World War 1 and 2,Cold War in the USA
Preview referat: World War 1 and 2,Cold War in the USA
At the outset, Germany and Britain each sought to terminate U.S. trade with the other. Exploiting its naval advantage, Britain gained the upper hand and almost ended U.S. trade with Germany. Americans protested this interference, but when German submarines, known as U-boats, began to use unrestricted submarine warfare in 1915, American public opinion turned against Germany. Then on May 7, 1915, a German submarine attacked a British passenger liner, the Lusitania, killing more than a thousand people, including 128 Americans. Washington condemned the attacks, which led to a brief respite in German attacks. In the presidential race of 1916, President Wilson won reelection on the campaign slogan "He Kept Us Out of War."
In February 1917, however, Germany reinstated the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. Ending diplomatic ties with Germany, Wilson still tried to keep the United States out of the war. But Germany continued its attacks, and the United States found out about a secret message, the Zimmermann telegram, in which the German government proposed an alliance with Mexico and discussed the possibility of Mexico regaining territory lost to the United States. Resentful that Germany was sinking American ships and making overtures to Mexico, the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.
The United States entered World War I with divided sentiments. Americans debated both whether to fight the war and which side to support. Since the outbreak of war in Europe, pacifists and reformers had deplored the drift toward conflict; financiers and industrialists, however, promoted patriotism, "preparedness," and arms buildup. Some Americans felt affinities for France and Britain, but millions of citizens were of German origin. To many Americans, finally, the war in Europe seemed a distant conflict that reflected tangled European rivalries, not U.S. concerns.
But German aggression steered public opinion from neutrality to engagement, and the United States prepared for combat. The Selective Service Act, passed in May 1917, helped gradually increase the size of America's armed forces from 200,000 people to almost 4 million at the war's end.
By the spring of 1917, World War I had become a deadly war of attrition. Russia left the war that year, and after the Bolsheviks assumed power in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Russia signed a separate peace treaty with Germany in March 1918. Allied prospects looked grim. With Russia out of the picture, Germany shifted its troops to the western front, a north-south line across France, where a gruesome stalemate had developed. Dug into trenches and shelled by artillery, great armies bogged down in a form of siege warfare.
In June 1917 the American Expeditionary Force, led by General John J. Pershing, began to arrive in France. By March 1918, when Germany began a massive offensive, much of the American force was in place. Reluctantly, the United States allowed American troops to be integrated into Allied units under British and French commanders. These reinforcements bolstered a much-weakened defense, and the Allies stopped the German assault. In September 1918 American troops participated in a counteroffensive in the area around Verdun. The Saint-Mihiel campaign succeeded, as did the Allied Meuse-Argonne offensive, where both the Allies and the Germans suffered heavy casualties. Facing what seemed to be a limitless influx of American troops, Germany was forced to consider ending the war. The Central Powers surrendered, signing an armistice on November 11, 1918. Only the challenge of a peace treaty remained.
American manpower tipped the scales in the Allies' favor. At war for only 19 months, the United States suffered relatively light casualties. The United States lost about 112,000 people, many to disease, including a treacherous influenza epidemic in 1918 that claimed 20 million lives worldwide. European losses were far higher. According to some estimates, World War I killed close to 10 million military personnel.
World War I wrought significant changes on the American home front. First, the war created labor shortages. Thousands of African Americans left the South for jobs in Northern steel mills, munitions plants, and stockyards. The great migration of the World War I era established large black communities in Northern cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. The influx, however, provoked racial tensions and race riots in some cities, including East Saint Louis, Illinois, in July 1917 and Chicago in July 1919.
Labor shortages provided a variety of jobs for women, who became streetcar conductors, railroad workers, and shipbuilders. Women also volunteered for the war effort and sold war bonds. Women mustered support for woman suffrage, a cause that finally achieved its long-sought goal. The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, triumphed in Congress in 1919 and was ratified by the states in 1920.
The war greatly increased the responsibilities of the federal government. New government agencies relied mainly on persuasion and voluntary compliance. The War Industries Board urged manufacturers to use mass production techniques and increase efficiency. The Railroad Administration regulated rail traffic; the Fuel Administration monitored coal supplies and regulated gasoline. The National War Labor Board sought to resolve thousands of disputes between management and labor that resulted from stagnant wages coupled with inflation. The Food Administration urged families to observe "meatless Mondays," "wheatless Wednesdays," and other measures to help the war effort. The Committee on Public Information organized thousands of public speakers ("four-minute men") to deliver patriotic addresses; the organization also produced 75 million pamphlets promoting the war effort.
Finally, to finance the war, the United States developed new ways to generate revenue. The federal government increased income and excise taxes, instituted a war-profit tax, and sold war bonds.
War pressures evoked hostility and suspicion in the United States. Antagonism toward immigrants, especially those of German descent, grew. Schools stopped teaching German. Hamburgers and sauerkraut became "Salisbury steak" and "liberty cabbage." Fear of sabotage spurred Congress to pass the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. The laws imposed fines, jail sentences, or both for interfering with the draft, obstructing the sale of war bonds, or saying anything disloyal, profane, or abusive about the government or the war effort. These repressive laws, upheld by the Supreme Court, resulted in 6,000 arrests and 1,500 convictions for antiwar activities. The laws targeted people on the left, such as Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs, who was imprisoned, and Emma Goldman, who was jailed and deported. The arrests of 1917 reflected wartime concerns about dissent as well as hostility toward the Russian Revolution of 1917.
Treaty of Versailles
Even before the war ended, President Wilson offered a plan for world peace, the Fourteen Points. The plan, announced to Congress on January 8, 1918, would abolish secret diplomacy, guarantee freedom of the seas, remove international trade barriers wherever possible, reduce arms, and consider the interests of colonized peoples. Eight more points addressed changes to specific boundaries based on the principle of self-determination, or the right of nations to shape their own destinies. Finally, Wilson's points called for a League of Nations to arbitrate disputes between nations and usher in an epoch of peace. High hopes for the Fourteen Points prevailed at the time of the armistice but faded by June 1919, when emissaries of the Big Four (the United States, France, Britain, and Italy) gathered at Versailles to determine the conditions of peace.
At Versailles, the Allies ignored most of Wilson's goals. During postwar negotiations, including the Treaty of Versailles, they redrew the map of Europe and established nine new nations, including Poland, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. Boundaries of other nations were shifted, and out of the Ottoman Empire, which fought on the side of the Central Powers during the war, four areas were carved: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. These areas were given to France and Britain as mandates, or temporary colonies. The Treaty of Versailles demilitarized Germany, which lost its air force and much of its army and navy. Germany also lost its colonies and had to return to France the Alsace-Lorraine area, which Germany had annexed in 1871. Finally, forced to admit blame for the war, Germany was burdened with high reparations for war damages.
A spirit of vindictiveness among the Allies invalidated Wilson's goals and led to a number of defects in the Treaty of Versailles. First, Germany's humiliation led to resentment, which festered over the next decades. Second, the Big Four paid no attention to the interests of the new Bolshevik government in Russia, which the treaty antagonized. Third, in some instances, the treaty ignored the demands of colonized peoples to govern themselves.
The Treaty of Versailles did include a charter or covenant for the League of Nations, a point that embodied Woodrow Wilson's highest goal for world peace. However, the U.S. Senate rejected the League of Nations and the entire treaty. Republicans who favored isolation (the "irreconcilables") spurned the treaty. Conservative Republicans, led by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, disliked the treaty's provisions for joint military actions against aggressors, even though such action was voluntary. They demanded modifications, but Wilson refused to compromise. Overestimating his prestige and refusing to consider Republican reservations, Wilson remained adamant. Uncompromising and exhausted, the president campaigned for the treaty until he collapsed with a stroke. The United States never joined the League of Nations, started in 1919, and signed a separate peace treaty with Germany in 1921.
Ironically, after leading America to victory in the war, President Wilson endured two significant disappointments. First he compromised at Versailles; for instance, he agreed to the Allied diplomats' desire for high reparations against Germany. Second, Wilson refused to compromise with the Senate, and thus he was unable to accomplish his idealistic goals. His vision of spreading democracy around the world and of ensuring world peace became a casualty of the peace process.
World War I left many legacies. The American experience of the Great War, albeit brief and distant from the nation's shores, showed the United States how effectively it could mobilize its industrial might and hold its own in world affairs. However, the war left Germany shackled by the armistice and angered by the peace treaty. Postwar Germany faced depression, unemployment, and desperate economic conditions, which gave rise to fascist leadership in the 1930s. In addition, each of the areas carved out by the Treaty of Versailles proved, in one way or another, to be trouble spots in the decades ahead. In the United States, fears of radicalism, horror at Soviet bolshevism, and the impact of wartime hysteria led to a second blast of attacks on radicals. In the Palmer Raids in January 1920, agents of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer arrested thousands of people in 33 cities. The postwar Red Scare abated, but suspicion of foreigners, dissenters, and nonconformists continued in the 1920s.
AMERICA IN A NEW AGE
World War I made the United States a world power. While European nations tried to recover from the war, the United States had overseas territories, access to markets, and plentiful raw materials. Formerly in debt to European investors, the United States began to lend money abroad. At home, the economy expanded. Assembly-line production, mass consumption, easy credit, and advertising characterized the 1920s. As profits soared, American zeal for reform waned, and business and government resumed their long-term affinity. But not all Americans enjoyed the rewards of prosperity. A mix of economic change, political conservatism, and cultural conflict made the 1920s a decade of contradictions.
Productivity and Prosperity
As war production ended, the economy dipped, but only briefly; by 1922 the nation began a spectacular spurt of growth. Auto production symbolized the new potential of industry (see Automobile Industry). Annual car sales tripled from 1916 to 1929; 9 million motorized vehicles on the road became 27 million by the end of the 1920s. At his Michigan plant, Henry Ford oversaw the making of the popular black Model T. New modes of production changed car manufacture. A moving assembly line brought interchangeable parts to workers who performed specific tasks again and again. Assembly-line techniques cut production costs, which made cars less expensive and more available to average citizens.
The effect of auto production spread beyond car factories. Auto building spurred industries that made steel, glass, rubber, and petroleum. Exploration for oil led to new corporations, such as Gulf Oil and Texaco. During the 1920s domestic oil production grew by 250 percent, and oil imports rose as well.
State-funded programs to build roads and highways changed the nation's landscape. Previously isolated rural areas filled with tourist cabins and gas stations. New suburbs with single-family homes on small plots of land arose at the outskirts of cities; the construction industry soared. For more information, see United States (Culture): Way of Life; Living Patterns.
Finally, the car industry pioneered new ways to distribute and sell products. Auto companies sold cars through networks of dealers to customers who often used a new type of credit, the installment plan. With this plan, the purchaser made an initial payment, or down payment, and then agreed to pay the balance of the purchase price in a series of payments.
Cars were just one growth sector of the 1920s. Energy use tripled, and electricity reached 60 percent of American homes. Industry produced new home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners. As incomes rose, families spent larger portions of their incomes to buy these durable goods; items previously considered luxuries now became necessities. Chain stores, such as A&P, put local retailers out of business; canned goods and commercial breads replaced homemade products. The young advertising industry, which had appeared in the late 19th century, fed a desire for consumer goods. Extensive credit abetted this desire, known as consumerism.
During the decade, American corporations became larger. Some grew by securing markets abroad, as did the United Fruit Company in Latin America « mai multe referate din Engleza