerned with creating strange, new, and often beautifully difficult forms of modernist expression. They found more inspiration and more receptive audiences in Europe than in the United States. As the foreign editor of the Chicago-based Poetry magazine, Pound became the cultural impresario of modernism, the conduit through which many experimental American poets gained publication and exposure. In bitter poems and earnest essays denouncing war and commercialism, he displayed an incessant, uncompromising urgency to transform the literary landscape. An English poet called him a “solitary volcano.” T. S. Eliot claimed that Pound was single-handedly responsible for the modernist movement in poetry. Pound recruited, edited, published, and reviewed the best among the new generation of modernist writers, improving their writing, bolstering their courage, and propelling their careers. In his own poetry, he expressed the feeling of many that the war had wasted a whole generation of young men who died in defense of a “botched civilization.” One of the young American writers Pound took under his wing was Eliot, who had recently graduated from Harvard. Within a few years, Eliot surpassed Pound to become the leading American modernist. Eliot declared that traditional poetry “was stagnant to a degree difficult for any young poet to imagine.” Eliot’s epic 433-line poem The Waste Land (1922), which Pound edited, became a monument of modernism. It expressed a sense of postwar disillusionment and melancholy that had a powerful effect on other writers. As a poet and critic for the Criterion, which he founded in 1922, Eliot became the arbiter of modernist taste in Anglo-American literature. Gertrude Stein was the self-appointed champion of the American modernists who chose to live in Paris. Long regarded as simply the literary eccentric who wrote, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” Stein was in fact one of the chief promoters of the triumphant subjectivity undergirding modernist expression. The Modernist Revolt 1059 She sought to capture in words the equivalent of abstract painting and its self-conscious revolt against portraying recognizable scenes from “real” life. Stein, who declared that literature that “tells about what happens [in life] is of no interest to anybody,” became famous for hosting a cultural salon in Paris that became a gathering place for American and European modernists. the “lost generation” Along with the shock of modernism, the arts and literature of the twenties were also greatly influenced by the horrors of the Great War. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in This Side of Paradise that the “sad young men” who had fought in Europe to “make the world safe for democracy” had “grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.” Cynicism had displaced idealism in the wake of the war’s horrific senselessness. As Fitzgerald asserted, “There’s only one lesson to be learned from life anyway. . . . That there’s no lesson to be learned from life.” Frederic Henry, a character in Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms (1929), declares that “abstract words such as glory, honor, courage . . . were obscene” in the context of the war’s colossal casualties. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and other young modernists were labeled the Lost Generation—those who had lost faith in the values and institutions of Western civilization and were frantically looking for new gods to worship. It was Gertrude Stein who in 1921 told Hemingway that he and his friends who had served in the war “are a lost generation.” When Hemingway objected, she held her ground. “You are [lost]. You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death.” In his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), Hemingway used the phrase “lost generation” in the book’s opening quotation. The novel centers on Jake Barnes, a young American journalist castrated by a war injury. His despairing impotence leads him to wander the cafes and nightclubs of postwar Europe with his unhappy friends, who acknowledge that they are all wounded and sterile in their own way: they have lost their innocence, their illusions, and their motivation to do anything with their lives. Fitzgerald, the earliest chronicler of the “lost generation,” blazed up brilliantly and then quickly flickered out, like many of the characters in his novels. His works centered on self-indulgent and self-destructive people who drank and partied too much. A friend and fellow writer called Fitzgerald “our darling, our genius, our fool.” What gave depth to the best of his work was what a character in The Great Gatsby (1925), his finest novel, called “a sense of the fundamental decencies” amid all the surface gaiety—and a sense of impending doom in a world that had lost its meaning through the disorienting discoveries of modern science and the horrors of world war. CHAPTER REVIEW Summary A “New Era” of Consumption The American economy grew at its fastest rate in history during the 1920s, led by an explosion in mass production and sales of new consumer goods. Innovations in production, advertising, and financing, and a jump in the use of electricity, enabled and encouraged millions of Americans to purchase automobiles, radios, and other electrical appliances. The automobile industry was at the center of these changes, as Ford Motor Company pioneered mass production using moving assembly lines, a highly efficient method that helped make its cars affordable for a majority of Americans. The new consumer culture valued leisure, self-expression, and self-indulgence. During the twenties, consumer debt tripled. Innovations in communications (especially the growth in radio ownership), transportation, finance, and advertising also brought about a mass culture, as more and more Americans purchased national brand-name items from retail chain stores, listened to the same radio shows, watched the same movies, and followed the lives and careers of national celebrities and superstars. The “Jazz Age” Other new social and cultural trends and movements rapidly challenged the traditional order. The carefree fads and attitudes of the 1920s, perhaps best represented by the frantic rhythms of jazz music, led writer F. Scott Fitzgerald to call the decade the Jazz Age. A “new woman” appeared, best represented by flappers—young women who challenged prewar restrictions with their short hemlines, drinking, smoking, and open discussions of sex. The majority of women, however, remained full-time housewives and mothers or domestic servants, and fewer young women pursued professional careers. With the Great Migration continuing, African Americans in northern cities felt freer to speak out against racial injustice and express pride in their race. The Harlem Renaissance movement gave voice to African American literature and music. Racial separatism and black nationalism grew popular under the leadership of Marcus Garvey, while other African Americans joined white supporters in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and supported its efforts to undo racism through education, legislation, and court challenges. The Modernist Revolt Many American artists and intellectuals were attracted to modernism, a movement that had begun in Europe before the Great War and reflected new developments in science, particularly Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and Sigmund Freud’s exploration of how the subconscious mind shapes human behavior. To be “modern” meant to break free of tradition, to violate restrictions, to shock the public, and to make one’s works difficult to explain or interpret. Americans were first exposed to modern art in a substantial way with the Armory Show of 1913. 1060 Chronology 1903 1910 1913 1916 1920 1921 1922 1927 Wright Brothers fly first motorized airplane Ford Motor Company is founded National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded Armory Show introduces Americans to modern art Marcus Garvey brings Universal Negro Improvement Association to New York Prohibition begins F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise is published Warren G. Harding is elected president Albert Einstein receives Nobel Prize in physics First radio commercial is aired Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. makes first solo transatlantic airplane flight Key Terms consumer culture p. 1032 Harlem Renaissance p. 1050 “Jazz Age” p. 1041 Negro nationalism p. 1052 flappers p. 1045 modernism p. 1055 Great Migration p. 1048 Armory Show p. 1056 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) p. 1049 Lost Generation p. 1059 IJK Go to InQuizitive to see what you’ve learned—and learn what you’ve missed—with personalized feedback along the way. 1061 24 The Reactionary Twenties Black Tuesday In this photograph, panic-stricken crowds take to Wall Street as news of the plummeting stock market spread on the morning of Tuesday, October 29, 1929. An account of the crash in the New York Times wrote that “the streets were crammed with a mixed crowd—agonized little speculators, . . . sold- out traders, . . . inquisitive individuals and tourists seeking . . . a closer view of the national catastrophe. . . . Where was it going to end?” T he self-indulgent excesses of the “lost generation” and the frivolities of the Jazz Age made little sense to the vast majority of Americans during the twenties. Most people still led traditional lives; they aggressively defended established values, old certainties, and the comfort of past routines, and they were shocked by the decade’s social turmoil and cultural rebelliousness. They traced the germs of dangerous radicalism to the multiethnic cities teeming with immigrants and foreign ideas such as socialism, communism, and anarchism. The reactionary conservatism of the 1920s fed on the popularity of nativism, the fear of and prejudice against immigrants from countries outside of western Europe, and a militant Protestantism that sought to restore the primacy of traditional Christian morality. Reactionary Conservatism and Immigration Restriction The United States has opened its borders and ports to more people from more countries than any other nation. But newcomers have never been universally welcomed or embraced. After the end of the Great War, masses of people emigrated from Europe to the United States. Between 1919 and 1924, more than 600,000 people from southern and eastern Europe, most of them Italians, entered the United States, along with 150,000 Poles and 50,000 Russians. At the same time, some 150,000 Mexicans crossed the border; most of them landed in the Southwest and California. In the early 1920s, more than half of the white men and a third of the white women working in mines, mills, and factories focus questions 1. How did the reactionary conservatism during the 1920s manifest itself in social life and governmental policies? 2. To what extent did the policies of the Republican party dominate the federal government during the twenties? In what ways were these policies a rejection of progressivism? 3. How did Herbert Hoover emerge as the most popular political figure during the twenties? 4. What were the major causes of the Great Depression? 5. How did the Great Depression impact the American people? 1063 1064 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties were immigrants, some of whom had a passion for socialism or anarchism—as well as a willingness to use violence to achieve their political goals. Fears of an invasion of foreign radicals led Congress to pass the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921, which limited total immigration to 150,000 a year and restricted newcomers from each European country to 3 percent of the total number of that nationality represented in the 1910 census. Three years later, after people complained that too many eastern and southern Europeans were still being admitted, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1924. It reduced the number of admitted Europeans to 2 percent of the 1890 census, so as to include fewer “new” immigrants from southern and eastern Europe: Jews, Italians, Poles, and Russians. The purpose of the new quotas was to shrink the total number of immigrants, to favor immigrants from northern and western Europe, and to reduce those from southern and eastern Europe. A Kansas congressman expressed the prejudices against German and Italian Catholics felt by many rural American Protestants: “On the one side is beer, bolshevism, unassimilating settlements and perhaps many flags—on the other side is constitutional government; one flag, stars and stripes.” The immigration laws targeted particular groups. For example, they banned immigrants from Japan or China. The Immigration Act of 1924, however, allowed newcomers from countries in the Western Hemisphere. An unintended result was that people of Latin American descent (chiefly Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans) became the fastest-growing ethnic minority during the twenties. The number of Mexicans living in Texas increased tenfold between 1900 and 1930 in response to the needs of Texas farmers for “stoop” laborers. “Cotton picking suits the Mexican,” was the common assertion among Texas growers. Because Mexican migrant workers were mostly homeless nomads willing to move with the seasons, farm owners came to prefer them over black and white tenants and farm laborers. sacco and vanzetti The nativism embedded in the new immigration laws reinforced the connection between European immigrants and political radicalism. That connection erupted in the most widely publicized criminal case of the twenties. On May 5, 1920, two Italian immigrants who described themselves as revolutionary anarchists eager to topple the American government, shoemaker Nicola Sacco and fish peddler Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were arrested outside Boston, Massachusetts, for stealing $16,000 from a shoe factory and killing the paymaster and a guard. Both men were armed with loaded pistols when Reactionary Conservatism and Immigration Restriction 1065 Sacco and Vanzetti The trial and conviction of these working- class Italian immigrants became a public spectacle amid the growing mood of nativism. arrested, both lied to police, and both were identified by eyewitnesses. The stolen money, however, was never found, and several people claimed that they were with Sacco and Vanzetti far from the scene of the crime when it occurred. The Sacco and Vanzetti case occurred at the height of Italian immigration to the United States and against the backdrop of numerous terror attacks by anarchists, some of which Sacco and Vanzetti had participated in. The charged atmosphere, called “the Red hysteria” by one journalist, ensured that the men’s trial would be a public spectacle. In July 1921, Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted and sentenced to death. Their legal appeals lasted six years before they were electrocuted on August 23, 1927, still claiming their innocence. To millions of workers and liberals around the world, Sacco and Vanzetti became martyrs, victims of capitalist injustice. People still debate their guilt or innocence. the new klan The most violent of the reactionary movements during the twenties was a revived Ku Klux Klan, the infamous post–Civil War group 1066 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties of anti-black racists that had re-created itself in 1915. The old Klan had died out in the 1870s once white Democrats regained control of the former Confederate states after Reconstruction. The new Klan—the Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan—was, by 1920, a nationwide organization devoted to “the maintenance of White Supremacy” and “100 percent Americanism”; only “natives”—white Protestants born in the United States—could be members. At its peak, the new Klan numbered over 4 million members, making it the largest far-right movement in history. Shrouded in secret signs and codes, practicing weird rituals, and costumed in white sheets and spooky hats, the Klan called for militant patriotism, restrictions on immigration and voting, and strict personal morality. It opposed bootleg liquor and labor unions, and it preached hatred against not only African Americans but Roman Catholics, Jews, immigrants, Communists, atheists, prostitutes, and adulterers. The United States was no melting pot, shouted Imperial Wizard William J. Simmons: “It is a garbage can! . . . When the hordes of aliens walk to the ballot box and their votes outnumber yours, then that alien horde has got you by the throat.” Bigotry became big business. The new Klan was mobilized by shrewd marketers eager to make money on racism. Each member of a local “klavern” paid a $10 initiation fee and $5 in annual dues, and was required to buy an official Klan robe, a pointed hood, and other accessories. Whole families attended Klan gatherings, “klasping” hands while listening to violent speeches, watching fireworks, and burning crosses. A Colorado judge said that his neighbors had “paid ten dollars to hate somebody [by joining the Klan], and they were determined to get their money’s worth.” In Texas, the Klan focused on imposing its severe view of righteous Protestant morality on others. Members used the instruments of terrorism— harassment, intimidation (often in the form of burning crosses), beatings, and “tar and feathers”—to discipline alcoholics, gamblers, adulterers, and other sinners. In the spring of 1922 alone, the Dallas Klan flogged sixty-eight men. The reborn Klan, headquartered in Atlanta, grew rapidly across the nation, and especially in the rural Midwest. During the twenties, 40 percent of its “Anglo-Saxon” members were in three midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Recruiters, called Kleagles, were told to “play upon whatever prejudices were most acute in a particular area.” In Texas, the Klan fed on prejudice against Mexicans; in California, hatred focused on Japanese Americans; in New York, the enemy was primarily Jews and Catholics. Most Klan members were small farmers, sharecroppers, or wage workers, but the organization also attracted clergymen, engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, business leaders, and teachers. As a prominent southern journalist Reactionary Conservatism and Immigration Restriction 1067 observed, the new Klan was “anti-Negro, anti-alien, anti-red, anti-Catholic, anti-Jew, anti-Darwin, anti-Modern, anti-Liberal; Fundamentalist, vastly Moral, militantly Protestant.” African Americans grew increasingly concerned. The Chicago Defender, the black newspaper with the widest circulation in the nation, urged its readers to fight back against Klansmen trying to “win what their fathers [in the Civil War] lost by fire and sword.” By 1923, the Klan’s membership had surpassed 4 million, including judges, mayors, sheriffs, state legislators, six governors, and three U.S. senators. The Grand Dragon, an Indiana con man named David C. Stephenson, grew so influential in electing local and state officials (the “kluxing” of America, as he called it) that he boasted, “I am the law in Indiana!” Klan-endorsed candidates won the Indiana governorship and controlled the state legislature. At the 1924 Republican State Convention, Stephenson patrolled the aisles with a pistol. He later confessed that he “purchased the county and state officials.” Stephenson, who had grown wealthy by skimming from the dues he collected from Klan members as well as selling robes and hoods, planned to run for president of the United States. The Klan’s influence, both in Indiana and nationwide, suddenly crumbled, however, after Stephenson was arrested and sentenced to life in prison in 1925 for kidnapping and raping a twenty-eight-year-old woman who then Ku Klux Klan rally In 1925, the KKK marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. 1068 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties committed suicide. Membership tumbled, and Klan organizations splintered or shut down altogether. Several states passed anti-Klan laws, and others banned the wearing of masks and burning of crosses. By 1930, nationwide membership had dwindled to 100,000, mostly southerners. Yet the impulse underlying the Klan lived on, fed by deep-seated fears and hatreds that have yet to disappear. Fundamentalism While fighting “growing immorality” and the “alien menace,” the Klan also defended “old-time religion” against dangerous ideas circulating in “progressive” or “liberal” Protestant churches. The most threatening ideas were that the Bible was not literally the word of God and that Charles Darwin’s theories of biological evolution were true. Conservative Protestants embraced a militant fundamentalism, distinctive for its hostility toward new “liberal” beliefs and its insistence on the literal truth of the Bible. The result was a religious civil war, often called the modernist– fundamentalist conflict. It divided congregations and whole denominations. A burst of Protestant fundamentalism swept the country, largely as a reaction to the spread of modernism in mainline Protestantism, which sought to accommodate Christian teaching with modern science. In a famous 1922 sermon titled “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” Harry Emerson Fosdick, the progressive pastor at New York City’s First Presbyterian Church, dismissed biblical fundamentalism as “immeasurable folly.” The Bible, he explained, was not literally the “word of God,” but instead was a representation of God’s wonders. Christianity had nothing to fear from Darwinian evolution or modern science, he argued, for liberal Christianity “saves us from the necessity of apologizing for immature states in the development of the biblical revelation.” Fosdick’s liberalism—he was an outspoken critic of racism and social injustice—outraged fundamentalists who launched an effort to “try” him for heresy. Fosdick decided to resign instead. Among national leaders, however, only the “Great Commoner,” William Jennings Bryan, the former Democratic congressman, secretary of state, and three-time presidential candidate, had the support, prestige, and eloquence to transform fundamentalism into a popular crusade. Bryan was a strange bird, a liberal progressive and pacifist populist in politics and a right-wing religious crusader. He remained a firm believer in the literal truth of the Bible. Bryan backed new state laws banning the teaching of evolution in public schools. He condemned Darwin’s theory of evolution, which suggested that human beings over millions of years had evolved from monkeys and apes, Reactionary Conservatism and Immigration Restriction 1069 with the same passion he had once directed against Republican presidential candidates. the scopes trial During the 1920s, anti-evolution bills were introduced in numerous state legislatures, but the only victories came in the South— and there were few of those. Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first woman governor of Texas (her husband “Pa” Ferguson had earlier been impeached as governor), outlawed school textbooks that included sections on Darwinism. “I am a Christian mother who believes that Jesus Christ died to save humanity,” she declared, “and I am not going to let that kind of rot go into Texas schoolbooks.” The dramatic highpoint of the fundamentalist war on Darwinism came not in Texas but in Tennessee, where in 1925 the legislature outlawed the teaching of evolution in public schools and colleges. In the mining town of Dayton, in eastern Tennessee, civic leaders eager to create publicity for their depressed economy persuaded John T. Scopes, a twenty-four-year-old substitute high-school science teacher, to become a test case against the new law. He was arrested for “teaching” Darwin’s theory of evolution. The Scopes Trial did indeed bring worldwide publicity to Dayton, but not the kind town leaders had hoped for. Before the start of the twelve-day trial on July 10, 1925, the sweltering streets of Dayton overflowed with evangelists, atheists, hot-dog and soda-pop peddlers, and some 200 newspaper and radio reporters. Main Street merchants festooned their shop windows with pictures of apes and monkeys lampooning Darwinian evolution. One store urged visitors, “Don’t monkey around when you come to Dayton—come to us.” A man tattooed with Bible verses preached on a street corner while a live monkey was paraded about town. The two warriors pitting science against fundamentalism were both national celebrities: Bryan, who had offered his services to the prosecution, and Chicagoan Clarence Darrow, the nation’s most famous defense attorney, a tireless defender of the rights of the working class, who had volunteered to defend Scopes and evolution. Bryan insisted that the trial was about a state’s right to determine what was taught in the public schools. It was a “contest between evolution and Christianity, a duel to the death.” Darrow, who viewed the law as a blood sport, countered: “Scopes is not on trial. Civilization is on trial.” His goal was to prevent “bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States” by proving that America was “founded on liberty and not on narrow, mean, intolerable and brainless prejudice of soulless religio-maniacs.” On July 20, the seventh day of the trial, the defense called Bryan as an “expert” witness on biblical interpretation. Darrow began by asking him about 1070 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties Monkey trial In this snapshot of the courtroom, Scopes (far left) clasps his face in his hands and listens to one of his attorneys (second from right). Darrow (far right), too, listens on, visibly affected by the sweltering weather. biblical stories. Did he believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and that Joshua made the sun stand still? Yes, Bryan replied. All things were possible with God. Darrow pressed on relentlessly, even cruelly. What about the great flood and Noah’s ark? Was Eve really created from Adam’s rib? Bryan hesitated and fumbled to reply. The crowd grew uneasy as the hero of fundamentalism crumpled in the heat. Bryan appealed to the judge for relief, claiming that the Bible was not on trial, only to have Darrow yell: “I am examining you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes.” A humiliated Bryan claimed that Darrow was insulting Christians. Darrow, his thumbs clasping his colorful suspenders, shot back: “You insult every man of science and learning in the world because he does not believe in your fool religion.” At one point, Darrow and Bryan, their patience exhausted, lunged at each other, prompting the judge to adjourn court. As the trial ended, the judge said that the only question for the jury was whether John T. Scopes had taught evolution, and no one had denied that he had done so. The jurors did not even sit down before deciding, in nine minutes, that Scopes was guilty. But the Tennessee Supreme Court, while upholding Reactionary Conservatism and Immigration Restriction 1071 the anti-evolution law, waived Scopes’s $100 fine on a technicality. Both sides claimed victory. Five days after the trial ended, Bryan, still in Dayton, died in his sleep at age sixty-five. Scopes left Dayton to study geology at the University of Chicago; he became a petroleum engineer. For all of its comic aspects, the Scopes Trial symbolized the waning of an old order in America and the rise of a modern outlook—more pluralistic, diverse, and skeptical, more tolerant of controversial ideas, and less obsessed with intellectual control. Still, the debate between fundamentalism and modernism continues today. Prohibition William Jennings Bryan died knowing that one of his crusades had succeeded: the distribution of alcoholic beverages had been outlawed nationwide. The movement to prohibit the sale of beer, wine, and liquor forged an unusual alliance between rural and small-town Protestants and urban political progressives—between believers in “old-time religion,” who opposed drinking as sinful, and progressive social reformers, mostly women, who were convinced that Prohibition would reduce prostitution and alcohol-related violence. What connected the two groups were the ethnic and social prejudices that many members shared. The head of the Anti-Saloon League, for example, declared that German Americans “eat like gluttons and drink like swine.” For many anti-alcohol crusaders, in fact, the primary goal of Prohibition seemed to be policing the behavior of the foreign-born, the working class, and the poor, just as fundamentalists sought to enforce their religious beliefs on others. During the Great War, the need to use grain for food rather than for making booze, combined with a grassroots backlash against beer brewers because of their German background, also transformed the cause of Prohibition into a virtual test of American patriotism. On December 18, 1917, Congress sent to the states the Eighteenth Amendment. Ratified on January 16, 1919, it banned “the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors,” effective one year later. The popular Christian evangelist Billy Sunday, who described himself as a “temperance Republican down to my toes,” told the 10,000 people gathered at his tabernacle to celebrate the outlawing of booze, that the age of righteousness was at hand: “Men will walk upright now; women will smile and the children will laugh.” As the most ambitious social reform ever attempted in the United States, however, Prohibition proved to be a colossal and costly failure. It did not suddenly persuade people to quit drinking. Instead, it compelled millions to 1072 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties break—or stretch—the law. In 1923, a federal agent said it would take a visitor in any city less than thirty minutes to find a drink. In New Orleans, he added, it would only take thirty-five seconds. The National Prohibition Act of 1919 (commonly called the Volstead Act) outlined the rules and regulations needed to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment. It had so many loopholes that it virtually guaranteed failure, however. Technically, it never said that drinking alcohol was illegal, only the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages. In addition, individuals and organizations were allowed to keep and drink any liquor owned on January 16, 1919. Not surprisingly, people stocked up before the law took effect. Farmers were allowed to “preserve” their fruits through the process of fermenting them, which resulted in barns stockpiled with “hard cider” and homemade wine. So-called medicinal liquor was also still allowed, which meant that physicians (and even veterinarians) wrote numerous prescriptions for “medicinal” brands such as Old Grand-Dad and Jim Beam whiskies. Thousands of people set up home breweries to make their own beer, producing 700 million gallons in 1929 alone. Wine was made just as easily, and “bathtub gin” was the easiest of all, requiring little more than a one-gallon still and some fruit, grain, or potatoes. Liquor crossed the nation’s 18,700-milelong borders more easily than people did. Two-thirds of the illegal liquor came from Canada, most of the rest from Mexico or overseas. The new law was too sweeping to enforce and too inconveniencing for most Americans to respect. It also had unexpected consequences. The loss of liquor taxes cost the federal government 10 percent of its annual revenue, and the closing of breweries, distilleries, and saloons eliminated thousands of jobs. An even greater weakness of Prohibition was that Congress never supplied adequate funding to enforce it. Given the public thirst for alcohol and the profits to be made in making and selling it illegally (“bootlegging”) it would have taken armies of agents to police the nation, and jail cells would have overflowed with violators. New York’s mayor said it would take 250,000 policemen to enforce Prohibition in his city alone. In working-class and ethnic-rich Detroit, the bootleg industry was second in size only to the auto industry. Moreover, a huge number of prominent Americans regularly broke the law. President Warren G. Harding drank and served bootleg liquor in the White House, explaining that he was “unable to see this as a great moral issue,” and the largest bootlegger in Washington, D.C., reported that “a majority of both houses” of Congress were regular customers. Reactionary Conservatism and Immigration Restriction 1073 The efforts to defy Prohibition generated widespread police corruption and boosted organized crime. Many of the activities and images associated with the Roaring Twenties were fueled by bootleg liquor supplied by crime syndicates and sold in speakeasies, which local policemen often ignored in exchange for bribes. Well-organized crime syndicates behaved like giant corporations; they controlled the entire stream of liquor’s production, pricing, All fair in drink and war Torpedoes distribution, and sales. As a result, the filled with malt whiskey were discovered Prohibition Era was a fourteen-year in the New York harbor in 1926, an orgy of unparalleled criminal activity. elaborate attempt by bootleggers to By 1930, more than one-third of Amer- smuggle alcohol during Prohibition. Each “torpedo” had an air compartment icans in federal prison were Prohibition so it could be floated to shore. violators. Although total national alcohol consumption did decrease during the twenties, as did the number of deaths from alcohol abuse, in many cities drinking actually increased during Prohibition. New York City’s police commissioner estimated that there were 32,000 speakeasies in the city in 1929. There had been only 15,000 saloons when Prohibition started. As the popular humorist Will Rogers quipped, “Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.” Prohibition supplied organized crime with a source of enormous new income. The most famous Prohibition-era gangster was Alphonse “Scarface” Capone. In 1927, his Chicago-based bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling empire brought him an annual income of $60 million and involved an army of 700 gangsters involved in 300 murders (none solved). Capone was a largerthan-life hero to many. He gave huge tips to waiters and hatcheck girls and provided a soup kitchen for Chicago’s poorest residents. When criticized, he claimed to be providing the public with the goods and services it demanded: “Some call it bootlegging. Some call it racketeering. I call it business. They say I violate the prohibition law. Who doesn’t?” Capone neglected to add that he had also beaten to death several police officers; ordered the execution of dozens of rivals; and bribed mayors, judges, and policemen. Law-enforcement officials led by FBI agent Eliot Ness began to smash Capone’s bootlegging operations in 1929. In the 1074 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties end, he was tried and convicted on charges of tax evasion and sentenced to eleven years in prison. A Republican Resurgence In national politics, the small-town backlash against the immorality of modern city life—whether represented by fears of immigrant radicals plotting revolution, liberal churches not taking the Bible literally, or jazzed-up flappers swilling cocktails—was mirrored by a Republican resurgence determined to reverse the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Progressivism lost its energies for several reasons. For one thing, its leaders were no more. Roosevelt died in 1919 at the age of sixty, just as he was beginning to campaign for the 1920 Republican presidential nomination. Wilson, too, had envisioned an unprecedented third term, but a stroke forced him to finish out his second term broken physically and mentally. Many Americans preferred other candidates anyway. Organized labor resented the Wilson administration’s crackdown on striking workers in 1919–1920. Farmers in the Great Plains and the West thought that wartime price controls on commodities had discriminated against them. Liberal intellectuals became disillusioned with grassroots democracy because of popular support for Prohibition, the Ku Klux Klan, and religious fundamentalism. By 1920, middle-class voters had become preoccupied with restoring a “new era” of prosperity based on mass production and mass consumption. Finally, the public turned away from progressivism in part because it had accomplished its major goals: the Eighteenth Amendment (1919), which outlawed alcoholic beverages, and the Nineteenth Amendment (1920), which allowed women nationwide to vote. Progressivism did not disappear in the 1920s, however. Progressive Republicans and Democrats dominated key leadership positions in Congress during much of the decade even while conservative Republicans occupied the White House. The progressive impulse for honest, efficient government and regulation of business remained strong, especially at the state and local levels, where efforts to improve public education, public health, and social-welfare programs gained momentum during the decade. At the national level, however, conservative Republicans returned to power. harding and “normalcy” After the Great War and the furious debate over the League of Nations, most Americans were weary of Woodrow Wilson’s crusading idealism. Wilson himself recognized the shifting public A Republican Resurgence 1075 mood. “It is only once in a generation,” he remarked, “that a people can be lifted above material things. That is why conservative government is in the saddle two-thirds of the time.” In 1920, Republican leaders turned to a likeable mediocrity as their presidential candidate: Warren G. Harding, a dapper, silver-haired U.S. senator from Ohio. Harding was selected not for his abilities or experience (which were minimal) but because he was from a key state and looked presidential. Harding set the conservative tone of his campaign when he told a Boston audience that it was time to end Wilson’s progressivism and internationalism: America did not need “heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate.” Harding pledged to “safeguard America first . . . to exalt America first, to live for and revere America first.” The Democrats were initially encouraged by the Republicans’ decision to nominate Harding, but they also had to find a candidate of their own. At their convention, the divided delegates finally chose another Ohioan, James Cox, a former newspaper publisher and three-term governor of the state. For vice president, the convention chose New Yorker Franklin Delano Roosevelt, only thirty-eight years old, who as assistant secretary of the navy occupied the same position his Republican cousin Theodore Roosevelt had once held. Handsome, vigorous, and a stirring speaker, he would deliver more than 1,000 speeches during the campaign. But Cox’s campaign was disorganized and underfunded, and the Democrats struggled against the conservative postwar mood. In the words of progressive journalist William Allen White, Americans were “tired of issues, sick at heart of ideals, and weary of being noble.” The Republicans took the offensive, blaming Wilson and the Democrats for the nation’s troubles. Harding won big, getting 16 million votes to 9 million for Cox, who carried no state outside the Solid South. “It wasn’t a landslide,” a Democratic organizer contended. “It was an earthquake.” The lopsided victory increased the Republican majority in both houses of Congress. Franklin Roosevelt predicted that his party could not hope to return to power until the Republicans led the nation “into a serious period of depression and unemployment.” He was right. “just a plain fellow” Harding’s vanilla promise of a “return to normalcy” reflected his unexceptional background and limited abilities. One of his own speechwriters admitted that his boss was both “indolent” and “ignorant of most of the big questions that would confront him.” A farmer’s 1076 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties The Ohio gang President Warren G. Harding (third from right) surrounded himself with a network of friends, often appointing them to public office despite inferior qualifications. son and newspaper editor, Harding described himself as “just a plain fellow” who was “old-fashioned and even reactionary in matters of faith and morals” and had pledged “total abstinence” from alcohol. In fact, however, Harding was a hell-raiser. He drank outlawed liquor in the White House, smoked and chewed tobacco, hosted twice-weekly poker games, and had numerous extramarital affairs and even fathered children with women other than his domineering wife, Florence Harding, whom he called “the Duchess.” His dalliances brought him much grief. One of the women blackmailed him, demanding money for her silence—which she received. The public was virtually unaware of Harding’s escapades. Voters saw him as a handsome, charming politician who looked the part of a leader. Yet Harding privately worried about his own limitations. “I am not fit for this office and should never have been here,” he once admitted. “I cannot hope to be one of the great presidents, but perhaps I may be remembered as one of the best loved.” Tart-tongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, said Harding “was not a bad man. He was just a slob.” A Republican Resurgence 1077 Harding in office had much in common with Ulysses S. Grant. His cabinet, like Grant’s, mixed some of the “best minds” in the party, whom he had promised to seek out, with a few of the worst. Charles Evans Hughes, like Grant’s Hamilton Fish, became a distinguished secretary of state. Herbert Hoover in the Commerce Department, Andrew W. Mellon in the Treasury Department, and Henry C. Wallace in the Agriculture Department functioned efficiently and made policy on their own. Other cabinet members and administrative appointees, however, were not so conscientious. The secretary of the interior landed in prison, and the attorney general narrowly escaped serving time. Many lesser offices went to members of the “Ohio gang,” a group of Harding’s drinking buddies who met in a house on K Street near the White House to help the president relieve the pressures of his high office. Harding and his lieutenants set about dismantling or neutralizing many progressive regulatory laws and agencies. The president’s four Supreme Court appointments were all conservatives, including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, who announced that he had been “appointed to reverse a few decisions.” During the 1920s, the Taft-led court struck down a federal child-labor law and a minimum-wage law for women, issued numerous injunctions against striking unions, and passed rulings limiting the powers of federal agencies that regulated big businesses. andrew mellon and the economy The Harding administration inherited a slumping economy burdened by high wartime taxes and a national debt that had ballooned from $1 billion in 1914 to $27 billion in 1920 because of the expenses associated with the war. Unemployment was at nearly 12 percent. To generate economic growth, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, at the time the third-richest man in the world behind John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford, developed what came to be called the Mellon plan, which called for reducing federal spending and lowering tax rates. Mellon persuaded Congress to pass the landmark Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which created a Bureau of the Budget to streamline the process of preparing an annual federal budget to be approved by Congress. The bill also created a General Accounting Office to audit spending by federal agencies. This act fulfilled a long-held progressive desire to bring greater efficiency and nonpartisanship to the budget preparation process. The brilliant but cold Mellon (his son described him as a “thin-voiced, thin-bodied, shy and uncommunicative man”) also proposed a series of tax reductions. By 1918, the tax rate on the highest income bracket had risen to 73 percent. Mellon believed that such high rates were pushing wealthy Amer- 1078 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties icans to avoid paying taxes by investing their money in foreign countries or in tax-free government bonds. His policies systematically reduced tax rates while increasing tax revenues. The top tax rate was cut from 73 percent in 1921 to 24 percent in 1929. Rates for individuals with the lowest annual incomes were also cut substantially, helping the working poor. By 1926, those with incomes of $300,000 or more were the source of 65 percent of federal income tax revenue. In 1921, less than 20 percent had come from this group. During this same period, the overall tax burden on those with incomes of less than $10,000 dropped from $155 million to $32.5 million. By 1929, barely 2 percent of American workers had to pay any income tax at all. At the same time, Mellon helped Harding reduce the federal budget from its wartime highs. Government expenditures fell, as did the national debt, and the economy soared. Unemployment plummeted to 2.4 percent in 1923. Mellon’s supporters labeled him the greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton in the late eighteenth century. In addition to tax cuts, Mellon, who had earlier built huge empires in the steel, oil, shipbuilding, coal, banking, and aluminum industries, promoted the long-standing Republican policy of high tariffs on imported goods. The Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922 increased rates on imported chemical and metal products to help prevent the revival of German corporations that had dominated those industries before the Great War. To please commercial farmers, the new act included tariffs on agricultural imports as well. reduced regulation The Republican economic program also sought to dismantle or neutralize many progressive regulatory laws and agencies. Harding appointed commissioners to these federal agencies who would promote “regulatory capitalism” and policies “friendly” to business interests. The prominent Republican senator Henry Cabot Lodge, who helped guide Harding’s choice of men to lead the regulatory agencies, boasted that “we have torn up Wilsonism by the roots.” racial progressivism In one area, however, Warren G. Harding proved to be more progressive than Woodrow Wilson. He reversed the Wilson administration’s segregationist policy of excluding African Americans from federal government jobs. He also spoke out against the vigilante racism that had flared up across the country during and after the war. In his first speech to a joint session of Congress in 1921, Harding insisted that the nation must deal with the festering “race question.” The horrific racial incidents were a stain on America’s democratic ideals. The new president, unlike his Democratic predecessor, attacked the Ku Klux Klan for fomenting “hatred and prejudice and A Republican Resurgence 1079 violence,” and he urged Congress “to wipe the stain of barbaric lynching from the banners of a free and orderly, representative democracy.” The Senate, however, failed to pass the bill Harding promoted. setbacks for unions Urban workers shared in the affluence of the 1920s. “A workman is far better paid in America than anywhere else in the world,” a French visitor wrote in 1927, “and his standard of living is enormously higher.” Nonfarm workers gained about 30 percent in real wages between 1921 and 1928, while farm income rose only 10 percent. Yet organized labor suffered in the 1920s. Although President Harding endorsed collective bargaining and tried to reduce the twelve-hour workday and the six-day workweek to give the working class “time for leisure and family life,” he ran into stiff opposition in Congress. The widespread strikes of 1919 had created fears that unions promoted radical socialism. Between January 1920 and August 1921, the unemployment rate jumped from 2 percent to 14 percent, and industrial production fell by 23 percent as The Gastonia strike These textile workers pit their strength against that of a National Guardsman during a strike at the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1929. 1080 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties the economy made the transition from war to peace. The brief postwar depression so weakened the unions that in 1921 business groups in Chicago designated the open shop to be the “American plan” of employment. Unlike the closed shop, which forced businesses to hire only union members, the open shop gave an employer the right to hire anyone. A labor organizer identified another reason for the weakness of unions in the New Era: “The Ford car has done an awful lot of harm to the unions. . . . As long as men have enough money to buy a second-hand Ford and tires and gasoline, they’ll be out on the road and paying no attention to union meetings.” Employers often required workers to sign “yellow-dog” contracts, which forced them to agree not to join a union. Owners also used labor spies, blacklists, and intimidation to block unions. Some employers, such as Henry Ford, tried to kill the unions with kindness by introducing programs of “industrial democracy,” guided by company-sponsored unions, or various schemes of “welfare capitalism,” such as profit sharing, bonuses, pensions, health programs, and recreational activities. The result was that union membership dropped from about 5 million in 1920 to 3.5 million in 1929 as industrial production soared and joblessness fell to 3 percent. But the anti-union effort, led by businesses that wanted to keep wages low and unions weak, helped to create a “purchasing-power crisis” whereby the working poor were not earning enough income to buy the abundance of goods being churned out by ever more-productive industries. Productivity increased by 43 percent in the Roaring Twenties, but wages barely rose. In fact, large groups of hourly workers, such as miners and textile mill hands, saw their income drop. Executives used company profits to pay dividends to stockholders, invest in new equipment, and increase their own salaries, while doing little to help wage earners. In 1929, an estimated 5 percent of the nation’s workforce (executives) received one-third of the nation’s income. In other words, the much-trumpeted “new economy” was not benefiting enough working-class Americans to be sustainable. The gap between income levels and purchasing power would be a major cause of the Great Depression, as the Republican formula of high tariffs, low wages, low taxes, little regulation, and anti-unionism would eventually implode. Isolationism in Foreign Affairs In addition to the Senate’s rejection of American membership in the League of Nations, the postwar spirit of isolation found other expressions. George Jean Nathan, a drama critic, expressed the sentiments of many Americans when he announced that the “great problems of the world—social, political, economic A Republican Resurgence 1081 and theological—do not concern me in the slightest. . . . What concerns me alone is myself, and the interests of a few close friends.” Yet the desire to stay out of foreign wars did not mean that the United States could ignore its expanding global interests. As a result of the Great War, the United States had become the world’s chief banker, and American investments and loans enabled foreigners to purchase U.S. exports. war debts and reparations Probably nothing did more to heighten America’s isolationism from foreign affairs—and anti-American feelings among Europeans—than the complex issue of paying off huge war debts during the 1920s. In 1917, when France and Great Britain ran out of money to pay for military supplies during the First World War, the U.S. government had advanced them massive loans, first for the war effort and then for postwar reconstruction projects. Most Americans, including Andrew W. Mellon, expected the war-related debts to be paid back, but Europeans had a different perception. The European Allies had held off the German army at great cost while the United States was raising an army in 1917. The British also noted that after the American Revolution, the newly independent United States had repudiated old debts to British investors; the French likewise pointed out that they had never been repaid for helping the Americans win the Revolution and gain their independence. But the most difficult challenges in the 1920s were the practical problems of repayment. To get U.S. dollars to use to pay their war-related debts, European nations had to sell their goods to the United States. However, soaring American tariff rates during the 1920s made imported European goods more expensive and the war-related debts incurred by Britain and France harder to pay. The French and the British insisted that they could repay their debts to the United States only if they could collect the $33 billion in reparations owed them by defeated Germany. That was an unrealistic assumption because the German economy was in a shambles during the 1920s, ravaged by runaway inflation. Twice during the 1920s the financial strain on Germany brought the structure of international payments to the verge of collapse, and both times the international Reparations Commission called in private American bankers to work out rescue plans. Loans provided by U.S. banks thus propped up the German economy so that Germany could pay its reparations to Britain and France, thereby enabling them to pay their debts to the United States. attempts at disarmament After the Great War, many Americans decided that the best way to keep the peace was to limit the size of armies and navies. The United States had no intention of maintaining a large army 1082 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties after 1920, but under the shipbuilding program begun in 1916, it had constructed a powerful navy second only to that of Great Britain. Although neither the British nor the Americans wanted a naval armaments race, both were worried about the growth of Japanese power. To address the problem, President Harding in 1921 invited diplomats from eight nations to a peace conference in Washington, D.C., at which Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes made a blockbuster proposal. The only way out of an expensive naval arms race, he declared, “is to end it now” by eliminating scores of existing warships. He pledged that America would junk 30 battleships and cruisers and then named 36 British and Japanese warships that would also be destroyed. It was one of the most dramatic moments in diplomatic history. The stunned audience of diplomats, ambassadors, admirals, and senators stood and roared its approval. In less than fifteen minutes, one journalist reported, Hughes had destroyed more warships “than all the admirals of the world have sunk in a cycle of centuries.” Following Hughes’s lead, delegates from the United States, Britain, Japan, France, and Italy signed the Five-Power Treaty (1922), which limited the size of their navies. It was the first disarmament treaty in history. The agreement also, in effect, divided the world into regions: U.S. naval power became supreme in the Western Hemisphere, Japanese power in the western Pacific, and British power from the North Sea to Singapore. the kellogg-briand pact During and after the Great War, many Americans embraced the fanciful ideal of simply abolishing war with a stroke of a pen. In 1921, a wealthy Chicagoan founded the American Committee for the Outlawry of War. “We can outlaw this war system just as we outlawed slavery and the saloon,” said one of the more enthusiastic converts. The seductive notion of simply abolishing war culminated in the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. This unique treaty started with an initiative by the French foreign minister Aristide Briand, who in 1927 proposed to Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg that the two countries agree never to go to war against each other. This innocent-seeming proposal was actually a clever ploy to draw the United States into the French security system by the back door. In any future war, for instance, such a pact would inhibit the United States from seeking reprisals in response to any French intrusions on neutral rights. Kellogg was outraged to discover that Briand had urged leaders of the American peace movement to put pressure on the government to sign the accord. Kellogg then turned the tables on Briand. He countered with a plan to have all nations sign the pact. Caught in a trap of his own making, the French A Republican Resurgence 1083 foreign minister finally agreed. The Pact of Paris (its official name), signed on August 27, 1928, declared that the signatories “renounce it [war] as an instrument of national policy.” Eventually sixty-two nations signed the pact, but all reserved the right of “self-defense” as an escape hatch. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement by a vote of 85 to 1. One senator who voted for “this worthless, but perfectly harmless peace treaty” wrote a friend later that he feared it would “confuse the minds of many good people who think that peace may be secured by polite professions of neighborly and brotherly love.” the world court The isolationist mood in the United States was no better illustrated than in the repeated refusal by the Senate during the 1920s to approve American membership in the World Court, formally called the Permanent Court of International Justice, at The Hague in the Netherlands. Created in 1921 by the League of Nations, the World Court, composed of fifteen international judges, was intended to arbitrate disputes between nations. Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover all asked the Senate during the 1920s to approve American membership in the World Court, but the legislative body refused, for the same reasons that the Senate had refused to sign the Versailles Treaty: they did not want the United States to be bound in any way by an international organization. improving relations in latin america The isolationist attitude during the 1920s led the decade’s Republican presidents—Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover—to soothe tensions with America’s neighbors to the south, most of which harbored long-festering resentments against “Yankee imperialism.” The Harding administration agreed in 1921 to pay the republic of Colombia the $25 million it had demanded for America’s rights to the Panama Canal. In 1924, American troops left the Dominican Republic after eight years of intervention. U.S. Marines left Nicaragua in 1925 but returned a year later at the outbreak of disorder and civil war. There, in 1927, the Coolidge administration brought both parties into an agreement for U.S.-supervised elections, but one rebel leader, César Augusto Sandino, held out, and the marines stayed until 1933. The troubles in Nicaragua increased strains between the United States and Mexico. Relations had already been soured by repeated Mexican threats to expropriate American oil properties in Mexico. In 1928, however, the U.S. ambassador negotiated an agreement protecting American rights acquired before 1917. Expropriation did in fact occur in 1938, but the Mexican government agreed to reimburse American owners. 1084 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties Teapot Dome scandal In this 1924 political cartoon, Republican officials try to outrun the Teapot Dome scandal, represented by a giant steamrolling teapot, on an oil-slicked highway. The Harding Scandals As time passed, President Harding found himself increasingly distracted by scandals in his administration. Early in 1923, the head of the Veterans Bureau resigned when faced with an investigation for stealing medical and hospital supplies intended for former servicemen. A few weeks later, the legal adviser to the bureau killed himself. Soon thereafter, Jesse Smith, a colleague of Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty who was illegally selling federal paroles, pardons, and judgeships from his Justice Department office, was found shot dead in a hotel room after he had threatened to “quit the racket.” Then, Daugherty himself was accused of selling for personal gain German assets seized after the war. When asked to testify about the matter, he refused on the grounds that doing so might incriminate him. The most serious of the scandals was called the “Teapot Dome Affair.” The Teapot Dome was a government-owned oil field in Wyoming that provided A Republican Resurgence 1085 reserve fuel for warships. After Harding moved administrative control of the oil field from the Department of the Navy to the Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, deeply in debt and eight years overdue in paying his taxes, began signing overly generous federal contracts with close friends who were executives of petroleum companies that wanted access to the oil. In doing so, Fall took bribes of about $400,000 from an oil tycoon. Fall was convicted of conspiracy and bribery and sentenced to a year in prison, the first former cabinet official to serve time because of misconduct in office. How much Harding knew of the scandals remains unclear, but he knew enough to be troubled. “My God, this is a hell of a job!” he confided to a journalist. “I have no trouble with my enemies; I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends, my God-damn friends. . . . They’re the ones that keep me walking the floor nights!” In 1923, Harding left on what would be his last journey, a speaking tour to the West Coast and a trip to the Alaska Territory. Along the way, he discussed with Herbert Hoover, the secretary of commerce, what he should do about the scandal involving Albert Fall. Hoover gave the correct response: “Publish it, and at least get credit for integrity on your side.” Before Harding had time to act on such advice, he suffered an attack of food poisoning in Seattle, then seemed to be recovering, only to die in San Francisco. He was fifty-seven years old. Largely as a result of Harding’s corrupt associates, his administration came to be viewed as one of the worst in history. Even Hoover admitted that Harding was not “a man with either the experience or the intellectual quality that the position needed” and that he was unable to admit or resolve the “terrible corruption by his playmates.” More recent assessments, however, suggest that the scandals obscured Harding’s accomplishments. He led the nation out of the turmoil of the postwar years and helped create the economic boom of the 1920s. He endorsed diversity and civil rights and was a forceful proponent of women’s rights. Still, even Harding’s foremost scholarly defender admits that he lacked good judgment and “probably should never have been president.” Coolidge Conservatism The news of Harding’s death reached Vice President Calvin Coolidge when he was visiting his father in the isolated village of Plymouth Notch, Vermont, his birthplace. There, at 2:47 a.m. on August 3, 1923, Colonel John Coolidge, a farmer and merchant, issued the presidential oath of office to his son. Calvin Coolidge, born on the fourth of July in 1872, was a throwback to an earlier era. A puritan in his personal life, he was horrified by the jazzed-up 1086 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties Roaring Twenties. He sincerely believed in the ideals of personal integrity and devotion to public service, and, like Harding, he was an evangelist for capitalism and minimal government regulation of business. an inactive president Although Coolidge had won every political race he had entered, beginning in 1898, he had never loved the limelight. Shy and awkward, he was a man of famously few words—hence, his nickname, “Silent Cal.” Voters liked his uprightness, his straight-talking style, and his personal humility. He was a simple, direct man of strong principles and intense patriotism who championed self-discipline and hard work. Alice Roosevelt Longworth said the atmosphere in the Coolidge White House compared to that of Harding was “as different as a New England front parlor is from the back room in a speak easy.” Coolidge, she quipped, looked like he had been “weaned on a pickle.” As a state senator in Massachusetts, Coolidge had often aligned himself with Republican progressives. He voted for women’s suffrage, a state income tax, a minimum wage for female workers, and salary increases for public school teachers. By the time he entered the White House, however, he had abandoned most of those causes. Coolidge was determined not to be an activist president. Walter Lippmann, the foremost political journalist of the twenties, wryly observed that “it is a grim, determined, alert inactivity, which keeps Mr. Coolidge occupied constantly.” To Coolidge, activist presidents created more problems than solutions. Unlike Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, he knew he was “not a great man.” Nor did he have an ambitious program to push through Congress. “Four-fifths of our troubles,” Coolidge believed, “would disappear if we would sit down and keep still.” Following his own logic, he insisted on twelve hours of sleep and a Calvin Coolidge “Silent Cal” was so lengthy afternoon nap. The irreverent inactive as president that when he died journalist H. L. Mencken claimed that in 1933, American humorist Dorothy Coolidge “slept more than any other Parker remarked, “How could they tell?” president.” A Republican Resurgence 1087 evangelist for capitalism Americans embraced the unflappability and unstained integrity of Silent Cal. He was refreshingly simple and direct, a man of strong principles, intense patriotism, pinched frugality, and few words. He promoted his regressive conservatism with a ruthless consistency. Even more than Harding, Coolidge linked the nation’s welfare with the success of big business. “The chief business of the American people is business,” he preached. “The man who builds a factory builds a temple. The man who works there worships there.” Coolidge famously declared that “wealth is the chief end of man.” With the help of Treasury Secretary Mellon and Republican-controlled Congresses, Coolidge continued Harding’s efforts to lower income tax rates. Where Harding had sought to balance the interests of labor, agriculture, and industry, he focused on promoting industrial development by limiting federal regulation of business and industry and reducing taxes. The nation had too many laws, Coolidge insisted, and “we would be better off if we did not have any more.” True to his word, he vetoed fifty acts of Congress. As a journalist said, “In a great day of yes-men, Calvin Coolidge was a no-man.” After having dinner with the president at the White House, Colonel House, the prominent Democrat, decided that “he has more ability than I had given him credit for, but he has little imagination and no initiative. He will make a safe President,” but would not do “anything brilliant or spectacular.” Coolidge was also “obsessed” with reducing federal spending, even to the point of issuing government workers only one pencil at a time—and only after they turned in the stub of the old pencil. His fiscal frugality and pro-business stance led the Wall Street Journal to rejoice: “Never before, here or anywhere else, has a government been so completely fused with business.” In filling out Harding’s unexpired term, Calvin Coolidge distanced himself from the scandals of the administration by putting in charge of the prosecutions two lawyers of undoubted integrity. A man of honesty and ability, he was a good administrator who delegated well and managed Republican factions adroitly. the election of 1924 Coolidge restored the dignity of the presidency while capably managing the warring Republican factions. He easily gained the party’s 1924 presidential nomination. Meanwhile, the Democrats again fell to fighting among themselves, prompting humorist Will Rogers’s classic statement that “I am a member of no organized political party. I am a Democrat.” The party’s fractiousness reflected the ongoing divisions between urban and rural America, North and South. The nominating convention split down the middle on a proposal to express disapproval of Ku Klux Klan bigotry. It then took 103 ballots to decide on a 1088 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties presidential candidate: former ambassador John W. Davis, a prominent Wall Street lawyer from West Virginia who could nearly outdo Coolidge in his limited-government conservatism. While the Democrats bickered, rural populists and urban progressives decided to abandon both major parties, as they had done in 1912. Reorganizing the old Progressive party, they nominated Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette for president. As a Republican senator, La Follette had voted against the 1917 declaration of war against Germany. Now, in addition to the Progressives, he won the support of the Socialist party and the American Federation of Labor. In the 1924 election, Coolidge swept both the popular and the electoral votes by decisive majorities. Davis and the Democrats took only the solidly Democratic South, and La Follette carried only Wisconsin, his home state. The popular vote went 15.7 million for Coolidge, 8.4 million for Davis, and 4.8 million for La Follette—the largest popular vote ever polled by a thirdparty candidate up to that time. Coolidge’s big victory represented the height of postwar political conservatism. Business executives interpreted the Republican victory as an endorsement of their influence on government, and Coolidge saw the economy’s surging prosperity as confirmation of his aggressive support of the interests of business. The Rise of Herbert Hoover During the twenties, the drive for industrial efficiency, which had been a prominent theme among progressives, powered the wheels of mass production and consumption and became a cardinal belief of Republican leaders. Herbert Hoover, secretary of commerce in the Harding and Coolidge cabinets, was himself a remarkable success story. Born into an Iowa farm family in 1874, orphaned at age eight, and raised by Quaker uncles in Iowa and Oregon, he was a shy but industrious “loner” who graduated from Stanford University and became a world-renowned mining engineer, oil tycoon, financial wizard, and multimillionaire before the age of forty. His meteoric success and genius for managing difficult tasks bred in him a self-confidence that bordered on conceit. Short-tempered and quick to take offense, Hoover had to have complete control of any project he managed. In his twenties, he was already planning to be president of the United States. a progressive conservative After applying his managerial skills to the Food Administration during the Great War, Hoover served with A Republican Resurgence 1089 the U.S. delegation at the Versailles peace conference. He idolized Woodrow Wilson and supported American membership in the League of Nations. A young Franklin Roosevelt, then assistant secretary of the navy, was dazzled by Hoover, the man he would eventually defeat in the presidential election of 1932. In 1920, Roosevelt said that Hoover was “certainly a wonder [boy], and I wish we could make him President of the United States.” Hoover, however, soon disappointed Roosevelt by declaring himself a Republican “progressive conservative.” In a book titled American Individualism (1922), Hoover wrote of an “ideal of service” that went beyond “rugged individualism” to promote the greater good. He wanted government officials to encourage business leaders to forgo “cutthroat competition” and engage in “voluntary cooperation” by forming trade associations that would share information and promote standardization and efficiency. As secretary of commerce during the 1920s, Hoover transformed the small Commerce Department into the government’s most dynamic agency. He looked for new markets for business, created a Bureau of Aviation to promote the new airline industry, and established the Federal Radio Commission. the business of farming During the 1920s, agriculture remained the weakest sector in the economy. The wartime boom fed by agricultural exports lasted into 1920 before commodity prices collapsed as European agricultural production returned to prewar levels. Overproduction brought Farming technology Mechanization became increasingly important in early twentiethcentury agriculture. Here, farmers pose alongside their new equipment, ca. 1920. 1090 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties lower prices for crops that persisted into 1923, and after that, improvement was spotty. A bumper cotton crop in 1926 resulted only in a price collapse and an early taste of depression in much of the South, where foreclosures and bankruptcies spread. Yet the most successful farms, like the most successful corporations, were getting larger, more efficient, and more mechanized. By 1930, about 13 percent of all farmers had tractors; the proportion was even higher on the western plains. Better plows, harvesters, combines, and other machines accompanied improved crop yields, fertilizers, and methods of animal breeding. Most farmers, however, were still struggling to survive. They asked for political help, and in 1924, Senator Charles L. McNary of Oregon and Representative Gilbert N. Haugen of Iowa introduced the first McNary-Haugen bill, which sought to secure “equality for agriculture in the benefits of the protective tariff.” The proposed bill called for surplus American crops to be sold on the world market to raise prices in the home market. The goal was to achieve “parity”—that is, to raise domestic prices so that farmers would have the same purchasing power relative to the prices they had enjoyed between 1909 and 1914, a time viewed as a golden age of American agriculture. The McNary-Haugen bill passed both houses of Congress in 1927 but was vetoed by President Coolidge, who dismissed it as unsound and unconstitutional. The process was repeated in 1928. In a broader sense, however, McNary-Haugenism did not fail. The debates over the bill made the “farm problem” a national policy issue and defined it as a matter of surpluses. Moreover, the evolution of the McNary-Haugen plan revived the idea of a political alliance between the rural South and the West, a coalition that in the next decade would have a dominant influence on national farm policy. the 1928 election: hoover versus smith On August 2, 1927, while on vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota, President Coolidge suddenly announced, “I do not choose to run for President in 1928.” His decision surprised the nation and cleared the way for Hoover to win the Republican nomination. The party’s platform took credit for the nation’s longest period of sustained prosperity, the government’s cost cutting, debt and tax reduction, and the high tariffs (“as vital to American agriculture as . . . to manufacturing”) designed to “protect” American businesses from foreign competition. The Democratic nomination went to four-term New York governor Alfred E. Smith, called the “Happy Warrior” by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his nominating speech. The candidates presented sharply different images: Hoover, the successful businessman and bureaucratic manager from an Iowa farm, and Smith, a professional Irish American politician from New York City’s Lower East A Republican Resurgence 1091 Campaign sheet music The sheet music for the Democratic nominee, Alfred E. Smith (left), and the Republican nominee, Herbert Hoover (right), drew on popular tunes and motifs of the time. Side. To working-class Democrats in northern cities, Smith was a hero, the poor grandson of Irish Catholic immigrants who had worked himself up to governor of the most populous state. His outspoken criticism of Prohibition also endeared him to the Irish, Italians, and others who wanted to have a drink at a saloon. On the other hand, as the first Roman Catholic nominated for president by a major party, a product of New York’s machine-run politics, and a “wet” on Prohibition (in direct opposition to his party’s platform), Smith represented all that was opposed by southern and western rural Democrats—as well as most rural and small-town Republicans. A Kansas newspaper editor declared that the “whole puritan civilization, which has built a sturdy, orderly nation, is threatened by Smith.” The Ku Klux Klan issued a “Klarion Kall for a Krusade” against him, mailing thousands of postcards proclaiming that “Alcohol” Smith, the Catholic New Yorker, was the Antichrist. While Hoover stayed above the fray, reminding Americans of their unparalleled prosperity and promising a “job for every man,” Smith was forced to deal with constant criticism. He denounced his opponents for injecting “bigotry, hatred, intolerance and un-American sectarian division” into the campaign. 1092 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties But no Democrat could have beaten Hoover in 1928. The nation was prosperous and at peace, and Hoover seemed the best person to sustain the good times. He was perhaps the besttrained economic mind ever to run for president, and he was widely viewed as the brilliant engineer “who never failed.” On Election Day, Hoover, the first Quaker to be president, won in a landslide, with 21 million popular votes to Smith’s 15 million and an electoral college majority of 444 to 87. He even penetrated the Democrats’ Solid South, winning Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, leaving Smith only six Deep South Herbert Hoover “I have no fears for the future of our country,” Hoover told the states plus Massachusetts and Rhode nation at his inauguration in 1929. Island. Republicans also kept control of both houses of Congress. Hidden in the results, however, was a glimpse of hope for Democrats. Overall, Smith’s vote total, especially strong in the largest cities, doubled that of John Davis four years earlier. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt would build upon that momentum to win back the presidency for the Democrats. But for now, Hoover was in command. Coolidge, however, was skeptical that Hoover could sustain the good times. He quipped that the “Wonder Boy” had offered him “unsolicited advice for six years, all of it bad.” Coolidge’s doubts about Hoover’s political abilities would prove all too accurate, as the new president would soon be struck by an economic earthquake that would test all of his skills—and expose his weaknesses as a leader. The Causes of the Great Depression Herbert Hoover’s election in 1928 boosted the hopes of investors in what had come to be called “the Great Bull Market.” Since 1924, the prices of stock shares invested in U.S. companies had steadily risen. Beginning in 1927, prices soared further on wings of reckless speculation driven by a mass mania unmatched in history. In 1919, some 317 million shares of stock changed hands; in 1929, the The Causes of the Great Depression 1093 number was more than a billion. Much of the nation’s total capital was sucked into the stock market. Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon’s tax reductions had given people more money to spend or invest, and much of it went into the stock market. In some respects, the stock market had become the economy. In April 1929, Hoover voiced concern about the “orgy of mad speculation” in the stock market and urged investors to be more cautious—while privately telling his own broker to sell many of his stock holdings. the stock market What made it so easy for hundreds of thousands of people to invest in stocks was the common practice of buying “on margin”—that is, an investor could make a small cash down payment (the “margin”) on shares of stock and borrow the rest from a stockbroker, who held the stock certificates as security in case the price plummeted. If stock prices rose, as they did in 1927, 1928, and most of 1929, the investor made enough profits to pay for the “margin loan” and reinvest the rest. But if the stock price declined and the buyer failed to meet a “margin call” for cash to pay off the broker’s loan, the broker could sell the stock at a much lower price to cover the loan. By August 1929, stockbrokers were lending investors more than two-thirds of the face value of the stocks they were buying. Yet few people seemed concerned, and stock prices kept rising. Despite the soaring stock market, there were signs that the economy was weakening. By 1927, steel production, residential construction, and automobile sales were slowing, as was the rate of consumer spending. By mid-1929, industrial production, employment, and other measures of economic activity were also declining. Still, the stock market rose. Then, in early September 1929, the speculative bubble burst when the stock market fell sharply. By the middle of October, world markets had gone into a steep decline. Still, most investors remained upbeat. The nation’s foremost economist, Irving Fisher of Yale University, told investors on October 17 that “stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” Five days later, a leading bank president assured reporters that there was “nothing fundamentally wrong with the stock market or with the underlying business and credit structure.” the crash The next week, however, stock market values wobbled, then tumbled again, triggering a wild scramble among terrified investors. As they rushed to sell their shares, the decline in stock prices accelerated. On Black Tuesday, October 29—the worst day in the stock market’s history to that point—widespread panic set in. Stock prices went into free fall, and brokers found themselves flooded with stocks they could not sell. On that day, investors lost $15 billion. By the end of the month, they had lost $50 billion. 1094 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties An atmosphere of gloom settled over the financial community. “Life would no longer be, ever again, all fun and games,” comedian Harpo Marx sighed as he anticipated the onset of the worst depression in history. Even the zany Marx Brothers movies during the thirties could not “laugh the big bad wolf of the Depression out of the public mind.” The carefree pleasure-seeking of the Jazz Age ended not with a whimper but with the booming crash on Wall Street. Fear and uncertainty spread like a virus across the nation and the world. Wild rumors circulated of fortunes lost and careers ruined. Investors who had borrowed heavily to buy stocks were now forced to sell their holdings at huge losses so they could pay their debts. Some stockbrokers and investors committed suicide. In New York, the president of a bankrupt cigar company jumped off the ledge of a hotel, and two business partners joined hands and leaped to their deaths from the Ritz Hotel. Room clerks in Manhattan hotels began asking guests at registration if they wanted a room for jumping or sleeping. The national economy began to sputter and stumble. In 1930, at least 26,355 businesses shut down; even more failed the following year. The resulting slowdown in economic growth, called a recession, became so severe and long-lasting that it came to be known as the Great Depression. But the collapse of the stock market did not cause the Great Depression. Rather, it revealed that the prosperity of the 1920s had been built on weak foundations. The stock market crash had the added effect of creating a psychological panic that accelerated the economic decline. Frightened of losing everything, people rushed to take their money out of banks and out of the stock market. Such behavior only made things worse. By 1932, more than 9,000 banks had closed as the nation’s formerly robust economy experienced a shocking collapse. Why the Economy Collapsed What were the underlying causes of the Great Depression? Most scholars emphasize a combination of interrelated elements. The economy had actually begun to fall into a recession months before the stock market crash. Put most simply, the once roaring economy fell victim to overproduction and underconsumption. During the twenties, manufacturing production increased 43 percent, but the purchasing power of consumers did not grow nearly as fast. In essence, the economy was producing more and more products that consumers could not afford to buy, and too many people had been borrowing too much money for unproductive purposes, such as speculating in the stock market. The Causes of the Great Depression 1095 Bank run As news of the Great Crash spread across the world, people rushed to banks to withdraw their deposits. The line for this Millbury, Massachusetts, savings bank wraps around the building. Too many business owners had taken large profits while denying wage increases to employees. By plowing profits into business expansion, executive salaries, and stock dividends rather than wage increases, employers created a growing imbalance between production and consumption, supply and demand. Because union membership plummeted during the twenties, organized labor no longer exerted as much leverage with management over wage increases. Two-thirds of families in 1929 earned less than $2,000 annually, an amount said by economists to provide “only basic necessities.” At the same time that the stock market was crashing, factories were reducing production or shutting down altogether. From 1929 to 1933, U.S. economic output (called gross domestic product, or GDP) dropped almost 27 percent. By 1932, one-quarter of the workforce was out of work. As the financial and industrial sectors collapsed, the farm sector stagnated. Farm incomes had soared during the Great War because the European nations needed American grains, beef, and pork. Eager to sustain their prosperity, farmers took out mortgages to buy more acreage or equipment to boost output. Increasing production during the twenties, however, led to lower prices for grains and livestock. To make matters worse, record harvests in the summer and fall of 1929 1096 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties caused prices for corn, wheat, and cotton to fall precipitously, pinching the income of farmers with mounting debts. government’s role Government policies also contributed to the Depression. High tariffs hurt the economy by reducing foreign trade. Like most Republican presidents, Herbert Hoover supported congressional efforts to raise tariffs on imported goods to keep out foreign competition. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930, authored by Republicans Reed Owen Smoot and Willis C. Hawley, was intended to help the farm sector by raising tariff barriers on farm products imported into the United States. But a swarm of corporate lobbyists convinced Congress to add hundreds of new imported manufactured items to the tariff bill. More than 1,000 economists urged Hoover to veto the tariff bill because its logic was flawed: by trying to “protect” American farmers from foreign competition, the bill would actually raise prices on most raw materials and consumer products. And by reducing European imports into the United States, the bill would make it much harder for France and Great Britain to repay their war debts. Hoover signed the bill anyway, causing another steep drop in the stock market. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff also prompted other countries to retaliate by passing tariffs of their own, thereby making it more difficult for American farms and businesses to sell their products abroad. U.S. exports plummeted, worsening the Depression. Another factor contributing to the Great Depression was the stance of the Federal Reserve Board (“the Fed”), the government agency that served as a “central bank” by managing the nation’s money supply and interest rates. Instead of expanding the money supply to generate growth, the Federal Reserve did the reverse, reducing the money supply out of concern for possible inflation in consumer prices. Between 1929 and 1932, the money supply shrank by a third, leading almost 10,000 small banks to close—and take millions of their depositors with them into bankruptcy. the impact of europe A final cause of the Depression was the chaotic state of the European economy, which had never fully recovered from the Great War. During the late 1920s, nations such as Great Britain, France, Spain, and Italy slowed their purchases of American goods as their economies began slowly recovering. Meanwhile, the German economy continued to flounder. A related factor was the inability of European nations to pay their war debts to each other—and to the United States. The American government insisted that the $11 billion it had loaned the Allies be repaid, but Great Britain and France had no money. They were forced to borrow huge sums ($5 billion) from U.S. banks, which only increased their overall indebtedness. After the stock market crash in October 1929, American banks could no longer prop up the European economies. The Human Toll of the Depression 1097 The Federal Reserve’s tighter monetary policy also drastically slowed the amount of American capital (money) going abroad. The German economy, which had grown dependent on loans from American banks, was devastated as American money dried up. Then the Smoot-Hawley Tariff made it even more difficult for European nations to sell their products in the United States. So as the European economy sputtered, it dragged the American economy deeper into depression. The Human Toll of the Depression The Depression came to be called “Great” because its effects were so severe and long lasting. By 1932, perhaps a quarter of the U.S. population could not afford housing or adequate food. The carefree optimism of the twenties disappeared; grassroots protests erupted as the Depression worsened. Hungry people looted grocery stores, angry mobs stopped local sheriffs from foreclosing on farms, and judges were threatened at bankruptcy hearings. Some talked of revolution and radical change. “Folks are restless,” Mississippi governor Theodore Bilbo told reporters in 1931. “Communism is gaining a foothold. . . . In fact, I’m getting a little pink myself.” Yet for all the radical talk, few Americans embraced communism. “There was anger and rebellion among a few,” recounted an Iowa farmer, but most people lived in “helpless despair and submission.” unemployment and “relief” As the economy spiraled downward between 1930 and 1933, growing numbers of workers were fired or had their wages cut. Unemployment soared to 4 million in 1930, then 8 million in 1931, and to 12 million by 1932. Desperate unemployed city dwellers became street-corner merchants. Some 6,000 jobless New Yorkers sold apples on street corners to survive. They could buy a crate of apples grown in the Pacific Northwest for $1.75. If they sold a crate of sixty apples at a nickel apiece, they could pocket $1.25. The motto of the apple sellers was, “Buy an apple a day and eat the Depression away.” Many struggling business executives and professionals—lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, stockbrokers, teachers, nurses, and engineers—went without food and medical care to save money and avoid the humiliation of “going on relief.” The sense of shame cut across class lines. In The Grapes of Wrath (1939), John Steinbeck’s best-selling novel about the victims of the Depression, a poor but proud woman is disgraced by accepting “charity” from the Salvation Army: “We was hungry. They made us crawl for our dinner. They took our dignity.” 1098 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties hunger Hard-pressed families went without fruit and most vegetables. Surveys of children in the nation’s public schools in 1932 showed that onequarter suffered from malnutrition. The U.S. Public Health Service revealed that the families of unemployed workers had 66 percent more illnesses than the families of employed workers. In 1931, New York City hospitals reported about 100 cases of death by starvation. Hungry people by the millions lined up at “soup kitchens,” where churches and charities distributed minimal amounts of food and water. Others rummaged through trash cans or garbage dumps. In Detroit, “we saw the city at its worst,” wrote Louise V. Armstrong. “One vivid, gruesome moment of those dark days we shall never forget. We saw a crowd of some fifty men fighting over a barrel of garbage which had been set outside the back door of a restaurant. American citizens fighting over scraps of food like animals!” homelessness The contraction of the economy especially squeezed debtors who had monthly mortgages to pay. A thousand Americans per day lost The morning news in a Chicago shantytown In response to the economic devastation of the Great Depression, numerous shantytowns emerged in cities across the country to house the recently-homeless; here, a man reads a newspaper outside his makeshift dwelling in Chicago. The Human Toll of the Depression 1099 their homes to foreclosure, and millions were forced to move in with relatives or friends. At first, the poor made homeless by the Depression were usually placed in almshouses, also called poorhouses or workhouses. By 1933, however, the homeless overwhelmed the small number of public facilities; more than 40 percent of home mortgages were in default. People were forced to live in culverts, under bridges, on park benches, and in doorways and police stations. To make matters worse, the poor were subject to frequent abuse and arrest. The constitutions of fourteen states even banned paupers from voting. Millions of homeless people, mostly men, took to living on the road or the rails. These hobos, or tramps, walked, hitchhiked in cars, or sneaked onto empty railway cars and rode from town to town. One railroad, the Missouri Pacific, counted 200,000 vagrants living in its empty boxcars in 1931. The following year, the Southern Pacific Railroad reported that it had evicted 683,457 people from its freight trains. A black military veteran recalled life as a hobo: “Black and white, it didn’t make any difference who you were, ’cause everybody was poor. . . . They didn’t have no mothers or sisters, they didn’t have no home; they were dirty, they had overalls on, they didn’t have no food, they didn’t have anything.” desperate responses As always, those hardest hit were the most disadvantaged groups—immigrants, women, farmers, the urban unemployed, Native Americans, and African Americans. Desperate conditions led desperate people to do desperate things. Crime soared, as did street-corner begging, homelessness, and prostitution. Although the divorce rate dropped during the decade, in part because couples could not afford to live separately or pay the legal fees to obtain a divorce, many jobless husbands simply deserted their wives and children. “You don’t know what it’s like when your husband’s out of work,” a woman told a reporter. “He’s gloomy and unhappy all the time. Life is terrible. You must try all the time to keep him from going crazy.” With their future so uncertain, married couples often decided not to have children, and birthrates plummeted. Many struggling parents sent their children to live with relatives or friends. Some 900,000 children simply left home and joined the growing army of homeless “tramps.” During the Great Depression, for the first time ever, more people left the United States than arrived as immigrants. plight of working women The Depression put women in a peculiar position. By 1932, an estimated 20 percent of working women were unemployed, a slightly lower percentage than men. Because women held a disproportionate number of the lowest-paying jobs, they were often able to keep them. Even so, many women also had the added burden of keeping their families together emotionally with their husbands out of work. Magazines 1100 CHAPTER 24 The Reactionary Twenties Just dropping off a résumé In October 1938, the federal government opened six custodian positions and 15,000 African American women lined up overnight to turn in their applications. Pictured here is a policeman leaping over a hedge to keep the crowd under control. published numerous articles about the challenge of maintaining households when the husband had been “unmanned” by losing his job. As the Depression deepened, however, married women in the workforce became the primary targets of layoffs. Some twenty-six states passed laws prohibiting their employment. The reasoning was that a married woman—who presumably had a husband to take care of her—should not “steal” a job from a man supporting a family. It was acceptable for single women to find jobs because these were usually considered “women’s work”: salesgirls, beauticians, schoolteachers, secretaries, and nurses. The job market for African American women was even more restricted, with most of them working as maids, cooks, or laundresses. In a desperate attempt to create jobs for unemployed men, many employers and even whole states adopted policies barring married women from employment. For example, three-fourths of the public school systems across the nation during the Great Depression fired women teachers who The Human Toll of the Depression 1101 got married. As a legislator commented, the working woman in Depressionera America was “the first orphan in the storm.” minorities Most African Americans still lived in the eleven southern states of the former Confederacy, where the farm-dominated economy was depressed before 1929 and worsened during the Great Depression. African Americans in the South earned their meager livelihoods from farming, as tenants and sharecroppers. Pervasive racial discrimination kept blacks out of the few labor unions in the South and consigned them to the most menial, lowest-paying jobs. They also continued to be the victims of violence and intimidation. Most blacks were still excluded from voting and were segregated in public places like hotels and trains. Already living in poverty, they were among the hardest hit by the Depression. As a blues song called “Hard Times Ain’t Gone Nowhere” revealed, “Hard times don’t worry me; I was broke when it first started out.” Some 3 million rural blacks in the South lived in cramped cabins without electricity, running water, or bathrooms. In many mills, factories, mines, and businesses, the philosophy of “last hired, first fired” meant that the people who could least afford to be jobless were fired first. Blacks who had left the South to take factory jobs in the North were among the first to be laid off. Blacks had the highest rate of joblessness in the early years of the Great Depression. “At no time in the history of the Negro since slavery,” reported the Urban League, “has his economic and social outlook seemed so discouraging.” Churches and other charity organizations gave aid, but some refused to provide support for blacks, Mexicans, and Asians. Impoverished whites found themselves competing with local Hispanics and Asians for seasonal farmwork in the cotton fields or orchards of large corporate farms. Many Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino farm laborers moved to cities. Mexicans, who had come to the United States during the 1920s, were also mostly migrant farmworkers, traveling from farm to farm to work during harvest and planting seasons of different crops. They settled in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and the midwestern states. As economic conditions worsened, government officials called for the deportation of Mexican-born Americans to avoid the cost of providing them with public services. By 1935, more than 500,000 Mexican Americans (250,000 from Texas alone) and their American-born children were deported to Mexico. Everywhere one looked in the early 1930s, people were suffering. City, county, and state governments quickly proved incapable of managing the spreading misery. As Americans turned to the federal government for ideas and answers, Herbert Hoover, the “Great Engineer,” struggled to provide adequate responses to the unprecedented crisis of the Great Depression. CHAPTER REVIEW Summary The Reactionary Twenties With the end of the Great War, a renewed surge of immigration led to a wave of nativism. To Americans who feared that many immigrants were political radicals, the Sacco and Vanzetti case confirmed their suspicions. Nativists persuaded Congress to restrict future immigration, particularly from eastern and southern Europe, in the Immigration Act of 1924. Other reactionary movements reflected the feeling of many white Protestants that their religion and way of life were under attack. A revived Ku Klux Klan promoted hatred of Catholics, Jews, immigrants, Communists, and liberals, as well as African Americans. Fundamentalist Protestants campaigned against teaching evolution in public schools. Their efforts culminated in the 1925 Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, where a high school teacher was convicted of violating a state law prohibiting the teaching of evolution. Along with progressive reformers, conservative Protestants also supported the nationwide Prohibition of alcoholic beverages that had gone into effect in 1920, despite widespread disregard for the law and the increased criminal activity and violence associated with it. Union membership declined in the 1920s as businesses adopted new techniques (such as the so-called open shop) to resist unions, a conservative Supreme Court rolled back workers’ rights, and workers themselves lost interest in organizing amid the general prosperity of the decade. Republican Resurgence Although the Eighteenth Amendment (paving the way for Prohibition) and the Nineteenth Amendment (guaranteeing women’s right to vote) marked the culmination of progressivism at the national level, the movement lost much of its appeal as disillusionment with the Great War and its results created a public preference for disarmament and isolationism, stances reflected in the Five-Power Treaty of 1922. Warren G. Harding’s landslide presidential victory in 1920 was based on his call for a “return to normalcy.” Harding and his fellow Republicans, including his vice president and successor, Calvin Coolidge, followed policies advocated by Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon that emphasized lowering taxes and government spending as well as raising tariffs to protect domestic industries. The plan succeeded spectacularly in reviving the economy. Harding died suddenly in 1923, soon after news broke about the Teapot Dome Affair involving a government-owned oil field in Wyoming, one of many incidents of corruption growing out of Harding’s appointments. Coolidge, an austere, frugal man who identified with the interests of business, restored trust in the presidency and won reelection in a landslide in 1924. In the 1928 presidential election, Herbert Hoover, secretary of commerce under Harding and Coolidge, won a third straight decisive victory for the Republicans. The Great Depression The 1929 stock market crash revealed the structural flaws in the economy, but it was not the only cause of the Great Depression (1929–1941). During the twenties, business owners did not provide adequate wage increases for workers, thus preventing consumers’ “purchasing power” from keeping up 1102 with increases in production. The nation’s agricultural sector also suffered from overproduction throughout the decade. Government policies—such as high tariffs that helped to reduce international trade and the reduction of the nation’s money supply as a means of dealing with the financial panic—exacerbated the emerging economic depression. The Human Toll of the Depression Thousands of banks and businesses closed, and millions of homes and jobs were lost. By the early 1930s, many people were homeless and hopeless, begging on street corners and sleeping in doorways. Many state laws and business practices discouraged the employment of married women, and discrimination against African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans in hiring was widespread. Chronology 1920 1921 1923 1924 1925 1927 1928 1929 Prohibition begins Sacco and Vanzetti trial Warren G. Harding is elected president Washington Naval Conference and Five-Power Treaty Congress passes Emergency Immigration Act Teapot Dome scandal becomes public President Harding dies in office and is succeeded by Calvin Coolidge Congress passes Immigration Act Coolidge is reelected president Scopes “monkey trial” Sacco and Vanzetti are executed Herbert Hoover is elected president Stock market crashes in late October Key Terms nativism p. 1063 “return to normalcy” p. 1075 Immigration Act of 1924 p. 1064 open shop p. 1080 Sacco and Vanzetti case p. 1065 Teapot Dome Affair p. 1084 Scopes Trial p. 1069 Great Depression (1929–1941) p. 1094 Prohibition p. 1071 IJK Go to InQuizitive to see what you’ve learned—and learn what you’ve missed—with personalized feedback along the way. 1103 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Construction of a Dam (1939) One of the most famous and controversial of the artists commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration was William Gropper, who painted this mural displayed in the Department of the Interior building in Washington, D.C. Based on his observations of dam construction on the Columbia and Colorado Rivers, Gropper illustrates the triumph and brotherhood that emerged from the New Deal’s massive public projects during the Great Depression. T he year 1929 dawned with high hopes. Rarely had a new president entered office with greater expectations. In fact, Herbert Hoover, a man of boundless self-confidence, was worried that people viewed him as “a superman; that no problem is beyond my capacity.” He was right to be concerned. People did consider him a superman—“the man who had never failed”—a dedicated public servant whose engineering genius and business savvy would ensure continued prosperity. In 1929, more Americans were working than ever before and earning record levels of income. But that was about to change. The Great Depression, which began at the end of 1929, brought the worst of times. No business slump had been so deep, so long, or so painful. By 1932, one of every four Americans was unemployed; in many large cities, nearly half of the adults were out of work. Millions of others saw their working hours and wages reduced. Some 500,000 people had lost homes or farms because they could not pay their mortgages. Over 4,000 banks failed in the first two months of 1933, with more than $3.6 billion in lost deposits. Record numbers of people were out of work, out of money, and out of hope. One California woman wrote that she was the “mother of seven children, and utterly heart broken, in that they are hungry, have only 65¢ in money. The father is in Los Angeles trying to find something to do.” What made the Great Depression so severe and so lasting was its global nature. In 1929, Europe was still reeling from the Great War. Once the American economy tumbled, it sent shock waves throughout the world. Economic distress fed the rise of totalitarian regimes—fascism and Nazism in Italy and Germany, communism in the Soviet Union. “Capitalism is dying,” theologian Reinhold Niebuhr proclaimed. “Let no one delude himself by hoping for reform from within.” focus questions 1. How did the Hoover administration respond to the Great Depression? 2. What were the goals and accomplishments of the First New Deal? 3. What were the major criticisms of the First New Deal? 4. How did the New Deal evolve? How did it transform the role of the federal government in American life? 1105 1106 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Yet that is exactly what Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to do in 1932 as he assumed the presidency. He would save capitalism by transforming it. Like his hero, his cousin Theodore Roosevelt, he believed that the basic problem of twentieth-century life was the excessive power of large corporations. Only the federal government could regulate corporate capitalism for the public benefit. Few leaders have taken office in more dire circumstances. Yet within days of becoming president, Roosevelt took dramatic steps that forever changed the scope and role of the federal government. He believed that America’s democratic form of government had the ultimate responsibility to help people who were in distress, not out of a sense of charity but out of a sense of obligation. Along with a supportive Congress, he set about enacting dozens of bold measures to relieve human suffering and promote economic recovery. Roosevelt was an inspiring personality, overflowing with cheerful strength, strong convictions, and an unshakeable confidence in himself and in the resilience of the American people. He was also a pragmatist willing to try different approaches. His program for recovery, the New Deal, was therefore a series of trial-and-error actions rather than a comprehensive scheme. None of the wellintentioned but often poorly planned initiatives worked perfectly, and some failed miserably. Yet their combined effect was to restore hope and energy to the nation. From Hooverism to the New Deal The Great Depression revealed Herbert Hoover to be a brilliant mediocrity. His initial response to the economic disaster was denial: there was no crisis, he insisted. All that was needed, he and others in his administration argued, was to let the economy cure itself. The best policy, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon advised, would be to “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.” Letting events run their course, he claimed, would “purge the rottenness out of the [capitalist] system.” But Mellon’s do-nothing approach did not work. Falling wages and declining land and home values made it even harder for struggling farmers, businesses, and households to pay their bills. With so many people losing jobs and income, consumers and businesses simply could not buy enough goods and services to reenergize the economy. Hoover’s Efforts at Recovery As the months passed, President Hoover proved less willing than Andrew Mellon to sit by and let events take their course. As the “Great Engineer,” he in fact did more than any previous president in addressing such calamitous economic From Hooverism to the New Deal 1107 circumstances. He invited business, labor, government, and agricultural leaders to a series of White House conferences in which he urged companies to maintain employment and wage levels, asked union leaders to end strikes, and pleaded with state governors to accelerate planned construction projects so as to keep people working. He also formed committees and commissions to study various aspects of the economic calamity, and he cut the income tax. Yet nothing worked. Unemployment continued to rise, and wage levels continued to fall. upbeat messages In speech after speech, Hoover became an ineffective cheerleader for American capitalism. In early May 1930, the president told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he was “convinced we have passed the worst and with continued effort we shall rapidly recover.” A few weeks later, Hoover assured a group of bankers that the “depression is over.” The Hoover administration also circulated upbeat slogans such as “Business IS Better” and “Keep Smiling.” But uplifting words were not enough. More and more people kept losing their jobs and homes. Hoover never felt comfortable giving comfort to a desperate Hooverville Of the many Hoovervilles set up in Seattle, Washington, alone, this particular shantytown near the shipyards was the largest. It lasted nine years. 1108 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 nation. His recurring statement—“No one has yet starved”—was hardly reassuring, or, as it turned out, accurate. short-sighted tax increases The Great Depression was the greatest national emergency since the Civil War, and the nation was woefully unprepared to deal with it. As personal income plummeted, so did government tax revenues. Despite the Depression, President Hoover insisted on trying to balance the federal budget by raising taxes and cutting budgets—precisely the wrong prescription for a sick economy. He pushed through Congress the Revenue Act of 1932, the largest—and most poorly timed—peacetime tax increase in American history. By taking money out of consumers’ pockets, the higher taxes accelerated the economic slowdown. People had less money to spend when what the struggling economy most needed was increased consumer spending. hoover’s reaction to the social crisis By the fall of 1930, many cities were buckling under the strain of lost revenue and human distress. The federal government had no programs to deal with homelessness and joblessness. State and local governments cut spending, worsening the economic situation. All across the country, shantytowns sprouted in vacant lots. People erected shacks out of cardboard and scrap wood and metal. They called their makeshift villages Hoovervilles to mock the president. To keep warm, they wrapped themselves in newspapers, calling them Hoover blankets. As their numbers rose, more and more homeless and jobless people called for government to step in. Frustrated by his critics, Hoover dismissed the concerns of “calamity mongers and weeping men.” Hoover feared that the nation would be “plunged into socialism” if the government provided direct supYoung and hungry A toddler begs for port to the poor. His governing phichange in one of the homeless camps. losophy, rooted in America’s mythic From Hooverism to the New Deal 1109 commitment to rugged individualism and free enterprise, set firm limits on emergency government action. The president still trumpeted the virtues of “self-reliance” and individual initiative, claiming that government assistance would rob people of the desire to help themselves. Hoover hoped that the “natural generosity” of the American people and charitable organizations would be sufficient, and he believed that volunteers (the backbone of local charity organizations) would relieve the social distress caused by the Depression. But his faith in traditional “voluntarism” was misplaced. Local and state relief agencies were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the social crisis, as were churches and charitable organizations like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross. Rising Criticism of Hoover That the economic collapse was so unexpected made people all the more insecure and anxious, and President Hoover increasingly became the target of their frustration. The Democrats shrewdly exploited his predicament. In November 1930, they gained their first national election victory since 1916, winning a majority in the House and a near majority in the Senate. Hoover refused to see the elections as a warning. Instead, he grew more resistant to calls for federal intervention in the struggling economy. By 1932, 15 million people were unemployed. The New York Times concluded that Hoover had “failed as a party leader. He has failed as an economist. . . . He has failed as a business leader. . . . He has failed as a personality because of [his] awkwardness of manner and speech and lack of mass magnetism.” When Hoover asked Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon for a nickel to phone a friend, the secretary replied: “Here are two nickels—call all of them.” congressional initiatives With a new Congress in session in 1932, demands for federal action forced Hoover to do more. That year, Congress set up the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to make emergency loans to banks, life-insurance companies, and railroads. But if the federal government could help huge banks and railroads, asked New York Democratic senator Robert F. Wagner, why not “extend a helping hand to that forlorn American, in every village and every city of the United States, who has been without wages since 1929?” Hoover, however, held back and signed only the Emergency Relief Act (1932), which authorized the RFC to make loans to the states for construction projects. Critics called the RFC a “breadline” for businesses while the unemployed went hungry. 1110 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Anger and frustration Unemployed military veterans, members of the Bonus Expeditionary Force that served during the Great War, clash with Washington, D.C., police at Anacostia Flats in July 1932. farmers and veterans in protest Meanwhile, the average annual income of families working the land during the early 1930s was $240. Prices for agricultural products fell so low that farmers lost money if they took them to market. Thousands of midwestern farmers protested the low prices by dumping milk, vegetables, and fruits on the highways. Fears of organized revolt arose when thousands of unemployed military veterans converged on the nation’s capital in the spring of 1932. The “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” made up of veterans of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) that fought in Europe in the Great War, pressed Congress to pay the cash bonuses owed to nearly 4 million veterans. The House passed a bonus bill, but the Senate voted it down because it would have forced a tax increase. Most of the disappointed veterans went home. The rest, along with their wives and children, having no place to go, camped in vacant federal buildings and in a shantytown within sight of the Capitol. Eager to remove the homeless veterans, Hoover persuaded Congress to pay for their train tickets home. More left, but others stayed even after Congress adjourned, hoping to meet with the president. Late in July, Hoover ordered the government buildings cleared. In doing so, a policeman panicked, fired into the crowd, and killed two veterans. The secretary of war then dispatched 700 From Hooverism to the New Deal 1111 soldiers to remove the “Bonus Army.” The soldiers, commanded by army chief of staff General Douglas MacArthur, used horses and tanks to disperse the unarmed veterans and their families. Then, exceeding orders, the soldiers burned the makeshift camp. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested. Widespread news coverage of the assault on the unemployed veterans led even more people to view Hoover and the Republicans as heartless. The Democratic governor of New York was horrified as he read newspaper accounts of the army’s violent assault on the Bonus Army. “Well,” Franklin Roosevelt told an aide, “this elects me” as the next president. (The veterans were finally paid their “bonus” in 1936.) The disheartened, angry mood of the Bonus Army matched that of the country and of President Hoover himself. He worked hard, but the stress sapped his health and morale. “I am so tired,” he said, “that every bone in my body aches.” When aides urged him to be more of a public leader, he replied, “I have no Wilsonian qualities.” He hated giving speeches, and when he did his tone came across as cold and uncaring. He also got along badly with journalists, who often highlighted his sour demeanor and dull, monotone voice. A sculptor claimed that “if you put a rose in Hoover’s hand, it would wilt.” The man who, in 1928, had promised Americans “permanent prosperity” was now a laughingstock. In the end, Hoover failed because he never understood or acknowledged the seriousness of the nation’s economic problems. the 1932 election In June 1932, glum Republicans gathered in Chicago to nominate President Hoover for a second term. By contrast, the Democrats arrived in Chicago for their convention a few weeks later confident that they would nominate the next president. Fifty-year-old New York governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt won on the fourth ballot. Roosevelt broke precedent by traveling to Chicago to accept the nomination in person. The stakes were high, he said, because Hoover and the Republicans had failed to address the economic disaster. “I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people” that would “break foolish traditions” and create a new, enlightened administration “of competence and courage.” Roosevelt first had to defeat Hoover, however. The race, he said, would be “more than a political campaign; it is a call to arms.” It was a vague but uplifting message of hope at a time when many people were slipping into despair. Roosevelt exuded energy and confidence. His campaign song was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Throughout the campaign, Roosevelt attacked Hoover for his “extravagant government spending” and repeatedly promised a “New Deal” for the American people, stressing that a revitalized economy required new ideas and aggressive 1112 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 action. “The country needs, and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation,” he said. “Above all, try something.” In contrast to Roosevelt, Hoover lacked vitality and vision. Roosevelt’s proposals for unprecedented government action, he warned, “would destroy the very foundations of our American system.” The election was more than a contest between two men and two political parties; it was a battle “between two philosophies of government” that would decide “the direction our nation will take over a century to come.” Hoover lost decisively. Americans swept Roosevelt into office with 23 million votes to Hoover’s 16 million. In 1928, Hoover had carried 40 states; four years later, he won but six. THE ELECTION OF 1932 WA 8 OR 5 CA 22 MT 4 ID 4 NV 3 ND 4 WY 3 UT 4 AZ 3 CO 6 ■ ■ WI 12 IA 11 NE 7 KS 9 OK 11 TX 23 ■ MN 11 SD 4 NM 3 NH 4 VT 3 MO 15 AR 9 LA 10 IL 29 NY 47 MI 19 IN 14 OH 26 WV PA 36 VA 11 NC TN 11 13 SC GA 8 MS AL 11 12 9 KY 11 8 ME 5 MA 17 RI 5 CT 8 NJ 16 DE 3 MD 8 FL 7 Electoral Vote Popular Vote Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic) 472 22,800,000 Herbert Hoover (Republican) 59 15,800,000 Why did Franklin Roosevelt win over so many voters struggling during the Depression? WWN64 What were Herbert Hoover’s criticisms of Roosevelt’s New Deal? Figure M25_01 During the 1932 presidential campaign, what did Roosevelt pledge to fight the First proof Depression? Roosevelt’s New Deal 1113 Roosevelt’s New Deal Franklin Roosevelt promised voters a “New Deal,” and within hours of being inaugurated, he and his aides set about creating a “new order of competence and courage.” For better or worse, the federal government assumed responsibility for national economic planning and for restoring prosperity and ensuring social security—for all. What Roosevelt called the “forgotten man” would no longer be forgotten. roosevelt’s rise Born in 1882, the adored only child of wealthy, aristocratic parents, young Franklin Roosevelt had enjoyed a pampered life that freed him from worrying about a job or a paycheck. He was educated by tutors at Springwood, his father’s Hudson River estate near Hyde Park, north of New York City. He attended Harvard College and Columbia University Law School. (He did not graduate.) While a law student in 1905, he married Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the favorite niece of Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States, who was also Franklin’s distant cousin. In 1910, Franklin Roosevelt won a Democratic seat in the New York State Senate. Tall, handsome, athletic, and blessed with a sparkling personality and infectious smile, he seemed destined for greatness. In 1913, Woodrow Wilson appointed him assistant secretary of the navy. In 1920, Roosevelt became James Cox’s vice presidential running mate on the Democratic ticket. “trial by fire” Then a tragedy occurred. In 1921, at age thirtynine, Roosevelt, who loved to swim and sail, play tennis and golf, contracted polio, an infectious neuromuscular disease that left him permanently disabled and forced him to use cumbersome leg braces to stand or walk. But Roosevelt fought back. For seven years, aided by his remarkable wife, Eleanor, he strengthened his body to compensate for his disability. The exhausting daily regimen of physical therapy transformed Roosevelt. Polio crippled his legs but expanded his sympathies. He became less pompous, more considerate, more focused, and more able to identify with the problems of people facing hard times. Roosevelt had a remarkable ability to make people feel at ease and express concern about their troubles. The aristocrat had developed the common touch as well as a great talent for public relations, but he also was vain and calculating and a clever manipulator. In other words, he was a consummate politician. a people’s president Roosevelt was neither a masterful administrator nor a deep thinker. One of his closest aides said the president never 1114 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 “read a serious book.” But Roosevelt had many virtues: courage, good instincts, unrelenting optimism, and a charming personality. He loved talking to people, and he was determined to help those who could not help themselves. Colonel Edward House, the veteran Democratic counselor, explained that his former boss, Woodrow Wilson, “liked humanity as a whole and disliked people individually.” Roosevelt, by contrast, was “genuinely fond of people and shows it.” What truly set Roosevelt apart was his willingness to experiment with different ways of using government power and resources to address pressing problems. He embraced the orthodoxy of a balanced budget and complained about a “bloated bureaucracy,” for example, only to incur more budget deficits than all his predecessors combined as he dramatically expanded the scope of federal government. His inconsistencies reflected his distinctive personality as he launched his presidency and the New Deal. the 1933 inauguration Inaugurated in March 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed leadership during a crisis that threatened the very fabric of American capitalism. “The situation is critical, Franklin,” the prominent journalist Walter Lippmann warned. “You may have to assume dictatorial powers”—as had already happened in Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union. Roosevelt did not become a dictator, but he did take extraordinary steps while assuring Americans “that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He confessed in his inaugural address that he did not have all the answers, but he did know that “this nation asks for action, and action now.” He asked Congress for “a broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency” just as “if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” Roosevelt’s uplifting speech won rave reviews. Nearly 500,000 Americans wrote letters to the new president, and even the pro-Republican Chicago Tribune praised his “courageous confidence.” the first hundred days In March 1933, President Roosevelt confronted four major challenges: reviving the industrial economy, relieving the widespread human misery, rescuing the ravaged farm sector, and reforming those aspects of the capitalist system that had helped cause the Depression. He quickly addressed all of those challenges—and more. The new president admitted that he would try several different “experiments.” Some would succeed, and others would fail, but the important thing was to do something bold—and fast. It was no time for timid leadership or paralyzing doubts. The defining characteristic of Roosevelt’s approach to presidential leadership was action. He had a genius for leading others—even when he did not know for sure where he was taking them. To advise him, Roosevelt assembled a “brain trust” of brilliant specialists who feverishly developed fresh Roosevelt’s New Deal 1115 ideas to address the nation’s urgent problems. Roosevelt and his advisers initially settled on a three-pronged strategy to revive the economy. First, they addressed the immediate banking crisis and provided short-term emergency relief for the jobless. Second, the New Dealers—men and women (professors, journalists, economists, social workers, and political appointees) who swarmed to Washington during the winter of 1933—encouraged agreements between management and unions. Third, they attempted to raise depressed commodity prices (corn, cotton, wheat, beef, pork, etc.) by paying farmers “subsidies” to reduce the sizes of their crops Franklin Delano Roosevelt Preparing and herds so that prices would rise and to deliver the first of his popular thereby increase farm income. “fireside chats” to a national radio The new Congress was as ready audience. This message focused on to take action as was the new presi- measures to reform the American banking system. dent. From March 9 to June 16, the so-called First Hundred Days, Congress approved fifteen major pieces of legislation proposed by Roosevelt. Several of these programs comprised what came to be called the First New Deal (1933–1935). Shoring Up the Financial System Money is the lubricant of capitalism, and money was fast disappearing from circulation by 1933. Ever since the stock market crash of 1929, panicky depositors had been withdrawing their money from banks and the stock market. Taking so much money out of circulation worsened the Depression and brought the banking system to the brink of collapse. Throughout the twenties, an average of almost 700 banks a year failed. After 1929, that number doubled and then tripled. banking regulation On his second day in office, March 9, 1933, Roosevelt called Congress into special session to pass the Emergency Banking Relief Act, which declared a four-day bank holiday to allow the financial panic 1116 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 to subside. (Herbert Hoover criticized the move as a step toward “gigantic socialism.”) For the first time in history, all U.S. banks closed their doors. Roosevelt’s financial experts worked all night drafting a bill to restore confidence in the banks. On March 12, in the first of his radio-broadcast “fireside chats” to the nation, the president assured the 60 million listeners that it was safer to “keep your money in a reopened bank than under the mattress.” The following day, people took their money back to the banks. “Capitalism was saved in eight days,” said one of Roosevelt’s advisers. A few weeks later, on June 16, Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933, part of which created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which guaranteed customer accounts in banks up to $2,500, The galloping snail A vigorous Roosevelt drives Congress to action in this Detroit News cartoon from March 1933. Roosevelt’s New Deal 1117 thus reducing the likelihood of future panics. In addition to insuring savings accounts, the Glass-Steagall Act called for the separation of commercial banking from investment banking to prevent conventional banks from investing the savings of depositors in the risky stock market; only banks that specialized in investment could trade shares in the stock market after 1933. In addition, the Federal Reserve Board was given more authority to intervene in future financial emergencies. The banking crisis had ended, and the administration was ready to pursue a broader program of economic recovery. regulating wall street Before the Great Crash in 1929, there was little government oversight of the securities (stocks and bonds) industry. In 1933, the Roosevelt administration developed two important pieces of legislation intended to regulate the operations of the stock market and eliminate fraud and abuses. The first, the Securities Exchange Act of 1933, was the first major federal legislation to regulate the sale of stocks and bonds. It required corporations that issued stock for public sale to “disclose” all relevant information about the operations and management of the company so that purchasers could know what they were buying. The second bill, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, established the Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal agency to enforce the new laws and regulations governing the issuance and trading of stocks and bonds. the federal budget Roosevelt next convinced Congress to pass an Economy Act (1933) allowing him to cut government workers’ salaries, reduce payments to military veterans for non-service-connected disabilities, and reorganize federal agencies to help reduce government expenses. He then took the dramatic step of ending Prohibition, in part because it was being so widely violated, in part because most Democrats wanted it ended, and in part because he wanted to regain the federal tax revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages. The Twenty-First Amendment, ratified on December 5, 1933, ended the “noble experiment” of Prohibition. Helping the Unemployed and Homeless Another urgent priority in 1933 was relieving the widespread human distress. Herbert Hoover had stubbornly refused to help the unemployed and homeless, since he assumed that individual self-reliance, acts of charity, and the efforts of local organizations (the Red Cross, churches, and “city missions”) would be sufficient. The Roosevelt administration, however, knew that the numbers of people in need far exceeded the capacity of charitable organizations and local agencies. As Harry L. Hopkins, an aide to Roosevelt, said, “Hunger is not debatable.” 1118 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 The new president pushed through a series of programs that created what came to be called the “welfare state.” He did not believe that the government should give people cash (called a “dole”), but he insisted that the federal government help the unemployed and homeless by getting them jobs. For the first time, the federal government took primary responsibility for assisting the most desperate Americans. putting people to work The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), headed by Harry L. Hopkins, was Roosevelt’s first major effort to deal with unemployment. It sent grants to the states to spend on the unemployed and homeless. After the state-sponsored programs funded by the FERA proved inadequate, Congress created the Civil Works Administration (CWA) in November 1933. It marked the first large-scale federal experiment with work relief by putting people directly on the government payroll at competitive wages: 40¢ an hour for unskilled workers, $1 for skilled. The CWA provided 4 million federal jobs during the winter of 1933–1934 and organized a variety of useful projects: repairing 500,000 miles of roads, laying sewer lines, constructing or improving more than 1,000 airports and 40,000 public schools, and providing 50,000 teaching jobs that helped keep small rural public schools open. As the number of people employed by the CWA soared, however, the program’s costs skyrocketed to more than $1 billion. Roosevelt balked at such high costs and worried that the people hired would become dependent upon federal jobs. So in the spring of 1934, he ordered the CWA dissolved. By April, some 4 million workers were again unemployed. the ccc The most successful of the New Deal jobs programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), managed by the War Department. It built 2,500 camps to house up to half a million unemployed, unmarried young men ages seventeen to twenty-seven. They worked as “soil soldiers” in national forests, parks, and recreational areas, and on soil-conservation projects. The CCC also recruited 150,000 unemployed military veterans and 85,000 Native Americans, housing them in separate camps. CCC workers had to be between 60 and 78 inches tall, weigh more than 107 pounds, and have at least six teeth. They were to be paid $1 a day for no more than nine months so as to make room for others. Critics charged that the CCC would undermine wage gains made by the labor union movement, but Roosevelt responded that the young men selected for the program would be those who “have no chance to get a job.” Congress passed the bill only after Oscar De Priest, an African American legislator from Illinois, introduced an amendment requiring that the agency not discriminate on account of race, color, or creed. Roosevelt’s New Deal 1119 Federal relief programs Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in 1933, on a break from work. Directed by army officers and foresters, the CCC camps were operated like military bases. CCC workers cleared brush; built trails, roads, bridges, campgrounds, fire towers, fish hatcheries, and 800 parks; planted 3 billion trees; taught farmers how to control soil erosion; and fought fires. The enrollees, supervised by soldiers, were given shelter, clothing, and food, and took classes to learn to read and earn high-school diplomas. Women were excluded from the CCC, and African Americans and Native Americans were housed in segregated facilities. Roosevelt loved to visit the CCC camps. After sharing a meal with one group, he said: “I wish I could spend a couple of months here myself.” By 1942, when the CCC was dismantled, some 3 million young men had passed through the program. saving homes During 1933, a thousand homes or farms were being foreclosed upon each day because people could not afford to pay their mortgages. To address the problem, Roosevelt convinced Congress to create the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, which helped people refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates so as to avoid bankruptcy. In 1934, Roosevelt 1120 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which offered Americans much longer home mortgages (twenty years) in order to reduce their monthly payments. Up to that point, most mortgages were for less than ten years duration and covered only a portion of the purchase price. reviving the industrial sector The centerpiece of the New Deal’s efforts to revive the industrial economy was the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933. One of its two major sections created massive public-works construction projects funded by the federal government as a means of creating jobs. The NIRA started the Public Works Administration (PWA), granting $3.3 billion for the construction of government buildings, highways, bridges, dams, port facilities, and sewage plants. The second, and more controversial, part of the NIRA created the National Recovery Administration (NRA), headed by Hugh S. Johnson, a hard-drinking retired army general known for his administrative expertise, a “blustering, dictatorial, and appealing” bureaucrat. The NRA represented a radical shift in the federal government’s role in the economy. Never before in peacetime had Washington bureaucrats taken charge of setting prices, wages, and standards for working conditions. The primary purpose of the NRA was to promote economic growth by ignoring anti-trust laws and allowing executives of competing businesses to negotiate among themselves and with labor unions to create “codes of fair competition” that would set prices, production levels, minimum wages, and maximum hours within each industry, no matter how small. In New York City, for example, women who made their living as burlesque show strippers agreed to an NRA code limiting the number of performers on stage and the number of performances they could provide each night. In exchange for allowing companies to “cooperate” rather than compete, the NRA codes included “fair labor” policies long sought by unions and social progressives: a national forty-hour work week, minimum weekly wages of $13 ($12 in the South, where living costs were lower), and a ban on the employment of children under the age of sixteen. The NRA also included a provision that guaranteed the right of workers to organize unions. These were landmark changes, and, for a time, the downward spiral of wages and prices subsided. But as soon as economic recovery began, small business owners complained that the larger corporations dominated the NRA, whose price-fixing robbed small producers of the chance to compete. And because the NRA wage codes excluded agricultural and domestic workers (at the insistence of southern Democrats), most African Americans derived no direct benefit from the program. When the Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional in May 1935, few regretted its demise. Roosevelt’s New Deal 1121 The NRA experiment did, however, have lasting effects. It set new workplace standards, such as the forty-hour work week, created a national minimum wage, and helped end the abuse of child labor. Its endorsement of collective bargaining between workers and owners spurred the growth of unions. Yet, as 1934 ended, industrial recovery was still nowhere in sight. agricultural assistance In addition to rescuing the banks and providing jobs to the unemployed, Roosevelt created the Farm Credit Administration to help farmers deal with their crushing debts and lower their mortgage payments to avoid bankruptcy. The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 created a new federal agency, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), which sought to raise prices for crops and herds by paying farmers to cut back production. The money for such payments came from a tax levied on the “processors” of certain basic commodities—cotton gins, flour mills, and slaughterhouses. By the time the AAA was created, however, the spring growing season was already under way. The prospect of another bumper cotton crop forced the AAA to organize a “plow-under” program in which farmers were paid to kill the sprouting seeds in their fields. To destroy a growing crop was a “shocking commentary on our civilization,” Agriculture Secretary Henry A. Wallace admitted. “I could tolerate it only as a cleaning up of the wreckage from the old days of unbalanced production.” Moreover, in an effort to raise pork prices, some 6 million baby pigs were slaughtered and buried. By the end of 1934, the AAA efforts had worked: wheat, cotton, and corn production had declined and prices for those commodities had risen. Farm income increased by 58 percent between 1932 and 1935. At the end of the First Hundred Days of Roosevelt’s presidency, the principle of an activist federal government had been established. While journalists characterized the AAA, NRA, CCC, CWA, and other new programs as “alphabet soup,” and conservative critics warned that Roosevelt was leading America toward fascism or communism, the president had become the most popular man in the nation. dust bowl migrants At the same time that the agricultural economy was struggling, a terrible drought created an ecological catastrophe known as the Dust Bowl. Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma were hardest hit. Crops withered, and income plummeted. Strong winds swept across the treeless plains, scooping up tons of parched topsoil into billowing dark clouds, called black blizzards, which engulfed farms and towns. By 1938, topsoil had disappeared from more than 25 million acres of prairie land. 1122 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Okies on the run A sharecropping family reaches its destination of Bakersfield, California, in 1935, after “we got blowed out in Oklahoma.” Parched farmers could not pay their debts, and banks foreclosed on family farms. Suicides soared, and millions of people abandoned their farms. Many uprooted farmers and their families from the South and the Midwest headed toward California, where jobs were said to be plentiful. Frequently lumped together as “Okies” or “Arkies,” most of the Dust Bowl refugees were from cotton belt communities in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. During the 1930s and 1940s, some 800,000 people, mostly whites, headed to the Far West. Without money to pay rent or a mortgage, homeless migrants set up squatter camps, often called “Little Oklahomas” alongside highways or close to towns where they could get food and supplies. When one crop was harvested, the migrants moved on to the next, carrying their belongings with them. Most people uprooted by the Dust Bowl went to California’s urban areas— Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco. Others moved into the San Joaquin Valley, the state’s agricultural heartland. There they discovered that California was no paradise. Only a few could afford to buy land. Most had to work as farm laborers. Living in tents or crude cabins, migrant workers suffered from exposure to the elements, poor sanitation, and social abuse. As an Okie reported, when Roosevelt’s New Deal 1123 the big farmers “need us they call us migrants, and when we’ve picked their crop, we’re bums and we got to get out.” the tennessee valley authority Early in his pres- idency, Franklin Roosevelt declared that the “South is the nation’s No. 1 economic problem.” Indeed, since the end of the Civil War, the economy and quality of life in the southern states had lagged far behind the rest of the nation. That gap only widened during the Depression. To help the blighted South, Roosevelt created one of the most innovative programs of the First New Deal: the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Norris Dam The massive dam in which would bring electrical power, Tennessee, completed in 1936, was flood control efforts, and jobs to Appa- essential in creating jobs and expanding lachia, the desperately poor mountain- electricity under the TVA. ous region that stretched from West Virginia through western Virginia and North Carolina, Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia and Alabama. By 1940, the TVA, a multipurpose public corporation, had constructed twenty-one hydroelectric dams which created the “Great Lakes of the South” and produced enough electricity to power the entire region, at about half the average national rate. The TVA also dredged rivers to allow for boat and barge traffic, promoted soil conservation and forestry management, drew new industries to the region, encouraged the formation of labor unions, and improved schools and libraries. It gave 1.5 million farms access to electricity and indoor plumbing for the first time. Progress is rarely without its burdens or inconsistencies. Many New Deal programs helped some people and hurt others. Tough choices had to be made. Building all of those huge dams in Appalachia and the resulting lakes meant displacing thousands of hardscrabble people from homes and villages that were destroyed to make way for progress. “I don’t want to move,” said an elderly east Tennessee woman. “I want to sit here and look out over these hills where I was born. My folks are buried down the road a piece, and our babies are over there on the hill under the cedars.” 1124 The Great Depression 1929–1939 CHAPTER 25 Holston River KEN T U C KY Powell River Paducah er T ennessee Riv iR ipp u C iver MISSOURI R hio ive r O THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY m b erla nd R i v er Nashville Oak Ridge Knoxville iss TE N N ES SEE ss Clinch River Mi Asheville NORTH CAROLINA Corinth es se Huntsville e Ri ver Memphis Te Tupelo nn Muscle Shoals French Broad River Chattanooga Little Tennessee River SOUTH CAROLINA GEORGIA ALABAMA M I SS I SS I P P I Atlanta Birmingham 0 0 ■ 50 50 100 Miles 100 Kilometers Principal TVA dams Area served by TVA electric power Area of map What was the Tennessee Valley Authority? WWN64 ■ Why did Congress create it? Figure M25_2 ■ How did it transform the Tennessee Valley? First proof During Roosevelt’s first year in office, his programs and his personal charm generated widespread support. The First New Deal programs—as well as Roosevelt’s leadership—had given Americans a sense of renewed faith in the future. In the congressional elections of 1934, the Democrats increased their dominance in Congress with an almost unprecedented midterm victory for a party in power. eleanor roosevelt One of the reasons for Franklin Roosevelt’s popularity was his energetic wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, who would prove to be one of the most influential leaders of the time. She ceaselessly prodded her husband about social justice issues and sometimes scolded him, yet she always supported his ambitions and decisions. Roosevelt’s New Deal 1125 Born in 1884 in New York City, Eleanor married her distant cousin Franklin in 1905. All too quickly, she learned that Franklin’s domineering mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, would always be the most important woman in his life. “He might have been happier with a wife who was completely uncritical,” like his mother, Eleanor wrote later. “That I was never able to be, and he had to find it in other people.” During the 1920s, Eleanor, shy and insecure, revealed that at heart she was a creature of conscience. She began a lifelong crusade on behalf of women, blacks, and youth, giving voice to the voiceless. Her tireless compassion resulted in large part from the self-doubt and loneliness she had experienced as the child of an alcoholic father and an aloof mother. Equally influential in shaping Eleanor’s outlook was the sense of betrayal she felt upon discovering in 1918 that her husband had fallen recklessly in love with Lucy Mercer, her friend and secretary. “The bottom dropped out of my own particular world,” she recalled. Eleanor and Franklin decided to maintain their marriage, but as their son James said, it became an “armed truce.” Eleanor later observed that she could “forgive, but never forget,” but she never truly forgave or forgot. Tarttongued Alice Roosevelt Longworth—the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, and a cousin of Eleanor’s—actually nurtured the affair, hosting Mercer and Franklin for dinner several times. She later explained that Roosevelt “deserved a good time . . . he was married to Eleanor.” Franklin and Eleanor were both strong-willed people who were concerned for each other’s happiness while acknowledging their inability to provide it. In the White House, they lived entirely apart, rarely seeing each other except for formal occasions and public events. Eleanor Roosevelt redefined the role of the First Lady. She was not content just to host social events in the White House. Instead, she became an outspoken and relentless activist: the first woman to address a national political Eleanor Roosevelt Intelligent, convention, to write a nationally syndi- principled, and a political figure in cated newspaper column, and to hold her own right, she is pictured here addressing the Red Cross Convention regular press conferences. The tireless in 1934. “Eleanor Everywhere” crisscrossed the 1126 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 nation, speaking in support of the New Deal, meeting with African American leaders, supporting women’s causes and labor unions, and urging Americans to live up to their humanitarian ideals. In 1933, she convened a White House conference on the emergency needs of women which urged the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) to ensure that it “pay particular attention to see that women are employed wherever possible.” Within six months, some 300,000 women were at work on various federal government projects. A popular joke in Washington claimed that President Roosevelt’s nightly prayer was: “Dear God, please make Eleanor a little tired.” But he was in fact deeply dependent on his industrious wife. She was the impatient agitator dedicated to what should be done; he was the calculating politician concerned with what could be done. The New Deal under Fire By 1934, Franklin Roosevelt had become the best loved and most hated president of the twentieth century. He was loved because he believed in and fought for the common people, for the “forgotten man” (and woman). And he was loved for what one French leader called his “glittering personality.” Roosevelt radiated energy and hope, joy in his work, courage in a crisis, optimism for the future, and a monumental self-assurance bordering on arrogance. His famously arched eyebrows, upturned chin, and twinkling eyes, along with his cigarette holder, itself tilted upward, symbolized his jaunty determination to triumph over the nation’s massive problems. “Meeting him,” said British prime minister Winston Churchill, “was like uncorking a bottle of champagne.” Roosevelt, he added, was “the greatest man I have ever known.” Roosevelt was perhaps the most visible and accessible president who had occupied the White House. Twice a week he held press conferences, explaining new legislation, addressing questions and criticisms, and, in the process, winning over most journalists. Roosevelt also mastered the art of using carefully timed radio addresses (“fireside chats”) to speak to the nation. But he was hated, too, especially by business leaders and political conservatives who believed that the New Deal and the higher taxes it required were moving America toward socialism. Some called Roosevelt a “traitor to his class.” Even his cousin Alice, Theodore’s daughter, accused him of being a dictator. Others, on the left, hated him for not doing enough to end the Depression. By the mid-1930s, the early New Deal programs had slowed the economy’s downward slide, but prosperity remained elusive. “We have been patient and long suffering,” said a farm leader. “We were promised a New Deal. . . . Instead, we have the same old stacked deck.” The New Deal under Fire 1127 In many respects, the conflicting opinions of Roosevelt reflected his own divided personality and erratic management style. He was at the same time a man of idealistic principles and a practical politician prone to snap judgments, capable of both compromise and contradictory actions. He once admitted to an aide that to implement the New Deal he had to “deceive, misrepresent, leave false impressions . . . and trust to charm, loyalty, and the result to make up for it. . . . A great man cannot be a good man.” Continuing Hardships Although the programs making up the First New Deal helped ease the devastation caused by the Depression, they did not restore prosperity or end the widespread suffering. As late as 1939, some 9.5 million workers (17 percent of the labor force) remained unemployed. Critics stressed that the economy, while stabilized, remained mired in the Depression. “There’s no way like the American way” Margaret Bourke-White’s famous 1937 photograph of desperate people waiting in a Louisville, Kentucky, disaster-relief line captures the continuing racial divide of the era and the elusiveness of the “American Dream” for many minorities. 1128 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 african americans and the new deal However progressive Franklin Delano Roosevelt was on social issues, he showed little interest in the plight of African Americans, even as black voters were shifting from the Republicans (the “party of Lincoln”) to the Democrats. Roosevelt, like Woodrow Wilson before him, failed to address long-standing patterns of racism and segregation in the South for fear of angering conservative southern Democrats in Congress. As a result, many New Deal programs discriminated against blacks. As Mary White Ovington, the treasurer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), stressed, the racism in any agency “varies according to the white people chosen to administer it, but always there is discrimination.” For example, the payments from the AAA to farm owners to take land out of production in an effort to raise the prices for farm products forced hundreds of thousands of tenant farmers and sharecroppers, both blacks and whites, off the land. The FHA refused to guarantee mortgages on houses purchased by blacks in white neighborhoods, and both the CCC and the TVA practiced racial segregation. The NAACP waged an energetic legal campaign against racial prejudice throughout the 1930s, but a major setback occurred in the Supreme Court ruling on Grovey v. Townsend (1935), which upheld the Texas Democrats’ whites-only election primary. Thanks to relentless pressure from Eleanor Roosevelt, the president did appoint more African Americans to government positions than ever before. One of the most visible was Mary McLeod Bethune, the child of former slaves from South Carolina, who had founded Bethune-Cookman College in Florida and served as head of the NAACP in the 1920s. In 1935, Roosevelt approved her appointment as the director of the Division of Negro Affairs within the National Youth Administration, an agency that provided jobs to unemployed young Americans. Bethune worked with other blacks in New Deal agencies to form an informal “Black Cabinet” to ensure that African Americans had equal access to federal programs. court cases and civil liberties The continuing prejudice against blacks in the South was vividly revealed in a controversial case in Alabama. In 1931, an all-white jury, on flimsy, conflicting testimony, convicted nine black youths, ranging in age from thirteen to twenty-one, of raping two young white women while riding a freight train. Eight of the “Scottsboro Boys” were sentenced to death before cheering whites who packed the courtroom, while 10,000 spectators outside celebrated with a brass band. In his awardwinning novel Native Son (1940), African American writer Richard Wright The New Deal under Fire 1129 Scottsboro case Haywood Patterson (center), one of the defendants in the case, with his attorney, Samuel Liebowitz (left) in Decatur, Alabama, in 1933. recalled the “mob who surrounded the Scottsboro jail with rope and kerosene” after the initial conviction. The injustice of the Scottsboro case sparked protests throughout the nation and the world. The two white girls, it turned out, had been selling sex to white and black boys on the train. One of the girls eventually recanted the rape charges and began appearing at rallies on behalf of the defendants. No case in legal history had produced as many trials, appeals, reversals, and retrials as the Scottsboro case. Further, it prompted two important legal interpretations. In Powell v. Alabama (1932), the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the original convictions because the judge had not ensured that the accused were provided adequate defense attorneys. The Court ordered new trials. In another case, Norris v. Alabama (1935), the Court ruled that the systematic exclusion of African Americans from Alabama juries had denied the Scottsboro defendants equal protection under the law—a principle that had widespread impact on state courts by opening up juries to blacks. Although the state of Alabama eventually dropped the charges against the four youngest of the Scottsboro defendants and granted paroles to the others, their lives were ruined. The last defendant was released from prison in 1950. native americans and the depression The Great Depression also ravaged Native Americans. They were initially encouraged by Roosevelt’s appointment of John Collier as commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Collier steadily increased the number of Native Americans 1130 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 employed by the BIA and ensured that Native Americans gained access to the various relief programs. Collier’s primary objective, however, was passage of the Indian Reorganization Act. Designed to reinvigorate Native American cultural traditions by restoring land to tribes, the proposed law would have granted them the right to start businesses, establish self-governing constitutions, and receive federal funds for vocational training and economic development. The act that Congress passed, however, was a much-diluted version of Collier’s original proposal, and the “Indian New Deal” brought only partial improvement to the lives of Native Americans. But it did spur the various tribes to revise their constitutions so as to give women the right to vote and hold office. Cultural Life during the Depression In view of the celebrated—if exaggerated—alienation felt by the “lost generation” of writers, artists, and intellectuals during the 1920s, one might have expected the onset of the Great Depression to have deepened their despair. Instead, it brought a renewed sense of militancy and affirmation, as if society could no longer afford the art-for-art’s-sake outlook of the 1920s. Said one writer early in 1932: “I enjoy the period thoroughly. The breakdown of our cult of business success and optimism, the miraculous disappearance of our famous American complacency, all this is having a tonic effect.” In the early 1930s, the “tonic effect” of commitment sometimes sparked revolutionary political activities. By the summer of 1932, even the “golden boy” of the “lost generation,” the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, had declared that “to bring on the revolution, it may be necessary to work within the Communist party.” But few Americans remained Communists for long. Being a notoriously independent lot, most writers rebelled at demands to hew to a shifting party line. And many abandoned communism upon learning that the Soviet leader Josef Stalin practiced a tyranny more horrible than anything under the Russian czars. literature and the depression Among the writers who addressed themes of social significance during the 1930s, two deserve special notice: John Steinbeck and Richard Wright. The novel that best captured the ordeal of the Depression, Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939), treats workers as people rather than variables in a political formula. Steinbeck had traveled with displaced “Okies” driven from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to pursue the illusion of good jobs in the fields of California’s Central Valley. This firsthand experience allowed him to create a vivid tale of the Joad family’s painful journey west. Among the most talented novelists to emerge in the 1930s was Richard Wright. The grandson of former slaves and the son of a Mississippi sharecropper The New Deal under Fire 1131 who deserted his family, Wright ended his formal schooling with the ninth grade (as valedictorian of his class). He then worked in Memphis and devoured books he borrowed on a white friend’s library card, all the while saving to go north to escape the racism of the South. In Chicago, the Federal Writers’ Project gave him a chance to develop his talent. His period as a Communist, from 1934 to 1944, gave him an intellectual framework that did not overpower his fierce independence. Native Son (1940), Wright’s masterpiece, is the story of Bigger Thomas, a product of the ghetto who is hemmed in by forces beyond his control, and finally impelled to commit murder. popular culture While many writers and artists dealt with the suffering and social tensions aroused by the Great Depression, the more popular cultural outlets, such as radio programs and movies, provided a welcome escape from the decade’s grim realities. In 1930, more than 10 million families owned a radio; by the end of the decade, the number had tripled. Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to take full advantage of the popularity of radio broadcasting. He hosted sixteen “fireside chats” to generate support for his New Deal initiatives. In the late 1920s, movies were transformed by the introduction of sound. The “talkies” made movies by far the most popular form of entertainment during the 1930s—much more popular than they are today. The introduction of double features in 1931 and the construction of outdoor drive-in theaters in 1933 boosted interest and attendance. More than 60 percent of the population— 70 million people—paid a quarter to see at least one movie each week. The movies of the 1930s rarely dealt directly with hard times. People wanted to be cheered up when they entered movie houses. In Stand Up and Cheer! (1934), featuring child star Shirley Temple, President Roosevelt appoints a Broadway producer to his cabinet as the Secretary of Amusement. His goal is to use entertainment to distract people from the ravages of the Depression. Most feature films transported viewers into the escapist realm of adventure, spectacle, and fantasy. Gone with the Wind (1939), based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, was a good example of such escapism, as were The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Walt Disney’s feature cartoons. Moviegoers also relished shoot-’em-up gangster films, spectacular musicals (especially those starring dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), “screwball” romantic comedies featuring wacky situations, zany characters, and witty dialogue like It Happened One Night (1934), My Man Godfrey (1936), and Mister Deeds Goes to Town (1936), and horror films such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), King Kong (1933), The Invisible Man (1933), and Werewolf of London (1935). 1132 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 th pu (1 to bi er C Fo A lin m so la “t h co H m ti th sw he re cl hi “e a A Paramount Picture (1934) The glamor of actress Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra is sharply contrasted with the exhaustion of the average theatergoer in this painting by Reginald Marsh. The growing popularity of movies offered Americans escape from the daily challenges of the Great Depression, though Marsh’s work suggests that this was fleeting at best. Perhaps the best way to escape the daily troubles of the Depression was to watch one of the zany comedies of the Marx Brothers, former vaudeville performers turned movie stars. As one Hollywood official explained, the movies of as vi R L im it lic br ge e The New Deal under Fire 1133 the 1930s were intended to “laugh the big bad wolf of the depression out of the public mind.” The Cocoanuts (1929), Animal Crackers (1930), Monkey Business (1931), Horse Feathers (1932), and Duck Soup (1933) introduced moviegoers to the anarchic antics of Chico, Groucho, Harpo, and Zeppo Marx, who combined slapstick humor with verbal wit to create plotless masterpieces of irreverent satire. Critics Assault the New Deal For all of their criticisms of the inadequacy of New Deal programs, Native Americans and African Americans still voted in large majorities for Franklin Roosevelt. Other New Deal critics, however, hated Roosevelt the man, as much as they despised his policies. Many Republican business executives were so angered by the president’s promotion of a welfare state and the goals of labor unions that they refused to use the president’s name, calling him instead “that man in the White House.” huey long Others criticized Roosevelt for not doing enough to help the common people. The most potent of the president’s “populist” opponents was Huey Pierce Long Jr., a Democratic senator from Louisiana. A short, colorful man with wild, curly hair, Long, known as “Kingfish,” was a theatrical politician (a demagogue) who appealed to the raw emotions of the masses. The swaggering son of a backwoods farmer, he sported pink suits and pastel shirts, red ties, and two-toned shoes. He claimed to serve the poor, arguing that his Louisiana would be a place where “every man [is] a king, but no one wears a crown.” First as Louisiana’s governor, then as its most powerful U.S. senator, Long viewed the state as his personal empire. Reporters called him the “dictator of Louisiana.” True, he reduced state taxes, improved roads and schools, built charity hospitals, and provided better pub- Huey Long As the powerful governor lic services, but in the process, he used of Louisiana, Long was a shrewd lawyer and consummate “wheeler- dealer” bribery, intimidation, and blackmail to politician. get his way. 1134 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 In 1933, Long arrived in Washington as a supporter of Roosevelt and the New Deal, but he quickly grew suspicious of the NRA’s efforts to cooperate with big business. Having developed presidential aspirations, he had also grown jealous of “Prince Franklin” Roosevelt’s popularity. To launch his own presidential candidacy, Long devised a simplistic plan for dealing with the Great Depression that he called the Share-the-Wealth Society. Long wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and redistribute the money to “the people”—giving every poor family $5,000 and every worker an annual income of $2,500, providing pensions to retirees, reducing working hours, paying bonuses to military veterans, and enabling every qualified student to attend college. It did not matter that his plan would have spent far more money than would have been raised by his proposed taxes. As he told a group of Iowa farmers, “Maybe somebody says I don’t understand it [government finance]. Well, you don’t have to. Just shut your damn eyes and believe it. That’s all.” By early 1935, Long claimed to have enough support to unseat Roosevelt. “I can take him,” he bragged. “He’s a phony. . . . He’s scared of me. I can outpromise him, and he knows it. People will believe me, and they won’t believe him.” Long’s antics led the president to declare that the Louisiana senator was “one of the two most dangerous men in the country.” (The other was General Douglas MacArthur.) the townsend plan Another popular critic of Roosevelt was a retired California doctor, Francis E. Townsend. Shocked by the sight of three elderly women digging through garbage cans for food scraps, he began promoting the Townsend Recovery Plan in 1934. Townsend wanted the federal government to pay $200 a month to every American over sixty who agreed to quit working. The recipients would have to spend the money each month. Townsend claimed that his plan would create jobs for young people by giving older people the means to retire, and it would energize the economy by enabling retirees to buy more products. But like Huey Long’s Share-theWealth scheme, the numbers in Townsend’s plan did not add up; although it would have served only 9 percent of the population, it would have paid those retirees more than half the total national income. Townsend, like Long, didn’t care about the plan’s cost. Not surprisingly, it attracted great support among Americans sixty years of age and older. Thousands of Townsend Clubs sprang up across the nation, and advocates flooded the White House with letters urging Roosevelt to enact it. father coughlin A third outspoken critic was Father Charles E. Coughlin, a Roman Catholic “radio priest” in Detroit, Michigan. In fiery The New Deal under Fire 1135 weekly broadcasts that attracted as many as 40 million listeners, he assailed Roosevelt as “anti-God” and claimed that the New Deal was a Communist conspiracy. During the 1930s, Coughlin became increasingly anti-Semitic, claiming that Roosevelt was a tool of “international Jewish bankers” and relabeling the New Deal the “Jew Deal.” He praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazis for killing Jews because he believed that all Jews were Communists who must be hunted down. During the 1940 presidential campaign, the thuggish Coughlin gave a Nazi salute and bragged, “When we get through with the Jews in America they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing.” Of Long, Townsend, and Coughlin, Long had the largest political following. A 1935 poll showed that he could draw more than 5 million votes as a third-party candidate for president, perhaps enough to prevent Roosevelt’s reelection. Roosevelt decided to “steal the thunder” from his most vocal critics by instituting an array of new programs. “I’m fighting Communism, Huey Longism, Coughlinism, Townsendism,” Roosevelt told a reporter in early 1935. He needed “to save our system, the capitalist system” from such “crackpot ideas.” Promoters of welfare capitalism Dr. Francis E. Townsend, Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith, and Rev. Charles E. Coughlin (left to right) attend the Townsend Recovery Plan convention in Cleveland, Ohio. 1136 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Opposition from the Court The opposition to the New Deal came from all directions. Among the most powerful opponents was the U.S. Supreme Court. By the mid-1930s, businesses were filing lawsuits against various elements of the New Deal, and some of them made their way to the Supreme Court. On May 27, 1935, the U.S. Supreme Court killed the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) by a unanimous vote. In Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, the justices ruled that Congress had given too much of its authority to the president when the NIRA created the National Recovery Administration (NRA), giving it the power to bring business and labor leaders together to create “codes of fair competition” for their industries—an activity that violated federal anti-trust laws. In a press conference soon after the Court announced its decision, Roosevelt fumed: “We have been relegated to the horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce.” Then, on January 6, 1936, in United States v. Butler, the Supreme Court declared the Agricultural Adjustment Act’s tax on “middle men,” the companies that processed food crops and commodities like cotton, unconstitutional. In response to the Court’s decision, the Roosevelt administration passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which reestablished the earlier cropreduction payment programs but left out the tax on processors. Although the AAA helped boost the overall farm economy, conservatives criticized its sweeping powers. By the end of its 1936 term, the Supreme Court had ruled against New Deal programs in seven of nine major cases. The same line of conservative judicial reasoning, Roosevelt warned, might endanger other New Deal programs—if he did not act swiftly to prevent it. The Second New Deal To rescue his legislative program from judicial and political challenges, Roosevelt in January 1935 launched the second, more radical phase of the New Deal, explaining that “social justice, no longer a distant ideal, has become a definite goal” of his administration. In his effort “to steal Huey Long’s thunder,” the president called on Congress to pass a cluster of what he designated as “must” legislation that included a federal construction program to employ the jobless; banking reforms; increased taxes on the wealthy; and “social security” programs to protect people during unemployment, old age, and illness. Roosevelt’s closest aide, Harry L. Hopkins, told the cabinet: “Boys—this is our hour. We’ve got to get everything we want—a [public] works program, social security, wages and hours, everything—now or never.” The Second New Deal 1137 the wpa In the first three months of 1935, dubbed the Second Hundred Days, Roosevelt convinced Congress to pass most of the Second New Deal’s “must” legislation. The results changed the face of American life. The first major initiative was the $4.8 billion Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The largest peacetime spending bill in history to that point, it included an array of federal job programs managed by a new agency, the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA quickly became the nation’s largest employer, hiring an average of 2 million people annually over four years. WPA workers built New York’s LaGuardia Airport, restored the St. Louis riverfront, and managed the bankrupt city of Key West, Florida. The WPA also employed a wide range of writers, artists, actors, and musicians in new cultural programs: the Federal Theatre Project, the Federal Art Project, the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Writers’ Project. The National Youth Administration (NYA), also under the WPA, provided part-time employment to students and aided jobless youths. Two future presidents were among the beneficiaries; twenty-seven-year-old Lyndon B. Johnson Federal art project A group of WPA artists at work on Building the Transcontinental Railroad, a mural celebrating the contributions of foreign newcomers that appears in the immigrants’ dining hall on Ellis Island, outside of New York City. 1138 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 directed an NYA program in Texas, and Richard M. Nixon, a struggling Duke University law student, found work through the NYA at 35¢ an hour. Although the WPA took care of only 3 million of some 10 million jobless at any one time, it helped some 9 million people before it expired in 1943. the wagner act Another major element of the Second New Deal was the National Labor Relations Act, often called the Wagner Act in honor of the New York senator, Robert Wagner, who drafted it and convinced Roosevelt to support it. The Wagner Act was one of the most important pieces of labor legislation in history, guaranteeing workers the right to organize unions and bargain directly with management about wages and other issues. It also created a National Labor Relations Board to oversee union activities. social security As Francis Townsend had stressed, the Great Depression hit the oldest Americans and those with disabilities especially hard. To address the problems faced by the elderly and disabled, Roosevelt proposed the Social Security Act of 1935. Social Security was, he announced, the “cornerstone” and “supreme achievement” of the New Deal. The basic concept of government assistance to the elderly was not new. Progressives during the early 1900s had proposed a federal system of social security for the aged, poor, disabled, and unemployed. Other nations had already enacted such programs, but not the United States. The hardships caused by the Great Depression revived the idea, however, and Roosevelt masterfully guided the legislation through Congress. The Social Security Act was designed largely by Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman cabinet member in history. Its centerpiece was a self-financed federal retirement fund for people over sixty-five. Beginning in 1937, workers and employers contributed payroll taxes to establish the fund. Most of the collected taxes were spent on pension payments to retirees; whatever was left over went into a trust fund for the future. Roosevelt stressed that Social Security was not intended to guarantee everyone a comfortable retirement. Rather, it was meant to supplement other sources of income and protect the elderly. Only during the 1950s did voters and politicians come to view Social Security as the primary source of retirement income for working-class Americans. The Social Security Act also set up a shared federal–state unemploymentinsurance program, financed by a payroll tax on employers. In addition, it committed the national government to a broad range of social-welfare activities based upon the assumption that “unemployables”—people who were unable to work—would remain a state responsibility while the national government would provide work The Second New Deal 1139 relief for the able-bodied. To that end, the Social Security Act provided federal funding for three state-administered publicassistance programs—old-age assistance, aid to dependent children, and aid for the blind—and further aid for maternal, child-welfare, and public health services. When compared with similar programs in Europe, the U.S. Social Security system was conservative. It was the only government-managed retirement program in the world financed by taxes on the earnings of workers; most other countries funded such programs out of general government revenues. The Social Security payroll tax was also a regressive tax because it used a single withholding tax rate for everyone, regardless of income level. It thus pinched the poor more than the rich, and it hurt efforts to revive the economy because it removed from circula- Social Security A poster distributed tion a significant amount of money. In by the government to educate the public addition, the Social Security system, at about the new Social Security Act. the insistence of southern Democrats determined to maintain white supremacy, excluded 9.5 million workers who most needed the new program: farm laborers, domestic workers (maids and cooks), and the self-employed, a disproportionate percentage of whom were African Americans. Roosevelt regretted the act’s limitations, but he knew that they were necessary compromises to gain congressional approval and to withstand court challenges. As he told an aide who criticized funding the program out of employee contributions: I guess you’re right on the economics, but those taxes were never a problem of economics. They are politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a moral, legal, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program. 1140 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Roosevelt also preferred that workers fund their own Social Security pensions because he wanted Americans to view their retirement checks as an entitlement—as something that they had paid for and deserved. Conservatives condemned the Social Security Act as tyrannical and “socialistic.” Former president Herbert Hoover refused to apply for a Social Security card because of his opposition to the “radical” program. He received a Social Security number anyway. taxing the rich Another major bill in the second phase of the New Deal was the Revenue Act of 1935, sometimes called the “Wealth-Tax Act” but popularly known as the “soak-the-rich” tax. It raised tax rates on annual income above $50,000, in part because of stories that many wealthy Americans were not paying taxes. The powerful banker J.P. Morgan confessed to a Senate committee that he had created fictitious sales of stock to his wife that enabled him to pay no taxes. Labor union violence This 1935 photograph captures unionized strikers fighting “scabs,” or nonunion replacement employees, as the scabs try to pass the picket line and enter the factory. The Second New Deal 1141 Morgan and other business leaders fumed over Roosevelt’s tax and spending policies. Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst growled that the wealth tax was “essentially communism.” Roosevelt countered by stressing that “I am fighting communism. . . . I want to save our system, the capitalistic system.” Yet he added that saving capitalism and “rebalancing” its essential elements required a more equal “distribution of wealth.” a new direction for unions The New Deal reinvigorated the labor union movement. When the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) demanded that every industry code affirm workers’ rights to organize, unionists quickly translated it to mean “the president wants you to join the union.” John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers (UMW), was among the first to capitalize on the pro-union spirit of the NIRA. He rebuilt the UMW from 150,000 members to 500,000 within a year. Encouraged by Lewis’s success, Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers organized workers in the clothing industry. As leaders of industrial unions (composed of all types of workers in a particular industry, skilled or unskilled), which were in the minority by far, they found the smaller, more restrictive craft unions (composed of skilled male workers only, with each union serving just one trade) to be obstacles to organizing workers in the country’s basic industries. In 1935, with the passage of the Wagner Act, industrial unionists formed a Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO). Craft unionists began to fear submergence by the mass unions made up mainly of unskilled workers. Jurisdictional disputes divided them, and in 1936 the American Federation of Labor (AFL) expelled the CIO unions, which then formed a permanent structure, called after 1938 the Congress of Industrial Organizations (also known by the initials CIO). The rivalry spurred both groups to greater efforts. The CIO focused on organizing the automobile and steel industries. Until the Supreme Court upheld the Wagner Act in 1937, however, companies failed to cooperate with its pro-union provisions. Employers instead used various forms of intimidation to fight the infant unions. Early in 1937, automobile workers spontaneously tried a new tactic, the “sit-down strike,” in which they refused to leave a workplace until employers had granted them collective-bargaining rights. Led by the fiery Walter Reuther, thousands of employees at the General Motors assembly plants in Flint, Michigan, occupied the factories and stopped all production. Company officials called in police to harass the strikers, sent spies to union meetings, and threatened to fire the workers. They also pleaded with President Roosevelt to dispatch federal troops. He refused, while expressing his displeasure with the sit-down strike, which the courts later declared 1142 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 illegal. The standoff lasted more than a month. Then, on February 11, 1937, the company relented and signed a contract recognizing the United Automobile Workers (UAW) as a legitimate union. Roosevelt’s Second Term On June 27, 1936, Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted the Democratic party’s nomination for a second term. The Republicans chose Governor Alfred M. Landon of Kansas, a progressive Republican who had endorsed many New Deal programs. “We cannot go back to the days before the depression,” he scolded conservative Republicans. “We must go forward, facing our new problems.” The Republicans hoped that the followers of Huey Long, Charles E. Coughlin, Francis E. Townsend, and other Roosevelt critics would combine to draw enough Democratic votes away from the president to give Landon a winning margin. But that possibility faded when an assassin, the son-in-law of a Louisiana judge whom Long had sought to remove, shot and killed the forty-two-yearold senator in 1935. In the 1936 election, Roosevelt carried every state except Campaigning for a second term Roosevelt campaigning with labor leader John L. Lewis (to the right of Roosevelt) in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The Second New Deal 1143 Maine and Vermont, with a popular vote of 27.7 million to Landon’s 16.7 million, the largest margin of victory to that point. Democrats would also dominate the new Congress, by 77 to 19 in the Senate and 328 to 107 in the House. In winning another landslide election, Roosevelt forged a new electoral coalition that would affect national politics for years to come. While holding the support of most traditional Democrats, North and South, he made strong gains in the West among beneficiaries of New Deal agricultural programs. In the northern cities, he held on to the ethnic groups helped by New Deal welfare policies. Many middle-class voters whose property had been saved by New Deal measures flocked to support Roosevelt, as did intellectuals stirred by the ferment of new ideas coming from the government. The revived labor union movement also threw its support to Roosevelt, and in the most meaningful shift of all, a majority of African Americans voted for a Democratic president. “My friends, go home and turn Lincoln’s picture to the wall,” a Pittsburgh journalist told black voters. “That debt has been paid in full.” the court-packing plan Roosevelt’s landslide victory convinced him that he could do almost anything and the voters would support him. He believed his reelection demonstrated that the nation wanted even more government action to revive the economy. The three-to-one Democratic majorities in Congress ensured that he could pass new legislation. But one major roadblock stood in the way: the conservative Supreme Court, made up of “nine old men.” Lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Social Security and Wagner Acts were pending before the Court. Given the Court’s conservative bent and its earlier anti–New Deal rulings, Roosevelt feared that the Second New Deal was in danger of being nullified. For that reason, he hatched a clumsy plan to “reform” the Court by enlarging it. Congress, not the Constitution, determines the size of the Supreme Court, which over the years had numbered between six and ten justices. In 1937, the number was nine. On February 5, 1937, Roosevelt, without consulting congressional leaders or even his own advisers, asked Congress to name up to six new Supreme Court justices, one for each of the current justices over seventy years old, explaining that the aging members of the Court were falling behind in their work and needed help. But the “Court-packing” scheme, as opponents labeled the plan, backfired. It was too manipulative and far too political, and quickly became the most controversial proposal of Roosevelt’s presidency. The plan ignited a firestorm of opposition among conservative Republicans and even aroused fears among Democrats that the president was seeking dangerous new powers. As it turned out, several Court decisions during the spring of 1937 surprisingly upheld disputed provisions of the Wagner and Social Security Acts. In 1144 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 addition, a conservative justice resigned, and Roosevelt replaced him with a New Dealer, Senator Hugo Black of Alabama. Despite criticism from both parties, Roosevelt insisted on forcing his Court-packing bill through Congress. On July 22, 1937, the Senate overwhelmingly voted it down. It was the biggest political blunder and greatest humiliation of Roosevelt’s career. The episode fractured the Democratic party and damaged the president’s prestige. The momentum of his 1936 landslide victory was lost. As Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace later remarked, “The whole New Deal really went up in smoke as a result of the Supreme Court fight.” a slumping economy During 1935 and 1936, the economy finally began showing signs of revival. By the spring of 1937, industrial output had risen above the 1929 level. In 1937, however, Roosevelt, worried about federal budget deficits and rising inflation, ordered sharp cuts in government spending. The economy stalled, then slid into a slump deeper than that of 1929. In only three months, unemployment rose by 2 million people. When the spring of 1938 failed to bring economic recovery, Roosevelt reversed himself and asked Congress to adopt a new federal spending program, and Congress voted $3.3 billion in new expenditures. The increase in government spending reversed the economy’s decline, but only during World War II would employment again reach pre-1929 levels. The Court-packing fight, the sit-down strikes, and the 1937 recession all undercut Roosevelt’s prestige and power. When the 1937 congressional session ended, the only major New Deal initiatives were the Wagner-Steagall National Housing Act and the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act. The Housing Act, developed by Senator Robert F. Wagner, set up the federal Housing Authority, which extended long-term loans to cities to build public housing projects in blighted neighborhoods and provide subsidized rents for poor people. Later, during World War II, it financed housing for workers in new defense plants. The Farm Tenant Act created a new agency, the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which provided loans to keep farm owners from losing their land to bankruptcy. It also made loans to tenant farmers to enable them to purchase farms. In the end, however, the FSA proved to be little more than another relief operation that tided a few farmers over during difficult times. A more effective answer to the problem eventually arrived in the form of national mobilization for war, which landed many struggling tenant farmers in military service or the defense industry, broadened their horizons, and taught them new skills. In 1938, the Democratic Congress also enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act. It replaced many of the provisions that had been in the NIRA, which had The Second New Deal 1145 been declared unconstitutional. The federal government established a minimum wage of 40¢ an hour and a maximum workweek of forty hours. The act, which applied only to businesses engaged in interstate commerce, also prohibited the employment of children under the age of sixteen. setbacks for the president During the late 1930s, the Democrats in Congress increasingly split into two factions, with conservative southerners on one side and liberal northerners on the other. Many white southern Democrats balked at the party’s growing dependence on the votes of northern labor unions and African Americans. Senator Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith of South Carolina and several other southern delegates walked out of the 1936 Democratic party convention, with Smith declaring that he would not support any party that views “the Negro as a political and social equal.” Other critics believed that Roosevelt was exercising too much power and spending too much money. Some southern Democrats began to work with conservative Republicans to veto any additional New Deal programs. Roosevelt now headed a divided party, and the congressional elections of November 1938 handed the administration another setback when the Democrats lost 7 seats in the Senate and 80 in the House. In his State of the Union message in 1939, Roosevelt for the first time presented no new reform programs but instead spoke of the need “to preserve our reforms.” The conservative coalition of Republicans and southern Democrats had stalemated the president. As one observer noted, the New Deal “has been reduced to a movement with no program, with no effective political organization, with no vast popular party strength behind it.” a halfway revolution The New Deal’s political momentum petered out in 1939 just as a new world war was erupting in Europe and Asia. Many New Deal programs had failed or were poorly conceived and implemented, but others were changing American life for the better: Social Security, federal regulation of stock markets and banks, minimum wage levels for workers, federally insured bank accounts, the right to join labor unions. Never before had the federal government intervened so directly in the economy or spent so much on social welfare programs. Franklin Roosevelt had also transformed the nation’s political dynamics, luring black voters in large numbers to the Democratic party, and he had raised the nation’s spirits through his relentless optimism. Roosevelt had led the nation out of the Depression and changed the role of the federal government. By the end of the 1930s, its power and scope were vastly larger than in 1932. Landmark laws expanded the powers of the national 1146 CHAPTER 25 The Great Depression 1929–1939 Meeting of the anti– New Dealers Democratic senator Ellison D. “Cotton Ed” Smith of South Carolina cringes at the thought of a fourth term for Roosevelt, while meeting with fellow anti– New Dealers at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. government by establishing new regulatory agencies and laying the foundation of a social welfare system. Most important of all, the New Deal brought faith and hope to the discouraged and desperate. As a CCC worker recalled late in life, Roosevelt “restored a sense of confidence and morale and hope—hope being the greatest of all.” New Deal programs provided stability for tens of millions of people. “We aren’t on relief anymore,” one woman noted with pride. “My husband is working for the government.” The enduring reforms of the New Deal also constituted a significant change from the progressivism of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. They had assumed that the function of government was to use aggressive regulation of industry and business to ensure that people had an equal opportunity to pursue the American Dream. But Franklin Roosevelt and the New Dealers insisted that the government should provide at least a minimal quality of life for all Americans. The enduring protections afforded by bank-deposit insurance, unemployment benefits, a minimum hourly wage, the Wagner Act, and Social Security The Second New Deal 1147 pensions gave people a sense of security and protected the nation against future economic crises. (There has not been a similar “depression” since the 1930s.) The greatest failure of the New Deal was its inability to restore prosperity and end record levels of unemployment. In 1939, 10 million Americans— nearly 17 percent of the workforce—remained jobless. Only the Second World War would finally produce full employment—in the armed forces as well as in factories supporting the military. Roosevelt’s energetic pragmatism was his greatest strength—and weakness. He was flexible in developing new policies and programs; he kept what worked and discarded what failed. He sharply increased the regulatory powers of the federal government and laid the foundation for what would become an expanding system of social welfare programs. Despite what his critics charged, however, Roosevelt was no socialist; he sought to preserve the basic capitalist economic structure while providing protection to the nation’s most vulnerable people. In this sense, the New Deal represented a “halfway revolution” that permanently altered the nation’s social and political landscape. In a time of peril, Roosevelt created for Americans a more secure future. CHAPTER REVIEW Summary Hoover’s Failure The first phase of the federal response to the Great Depression included President Hoover’s attempts at increasing public works and exhorting unions, businesses, and farmers to cooperate to revive economic growth. His belief in voluntary self-reliance prevented him from using federal intervention to relieve the human suffering and contributed to his underestimation of the financial collapse. Such programs as the Reconstruction Finance Corporation were too few and too late. By March 1933, the economy was shattered. Millions of Americans were without jobs, without the basic necessities, and without hope. The First New Deal In 1933, newly inaugurated president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his “brain trust” set out to restore the economy and public confidence. During his early months in office, Congress and Roosevelt enacted the First New Deal, which propped up the banking industry with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, provided short-term emergency work relief in the form of jobs for the unemployed, promoted industrial recovery with the National Recovery Administration, and passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act intended to raise agricultural prices by encouraging farmers to cut production. Most of the early New Deal programs eased hardships but did not restore prosperity; they helped to end the economy’s downward spiral but still left millions unemployed and mired in poverty. New Deal Under Fire The Supreme Court ruled that many of the First New Deal programs were unconstitutional violations of private property and states’ rights. Many conservatives criticized the New Deal for expanding the scope and reach of the federal government so much that it was steering the nation toward socialism. The “radio priest,” Father Charles E. Coughlin, charged that the New Deal was a Jewish-atheist-Communist conspiracy. Other critics did not think the New Deal reforms went far enough. Senator Huey Long of Louisiana and Dr. Francis Townsend of California proposed radical plans to reshape the distribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. African Americans criticized the widespread racial discrimination in New Deal policies and agencies. The Second New Deal and the New Deal’s Legacy Roosevelt responded to the criticism and the continuing economic hardship with a Second New Deal, which sought to reshape the nation’s social structure by expanding the role of the federal government. Many of the programs making up the Second New Deal, such as the Works Progress Administration, Social Security, and the Wagner Act, aimed to achieve greater social justice by establishing new regulatory agencies and laying the foundation of a federal social welfare system. Frustrated by the Supreme Court’s opposition to the First New Deal, Roosevelt proposed his “Court-packing” scheme, but it was rejected by the Senate. Support for the New Deal began to lose steam amid the lingering effects of the Great Depression. However, the New Deal 1148 The Second New Deal 1149 established the idea that the federal government should provide at least a minimal quality of life for all Americans, and it provided people with some security against a future crisis, reaffirming for millions a faith in American capitalism. Chronology November 1932 March 1933 May 1933 June 1933 December 1933 May 1935 1935 1936 1937 Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected president Congress passes the Emergency Banking Relief Act (“Bank Holiday”) Congress establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps Congress creates the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Agricultural Adjustment Act Congress establishes the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (Banking Act) and passes National Industrial Recovery Act Prohibition repealed with the passage of the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution Supreme Court finds National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional President Roosevelt creates the Works Progress Administration President Roosevelt is reelected in a landslide Social Security payments begin Key Terms Great Depression (1929–1941) p. 1105 Agricultural Adjustment Act (1933) p. 1121 Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) (1933) p. 1109 Dust Bowl p. 1121 Bonus Expeditionary Force p. 1110 First New Deal (1933–1935) p. 1115 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) (1933) p. 1116 Securities and Exchange Commission (1934) p. 1117 National Recovery Administration (NRA) (1933) p. 1120 Second New Deal (1935–1938) p. 1137 Works Progress Administration (WPA) (1935) p. 1137 Wagner Act (1935) p. 1138 Social Security Act (1935) p. 1138 “Court-packing” scheme (1937) p. 1143 IJK Go to InQuizitive to see what you’ve learned—and learn what you’ve missed—with personalized feedback along the way. 1149 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima (February 23, 1945) Five members of the United States Marine Corps raise the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi, during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Three of these Marines would die within days after this photograph was taken. The image earned photographer Joe Rosenthal the Pulitzer Prize. A bronze statue of this scene is the centerpiece of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Virginia. W hen Franklin Roosevelt became president in 1933, he shared with most Americans a determination to stay out of international disputes. His focus was on combating the Great Depression at home. While the United States had become deeply involved in global trade during the twenties, it had remained aloof from global conflicts. So-called isolationists insisted that there was no justification for America to become embroiled in international affairs, much less another major war. With each passing year during the thirties, however, Germany, Italy, and Japan threatened the peace and stability of Europe and Asia. Roosevelt strove mightily to keep the United States out of what he called the “spreading epidemic of world lawlessness,” as fascist dictatorships in Germany and Italy and ultranationalist militarists in Japan violated international law by invading neighboring countries. By the end of the decade, Roosevelt had decided that the only way for the United States to avoid fighting in another war was to offer all possible assistance to its allies, Great Britain, France, and China. Roosevelt’s efforts to stop “aggressor nations” ignited a fierce debate between isolationists and interventionists which ended with shocking suddenness on December 7, 1941, when Japan staged a surprise attack against U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The second world war that Americans had struggled to avoid had arrived at last. It would become the most significant event of the twentieth century, engulfing five continents and leaving few people untouched. The Japanese attack unified Americans as never before. Men and women rushed to join the armed forces. Eventually, 16.4 million people would serve focus questions 1. How did German and Japanese actions lead to the outbreak of war in Europe and Asia? 2. How did President Roosevelt and Congress respond to the outbreak of wars in Europe and Asia between 1933 and 1941? 3. What were the effects of the Second World War on American society? 4. What were the major factors that enabled the United States and its allies to win the war in Europe? 5. How were the Japanese defeated in the war in the Pacific? 6. How did President Roosevelt and the Allies work to shape the postwar world? 1151 1152 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 in the military during the war, including 350,000 women. To defeat Japanese imperialism and German and Italian fascism, the United States mobilized all of its economic resources. The massive government spending required to wage total war boosted industrial production and wrenched the economy out of the Great Depression. Four years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States and its allies emerged victorious in the costliest and most destructive war in history. Cities were destroyed, nations dismembered, and societies transformed. More than 50 million people were killed in the war between 1939 and 1945—perhaps 60 percent of them civilians, including millions of Jews and other ethnic minorities in Nazi death camps and Soviet concentration camps. The global scope and scale of the Second World War ended America’s tradition of isolationism. By 1945, the United States was the world’s most powerful nation, with new international interests and global responsibilities. The war left power vacuums in Europe and Asia that the Soviet Union and the United States sought to fill to protect their military, economic, and political interests. Instead of bringing peace, the end of the war led to a “cold war” between the two former allies. As the New Yorker magazine asked, “If you do not know that your country is now entangled beyond recall with the rest of the world, what do you know?” The Rise of Fascism in Europe In 1917, Woodrow Wilson had led the United States into the First World War to make the world “safe for democracy.” In fact, though, democracy was in retreat after 1919, while Soviet communism was on the march. So, too, was fascism, a radical form of totalitarian government in which a dictator uses propaganda and brute force to seize control of all aspects of national life—the economy, the armed forces, the legal and educational systems, and the press. Fascism in Germany and Italy thrived on a violent ultranationalist patriotism and almost hysterical emotionalism built upon claims of racial superiority and the simmering resentments that grew out of defeat in the First World War. At the same time, halfway around the world, the Japanese government fell under the control of expansionists eager to conquer China and most of Asia. Japanese leaders were convinced that they were a “master race” with a “mission” to lead a resurgent Asia, just as Adolf Hitler claimed that Germany’s “mission,” as home of the supposedly superior “Aryan” race, was to dominate Europe. By 1941, there would be only a dozen or so democratic nations left on earth. The Rise of Fascism in Europe italy and germany 1153 In 1922, former journalist Benito Mussolini and 40,000 of his black-shirted supporters seized control of Italy, taking advantage of a paralyzed political system incapable of dealing with widespread unemployment, runaway inflation, mass strikes, and fears of communism. By 1925, Mussolini was wielding dictatorial power as “Il Duce” (the Leader). He called his version of antisocialist totalitarian nationalism fascism. All political parties except the Fascists were eliminated, and several political opponents were murdered. There was something darkly comical about the strutting, chest-thumping Mussolini, who claimed that “my animal instincts are always right.” There was nothing amusing, how- Fascist propaganda Benito Mussolini’s ever, about Mussolini’s German coun- headquarters in Rome’s Palazzo terpart, the Austrian-born Adolf Hitler. Braschi, which bore an oversized Hitler’s remarkable transformation dur- reproduction of his head. ing the 1920s from social misfit to head of the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) party startled the world. Hitler and the Nazis claimed that they represented a German (“Aryan”) master race whose “purity and strength” were threatened by liberals, Jews, socialists, Communists, homosexuals, Gypsies, and other “inferior” peoples. Hitler promised to make Germany strong again by renouncing the Versailles Treaty, defying the limits on its armed forces, and uniting the German-speaking people of Europe into a Greater German Empire that would give the nation “living space” to expand, dominate “lesser” races, and rid the continent of Jews. Hitler portrayed himself as Germany’s savior from the humiliation of having lost the Great War and the widespread suffering caused by the Great Depression. Appointed chancellor on January 30, 1933, five weeks before Franklin Roosevelt was first inaugurated, Hitler, like Mussolini, was idolized by the masses of voters. He declared himself absolute leader, or Führer, became president in 1934 and supreme commander of the armed forces, banned all 1154 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Adolf Hitler Hitler performs the Nazi salute at a rally. The giant banners, triumphant music, powerful oratory, and expansive military parades were all designed to stir excitement and allegiance among Nazis. political parties except the Nazis, created a secret police force known as the Gestapo, and stripped people of voting rights. There would be no more elections, labor unions, or strikes. During the mid-1930s, Hitler’s brutal Nazi police state cranked up the engines of tyranny and terrorism, propaganda and censorship. Two million brown-shirted, brawling thugs, called “storm troopers,” fanned out across the nation, burning books and persecuting, imprisoning, and murdering Communists, Jews, Gypsies—and their sympathizers. the expanding axis As the 1930s unfolded, a catastrophic series of events in Asia and Europe sent the world hurtling toward disaster. In 1931–1932, some 10,000 Japanese troops had occupied Manchuria in northeast China, a territory rich in raw materials and deposits of iron ore and coal. At the time, China was fragmented by civil war between Communists led by Mao Zedong and Nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek. The Japanese took advantage of China’s weakness to proclaim Manchuria’s independence, renaming it the “Republic of Manchukuo.” In 1934, Japan began an aggressive military buildup in anticipation of conquering all of east Asia. From Isolationism to Intervention 1155 The next year, Mussolini launched Italy’s reconquest of Ethiopia, a weak nation in eastern Africa that Italy had controlled until 1896. When the League of Nations branded Mussolini an aggressor and imposed economic sanctions on Italy, the racist Italian leader expressed surprise that European leaders would prefer a “horde of barbarian Negroes” in Ethiopia over Italy, the “mother of civilization.” In 1935, Hitler, in flagrant violation of the Versailles Treaty, began rebuilding Germany’s armed forces. The next year, he sent 35,000 soldiers into the Rhineland, the demilitarized buffer zone between France and Germany. In a staged vote, 99 percent of the Germans living in the Rhineland approved Hitler’s action. The failure of France and Great Britain to enforce the Versailles Treaty convinced Hitler that the western democracies were cowards and would not try to stop him from achieving his goal of German dominance. The year 1936 also witnessed the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, which began when Spanish troops loyal to General Francisco Franco, with the support of the Roman Catholic Church, revolted against the fragile new republican government. Hitler and Mussolini rushed troops (“volunteers”), warplanes, and military and financial aid to support Franco’s fascist insurgency. While peace in Europe was unraveling, the Japanese government fell under the control of aggressive militarists. In 1937, a government official announced that the “tide has turned against the liberalism and democracy that once swept over the nation.” On July 7, 1937, Japanese and Chinese soldiers clashed at China’s Marco Polo Bridge, near Beijing. The incident quickly escalated into a full-scale conflict, the Sino-Japanese War. By December, the Japanese had captured the Nationalist Chinese capital of Nanjing, whereupon the undisciplined soldiers ran amok, looting the city and mercilessly murdering and raping civilians. As many as 300,000 Chinese were murdered in what came to be called the Rape of Nanjing. Thereafter, the SinoJapanese War bogged down into a stalemate. From Isolationism to Intervention Most Americans responded to the mounting crises abroad by deepening their commitment to isolationism. In his 1933 inaugural address, President Roosevelt announced that he would continue to promote what he called “the good neighbor policy” in the Western Hemisphere, declaring that no nation “has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.” True to his word, Roosevelt withdrew U.S. troops from Nicaragua and Haiti. The nation’s deeply rooted isolationist mood was reinforced by a prominent Senate inquiry into the role of bankers and businesses in the 1156 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Neutrality A 1938 cartoon shows U.S. foreign policy entangled by the serpent of isolationism. American decision to enter World War I. Chaired by Senator Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota, the “Nye Committee” began hearings in 1934 that lasted until early 1936. The committee concluded that weapons makers and bankers (the “merchants of death”) had spurred U.S. intervention in the European conflict in 1917 and were continuing to “help frighten nations into military activity.” u.s. neutrality In 1935, Christian Century magazine declared that “ninety-nine Americans out of a hundred would today regard as an imbecile anyone who might suggest that, in the event of another European war, the United States should again participate in it.” Such widespread isolationism led President Roosevelt to sign the first of several “neutrality laws” passed by Congress to help avoid the supposed mistakes that had led the nation into the First World War. The Neutrality Act of 1935 prohibited Americans from selling weapons or traveling on ships owned by nations at war. In 1936, Congress revised the Neutrality Act by banning loans to warring nations. Roosevelt, however, was not so sure that the United States could or should remain neutral. In October 1937, he delivered a speech in Chicago, the heart- From Isolationism to Intervention 1157 land of isolationism, in which he called for international cooperation to “quarantine the aggressors” who were responsible for disturbing world peace. But his appeal fell flat. The Neutrality Act of 1937 allowed Roosevelt to require that nonmilitary American goods bought by warring nations be sold on a cash-and-carry basis—that is, a nation would have to pay cash and then carry the Americanmade goods away in its own ships. This was intended to preserve America’s profitable trade with warring nations without running the risk of being drawn into the fighting. the axis alliance In 1937, Japan joined Germany and Italy in establishing the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo “Axis” alliance. Hitler and Mussolini vowed to create a “new order in Europe,” while the Japanese imperialists pursued their “divine right” to control all of east Asia by creating what they called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. anschluss In March 1938, Hitler forced the Anschluss (union) of Austria with Germany. Hitler’s triumphant return to his native country was greeted by pro-German crowds waving Nazi flags and tossing flowers. Soon, “Jews not Wanted” signs appeared in Austrian cities. A month later, after arresting more than 70,000 opponents of the Nazis, German leaders announced that a remarkable 99.75 percent of Austrian voters had “approved” the forced annexation. (In fact, some 400,000 Austrians, mostly liberals and Jews, were prevented from voting.) Again, no nation stepped up to oppose Hitler, and soon the Nazi government in Austria began arresting or murdering opponents and imprisoning or exiling Jews, including the famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. the munich pact (1938) Hitler then threatened to annex the Sudeten territory (Sudetenland), a mountainous region in western Czechoslovakia along the German border where more than 3 million ethnic Germans lived. British and French leaders repeatedly tried to “appease” Hitler, hoping that if they agreed to his demands for the Sudeten territory he would stop his aggressions. On September 30, 1938, the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, and the French prime minister, Édouard Daladier, joined Mussolini and Hitler in signing the notorious Munich Pact, which transferred the Sudetenland to Germany. In Prague, the capital, the Czechs listened to the official announcement of the Munich Pact with the excruciating sadness of people too weak to preserve their own independence. As pawns in the chess game of European politics, the 1158 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Czech people now faced a grim future. A disgusted President Roosevelt privately grumbled that Britain and France had left Czechoslovakia “to paddle its own canoe” and predicted that they would “wash the blood from their Judas Iscariot hands.” Hitler, he had decided, was a “wild man,” a “nut” with an insatiable desire for a new German empire. Chamberlain claimed that the Munich treaty had provided “peace for our time. Peace with honor.” Winston Churchill, a member of the British Parliament who would become prime minister in May 1940, strongly disagreed. In a speech to the House of Commons, he claimed that “England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame, and will get war.” The Munich Pact, he predicted, would not end Hitler’s assaults. “This is only the beginning of the reckoning.” Churchill was right. Hitler had already confided to aides that he had no intention of abiding by the Munich Pact. Although Hitler had promised that the Sudetenland would be his last territorial demand, he scrapped his pledge in March 1939, when he sent German tanks and soldiers to conquer the remainder of the Czech Republic. The European democracies, having shrunk their armies after the Great War, continued to cower in the face of his ruthless behavior and seemingly unstoppable military. After German troops seized Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939, Hitler announced it was “the greatest day of my life.” Jews were immediately lumped together with “thieves, criminals, swindlers, insane people, and alcoholics.” By the end of May, the Nazis were filling prisons with Czechs who resisted or resented the German occupation. The rape of Czechoslovakia convinced Roosevelt that Hitler and Mussolini were “madmen” who “respect force and force alone.” Throughout late 1938 and 1939, Roosevelt tried to convince Americans, as well as British and French leaders, that the fascists would respond only to force, not words. He also persuaded Congress to increase military spending in anticipation of a possible war. the conquest of poland Later in 1939, the insatiable Hitler, having decided that he had “the world in my pocket,” turned to Poland, Germany’s eastern neighbor. Conquering Poland would give the German army a clear path to invade the Soviet Union, especially the fertile Ukraine region. To ensure that the Soviets did not interfere with his plans, Hitler camouflaged his virulent anticommunism on August 23, 1939, when he signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with Josef Stalin, the antifascist Soviet premier. The announcement of the treaty stunned a world that had understood fascism and communism to be enemies. The two tyrants agreed to divide northern and eastern Europe between them; the Germans took most of Poland, and the Soviet Union claimed a “sphere of interest” in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, From Isolationism to Intervention 1159 and a portion of Lithuania. Just nine days later, at dawn on September 1, an estimated 1.5 million German troops invaded Poland from the north, south, and west. Hitler ordered them “to kill without mercy men, women, and children of the Polish race or language.” He also ordered all terminally ill patients in German hospitals killed to make room for soldiers wounded in Poland. This was the final straw for the western democracies. Having allowed Austria and Czechoslovakia to be seized by Hitler’s war machine, Great Britain and France now did an aboutface. On September 3, they honored their commitment to defend Poland. Europe, the world’s smallest continent, was again embroiled in what would soon become another world war. The Josef Stalin Brutal leader of the Soviet nations making up the British Empire Union who rose to power in the midand Commonwealth—Canada, India, 1920s after the death of Vladimir Lenin. Australia, New Zealand—joined the war. Americans watched in horror as another world war erupted. “This nation,” declared Franklin Roosevelt, “will remain a neutral nation, but I cannot ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well. Even a neutral cannot be asked to close his mind or conscience.” Sixteen days after German troops stormed across the Polish border, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. Pressed from all sides, 700,000 poorly equipped Polish soldiers surrendered after a few weeks, having suffered 70,000 deaths and many more wounded. On October 6, 1939, the Nazis and Soviets divided Poland between them. Hitler’s goal was to obliterate Polish civilization, especially the Jews, and Germanize the country. For his part, Stalin wanted to recapture Polish territory lost during the First World War. Over the next five years, millions of Poles were arrested, deported, enslaved, or murdered. In April and May 1940, the Russians executed some 22,000 Polish military officers to ensure that its conquered neighbor would never mount a rebellion. In late November 1939, the Soviets invaded neighboring Finland, leading President Roosevelt to condemn their “wanton disregard for law.” Outnumbered five to one, Finnish troops held off the invaders for three months before being forced to negotiate a treaty that gave the Soviet Union a tenth of Finland. 1160 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 revising the neutrality act In September 1939, President Roosevelt decided that the United States must do more to stop “aggressor” nations. He summoned Congress into special session to revise the Neutrality Act. “I regret that Congress passed the Act,” the president said. “I regret equally that I signed the Act.” After six weeks of heated debate, Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1939, which allowed Britain and France to send their ships to the United States to bring back American military supplies. Public opinion supported such measures as long as other nations did the actual fighting. war in europe The war in Europe settled into a three-month stalemate during early 1940, as Hitler’s generals waited out the winter. Then, in the early spring, Germany attacked again. At dawn on April 9, Nazi armies occupied Denmark and landed along the Norwegian coast. German paratroopers, the first ever used in warfare, seized Norway’s airports. Denmark fell in a day, Norway within a few weeks. On May 10, German forces invaded the Low Countries—Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (Holland). Luxembourg fell the first day, the Netherlands three days later. Belgium lasted until May 28. A few days later, German tanks roared into northern France. “The fight beginning today,” Hitler declared, “decides the fate of the German nation for the next thousand years!” His brilliant Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) strategy centered on speed. Fast-moving columns of tanks, motorized artillery, and truck-borne infantry, all supported by warplanes and paratroopers, moved so fast that they paralyzed their stunned opponents. British and French troops sent to help the Belgians were forced to make a frantic retreat to the English Channel coast, with the Germans in hot pursuit. On May 26, while German Panzer divisions (made up of tanks and other armored vehicles) followed Hitler’s surprising order to rest and refuel, Great Britain was able to organize a weeklong evacuation of British and French soldiers from the beaches at Dunkirk, on the northern French coast near the border with Belgium. Despite attacks from German warplanes, some 338,000 defeated and demoralized soldiers escaped to England, leaving behind vast stockpiles of vehicles, weaponry, and ammunition. “Wars are not won by evacuations,” observed Prime Minister Churchill, “but there was a victory inside this deliverance.” While the evacuation was unfolding, German forces decimated the remaining French armies. Tens of thousands of panicked French refugees clogged the roads to Paris. The crumbling French war effort prompted Italy’s dictator, Mussolini, to declare war on France and Great Britain, which he dismissed as “the reactionary democracies of the West.” On June 14, 1940, German soldiers marched unop- From Isolationism to Intervention 1161 posed into Paris. Eight days later, French leaders surrendered, whereupon the Germans established a puppet fascist government in the city of Vichy. The rapid fall of France stunned the world. In the United States, complacency about the Nazis turned to fear and even panic as people realized the Germans could eventually assault America. The Second World War was but ten months old, yet Germany ruled most of western Europe. Only the “neutral” nations of Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland had avoided the Nazi onslaught. Great Britain now stood alone against Hitler’s relentless military power. “The war is won,” an ecstatic Hitler bragged to Mussolini. “The rest is only a matter of time.” AGGRESSION IN EUROPE, 1935–1939 250 0 250 FINLAND NORWAY 500 Miles 500 Kilometers SWEDEN NORTH SEA 0 DENMARK GREAT BRITAIN LITHUANIA NETHERLANDS ATLANTIC English Channel LATVIA BA IRELAND ESTONIA LT I C SEA ar. M 9 3 9 1 GERMANY POLISH CORRIDOR r. Sept. 1 Ma 6 3 19 Sep M1939 a t RHINE- 1 93 . 193 LAND 8 BELGIUM EAST PRUSSIA (GERMANY) POLAND r. OCEAN U. S. S. R. 9 SAAR C ZE x x SUDETENCHOS x M LOVAKIA LAND1 a 93 r. 8 xx xx x x FRANCE xx LUX. Maginot Line xx AUSTRIA SWITZ. HUNGARY ROMANIA AD ITALY TI RIA Fall of Spanish republic, Mar. 1939 PORTUGAL YUGOSLAVIA S PA I N A BLACK SEA BULGARIA C SE Apr. 1939 ALBANIA SPANISH MOROCCO M E D I T E TURKEY R GREECE R MOROCCO ALGERIA TUNISIA A N Ita ly t Oc o Et t. 1 hiop E ia , A 935 N CRETE S E Aggressive moves by Axis powers Axis powers ■ ■ L I B YA A EGYPT Keeping in mind the terms of the Treaty of Versailles ending the First World War, WWN64 explain why Hitler began his campaign of expansion by invading the Rhineland and Figure M26_1 the Sudetenland. First proof Why did the German attack on Poland begin the Second World War, whereas Hitler’s previous invasions of Austria and Czechoslovakia did not? 1162 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 preparing america for war As Hitler’s armies conquered Europe, the United States found itself in no condition to wage war. After the First World War, the U.S. Army was reduced to a small force; by 1939, it numbered only 175,000. By contrast, Germany had almost 5 million soldiers. In promoting “military preparedness,” President Roosevelt in May 1940 called for increasing the size of the army and producing 50,000 combat planes in 1942, a seemingly outlandish goal, since Germany was producing only 15,000 warplanes that year. Roosevelt also responded to Winston Churchill’s repeated requests for assistance by increasing military shipments to Great Britain and promising to provide all possible “aid to the Allies short of war.” Churchill was focused on one strategic objective: to convince, coax, bluff, charm, seduce, or frighten the United States into entering the war. the manhattan project Adding to Roosevelt’s concerns was the possibility that Germany might have a secret weapon. The famous physicist Albert Einstein, a Jewish Austrian refugee from Nazism, had alerted Roosevelt in the fall of 1939 that the Germans were trying to create atomic bombs. In June 1940, Roosevelt set up the National Defense Research Committee to coordinate military research, including a top-secret effort to develop an atomic bomb—the Manhattan Project—before the Germans did. Almost 200,000 people worked on the Manhattan Project, including Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the team of distinguished scientists scattered among thirty-seven secret facilities in thirteen states. the battle of britain Winston Churchill Prime Minister of Great Britain who led the nation during the Second World War. Having conquered western Europe, Hitler began planning the invasion of Great Britain (“Operation Sea Lion”), scheduled for September 1940. The late summer brought the Battle of Britain, as the Germans first sought to destroy Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF). The Nazis deployed some 2,500 warplanes, From Isolationism to Intervention 1163 outnumbering the RAF two to one. “Never has a nation been so naked before its foes,” Churchill admitted. Churchill became the symbol of Britain’s determination to stop Hitler. With his bulldog face, ever-present cigar, and “V for Victory” gesture, he urged the British citizenry to make the war “their finest hour.” He breathed defiance while preparing for a German invasion, building fortifications, laying mines, digging trenches and fashioning tank traps, and mobilizing the population. The British, he pledged, would confront Hitler’s invaders with “blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” They would “never surrender.” In July and August, 1940, the German air force (Luftwaffe) launched day and night bombing raids against military targets across southeast England. The pilots in the Royal Air Force (their average age was twenty-three), with the benefit of radar, a secret new technology, fended off the German assault, ultimately destroying 1,700 German warplanes. Hitler then ordered his bombers to target civilians and cities (especially London) in night raids designed to terrorize British civilians. In what came to be called “the Blitz” during September and October of 1940, the Germans caused massive damage in Britain’s major cities, destroying a million homes and killing 40,000 civilians. “The last three The London “Blitz” An aerial photograph of London set aflame by German bombing raids in 1940. Winston Churchill responded, “We shall never surrender.” 1164 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 nights in London,” reported the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain on September 10, “have been simply hell.” The Blitz, however, enraged rather than demoralized the British people. A London newspaper headline summarized the nation’s courage and defiant mood: “Is That the Best You Can Do, Adolf?” The British success in the air proved decisive, for in October 1940, Hitler gave up his invasion plans. It was the first battle he had lost, and it was Britain’s finest hour. “all aid short of war” During 1940, Franklin Roosevelt began a crucial campaign to convince Americans that isolationism was impractical and even dangerous. His phrase, all “aid short of war,” became the label for his efforts to help Great Britain. The president was especially concerned about a likely German invasion of the British Isles. “It is now most urgent,” Prime Minister Churchill cabled Roosevelt, “that you let us have the destroyers” needed to stop such an invasion. “This is a thing to do now!” To address the challenge, Roosevelt and Churchill, whose mother was an American, negotiated a trade on September 2, 1940, called the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, by which fifty old U.S. warships went to the British Royal Navy in return for allowing the United States to build military bases on British island colonies in the Caribbean. Two weeks later, on September 16, 1940, Roosevelt pushed through a reluctant Congress the first peacetime conscription (military draft) in American history. The Selective Training and Service Act required all 16 million men ages twenty-one to thirty-five to register for the draft at one of 6,500 local draft boards. (The minimum age was later reduced to eighteen.) a savage debate The world crisis transformed Roosevelt. Having been stalemated for much of his second term by congressional opposition to the New Deal, he was revitalized by the need to stop Nazism. Yet his efforts to aid Great Britain and prepare America for war outraged isolationists. A prominent Democrat remembered that the dispute between isolationists and socalled interventionists was “the most savage political debate during my lifetime.” Isolationists, mostly midwestern and western Republicans, formed the America First Committee to oppose “military preparedness.” Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, led the isolationist effort. To Lindbergh, Roosevelt’s efforts to help Britain were driven primarily by Jews who owned “our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.” Lindbergh assured Americans that Britain was doomed; they should join hands with Hitler. From Isolationism to Intervention 1165 roosevelt’s third term The isolationists sought to make the 1940 presidential campaign a debate about the war. In June, just as France was falling to Germany, the Republicans nominated Wendell L. Willkie of Indiana, a plainspoken corporate lawyer and former Democrat who had voted for Roosevelt in 1932. Once the campaign started, Willkie warned that Roosevelt was a “warmonger” and predicted that “if you re-elect him you may expect war in April, 1941.” Roosevelt responded that he had “said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” In November 1940, Roosevelt won an unprecedented third term by 27 million votes to Willkie’s 22 million and by an even more decisive margin, 449 to 82, in the electoral college. Winston Churchill wrote Roosevelt that he had “prayed for your success and I am truly thankful for it.” the lend-lease act Once reelected, Roosevelt found an ingenious way to provide more military aid to Britain, whose cash was running out. The Lend-lease Members of the isolationist “Mother’s Crusade,” urging defeat of the lendlease program, kneel in prayer in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. They feared the program aiding America’s allies would bring the United States into the wars in Europe and Asia. 1166 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Lend-Lease Act, introduced in Congress on January 10, 1941, allowed the president to lend or lease military equipment to “any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.” It was a bold challenge to the isolationists. As Senator Hiram Johnson of California claimed, “This bill is war.” Roosevelt responded to critics by arguing that “no nation can appease the Nazis. No man can turn a tiger into a kitten by stroking it.” The United States, he added, would provide everything the British needed while doing the same for China in its war against Japan, all in an effort to keep Americans from going to war themselves. “We must again be the great arsenal of democracy,” Roosevelt explained. Churchill shored up the president’s efforts by announcing that Britain did not need American troops to defeat Hitler: “Give us the tools and we will finish the job.” In early March, 1941, Congress approved the Lend-Lease Act. “Let not the dictators of Europe or Asia doubt our unanimity now,” Roosevelt declared. Between 1941 and 1945, the Lend-Lease program would ship $50 billion worth of supplies to Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France, China, and other Allied nations. The Lend-Lease Act was Roosevelt’s most emphatic effort to move America from isolationism to interventionism and it gave a huge boost to British morale. Churchill called it the most generous “act in the history of any nation.” germany invades the soviet union While Americans continued to debate Roosevelt’s efforts to help Great Britain, the European war expanded. In the spring of 1941, German troops joined Italian soldiers in Libya, forcing the British army in North Africa to withdraw to Egypt. In April 1941, Nazi forces overwhelmed Yugoslavia and Greece. With Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria also part of the Axis, Hitler controlled nearly all of Europe. But his ambition was unbounded. On June 22, 1941, without warning, Hitler launched “Operation Barbarossa,” a shocking invasion of the Soviet Union, his supposed ally. Hitler’s objective in turning on Stalin was his long-standing obsession to destroy communism, enslave the vast population of the Soviet Union, open up new lands for German settlement, and exploit Russia’s considerable natural resources. Hitler’s foolhardy decision was the defining moment of the European war. The 3 million German soldiers sent to the Soviet Union would eventually be worn down and thrown back. At first, however, the invasion seemed a great success, as the German armies raced across the vast plains of Ukraine and western Russia. Entire Soviet armies and cities were surrounded and destroyed. During the second half of 1941, an estimated 3 million Soviet soldiers, 50 percent of From Isolationism to Intervention 1167 the Soviet army, were captured. For four months, the Soviets retreated in the face of the German blitzkrieg. During the summer of 1941, German forces surrounded Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg, and began a siege of the city. As weeks passed, food and supplies became scarce. Hunger alone would kill 800,000 people. Desperate people ate cats, dogs, rats, and even sawdust. As the bitterly cold winter set in, corpses were left to freeze in the snow. Still, the soldiers and civilians held out. Leningrad became known as the city that refused to die. By December, 1941, other German armies had reached the suburbs of Moscow, a thousand miles east of Berlin. To American isolationists, Germany’s invasion of Russia confirmed that America should stay out of the war and let two dreadful dictatorships bleed each other to death. Roosevelt, however, insisted on including the Soviet Union in the Lend-Lease agreement; he and Churchill were determined to keep the Russians fighting Hitler so that Hitler could not concentrate on Great Britain. Gradually, Stalin slowed the Nazi advance by forcing the Russian people to fight—or be killed by their own troops. During the Battle of Moscow, Soviet defenders showed their pitiless resolve by executing 8,000 civilians charged with “cowardice.” Slowly, the tide started to turn against the Germans. By the winter of 1941– 1942, Hitler’s generals were learning the same bitter lesson that the Russians had taught Napoléon and the French in 1812. Invading armies must contend not only with Russia’s ferocious fighters and enormous population but also vast distances, deep snow, and subzero temperatures. the atlantic charter By the late summer of 1941, the United States was no longer a “neutral” nation. In August, Roosevelt and Churchill drew up a joint statement of “common principles” known as the Atlantic Charter. The agreement pledged that after the “final destruction of the Nazi tyranny,” the victors would promote certain common values: the self-determination of all peoples, economic cooperation, freedom of the seas, and a new system of international security to be called the United Nations. Within weeks, eleven antiAxis nations, including the Soviet Union, had endorsed the Atlantic Charter. war in the atlantic No sooner had Roosevelt signed the Atlantic Charter than U.S. warships came under fire. On September 4, 1941, the Greer was tracking a German submarine (“U-boat”) off the coast of Iceland and sharing the information with British warplanes when it was attacked. Roosevelt seized the opportunity to tell Americans that the ship was the victim of an unprovoked attack. In response, he essentially began an undeclared war in the Atlantic by ordering naval warships to provide protection for convoys all the way to Iceland, allowing them to “shoot on sight” any German submarines. 1168 The Second World War 1933–1945 CHAPTER 26 WORLD WAR II MILITARY ALLIANCES, 1942 FINLAND GREAT BRITAIN BA LTI C NO RT H SE A NORTHERN IRELAND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SEA NORWAY SWEDEN LATVIA Danzig LITHUANIA ´ (Gdansk) EAST PRUSSIA (Germany) DENMARK NETHERLANDS ATLANTIC BELG. GERMANY OCEAN CZ ECH O LUX. FRANCE ESTONIA SOVIET UNION POLAND SLOVAKIA AUSTRIA HUNGARY SWITZ. ROMANIA PORTUGAL YUGOSLAVIA SPAIN ITALY CORSICA ALBANIA SARDINIA SPANISH MOROCCO M E D I T E TURKEY GREECE R SICILY R MOROCCO TUNISIA A N ALGERIA CRETE E A N LIBYA S RHODES CYPRUS (British) E A PALESTINE (British) SYRIA D RE Axis-controlled 0 250 250 500 Miles SAUDI ARABIA A SE 0 IRAQ TRANSJORDAN EGYPT Axis Allies Neutral BLACK SEA BULGARIA 500 Kilometers What was the Atlantic Charter? Compare and contrast the political/military alliances in the First World War with WWN64 those in the Second World War. Figure M26_2 ■First How were the German armies able to seize most of Europe so quickly? proof ■ ■ Six weeks later, on October 17, 1941, a German U-boat sank the American warship Kearny. Eleven sailors were killed. “The shooting has started,” Roosevelt reported, “and history has recorded who fired the first shot.” Two weeks later, the destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed and sunk while escorting a convoy near Iceland, with a loss of 115 seamen. The sinkings spurred Congress to change the 1939 Neutrality Act by allowing merchant vessels to be armed and to enter combat zones and the ports of nations at war (“belligerents”). Step by step, the United States had begun to engage in naval warfare against Nazi Germany. Still, Americans hoped to avoid all-out war. From Isolationism to Intervention 1169 The Storm in the Pacific In 1940, Japan and the United States had begun a series of moves that pushed them closer to war. Convinced that they were Asia’s “leading race,” the Japanese had forced the helpless Vichy French government, under German control, to permit the construction of Japanese airfields in French-controlled Indochina (now Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The United States responded with the Export Control Act of July 2, 1940, which authorized President Roosevelt to restrict the export of military supplies and other strategic materials crucial to Japan. Three weeks later, on July 26, Roosevelt ordered that all Japanese assets in the United States be frozen and that oil shipments be stopped. the tripartite pact On September 27, 1940, the Imperial Japanese government signed a Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, by which each pledged to declare war on any nation that attacked any of them. Roosevelt called the pact an “unholy alliance” designed to “dominate and enslave the entire human race.” Several weeks later, the United States expanded its trade embargo against Japan to include iron ore, copper, and brass, deliberately leaving oil as the remaining bargaining chip. Without access to American products, Japan’s expansionist plans stalled; more than half of its imports came from the United States. In July 1941, Japan announced that it was taking complete control of French Indochina in its effort to expand the “Empire of the Rising Sun” and gain access to the raw materials denied it by the United States. Roosevelt responded by restricting oil exports to Japan. He also closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping and merged the Filipino army with the U.S. Army. Time magazine claimed that Roosevelt was “waging the first great undeclared war in U.S. history.” the attack on pearl harbor On October 16, 1941, Hideki Tōjō became the Japanese prime minister. Viewing war with the United States as inevitable, he ordered Hideki Tōjō Prime minister and war minister of Japan simultaneously until 1944, one year before Japan’s unconditional surrender. 1170 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 JAPANESE EXPANSION BEFORE THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR USSR ur Am KAMCHATKA PENINSULA (USSR) R ve Lupin (Man-chou-li) r i MO NG OLI A MANCHURIA, Port Arthur 1932 Mukden (Lü-shun), (Shen-yang) 1905 SAKHALIN, 1905 Khabarovsk Harbin Kweisui (Hu-ho-hao-t’e), 1937 Vladivostok KURIL ISLANDS, 1875 Territory under Japanese Y iv er Beijing, KOREA control, Dec. 7, 1941 1937 Protectorate, 1905 CHINA R Annexed, 1910 w Dates of acquisition or occupation K’ai-feng, JAPAN ll o e Y Tokyo 1938 1870–1899 Yan’-an Han-k’ou, PEN., 1905 SHAN-TUNG Shanghai, 1938 I-ch’ang, 1940 1900–1929 1937 Chungking BONIN IS., Hang-chou, 1930–1940 . Nan-ch’ang, 1876 RYUKYU 1937 eR 1939 gtz ISLANDS, 1879 n a Amoy, 1938 PESCADORES (P’ENG-HU), 1895 BURMA Swatow (Shan-t’ou), VOLCANO (MYANMAR) MARCUS ISLAND, 1899 ISLANDS, FORMOSA Canton, 1939 1891 (TAIWAN), 1895 1938 Hanoi PACIFIC Hong Kong KWANGCHOW (Fr.), 1940 PHILIPPINE HAI-NAN, 1939 MARIANA OCEAN M ek R. ong THAILAND FRENCH INDOCHINA, 1940 SOUTH CHINA SEA Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) SEA PHILIPPINE ISLANDS (U.S.) BRITISH MALAYA ISLANDS GUAM (U.S.) MICRONESIA Occupied 1914, Mandated 1922 CAROLINE ISLANDS MARSHALL ISLANDS Singapore DUTCH EAST INDIES (INDONESIA) ■ 0 0 400 400 800 Miles 800 Kilometers Why did the Japanese want to control French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies? WWN64 Figure M26.3 ■ Why did Japan sign the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy? First proof a powerful fleet of Japanese warships to prepare for a secret attack on the U.S. bases in Hawaii. The Japanese naval commander, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, knew that his country could not defeat the United States in a long war; its only hope was “to decide the fate of the war on the very first day” by launching a “fatal attack” on the U.S. Navy. On November 5, 1941, the Japanese asked the Roosevelt administration to end its embargo or “face conflict.” The American secretary of state, Cordell Hull, responded on November 26 that Japan must remove its troops from China be fle m to be G ex D at w m a de From Isolationism to Intervention 1171 Explosion of the USS Shaw The destroyer exploded after being hit by Japanese warplanes at Pearl Harbor. The Shaw was repaired shortly thereafter and went on to earn eleven battle stars in the Pacific campaign. s before the United States would lift its embargo. The Japanese then ordered a fleet of warships to begin steaming toward Hawaii. By this time, political and military leaders on both sides considered war inevitable. Yet Hull continued to meet with Japanese diplomats in Washington, privately dismissing them as being as “crooked as a barrel of fish hooks.” In late November, Roosevelt told his “war cabinet” that the United States or Great Britain was “likely to be attacked, perhaps next Monday.” He and others expected the Japanese to attack Singapore or the Philippines. The U.S. Navy Department sent an urgent message to its commanders in the Pacific: “Negotiations with Japan . . . have ceased, and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days.” Roosevelt staked his desperate hope for a peaceful solution on a last-minute message to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. “Both of us,” Roosevelt said, “have a sacred duty to restore traditional amity [cooperation] and prevent further death and destruction in the world.” 1172 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 By the time Roosevelt’s message arrived, Japanese warplanes were already headed for U.S. bases in Hawaii. In the early morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, Japanese planes began bombing the unsuspecting U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. Of the eight American battleships, all were sunk or disabled, along with eleven other ships. Japanese bombers also destroyed 180 American warplanes. The raid, which lasted less than two hours, killed more than 2,400 American servicemen (mostly sailors) and civilians, and wounded nearly 1,200 more. At the same time that the Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor, they were assaulting U.S. military facilities in the Philippines and on Guam and Wake islands in the Pacific, as well as British bases in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaya. The surprise attack actually fell short of military success in two important ways. First, the bombers ignored the maintenance facilities and oil storage tanks that supported the U.S. fleet, without which the surviving ships might have been forced back to the West Coast. Second, the Japanese missed the U.S. aircraft carriers that had left port a few days earlier. In the naval war to come, aircraft carriers, not battleships, would prove to be decisive. In a larger sense, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a spectacular miscalculation, for it brought the American isolationist movement to an abrupt end. Even the Japanese admiral who planned the attack had misgivings amid his officers’ celebrations: “I fear that we have only succeeded in awakening a sleeping tiger.” At half past noon on December 8, President Roosevelt delivered his war message to Congress: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” He asked Congress to declare a “state of war.” The Senate approved the resolution twenty-five minutes after Roosevelt finished speaking; the House followed immediately thereafter. Three days later, on December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on what Hitler called the “half Judaized and the other half Negrified” United States. After learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler shouted that “it is impossible for us to lose the war.” The separate wars in Asia, Europe, and Africa had now become one global conflict. Roosevelt told the American people in a radio address that “it will not only be a long war. It will be a hard war.” Yet he assured everyone that “we are going to win, and we are going to win the peace that follows.” Arsenal of Democracy Waging war against Germany and Japan required all of America’s immense industrial capacity. On December 18, 1941, Congress passed the War Powers Act, which gave the president far-reaching authority to reorganize government Arsenal of Democracy 1173 agencies and create new ones, regulate business and industry, and even censor mail and other forms of communication. With the declaration of war, men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five were drafted. Some 16 million men and several hundred thousand women served in the military during the war. The average American soldier or sailor in the Second World War was twenty-six years old, stood five feet eight, and weighed 144 pounds, an inch taller and eight pounds heavier than the typical recruit in the First World War. Only one in ten had attended college and only one in four had graduated from high school. In 1940, Adolf Hitler had scoffed at the idea that the United States could produce 50,000 warplanes a year, claiming that America was nothing but “beauty queens, millionaires, and Hollywood.” His ignorance of America’s industrial potential proved fatal. By the end of 1942, U.S. war production had already exceeded the combined output of Germany, Japan, and Italy. At an Allied planning conference in Iran in 1943, Josef Stalin raised a glass to toast “American production, without which this war would have been lost.” The War Production Board, created by Roosevelt in 1942, directed the conversion of industries to war production. In 1941, more than 3 million automobiles were manufactured in the United States; only 139 were built during the next four years, as automobile plants began making huge numbers of tanks, jeeps, trucks, and warplanes. “Something is happening that Hitler doesn’t understand,” announced Time magazine in 1942. “It is the Miracle of production.” In making the United States the “great arsenal of democracy,” the Roosevelt administration transformed the nation’s economy into the world’s most efficient military machine. By War Production Board This 1942 poster 1945, the year the war ended, the features caricatures of Mussolini, United States would be manufactur- Hitler, and Toˉjoˉ, who— according to ing half of the goods produced in the the poster— will fall on their “axis” if Americans continued their relentless world. American factories, many run- production of military equipment. ning twenty-four hours a day, seven 1174 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 days a week, produced 300,000 warplanes, 89,000 tanks, 3 million machine guns, and 7 million rifles. financing the war To cover the war’s huge cost (more than $3 trillion in today’s values), Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1942 (also called the Victory Tax). Whereas in 1939 only about 4 million people (about 5 percent of the workforce) filed tax returns, the new act made most workers taxpayers. By the end of the war, 90 percent of workers were paying income tax. Tax revenues covered about 45 percent of military costs from 1939 to 1946; the government borrowed the rest, mostly through a massive promotional campaign that sold $185 billion worth of government war bonds, which paid interest to purchasers. By the end of the war, the national debt was six times what it had been at the start. The size of the federal government soared during the war. More than a dozen new federal agencies were created, and the number of civilian federal workers quadrupled from 1 million to 4 million. Jobs were suddenly plentiful as millions quit work to join the military. The nation’s unemployment rate plummeted from 14 percent in 1940 to 2 percent in 1943. People who had long lived on the margins of the economic system, especially women, were now brought into the labor force. Stubborn pockets of poverty did not disappear, but for most civilians, especially those who had lost their jobs and homes in the Depression, the war spelled a better life. Some 24 million Americans moved during the war to take advantage of new job opportunities. Many headed to the West Coast, where shipyards and airplane factories were hiring nonstop. economic controls The need for the United States not only to equip and feed its own military forces but also provide massive amounts of food, clothing, and weapons to its allies created shortages of virtually all consumer goods that caused sharp price increases. In 1942, Congress responded by authorizing the Office of Price Administration to set price ceilings. With prices frozen, basic goods had to be allocated through rationing, with coupons doled out for limited amounts of sugar, coffee, gasoline, automobile tires, and meat. The government promoted patriotic conservation by urging every family to become a “fighting unit on the home front.” Posters featured slogans such as “Save Your Stuff to Make Us Tough,” “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” and “Save Your Scraps to Beat the Japs.” People collected scrap metal and tin foil, rubber, and cardboard for military use. Households were even encouraged to save cooking fat, from which glycerin could be extracted to make explosives. Arsenal of Democracy 1175 Businesses and workers often grumbled about the wage and price controls, and on occasion the government seized industries threatened by strikes. Despite these problems, the effort to stabilize wages and prices succeeded. By the end of the war, consumer prices had risen about 31 percent, far better than the rise of 62 percent during the First World War. a conservative backlash For all of the patriotism inspired by the war effort, criticism of government actions such as rationing increased with each passing year. In the 1942 congressional elections, Republicans gained forty-six seats in the House and nine in the Senate. During the 1940s, a coalition of conservatives from both parties dismantled “nonessential” New Deal agencies such as the Work Projects Administration (originally the Works Progress Administration), the National Youth Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Organized labor, despite substantial gains in membership and power during the war, felt the impact of the conservative trend. In the spring of 1943, when 400,000 coal miners went on strike demanding a $2-a-day wage increase, conservatives in Congress passed, over Roosevelt’s veto, the Smith-Connally War Labor Disputes Act, which authorized the government to seize plants and mines and keep them operating if workers went on strike. The War at Home The Second World War transformed life at home as it was being fought abroad. Housewives went to work as welders and riveters, and farmers joined industrial unions. Some 3.5 million rural folk from the South left farms for cities. The federal government paid for a national day-care program for young children to enable their mothers to work full-time. The dramatic changes required by the war also caused unexpected changes in many areas of social life, the impact of which would last long after the war’s end. women in the war The war marked a watershed in the status of women. During the war, nearly 350,000 women served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), the navy’s equivalent, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Army Air Force. With millions of men going into military service, the demand for civilian workers shook up old prejudices about gender roles. Sidney Hillman, appointed by Roosevelt to find workers for defense plants, announced that “war is calling on the women of America for production skills.” More than 8 million women entered the civilian workforce. To help recruit women for 1176 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Women of the workforce, 1942 At the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California, three women assemble the tail section of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. traditionally male jobs, the government launched a promotional campaign featuring the story of “Rosie the Riveter,” a woman named Rosina Bonavita, who excelled as a riveter at an airplane factory. Many men opposed the surge of women taking traditionally male jobs. A disgruntled male legislator asked who would handle traditional household tasks if women flocked to factories: “Who will do the cooking, the washing, the mending, the humble homey tasks to which every woman has devoted herself; who will rear and nurture the children?” Many women, however, were eager to escape the grinding routines of domestic life and earn good wages. A female welder remembered that her wartime job “was the first time I had a chance to get out of the kitchen and work in industry and make a few bucks. This was something I had never dreamed would happen.” african americans While President Roosevelt focused on military strategy, his wife Eleanor focused on organizing the home front. She insisted that the government’s wartime partnership with business not neglect the needs Arsenal of Democracy 1177 of workers, argued that America could not fight racism abroad while tolerating it at home, and championed the mass influx of women into the once-male work force during the war. More than a half million African Americans left the South for better opportunities during the war years, and more than a million blacks nationwide joined the industrial workforce for the first time. Lured by jobs and higher wages in military-related plants and factories, African Americans from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana headed west, where the dramatic expansion of defense-related jobs had significant effects on the region’s population. During the war years, the number of African Americans rose sharply in western cities such as Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. At the same time, the war provided a boon to southern textile mills by requiring millions of military uniforms. Manufacturing jobs led thousands of Bigotry at home During the Detroit Riots of 1943, police officers do nothing when a white thug hits a black man. 1178 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Tuskegee Airmen The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military pilots. Here, the first graduates are reviewed at Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. “dirt poor” sharecroppers and tenant farmers, many of them African Americans, to leave the land for steady work in new mills and factories. Sixty of the 100 army camps created during the war were in southern states, further transforming local economies. During the war, the U.S. rural population decreased by 20 percent. racial tension at home The most volatile social issue ignited by the war was African American participation in the military. Although the armed forces were still racially segregated in 1941, African Americans rushed to enlist after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As African American Joe Louis, the world heavyweight boxing champion, put it, “Lots of things [are] wrong with America, but Hitler ain’t going to fix them.” Altogether, about a million African Americans—men and women—served in the armed forces during the war. Arsenal of Democracy 1179 Black soldiers and sailors, assigned to racially segregated units, were initially excluded from combat units. They loaded ships, drove trucks, dug latrines, and handled supplies and mail. Black officers could not command white soldiers or sailors. Henry L. Stimson, the secretary of war, claimed that “leadership is not embedded in the negro race.” Military bases had segregated facilities—and experienced frequent racial “incidents.” In late 1944, however, the need for more troops led the government to revisit its racial policies. Under pressure from the African American community as well as Eleanor Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, commander of the U.S. forces in Europe, agreed to let black volunteers fight in fifty-two all-black fifty-man platoons commanded by white officers. A black officer said the decision was “the greatest” for African Americans “since enactment of the constitutional amendments following the Civil War.” The black soldiers earned the reputation of being fierce fighters. The same was true of some 600 African American pilots trained in Tuskegee, Alabama. The so-called Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 missions, and their unquestionable excellence spurred military and civilian leaders to desegregate the armed forces after the war. At war’s end, however, the U.S. Army reimposed segregation. It would be several more years before the military was truly integrated. mexican americans As rural dwellers moved west, many farm counties experienced a labor shortage. In an ironic about-face, local and federal authorities who before the war had forced migrant laborers back across the Mexican border now recruited them to harvest crops on American farms. The Mexican government would not consent to provide the laborers, however, until the United States promised to ensure them decent working and living conditions. The result was the creation of the bracero program in 1942, whereby Mexico agreed to provide seasonal farmworkers on year-long contracts. Under the bracero program, some 200,000 Mexican farmworkers entered the western United States, mostly packed in cattle cars on trains. At least that many more crossed the border as undocumented workers. The rising tide of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles prompted a stream of anti-Mexican editorials and ugly racial incidents. Even though some 300,000 Mexican Americans served in the war and earned a higher percentage of Congressional Medals of Honor than any other minority group, racial prejudices still prevailed. In southern California, there was constant conflict between white servicemen and Mexican American gang members and teenage “zootsuiters.” (Zoot suits were flamboyant clothing worn by some young Mexican American men.) In 1943, several thousand off-duty sailors and soldiers, joined 1180 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Off to court Latinos dressed in zoot suits are loaded onto a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s bus for a court appearance in June 1943. by hundreds of local whites, rampaged through Los Angeles, assaulting Hispanics, African Americans, and Filipinos. The weeklong violence came to be called the “Zoot Suit Riots.” native americans in the military Indians supported the war effort more fully than any other group in American society. Almost a third of eligible Native American men served in the armed forces. Many others worked in defense-related industries, and thousands of Indian women volunteered as nurses or joined the WAVES. As was the case with African Americans, Indians benefited from the experiences afforded by the war by gaining vocational skills and a greater awareness of how to succeed within mainstream society. Why did so many Native Americans fight for a nation that had stripped them of their land and ravaged their heritage? Some felt that they had no choice. Mobilization for the war effort ended many New Deal programs that had provided Indians with jobs. At the same time, many viewed the Nazis and Japanese warlords as threats to their own homeland. Whatever their motivations, Indians distinguished themselves in the military. Unlike their African American counterparts, Indian servicemen were integrated into regular units with whites. Perhaps their most distinctive role was serving as “code talkers”: every military branch used Indians, especially Navajos, to encode and decipher messages using Indian languages unknown to the Germans and Japanese. N G m sbe he of in es ed a ed no at nd aan ts ”: ie. Arsenal of Democracy 1181 Navajo code talkers The complex Navajo language made it impossible for the Germans and Japanese to decode American messages. Here, a code talker relays messages for U.S. marines in the Battle of Bougainville in the South Pacific in 1943. discrimination against japanese americans The attack on Pearl Harbor ignited a hunger for vengeance against the nisei—people of Japanese descent living in the United States. Many Americans saw no difference between the Japanese who attacked Pearl Harbor and Japanese Americans. As Idaho’s governor declared, “A good solution to the Jap problem would be to send them all back to Japan, then sink the island.” Such hysteria helps explain why the U.S. government sponsored one of the worst violations of civil liberties during the twentieth century, when more than 120,000 nisei were forcibly removed from their homes and transported to ten “war relocation camps.” Forced to sell their farms and businesses at great loss within forty-eight hours, ordered to bring with them only what they could carry, the internees were sent by train and bus to ten barbed-wire enclosed internment camps scattered across remote areas in the western states. They lost not only their property but also their liberty. President Roosevelt initiated the relocation when he issued Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, authorizing the forcible removal of all 1182 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 ethnic Japanese living on the Pacific coast. It was perhaps his worst decision as president. Roosevelt called his action a “military necessity” although not a single incident of espionage involving Japanese Americans was proved. As it turned out, more than 70 percent of those affected were U.S. citizens. On Evacuation Day, Burt Wilson, a white schoolboy in Sacramento, California, was baffled as soldiers ushered the nisei children out of his school: We wondered what had happened. They took somebody out of eighth grade, a boy named Sammy, who drew wonderful cartoons. He was my friend, and one day he was there and the next day he was gone. And that was very difficult for us to understand because we didn’t see Sammy or any Japanese American—at least I didn’t—as the enemy. Few if any nisei were disloyal. In fact, 39,000 Japanese Americans served in the armed forces during the war, and others worked as interpreters and translators. But all were victims of fear and racial prejudice. Not until 1983 did the government acknowledge the injustice of the internment policy. Five years later, A farewell to civil rights American troops escorted Japanese Americans by gunpoint to remote internment camps, some of which were horse-racing tracks, whose stables served as housing. The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1183 it granted those nisei still living $20,000 each in compensation, a tiny amount relative to what they had lost during four years of confinement. The Allied Drive toward Berlin By mid-1942, the “home front” was hearing good news from Europe. U.S. naval forces had been increasingly successful at destroying German U-boats off the Atlantic coast. Up to that point, German submarines had sunk hundreds of Allied cargo vessels, killing 2,500 sailors. Stopping the submarine attacks was important because the Grand Alliance—Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union—called for the defeat of Germany first. Defeating the Japanese could wait. War Aims and Strategy A major consideration for Allied military strategy was the fighting on the vast Eastern Front in the Soviet Union. During 1941–1942, the Nazis and Soviets waged colossal battles. The Soviet population—by far—bore the brunt of the war against the Nazis, leading Josef Stalin to insist that the Americans and British relieve the pressure on his troops by attacking the Germans in western Europe, thereby forcing Hitler to pull units away from the Russian Front. Meanwhile, with most of the German army deployed on the Russian Front, the British and American air forces, flying from bases in England, would bomb military and industrial targets in German-occupied western Europe, and especially in Germany itself, while American and British generals prepared plans to attack Nazi troops in North Africa, Italy, and France. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill agreed that they needed to create a second front in western Europe, but they could not agree on the timing or location of an invasion. U.S. military planners wanted to attack the Germans in France before the end of 1942. The British, however, were wary of moving too fast. An Allied defeat on the French coast, Churchill warned, was “the only way in which we could possibly lose this war.” Finally, Roosevelt decided to accept Churchill’s compromise proposal for a joint Anglo-American invasion of North Africa, which was occupied by German and Italian armies not nearly as strong as those in Europe. the north africa campaign On November 8, 1942, British and American forces landed in Morocco and Algeria on the North African 1184 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 coast (“Operation Torch”). They were led by an untested, little-known U.S. general, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Farther east, British armies were pushing the Germans and Italians back across Libya. The Americans lost badly in early battles. In early 1943, however, Eisenhower, soon known by his nickname, “Ike,” found an audacious field commander in General George Patton, who said he loved war “more than my life.” Armed with ivory-handled pistols and brimming with bravado, Patton showed American troops how to fight a war of speed and daring. Corporal Morris Zimmerman, a soldier fighting under Patton, wrote his mother from North Africa, “This is your son reporting from the land of Arabs and wine, sticky flies and red sand. I have always wanted to cross an ocean to see what was on the other side and darned if I didn’t.” Hammered from all sides and unable to retreat, some 250,000 Germans and Italians surrendered on May 12, 1943, leaving all of North Africa in Allied control. The “continent had been redeemed,” said Winston Churchill. Ernie Pyle, a war correspondent embedded with the American army, reported that Major General George S. Patton Patton commanded the U.S. invasion of Sicily, the largest amphibious action in the war up to that point. He believed that war “brings out all that is best in men.” The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1185 the U.S. troops “fought like veterans. They were well handled. We had enough of what we needed. Everything meshed perfectly, and the end was inevitable. . . . Tunisia has been a good warm-up field for our armies.” But, he added, “the worst was yet to come.” the casablanca conference Five months earlier, in Janu- ary 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Anglo-American military chiefs met at a seaside resort near Casablanca, the largest city in French Morocco. It was a historic occasion. No U.S. president had ever flown abroad while in office, and none had ever visited Africa. Stalin chose to stay in the Soviet Union, but he sent a message which again urged the Allies to invade Nazi-controlled western Europe to relieve the pressure on the Russians. At the Casablanca conference, the British convinced the Americans that they should follow up the anticipated victory in North Africa with an assault on the Italian island of Sicily before attacking Italy itself. Roosevelt and Churchill also decided to step up the bombing of Germany and to increase shipments of military supplies to the Soviet Union and the Nationalist Chinese forces fighting the Japanese. Before leaving the Casablanca conference, Roosevelt announced, with Churchill’s blessing, that the war would end only with the “unconditional surrender” of all enemy nations. This decision was designed to quiet Soviet suspicions that the Americans and British might negotiate separately with Hitler to end the war in western Europe. The announcement also reflected Roosevelt’s determination that “every person in Germany should realize that this time Germany is a defeated nation.” Whatever its impact on Soviet morale or enemy resistance, however, the decision to require unconditional surrender ensured the destruction of Germany and Japan that would create power vacuums along the western and eastern borders of the Soviet Union. the battle of the atlantic While fighting raged in North Africa, the Battle of the Atlantic reached its climax. Great Britain desperately needed more food and military supplies from the United States, but German submarines operating in groups called “wolfpacks” were sinking the British vessels transporting American goods faster than British shipyards could replace them. There could be no invasion of German-occupied France until the U-boat menace was defeated. By July 1942, some 230 Allied ships and almost 5 million tons of war supplies had been lost. “The only thing that ever frightened me during the war,” recalled Churchill, “was the U-boat peril.” By the end of 1942, however, the British and Americans had discovered ways to defeat the U-boats. British experts cracked the German naval radio 1186 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 codes, enabling Allied convoys to steer clear of U-boats or to hunt them down with long-range warplanes (called “subchasers”) and anti-submarine weapons deployed on warships. New technology also helped, as sonar and radar allowed Allied ships to track submarines. Yet the best tactic against U-boats was to group cargo vessels into tightly bunched convoys so that warships could protect them more effectively. In May 1943, the Allies destroyed forty-one U-boats. Thereafter, the U-boats were on the defensive, and Allied shipping losses fell significantly. sicily and italy On July 10, 1943, following the Allied victory in North Africa, about 250,000 British and American troops landed on the coast of Sicily. General Eisenhower called it the “first page of the liberation of the European continent.” The island was in Allied hands by August 17, bringing to an end Benito Mussolini’s twenty years of fascist rule in Italy. On July 25, 1943, the Italian king had dismissed Mussolini as prime minister and had him arrested. The new Italian government startled the Allies when it offered not only to surrender but also to switch sides. To prevent them from doing so, Hitler sent German armies into Italy. The Italian campaign thereafter became a series of stalemated battles that left people wondering if it had been worth the cost. Winter came early to southern Italy, making life even more miserable for the soldiers. The Germans positioned themselves behind formidable defenses and rugged terrain that enabled them to slow the Allied advance to a crawl. “Italy was one hill after another,” said a U.S. soldier, “and when it was wet, you were either going up too slow or down too fast, but always the mud. And every hill had a German [machine] gun on it.” Allied casualties soared as the stalemate continued. By February 1944, the two sides were, in the words of U.S. commander Mark W. Clark, like “two boxers in the ring, both about to collapse.” Mussolini, plucked from prison by a daring German airborne commando raid, became head of a puppet fascist government in northern Italy as Allied forces finally took control of the rest of the country. On June 4, 1944, the U.S. Fifth Army entered Rome, just two days before D-day on the coast of France. “We were woken by trucks moving through the street,” one overjoyed Italian remembered. “At first I thought it was the Germans, but then I heard American accents. . . . By dawn people were lining the streets. I cried.” the tehran conference Late in the fall of 1943, in Tehran, Iran, Churchill and Roosevelt had their first joint meeting with Josef Stalin. Their discussions focused on the planned invasion of Nazi-controlled France and a simultaneous Russian offensive westward across eastern Europe. The three The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1187 leaders agreed to create an international organization—the United Nations— to maintain peace after the war. Upon arriving back in the United States, Roosevelt confided to Churchill his distrust of Stalin, saying that it was a “ticklish” business keeping the “Russians cozy with us” because of the tension between communism and capitalism. As General Eisenhower stressed, however, the fate of Britain and the United States depended on the Soviets’ survival as an ally. “The prize we seek,” he said in 1942, “is to keep 8 million Russians [soldiers] in the war.” the strategic bombing of europe Months of preparation went into the long-anticipated Allied invasion of German-occupied France. While waiting for D-day (the day the invasion would begin), the U.S. Army Air Force tried to pound Germany into submission with an air campaign that dropped thousands of bombs and killed some 350,000 civilians. Yet the air offensive failed to shatter either German morale or war-related production. Many bombs missed their targets because of thick clouds, high winds, and inaccurate navigational systems, and many Allied planes were shot down. The bombing campaign, however, did force the Germans to commit precious resources to air-raid defense and eventually wore down their air force. With Allied air supremacy assured by 1944, the much-anticipated invasion of Hitler’s “Fortress Europe” could move forward. planning an invasion In early 1944, Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London with a new title: Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (AEF) that would invade Nazi-controlled western Europe. Eisenhower faced enormous challenges, ranging from creating an effective command structure to handling disagreements between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. Eisenhower also faced the daunting task of planning Operation Overlord, the daring assault on Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall,” a formidable array of fortifications, mines, machine guns, barbed wire, and jagged beach obstacles along the French coastline. An attack by sea against heavily fortified defenders was the toughest of military operations. The planned invasion gave Churchill nightmares: “When I think of the beaches . . . choked with the flower of American and British youth . . . I see the tides running red with their blood. I have my doubts. I have my doubts.” For months, Eisenhower, neither an experienced strategist nor a combat commander, dedicated himself to planning the risky invasion and managing the complex political and military rivalries among the Allied leaders. Wellorganized and efficient, he was a high-energy perfectionist, impatient and 1188 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 General Dwight D. Eisenhower Eisenhower visiting with U.S. paratroopers before they began the D- day assault in Operation Overlord. often short-tempered with his staff. He attended to every detail, including the amassing of 5 million tons of military equipment and munitions and thousands of warplanes and ships. As D-day approached, Eisenhower’s chief of staff predicted only a fiftyfifty chance of success. The seaborne invasion was the greatest gamble and most complex military operation in history. “I am very uneasy about the whole operation,” admitted Sir Alan Brooke, head of British forces. “It may well be the most ghastly disaster of the whole war.” Eisenhower was so concerned that he carried in his wallet a note to be circulated if the Allies failed. It read: “If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.” d-day and after Operation Overlord succeeded in part because it surprised the Germans. The Allies made elaborate efforts—including the positioning of British decoy troops and making misleading public statements—to fool the Nazis into believing that the invasion would come at Pas-de-Calais, on the French-Belgian border, where the English Channel was narrowest. Instead, the landings would occur along fifty miles of shoreline in northern Normandy, a French coastal region almost 200 miles south. The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1189 On the blustery evening of June 5, 1944, Eisenhower visited some of the 16,000 American paratroopers preparing to drop behind the German lines in France. The soldiers, their faces blackened by burnt cork and heads shaved to resemble Indian warriors, noticed Eisenhower’s concern and tried to lift his spirits. “Now quit worrying, General,” one of them said, “we’ll take care of this thing for you.” A sergeant said, “We ain’t worried. It’s Hitler’s turn to worry.” After the planes took off, Eisenhower returned to his car with tears in his eyes. He later confided to an aide: “I hope to God I know what I’m doing.” As he got into bed that night, Winston Churchill, with tears running down his cheeks, asked his wife: “Do you know that by the time you wake up in the morning, 20,000 men may have been killed?” As the planes carrying the paratroopers arrived over France, thick clouds and German anti-aircraft fire disrupted the formations. Some soldiers were dropped miles from their landing sites, some were dropped far out at sea, and some were dropped so low that their parachutes never opened. Yet the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions outfought three German divisions during the chaotic night and prepared the way for the main invasion by destroying bridges and capturing artillery positions and key road junctions. Donald Burgett, a nineteen-year-old paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, recalled dropping into France in the dark of night and being alone: “My throat went dry and I swallowed, but nothing went down. My heart pounded, sending blood throbbing through my temples and causing a weakfeeling in the pit of my stomach.” But he had no time for fear. As he stumbled upon others who had survived the landing, they soon found themselves embroiled in combat. the normandy landings As the gray, misty light of dawn broke on D-day, June 6, 1944, the biggest invasion fleet in history—some 5,300 Allied ships carrying 370,000 soldiers and sailors—filled the horizon off the Normandy coast. Sleepy German soldiers guarding the beaches awoke to see the breathtaking array of ships. “I saw an armada like a plague of locusts,” said a German officer. “The number of ships was uncountable.” Major battles often depend on luck. (When asked what kind of generals he preferred, Napoléon said “lucky ones.”) Eisenhower was lucky on D-day, for the Germans misinterpreted the Normandy landings as a diversion for the “real” attack at Pas-de-Calais. It helped that the German commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, assuming that the weather was too rough for an invasion, had gone home to Germany to celebrate his wife’s June 6 birthday. “How stupid of me,” Rommel said when he heard the news. “How stupid of me!” By one in the afternoon, he was racing back to France. 1190 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 The landing at Normandy D-Day, June 6, 1944. Before they could huddle under a seawall and begin to dislodge the Nazi defenders, U.S. soldiers on Omaha Beach had to cross a fifty-yard stretch that exposed them to machine guns housed in concrete bunkers. When Hitler learned of the Allied landings, he boasted that “the news couldn’t be better. As long as they [the Allied armies] were in Britain, we couldn’t get at them. Now we have them where we can destroy them.” In the United States, word that the long-anticipated liberation of Nazi Europe had begun captured the nation’s attention. Businesses closed, church bells tolled, and traffic was stopped so that people could pray in the streets. Stalin cabled to Churchill and Roosevelt that the news brought “joy to us all.” Resilience and creativity are crucial virtues amid the confusion of great battles (the “fog of war”), which rarely go according to plan. Despite Eisenhower’s meticulous preparations, the huge operation almost failed. During the first day, foul weather and rough seas caused injuries and nausea and capsized dozens of landing craft. More than 1,000 men, weighed down by seventy pounds of equipment, drowned as they stepped off landing craft into water up to their necks. Some of the boxy, flat-bottomed landing craft delivered their often seasick troops to the wrong locations. “We have landed in the wrong place,” shouted fifty-six-year-old Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (son of the former president), who would receive the Medal of Honor for his courage that day. “But we will start the war from here.” The noise was deafening as shells exploded across the beach and in the surf. The bodies of the killed, wounded, and drowned piled up amid wrench- The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1191 ing cries for help. “As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down,” Private Harry Parley remembered, “I became a visitor to Hell” as German gunners fired on the attacking soldiers. The first U.S. units ashore at Omaha Beach, beneath 130-foot-tall cliffs defended by German machine guns and mortars, lost more than 90 percent of their men. In one company, 197 of the 205 men were killed or wounded within ten minutes. Officers struggled to rally the exhausted, bewildered troops pinned down on the beach. “Two kinds of men are staying on this beach,” shouted cigar-smoking Colonel George Taylor on Omaha Beach. “The dead and those who are going to die. Get up! Move in! Goddammit! Move in and die! Get the hell out of here!” He then began to run forward and his men followed, stumbling across the deadly beach into the dunes. Inch by inch, backed by waves of reinforcements, the U.S. soldiers pushed across the beach and up the cliffs. By nightfall, 170,000 Allied soldiers—57,000 of them Americans—were scattered across fifty miles of windswept Normandy coastline. So too were the bodies of some 10,724 dead or wounded Allied soldiers. On June 13, a week after the Normandy landings, Erwin Rommel, the German commander, told his wife that the “battle is not going at all well for us.” Within three weeks, the Allies had landed more than 1 million troops, 566,000 tons of supplies, and 171,000 vehicles. “Whether the enemy can still be stopped at this point is questionable,” German headquarters near Paris warned Hitler. “The enemy air superiority is terrific and smothers almost every one of our movements. . . . Losses in men and equipment are extraordinary.” Operation Overlord was the greatest seaborne invasion in the annals of warfare, but it was small when compared with the offensive launched by the Soviet army in Russia a few weeks later. Between June and August 1944, the Soviets killed, wounded, or captured more German soldiers (350,000) than were stationed in all of western Europe. Still, the Normandy invasion was a turning point in the war. With the beachhead secured, the Allied leaders knew that victory was just a matter of time, as Hitler’s armies were caught between the Soviets advancing from the east and the Allied forces from the west. “What a plan!” Churchill exclaimed to the British Parliament. Even Stalin applauded the invasion’s “vast conception and masterly execution.” For all of the Allied success, however, Eisenhower privately struggled with the daily casualty reports. “How I wish this cruel business of war could be completed quickly,” he wrote his wife. “War demands real toughness of fiber— not only in the soldiers [who] must endure, but in the homes that must sacrifice their best.” 1192 The Second World War 1933–1945 CHAPTER 26 the liberation of paris It would take seven more weeks and 37,000 more lives for the Allied troops to gain control of Normandy; the Germans lost more than twice that many, and some 19,000 French civilians were killed. Then, on July 25, 1944, American armies broke out from Normandy and headed east toward Paris. On August 15, a joint American-French invasion force landed on the Mediterranean coast and raced up the Rhone Valley in eastern France. WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE AND AFRICA, 1942–1945 ATLANTIC FINLAND OCEAN NORWAY ESTONIA 19 C SEA USSR er iep Dn 1943 194 r Stalingrad (Volgograd) 2 CAS SEAPIAN R xx ver Ri e Elb x xx iv e Volg a B AL TI GREAT LATVIA REPUBLIC DENMARK BRITAIN OF LITHUANIA IRELAND Sinking of the Bismarck 1945 EAST NETHERLANDS Ruhr PRUSSIA English Berlin Valley Dunkirk Od Channel Potsdam Warsaw e 4 r 1945 GERMANY 194 Normandy Battle of BELG. POLAND the Bulge R 1944 Seine River LUX. Rhine CZ i v er ECH River ARDENNES FOREST OSLOVAKIA Lo Maginot ire R nube R Line i Da i v er SWITZ. AUSTRIA HUNGARY ROMANIA Po River FRANCE 1944 ITALY e Dan u b Florence YUGOSLAVIA PORTUGAL R iver SPAIN CORSICA BULGARIA Lisbon Rome Cassino (French) Anzio Gibraltar ALBANIA GREECE Naples SARDINIA (British) M E D I 1942 Tangier T Palermo 43 SPANISH Bizerte E 1 9 MOROCCO Athens R SICILY Oran Algiers Casablanca Syracuse Tunis R (Siracusa) A ALGERIA CRETE MOROCCO R iv er NORTH 44 SEA SWEDEN NORTHERN IRELAND x x xx Rhone Rive r x x ver 1944 N TUNISIA E A Major battle Axis Powers at outbreak of the war Maximum extent of Axis military power Allied offensives Inside limit of German U-boat operations 1943 LIBYA 0 0 250 250 500 Miles RHODES SYRIA CYPRUS (British) PALESTINE E A (British) TRANSAlexandria JORDAN Suez Canal El Alamein, 1942 EGYPT 500 Kilometers ■ What was the Allied strategy in North Africa, WWN64 invasion of Italy? Figure M26_4 First proof ■ Why did Eisenhower’s D- day plan succeed? ■ S TURKEY IRAQ SAUDI ARABIA ED R EA S Heaviest Allied aerial bombing N BLACK SEA and why was it important for the What was the role of strategic bombing in the war? Was it effective? The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1193 German resistance collapsed after only ten weeks of ferocious fighting. On D-day, one German unit, the 21st Panzer Division, boasted 12,000 men and 127 tanks; ten weeks later, having retreated across France, it had 300 men and just 10 tanks. A division of the Free French Resistance, aided by American units, had the honor of liberating Paris on August 25. As U.S. soldiers marched through the cheering crowds, a reporter said that he had never “seen in any place such joy as radiated from the people of Paris this morning.” By mid-September, most of France and Belgium had been cleared of German troops. Meanwhile, the Soviet army moved relentlessly westward along a 1,200mile front, pushing the Germans out of Russia. Between D-day and the end of the war in Europe a year later, 1.2 million Germans were killed and wounded. roosevelt’s fourth term In 1944, amid the largest war in history, the calendar required another presidential election. The Republicans nominated New York governor Thomas E. Dewey, who argued that it was time for a younger man to replace the “tired” Democratic leader. Voters, however, preferred the seasoned Franklin Roosevelt. On November 7, 1944, the president was elected for a fourth term, this time by a popular vote of 25.6 million to 22 million and an electoral vote of 432 to 99. the race to berlin By the time Franklin Roosevelt was reelected, Allied armies were approaching the German border from the east and west. Churchill, worried that if the Soviets arrived first in Berlin, the German capital, Stalin would control the postwar map of Europe, urged Eisenhower to beat the Soviets to Berlin. Eisenhower, however, decided it was not worth the estimated 100,000 Americans who would be killed or wounded in such an operation. the yalta conference As the Allied armies converged on Berlin, Stalin hosted Roosevelt and Churchill at the Yalta Conference (February 4–11, 1945) in Crimea, on the Black Sea. The leaders agreed that, once Germany surrendered, the Soviets would occupy eastern Germany, and the Americans and British would control western Germany. Berlin, the German capital within the Soviet zone, would be subject to joint occupation. The Americans and British later created a fourth occupation zone in Germany for the French to administer. Stalin’s goals at Yalta were to retrieve former Russian territory transferred to Poland after the First World War and to impose Soviet control over the countries of eastern and central Europe. Roosevelt, exhausted and in failing health, agreed to Stalin’s proposals because he needed the Soviets to support the creation of a new international peacekeeping organization, the United 1194 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Nations, and to help defeat Japan. Military analysts estimated that Japan could hold out for eighteen months after the defeat of Germany unless the Soviets joined the war in the Pacific. Stalin agreed to do so but the price was high: he demanded territories from Japan and China. Roosevelt and Churchill got Stalin to sign the Yalta Declaration of Liberated Europe, which called for free and open elections in the liberated nations of eastern Europe. Nevertheless, the wily Stalin would fail to live up to his promises. When the Red Army “liberated” Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and eastern Germany, it plundered and sent back to Russia anything of economic value, dismantling thousands of factories and mills and rebuilding them in the Soviet Union. To ensure control over eastern Europe, the Soviets shipped off to prison anyone who questioned the new Communist governments they created. Roosevelt viewed the Yalta meeting as a test of whether the wartime alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union would survive once the conflict ended. He staked his hopes for postwar cooperation on the creation of the United Nations (UN). At Yalta, the “Big Three” agreed to hold organizational meetings for the UN beginning on April 25, 1945. Like Woodrow Wilson, Roosevelt was determined to replace America’s “outdated” isolationism with an engaged internationalism. But to get Stalin’s approval of the UN, Roosevelt gave in to his demands for territory held by Japan in northeast Asia. Republicans later savagely attacked Roosevelt for “giving” eastern Europe over to Soviet domination. Some blamed his behavior on his declining health. (He would die in a few weeks.) But even a robust Roosevelt could not have dislodged the Soviet army from its control of eastern Europe. The course The Yalta Conference Churchill, of the war shaped the outcome at Yalta, Roosevelt, and Stalin (with their not Roosevelt’s failed diplomacy. The respective foreign ministers behind United States had no real leverage. As them) confer on plans for the postwar a U.S. diplomat admitted, “Stalin held world in February 1945. all the cards.” “I didn’t say the result The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1195 was good,” Roosevelt said after returning from the Yalta Conference. “I said it was the best I could do.” death of a president By early 1945, Nazi Germany was on the verge of defeat, but sixty-three-year-old Franklin Roosevelt would not live to join the victory celebrations. In the spring of 1945, he went to the “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia, to rest up for the conference that would create the United Nations. On the morning of April 12, 1945, he complained of a headache but seemed to be in good spirits. It was nearly lunchtime when he said to an artist painting his portrait, “Now we’ve got just about 15 minutes more to work.” Then, as she watched him reading some documents, he groaned, saying that he had “terrific pain” in the back of his head. Suddenly he slumped over and fell into a coma. He died two hours later. On hand to witness the president’s death was Lucy Mercer Rutherford, the woman with whom Roosevelt had an affair thirty years before. Eleanor Roosevelt was in Washington, D.C., when Franklin died, unaware of the president’s guest. Although Franklin had promised in 1918 to end all communications with Mercer, he had in fact secretly stayed in touch, even enabling her to attend his presidential inauguration in 1933. Roosevelt’s death shocked and saddened the world, in part because few people were aware that he was sick. Even his sharpest critics were devastated. Ohio senator Robert Taft, known as “Mr. Republican,” called Roosevelt’s death one of the worst tragedies in the nation’s history. “The President’s death removes the greatest figure of our time at the very climax of his career. . . . He dies a hero of the war, for he literally worked himself to death in the service of the American people.” By contrast, Hitler viewed Roosevelt’s death as a “great miracle.” “The war is not lost,” he told an aide. “Read it. Roosevelt is dead!” A U.S. soldier was on a warship in the Pacific when he heard the news of Roosevelt’s death. “I felt a great sense of loss,” he said, for Roosevelt had been president almost all his life. “He was our leader, but he was also, in some way, our friend.” In the short term, he worried about the military implications of Roosevelt’s death. “How will we go on fighting the war when our Commander in Chief is dead?” the collapse of nazism Adolf Hitler’s shrinking Nazi empire collapsed less than a month later. In Berlin on April 28, as Soviet troops prepared to enter the city, Hitler married his mistress, Eva Braun, in an underground bunker. That same day, Italian freedom fighters captured Mussolini and his mistress. Despite his plea to “Let me live, and I will give you an empire,” 1196 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 May 8, 1945 The celebration in New York City’s Times Square on V-E day. Mussolini and his mistress were shot and hung by their heels from a girder above a Milan gas station. On April 30, Hitler and his wife retired to their underground bedroom, where she poisoned herself and he put a bullet in his head. Their bodies were taken outside, doused with gasoline, and burned. On May 2, Berlin fell. Axis forces in Italy surrendered the same day. Five days later, on May 7, the chief of staff of the German armed forces agreed to unconditional surrender. So ended Nazi domination of Europe, little more than twelve years after Hitler had come to power proclaiming his “Thousand-Year Reich.” On May 8, V-E day (“Victory in Europe”) generated massive celebrations. In Paris, an American bomber pilot flew his plane through the Eiffel Tower. In New York City, 500,000 people celebrated in the streets. But the elation was tempered by the ongoing war against Japan and the immense challenges of helping Europe rebuild. The German economy had to be revived, a new democratic government had to be formed, and millions of displaced Europeans had to be clothed, housed, and fed. the holocaust The end of the war in Europe revealed the horrific extent of the Holocaust, Hitler’s systematic effort to destroy the Jews and other racial, political, sexual, and religious “undesirables,” including Communists and prostitutes. Reports of the Nazis’ methodical slaughter of Jews The Allied Drive toward Berlin 1197 had appeared as early as 1942, but the gruesome stories seemed beyond belief until the Allied armies liberated the hundred or so “death camps” where the Germans had imposed their shocking “Final Solution”: the wholesale extermination of some 6 million Jews, along with more than 1 million other captured peoples. At the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland, 865,000 were killed as soon as they arrived, and up to 6,000 were gassed in a single day. The Allied troops were appalled by what they discovered in the huge extermination camps. Bodies were piled as high as buildings; survivors were living skeletons. General Eisenhower reported to his wife that the evidence of “starvation, cruelty, and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick.” American officials, even some Jewish leaders, had dragged their feet in acknowledging the Holocaust during the war for fear that relief efforts for Jewish refugees might stir up anti-Semitism at home. Under pressure, President Roosevelt had set up a War Refugee Board early in 1944. It managed to rescue about 200,000 European Jews and some 20,000 others. But the president refused appeals to bomb the concentration camp at Auschwitz, arguing that the Nazis would simply build another one. Overall, the Allied response to the Holocaust survivors American troops liberate survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp in May 1945. The Nazis tattooed the prisoners with identification numbers on their wrists or chests, as seen on the man at left. 1198 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Nazi atrocities was inept at best and disgraceful at worst. In 1944, Churchill called the Holocaust the “most horrible crime ever committed in the history of the world.” He did not know at the time that Stalin’s death camps killed more people than Hitler’s. The Pacific War For months after the attack on Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941, the news from the Pacific was “all bad,” as President Roosevelt acknowledged. With stunning speed, the Japanese captured numerous territories in Asia, including the British colonies of Hong Kong, Burma, Malaya, and Singapore, and the French colony of Indochina. “Everywhere in the Pacific,” said Winston Churchill, “we were weak and naked.” the philippines In the Philippines, U.S. forces and their Filipino allies were overwhelmed by Japanese invaders. On April 10, 1942, the Japanese gathered some 12,000 captured American troops along with 66,000 Filipinos and forced them to march sixty-five miles in six days up the Bataan peninsula. Already underfed, ravaged by tropical diseases, and provided with little food and water, the prisoners were brutalized in what came to be known as the Bataan Death March. Those who fell out of line were bayoneted or shot. Others were beaten, stabbed, or shot for no reason. More than 10,000 died along the way. News of the Bataan Death March outraged Americans and contributed to the Pacific war’s ferocious emotional intensity and mutual atrocities. By the summer of 1942, Japan had seized control of a vast Asian empire and was on the verge of assaulting Australia when its naval leaders succumbed to what one admiral called “victory disease.” Intoxicated with easy victories and lusting for more, they pushed into the South Pacific, intending to isolate Australia and strike again at Hawaii. coral sea and midway During the spring of 1942, U.S. forces in the Pacific finally had some success. In the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 2–6, 1942), U.S. naval warplanes forced a Japanese fleet headed toward the island of New Guinea to turn back after sinking an aircraft carrier and destroying seventy planes. A few weeks later, Admiral Yamamoto steered his main Japanese battle fleet of eighty-six warships toward Midway, the westernmost of Hawaii’s inhabited islands, from which he hoped to strike Pearl Harbor again. This time, however, the Japanese were taken by surprise. Americans had broken the The Pacific War 1199 General Douglas MacArthur MacArthur theatrically coming ashore at the island of Leyte in the Philippines, October 1944. Japanese military radio code, allowing Admiral Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. central Pacific fleet, to learn where Yamamoto’s fleet was heading. The first Japanese attack hit Midway hard on June 4, 1942, but at the cost of about a third of their warplanes. American planes from the Yorktown and Enterprise then struck back, crippling the Japanese fleet. The Battle of Midway was the first major defeat for the Japanese navy in 350 years and the turning point of the Pacific war. The American victory blunted Japan’s military momentum, eliminated the threat to Hawaii, and bought time for the United States to organize its massive industrial productivity for a wider war. macarthur’s pacific strategy American and Australian forces were jointly under the command of the imperious General Douglas MacArthur, a military genius with tremendous willpower and courage who constantly irritated his superiors in Washington with his “unpleasant personality” and his repeated efforts to embellish his image. MacArthur had retired in 1937 but was called back into service in mid-1941, in part because he was such a brilliant strategist. In 1942, he assumed command of the Allied forces in the southwest Pacific. On August 7, 1942, after first pushing the Japanese back in New Guinea, MacArthur landed 16,000 U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal Island, one of 1200 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 the so-called Solomon Islands, where the Japanese had built an air base. The U.S. commander was optimistic that his undersupplied troops could defeat the entrenched Japanese, even though, he said, there were “a hundred reasons why this operation should fail.” But it did not fail. The savage fighting on Guadalcanal lasted through February 1943 but resulted in the Japanese army’s first defeat and a loss of 20,000 men, compared to 1,752 Americans. “I had never heard or read of this kind of fighting,” said a U.S. Marine. “These people refuse to surrender.” The Japanese were skilled defensive fighters who rarely surrendered, and they controlled most of the largest islands in the Pacific. Their suicidal intensity led General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz to adopt a shrewd “leapfrogging” strategy whereby they focused on the most important islands and used airpower and sea power to bypass the others, leaving the isolated Japanese bases to “wither on the vine,” as Nimitz put it. For example, when U.S. warplanes destroyed the Japanese airfield at Rabaul in eastern New Guinea, 135,000 Japanese troops were left stranded on the island, cut off from resupply by air or sea. What the Allies did to Rabaul set the pattern for the “island-hopping” strategy in the Pacific. battles in the central pacific On June 15, 1944, just days after the D-day invasion, U.S. forces liberated Tinian, Guam, and Saipan, three Japanese-controlled islands. Saipan was strategically important because it allowed the new American B-29 “Superfortress” bombers to strike Japan itself. The struggle for the island lasted three weeks. Some 20,000 Japanese were killed compared to 3,500 Americans. But 7,000 more Japanese soldiers committed suicide upon the order of their commanding general, who killed himself with his sword. General MacArthur’s forces invaded the Japanese-held Philippines on October 20. The Japanese, knowing that the loss of the Philippines would cut them off from essential raw materials, brought in warships from three directions to battle the U.S. fleet. The four battles fought in the Philippine Sea from October 23 to October 26, 1944, came to be known collectively as the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval engagement in history and the worst Japanese defeat of the war. Some 216 U.S. warships converged to engage 64 Japanese ships. By the end of the first day, 36 Japanese warships, including 4 aircraft carriers, had been destroyed. The Battle of Leyte Gulf included the first Japanese kamikaze (“divine wind”) attacks, in which young suicide pilots deliberately crashed their bombladen planes into American warships. From the fall of 1944 to the war’s end in the summer of 1945, an estimated 4,000 kamikaze pilots died on suicide missions. One in seven hit an American ship, thirty-four of which were sunk. The Pacific War 1201 WORLD WAR II IN THE PACIFIC, 1942–1945 S O V I E T U N I O N Ru ss ian BERING SEA OF OKHOTSK s, SEA 4 19 ALEUTIAN 4 19 4– ATTU 5 A ALASKA (U.S.) 3 194 KISKA SAKHALIN MANCHURIA Peking N IL D S MONGOLIA ISL S ND R K UL A IS – 44 19 SEA OF JAPAN P A C I F I C KOREA JAPAN C H I N A YELLOW Hiroshima Tokyo SEA Nanking Nagasaki O C E A N Chungking Shanghai EAST MIDWAY S A Y A AL Stilwell M CHINA I BONIN H FORMOSA OKIN AWA Road SEA ISLANDS Ledo HAWAIIAN (TAIWAN) Burma INDIA 943 Iwo 1 ISLANDS K’un-ming Road Jima Lashio WAKE 1945 BURMA OAHU HONG ISLAND Pearl Harbor (MYANMAR) KONG MARIANA PHILIPPINE THAILAND Corregidor Luzon ISLANDS SEA 1945 Rangoon 1942 Manila Saipan (Yangon) BATAAN PENINSULA 1944 PHILIPPINES Enewetak SOUTH Guam FRENCH CHINA Leyte MARSHALL Truk INDOCHINA SEA ISLANDS (Chuuk) Kwajalein BRITISH Mindanao PALAU BRUNEI NORTH C A R O L I N E I S L A N D S Makin (Butaritari) BRITISH BORNEO 45 MALAYA SARAWAK GILBERT ADMIRALTY ISLANDS ISLANDS CELEBES Equator Tarawa Singapore BISMARCK (SULAWESI) BORNEO 1943 19 SEA Equator 43 MOLUCCAS Rabaul DUTCH EAST INDIES BOUGAINVILLE Java Arawa Harbour NEW NEW GUINEA Sea JAVA BRITAIN SOLOMON 42 TIMOR Port INDIAN 19 ISLANDS Moresby 19 M SU A R AT OCEAN Major Allied air offensives Japanese advances Limit of Japanese control Major battle 2 19 4 Areas controlled by Japan, 1942 Major Allied naval offensives Guadalcanal CORAL SEA NEW HEBRIDES (VANUATU) FIJI ISLANDS NEW CALEDONIA AUSTRALIA 0 0 500 1,000 Miles 500 1,000 Kilometers What was MacArthur’s “leapfrogging” strategy? Why were the battles in the Marianas a major turning point in the war? ■ What was the significance of the Battle of Leyte Gulf? ■ How did the battle at Okinawa affect both Japanese and American military WWN64 strategists thereafter? Figure M26_5 ■ First proof “Kamikazes just poured at us, again and again,” a sailor remembered. “It scared the shit out of us.” As MacArthur waded ashore with the U.S. troops liberating the Philippines, he reminded reporters of his 1942 pledge—“I shall return”—when he was evacuated from the islands in the face of the Japanese invasion. Now he announced with great fanfare: “People of the Philippines, I have returned! The hour of your redemption is here. . . . Rally to me.” 1202 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 a war to the death The closer the Allied forces got to Japan, the fiercer the resistance they encountered. While fighting continued in the Philippines, 30,000 U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima, a volcanic atoll 760 miles from Tokyo. The Americans thought Iwo Jima was needed as a base for fighter planes to escort bombers over Japan. The Japanese fought with suicidal intensity, and it took nearly six weeks to secure the tiny island at a cost of nearly 7,000 American lives—and 21,000 of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers. In the end, the furious battle was fought for an air base that never materialized. The assault on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which began on Easter Sunday, April 1, was even bloodier. Only 360 miles from the main Japanese islands, Okinawa was strategically important because it would serve as the staging area for the planned Allied invasion of Japan. The conquest of Okinawa was the largest amphibious operation of the Pacific war, involving some 300,000 troops and requiring almost three months of brutal fighting. More than 150,000 Japanese were killed; the remaining 7,871 were either captured or surrendered. A third of U.S. pilots and a quarter of submariners lost their lives at Okinawa. As the fighting raged on Okinawa, Allied commanders began planning Operation Downfall—the invasion of Japan itself. To weaken the Japanese defenses, destroy their war-related industries, and erode civilian morale, the Allied command began bombing raids in the summer of 1944. In early 1945, General Curtis Lemay, head of the U.S. Bomber Command, ordered devastating “firebomb” raids upon Japanese cities: “Bomb and burn ’em till they quit.” On March 9, some 300 B-29 bombers dropped napalm bombs on Tokyo. The attack incinerated sixteen square miles of the city and killed some 100,000 people while rendering a million homeless. By then, American military leaders had lost all moral qualms about targeting civilians. The kamikaze attacks, the Japanese savagery toward prisoners of war, the burning of Manila that killed 100,000 civilians, and the “rape” of China had eroded almost all sympathy for the island nation. By August 1945, sixty-six Japanese cities had been firebombed. Secretary of War Henry Stimson called the lack of public outcry in the United States over the raids “appalling.” the atomic bomb Still, the Japanese leaders showed no willingness to surrender. In early 1945, new U.S. president Harry S. Truman learned of the first successful test of an atomic bomb in New Mexico. Now that military planners knew the bomb would work, they selected two Japanese cities as targets. The first was Hiroshima, a port city and army headquarters in southern Japan. On July 25, 1945, Truman, who knew nothing about the devastating effects of The Pacific War 1203 The aftermath of Little Boy This image shows the wasteland that remained after the atomic bomb “Little Boy” decimated Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. radiation poisoning, ordered that the atomic bomb be used if Japan did not surrender before August 3. Although an intense debate emerged over the decision to drop the bomb— spurred by Truman’s chief of staff, Admiral William D. Leahy, who argued that the “Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender”—Truman said that he “never had any doubt that it should be used.” He later recalled that “we faced half a million casualties trying to take Japan by land. It was either that or the atom bomb, and I didn’t hesitate a minute, and I’ve never lost any sleep over it since.” To Truman and others, the use of atomic bombs seemed a logical next step to end the war. As it turned out, scientists greatly underestimated the physical effects of the bomb. Their prediction that 20,000 people would be killed proved much too low. In mid-July 1945, the Allied leaders met in Potsdam, Germany, near Berlin. There they issued the Potsdam Declaration. In addition to outlawing Nazism, it demanded that Japan surrender by August 3 or face “prompt and utter destruction.” Truman left Potsdam optimistic about postwar relations with the 1204 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 Soviet Union. “I can deal with Stalin,” he wrote. “He is honest—but smart as hell.” (Truman would soon change his mind about Stalin’s honesty.) The deadline calling for Japan’s surrender passed, and on August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber named Enola Gay (after the pilot’s mother) took off at 2:00 a.m. from the island of Tinian and headed for Hiroshima. At 8:15 a.m., flying at 31,600 feet, the Enola Gay released the five-ton, ten-foot-long uranium bomb nicknamed “Little Boy.” Forty-three seconds later, the bomb exploded at an altitude of 1,900 feet, creating a blinding flash of light followed by a fireball towering to 40,000 feet. The tail gunner on the Enola Gay described the scene: “It’s like bubbling molasses down there . . . the mushroom is spreading out . . . fires are springing up Bombing of Nagasaki A 20,000-foot everywhere . . . it’s like a peep into hell.” tall mushroom cloud enveloped the city The bomb’s incredible shock wave of Nagasaki after the atomic bombing and firestorm killed some 78,000 peoon August 9, 1945. ple, including thousands of Japanese soldiers and 23 American prisoners of war housed in the city. By the end of the year, the death toll would reach 140,000, as people died of injuries or radiation poisoning. In addition, of the city’s 76,000 buildings, only 6,000 were left standing, and four square miles of the city were turned to rubble. President Truman was aboard the battleship Augusta returning from the Potsdam conference when news arrived that the atomic bomb had been dropped. “This is the greatest thing in history!” he exclaimed. In the United States, Americans greeted the news with similar joy. To them, the atomic bomb promised a quick end to the long nightmare of war. “No tears of sympathy will be shed in America for the Japanese people,” the Omaha World-Herald predicted. “Had they possessed a comparable weapon at Pearl Harbor, would they have hesitated to use it?” Others reacted more soberly when they considered the implications of atomic warfare. “Yesterday,” journalist Hanson Baldwin wrote in the New York Times, “we clinched victory in the Pacific, but we sowed the whirlwind.” A New Age Is Born 1205 Two days after the Hiroshima bombing, an opportunistic Soviet Union, hoping to share in the spoils of victory, hastened to enter the war in the Pacific by sending hundreds of thousands of troops into Japanese-occupied Manchuria along the border between China and the Soviet Union. Truman and his aides, frustrated by the stubborn refusal of Japanese leaders to surrender and fearful that the Soviet Union’s entry would complicate negotiations, ordered a second atomic bomb (“Fat Man”) to be dropped on Japan. On August 9, the city of Nagasaki, a shipbuilding center, experienced the same nuclear devastation that had destroyed Hiroshima. Five days later, on August 14, 1945, the Japanese emperor accepted the terms of surrender. The formal surrender ceremony occurred on an American warship in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Upon learning of the unexpected Japanese decision to surrender, Paul Fussell, one of the American soldiers preparing for the dreaded invasion of Japan, said he went into his tent and pulled the zipper closed. “And I sat there in silence for at least a full day before I could compose myself because my joy was such that I knew I couldn’t survive it in public.” Then he came out and cheered and danced with everyone else. A New Age Is Born Thus ended the costliest war in history. It was a total war in its scope, intensity, and numbers. Including deaths from war-related disease and famine, some 50 million civilians and 22 million combatants died. The Second World War was more costly for the United States than any other foreign war: 292,000 combat deaths and 114,000 noncombat deaths among soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. A million more were wounded, with half of them seriously disabled. In proportion to its population, however, the United States suffered far fewer losses than did the other major Allies or their enemies, and American territory escaped the devastation suffered in so many parts of the world. For every American killed in the Second World War, for example, some fifty-nine Soviets died. The war was the pivotal event of the turbulent twentieth century. It engulfed five continents, leveled cities, reshaped societies, and transformed international relations. German and Italian fascism as well as Japanese militarism were destroyed. The war set in motion the fall of China to communism in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War a year later. Colonial empires in Africa and Asia rapidly crumbled as the conflict unleashed independence movements. The Soviet Union emerged from the war as a new global superpower, while the United States, as Winston Churchill told the House of Commons, stood “at the summit of the world.” 1206 CHAPTER 26 The Second World War 1933–1945 why did the allies win? Many factors contributed to the Allied victory. Roosevelt and Churchill were better at coordinating military efforts and maintaining national morale than were Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese emperor, Hirohito. By 1944, Hitler had grown increasingly unstable and unpredictable and more withdrawn from the German people, especially after a failed attempt by high-ranking officers to assassinate him that July. In the end, however, what turned the tide was the awesome productivity of American industry and the ability of the Soviet Union to absorb the massive German invasion and then push back all the way to Berlin. By the end of the war, Japan had run out of food and Germany had run out of fuel. By contrast, the United States was churning out more of everything. As early as 1942, just a few weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Fritz Todt, a Nazi engineer, told Hitler that the war against the United States was already lost because of America’s ability to out-produce all the other warring nations combined. a transformational war Like the First World War, the Second World War had far-reaching effects. It shattered the old world order and created a new international system, and nations such as France, Germany, Great Britain, and Japan were left devastated or impoverished. Henry Luce, the powerful publisher of Time magazine, said that the war had demonstrated the “moral and practical bankruptcy of all forms of Isolationism.” Internationalism was now the dominant outlook, as most Americans acknowledged that the United States had profound responsibilities for global stability and security. It had emerged from the war with the most powerful military in the world—and as the only nation with atomic weapons. The expansion of the federal government spurred by the war effort continued after 1945, and presidential authority increased enormously at the expense of congressional and state power. The war also ended the Great Depression and launched a long period of unprecedented prosperity and global economic domination. Big businesses grew into gigantic corporations as a result of huge government contracts for military weapons and supplies. New technologies and products developed for military purposes—radar, computers, electronics, plastics and synthetics, jet engines, rockets, atomic energy—transformed the private sector, as did new consumer products generated from war-related innovations. And the opportunities created by the war for women as well as for African Americans, Mexican Americans, and other minorities set in motion major social changes that would culminate in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the feminist movement of the 1970s. In August 1945, President Truman announced that the United States had “emerged from this war the most powerful nation in this world—the most A New Age Is Born 1207 powerful nation, perhaps, in all history.” But the Soviet Union, despite its profound human losses and physical destruction, had gained much new territory, built massive armed forces, and enhanced its international influence, making it the greatest power in Eurasia. A little over a century after Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville had predicted that Europe would eventually be overshadowed by the United States and Russia, his prophecy had come to pass. CHAPTER REVIEW Summary Fascism and the Start of the War In Italy, Benito Mussolini assumed control by promising law and order. Adolf Hitler rearmed Germany in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. By March 1939, Nazi Germany had annexed Austria and seized Czechoslovakia. Hitler then invaded Poland with the blitzkrieg strategy in September 1939, after signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union. The British and French governments declared war. America Goes to War The United States issued “neutrality laws” to avoid being drawn into wars in Europe and Asia, but with the fall of France, Roosevelt accelerated military aid to Great Britain through the Lend-Lease Act. In 1941, the United States and Great Britain signed the Atlantic Charter, announcing their aims in the war. After Japan joined with Germany and Italy to form the “Axis” alliance, President Roosevelt froze Japanese assets in the United States and restricted oil exports to Japan, which frustrated the Japanese, who decided to launch a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Second World War and American Society The war had profound social effects. Americans—white, black, and brown—migrated west to take jobs in defense industry factories; unemployment was soon a thing of the past. Farmers recovered, supported by Mexican labor through the bracero program. The federal government, through agencies such as the War Production Board, took control of managing the economy. Many women took nontraditional jobs. About 1 million African Americans served in the military in segregated units. More than 100,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly interned in “war relocation camps.” Road to Allied Victory in Europe By 1943, the Allies had defeated the German and Italian armies occupying North Africa. From there, they launched attacks on Sicily and then the mainland of Italy. Stalin, meanwhile, demanded a full-scale Allied attack on the Atlantic coast of France to ease pressure on the Russian Front, but Operation Overlord was delayed until June 6, 1944. German resistance slowly crumbled. The “Big Three” Allied leaders—Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin—met at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, where they decided that a conquered Germany would be divided into four occupation zones. In May, Soviet forces captured Berlin, and Germany surrendered. After the war, Allied forces discovered the extent of the Holocaust—the Nazis’ systematic effort to exterminate the Jews. The Pacific War The Japanese advance across the Pacific was halted in June 1942 with the Battle of Midway. Fierce Japanese resistance at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and Japan’s refusal to surrender after the firebombing of Tokyo led the new president, Harry S. Truman, to order the use of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Postwar World The Soviet Union and the United States emerged from the war as global superpowers, with the United States possessing the world’s strongest 1208 economy. The opportunities for women and minorities during the war also increased their aspirations and would contribute to the emergence of the civil rights and feminist movements. Chronology 1933 1937 1939 September 1939 1940 June 1941 August 1941 December 7, 1941 June 1942 January 1943 November 1943 June 6, 1944 February 1945 April 1945 May 8, 1945 August 1945 September 2, 1945 Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany War between China and Japan begins Non-Aggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union German troops invade Poland Battle of Britain Germany invades Soviet Union United States and Great Britain sign the Atlantic Charter Japanese launch surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Battle of Midway Roosevelt and Churchill meet at Casablanca Roosevelt and Churchill meet Stalin in Tehran D-day Yalta Conference Roosevelt dies; Hitler commits suicide Nazi Germany surrenders; V-E day Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan surrenders; V-J day Key Terms fascism p. 1152 Tuskegee Airmen p. 1179 “neutrality laws” p. 1156 bracero program p. 1179 “Axis” alliance p. 1157 “war relocation camps” p. 1181 Lend-Lease Act (1941) p. 1166 Operation Overlord p. 1187 Atlantic Charter (1941) p. 1167 Yalta Conference (1945) p. 1193 Pearl Harbor p. 1172 Holocaust p. 1196 War Production Board p. 1173 Battle of Midway p. 1199 Women’s Army Corps (WAC) p. 1175 Hiroshima p. 1202 IJK Go to InQuizitive to see what you’ve learned—and learn what you’ve missed—with personalized feedback along the way. 1209 ! pa r t s e ve n THE AMERICAN AGE The United States emerged from the Second World War as the dominant nation on the planet. It was the world’s preeminent military and economic power, and the only nation to possess atomic weapons. The war changed things in ways no one could have imagined. Some changes came immediately; others emerged more slowly. But their combined effect was truly transformational. While much of Europe and Asia struggled to recover from the devastation of the war, the United States was virtually unscathed, its 1211 economic infrastructure intact and operating at peak efficiency. Jobs that had been scarce in the 1930s were now available for the taking. By 1955 the United States, with only 6 percent of the world’s population, was producing half of the world’s goods. American capitalism became a dominant cultural force as U.S. products, fashion, and forms of entertainment attracted international attention. In 1941, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, proclaimed that the twentieth century had become the “American century.” The ideal of America, he explained, included “a love of freedom, a feeling for the equality of opportunity, a tradition of self-reliance and independence.” America seemed free and unshackled, its potential unlimited. The deepening cold war between democratic and Communist nations cast a cloud over the postwar world. The tense ideological contest with the Soviet Union produced numerous crises and sparked a witch hunt for Communists in the United States. After 1945, Republican and Democratic presidents aggressively sought to “contain” the spread of communism. This bedrock assumption embroiled the United States in costly wars in Korea and in Southeast Asia. A backlash against the Vietnam War (1964–1973) also inflamed a rebellious “countercultural” movement at home in which young idealists not only opposed the war but also provided much of the energy for many overdue social reforms, including racial equality, gay rights, feminism, and environmentalism. The anti-war movement destroyed Lyndon Johnson’s presidency in 1968 and provoked a conservative counterattack. President Richard Nixon’s paranoid reaction to his critics led to the Watergate affair and the destruction of his presidency. Through all of this turmoil, however, the expanding role of the federal government that Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal programs had initiated remained essentially intact. With only a few exceptions, both Republicans and Democrats after 1945 acknowledged that the federal government must assume greater responsibility for the welfare of individuals. This fragile consensus, however, had largely broken down by the late 1980s amid stunning international developments and social changes at home. The surprising collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the disintegration of European communism left the United States as the only superpower. The end of the cold war and the dissolution of the Soviet Union lowered the threat of nuclear war and reduced public interest in foreign affairs. Yet numerous ethnic, nationalist, and separatist conflicts brought constant international instability. The United States found itself drawn into political and military crises in faraway lands such as Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and Syria. 1212 1213 Throughout the 1990s, the United States waged a difficult struggle against many groups engaged in organized terrorism. The challenges of tracking the movements of foreign terrorists became tragically evident in 2001. At 8:46 on the morning of September 11, 2001, the world watched in horror as hijacked commercial airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center in New York City. Officials identified the hijackers as members of al Qaeda (Arabic for “The Base”), a well-financed network of Islamic terrorists led by a wealthy Saudi renegade, Osama bin Laden. President George W. Bush responded by declaring a “war on terror.” With the passage of the so-called Patriot Act, Congress gave the president authority to track down and imprison terrorists at home and abroad. The “war on terror” began with assaults first on terrorist bases in Afghanistan and then on Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq (“Operation Iraqi Freedom”). Yet terrorism proved to be an elusive and resilient foe, and the war in Iraq and the ensuing U.S. military occupation was much longer, more expensive, and less successful than Americans had expected. The surprising victory of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election resulted from people embracing his theme of “hope and change.” He pledged to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unite the nation, and provide jobs to the growing numbers of unemployed. As the first African American president, Obama symbolized the societal changes transforming national life. Yet no sooner was Obama inaugurated than he inherited the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. What came to be called the Great Recession dominated the Obama presidency and, indeed, much of American life, bringing with it a prolonged sense of uncertainty and insecurity. For all of its economic power and military might, the United States in the twenty-first century has not eliminated the threat of terrorism or unlocked the mystery of sustaining prosperity and reducing economic inequality. 1213 27 The Cold War and the Fair Deal 1945–1952 Duck and cover A “duck-and- cover” air-raid drill in 1951 that was commonplace in schools across the country during the cold war. The drills began in 1949, when the Soviet Union set off its first nuclear weapon. Pictured above are American schoolchildren practicing ducking and covering in February 1951.

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