America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State by Ronald Schaffer

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By Ronald Schaffer

After such conflicts as international battle II, Vietnam, and now the Persian Gulf, the 1st international battle turns out , nearly historic occasion. It inspires pictures of trenches, horse-drawn wagons, and outdated wide-brimmed helmets--a clash toward the Civil warfare than to our personal time. It rarely turns out an American battle in any respect, contemplating we fought for scarcely over a 12 months in a essentially eu fight. yet, as Ronald Schaffer recounts during this attention-grabbing new ebook, the good battle wrought a dramatic revolution in the USA, wrenching a various, unregulated, nineteenth-century society into the trendy age. starting from the Oval place of work to company boardroom, from the farmyard to the battlefield, America within the nice War information a kingdom reshaped through the calls for of overall conflict. Schaffer exhibits how the Wilson management used persuasion, manipulation, direct keep an eye on, and the cooperation of non-public industries and firms to mobilize a freewheeling, individualist state. the outcome used to be a war-welfare kingdom, enforcing the government on virtually each element of yankee existence. He describes the way it unfold propaganda, enforced censorship, and stifled dissent. Political radicals, spiritual pacifists, German-Americans, even ordinary those who voiced sincere doubts concerning the conflict suffered arrest and imprisonment. the govt. prolonged its keep watch over over lots of the nation's financial lifestyles via a sequence of recent agencies--largely choked with managers from inner most company, who used their new positions to cast off pageant and safe different own and company earnings. Schaffer additionally information the efforts of students, scientists, employees, ladies, African- american citizens, and of social, clinical, and ethical reformers, to exploit the battle to increase their very own agendas while they contributed to the force for victory. and never the least very important is his account of the way squaddies reacted to the truth of war--both on the entrance strains and on the rear--revealing what introduced the doughboys to the battlefield, and the way they went via not just horror and disillusionment yet felt a fervent patriotism in addition. a few of the upheavals Schaffer describes have been fleeting--as visible within the millions of ladies who needed to depart their wartime jobs whilst the men got here home--but others intended everlasting switch and set precedents for such destiny courses because the New Deal. through exhibiting how American lifestyles might by no means be an identical back after the Armistice, America within the nice War lays a brand new origin for figuring out either the 1st international warfare and twentieth-century the USA.

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Resolving the Problems Yet while critics complained and patriots lamented, the federal government was taking steps that would eventually resolve the crisis. Building on a foundation laid down before the war, people in Washington were putting The Managed Economy 35 together a structure of mobilization agencies and developing ways to increase the output of essential goods and services, to improve distribution, and to channel resources from civilian to war-related enterprises. By the summer of 1917, government officials realized problems would soon develop with the nation's food and fuel supplies.

Production could not begin to satisfy demand. Prices soared and fluctuated. Believing that whatever they The Managed Economy 33 bought they could sell later at higher prices, speculators started to hoard. Producers and the government could only guess what future costs might be. As prices rose, workers clamored for higher wages and often received them, because in many trades the need for labor far exceeded the number of workmen available. Besides, the government was reimbursing war contractors for labor costs, so raises could be charged to Uncle Sam.

The armed forces and the federal shipbuilding agencies, which enjoyed special transportation priorities, continued to send cargoes into congested areas, such as the Hog Island shipyard under construction on the Delaware River. At one time, eleven miles of freight cars were lined up at the entrance to the yard, all containing materials from which the yard itself was supposed to be built. The cars could not go inside because there were no tracks on the construction site and no facilities for unloading.

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