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History 203 MidTerm

By monicaaa2013 Oct 29, 2014 1888 Words

How did mobilizing for war change the economy and its relationship to government? Which of these changes, if any, spilled over to the postwar years? Mobilizing for war normally would cause outrage among the public, but that was not the case when Wilson’s war message was delivered. The public response was extremely enthusiastic; many prominent public figures endorsed the call to arms. Above all, war mobilization was a campaign to unify the country. In August 1917, Congress passed the Food and Fuel Act, authorizing the president to regulate the production and distribution necessary for the war effort. Herbert Hoover was appointed to lead the Food Administration (FA), he imposed price controls on certain agriculture commodities that were purchased by the government and then sold to the public through licensed dealers; Hoover relied on persuasion high prices and voluntary controls, rather than mandatory food rationing. The Food Administration depended on motivating hundreds of thousands of volunteers in thousands of American communities to assist the war effort in various ways. Because the Government got involved and created the Food and Fuel Act, the war effort benefited because FA directed “Wheatless Mondays, Meatless Tuesdays, and Porkless Thursdays” this resulted in cutback of consumption among the people, and increase in food exports to help sustain the Allied war effort. The tax structure changed dramatically during the war effort, the federal government was required to pay the unprecedented cost of fighting the war, which cost about $33 billion. Taxes on profits replaced excise and customs levies as the major source of revenue. Since 1913 the minimum income subject to the graduated federal income tax was lowered from $3000 to $1000 which increased the number of Americans who paid income tax from 437,000 in 1916 to 4,425,000 in 1918. The bulk of war financing came from government borrowing; Bond drives became highly organized patriotic campaigns that ultimately raised a total of $23 billion for the war effort. The Federal Reserve Banks expanded the money supply, which made borrowing easier, and in turn the federal debt went from $1 billion in 1915 to $20 billion in 1920. Since the government needed to borrow money to support the war effort, the economy debt suffered along with making many Americans pay taxes that had never paid them before. Women in the labor force were pretty rare, until the war when the few women that were working got to switch from low-paying jobs to higher-paying industrial employment. Close to a million women workers joined the labor force when the war began. Of the 9.4 million workers, about 2.25 million were women. World War I marked the first time that women were mobilized directly into the armed forces. Over 16,000 women served overseas with the AEF in France, most worked as nurses, clerical workers, telephone operators and canteen operators. 12,000 women served in the navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and thousands of women were employed in army offices and hospitals. With the rapid growth in female employment, the Labor Department created the Women in Industry Service (WIS). WIS formulated general standards for the treatment of women workers; WIS also represented the first attempt by the federal government to take a practical stand on improving working conditions for women. At the end of the war, women lost nearly all their defense related jobs, ad were replaced by returning servicemen. By letting women take jobs while men were away at war, let America continue to keep moving forward in the work force. Allowing women in the work force during war, led to the ending of Woman Suffrage which was a big step for America as a whole. Even though there were other examples of how mobilizing for war changed the economy and its relationship to government, these three where the ones that stood out the most to me; each example affected the economy in a different way along with affecting the relationship with the government. How did an expanding mass culture change the contours of everyday life in the decade following World War I? What role did the new technologies of mass communication play in shaping these changes? What connections can you draw between the “culture of consumption” then and today? Expanding mass culture changed the everyday life in the decade “Roaring Twenties” following WWI in many ways including; becoming a more sophisticated advertising industry, new forms of journalism and also through sports and celebrities. The post war years became a thriving advertising industry both reflecting and encouraging the growing importance of consumer goods in American life. In previous years, advertising had been confined mainly to newspapers and magazines, and presented no more than basic product information. In the 1920’s advertising became a respectable, sophisticated form of profession. Advertisers began focusing on the needs, desires, and anxieties of the consumer, rather than the qualities of the product; one ad agency executive quoted, “There are certain things that most people believe. The moment your copy is linked to one of those beliefs, more than half your battle is won.” Extraordinary amounts of time, energy, and money were put into trying to discover and shape those beliefs, the new advertising ethic was one that promised products would contribute to the buy’s physical, psychic, or emotion well-being. The new technologies such as, new printing machinery helped shaped the changes for becoming a more successful advertising industry because it allowed advertisements to be produced at a more rapid and accurate rate than before. In this aspect I don’t think the “culture of consumption” has changed much considering, we still look at advertisement daily to benefit ourselves and our lives, just like the advertisement companies intended us to, even in the 1920’s. In the postwar years, a different kind of newspaper became prevalent, the tabloid, such as The New York Dailey News, founded in 1919 by Joseph M. Patterson. The folded-in-half page style made it a convenient to read on the go, even though it wasn’t very large, much of its space was devoted to photographs and illustrations; much like today, tabloids emphasized sex, scandals, and sports. In 1922, Daily News circulation reached 400,000 and by 1929 reached nearly 1.3 million, the success of this tabloid sparked many imitators, Chicago Times, Los Angeles Daily News, even the Denver Rocky Mountain News, also adopted the new format. The older style newspapers were hardly affected, because the tabloids had attracted an audience of millions who had never read the newspaper before. The most popular feature of the tabloids was the gossip column, invented by Walter Winchell, who described the secret lives of public figures with his own distinctive rapid-fire slangy style. Newspaper chains like Hearst, Gannett, and Scripps-Howard flourished during the 1920’s, which produced a more standardized kind of journalism that could be found anywhere in the country. By the 1930’s the Hearst organization owned 14 percent of the nation’s newspaper circulation, so one in every four Sunday papers were owned by Hearst. This new form of journalism changed the way news was distributed to America, even till this day tabloids are a major part of the way news is dispersed to our Nation. As radio, newspapers, magazines, and newsreels exhaustively documented spectator sports, they began to grow in both popularity and profitability. As spectator sports became more popular among the media, so did the athletes that participated in these activities. It wasn’t the media that made these athletes so famous, but themselves, performing extraordinary feats on the field that attracted the millions of fans. During the decade, the image of the modern athlete became; rich, famous, glamorous, and often a rebel against social convention. Major league baseball was the most popular sport among the fans, and George Herman “Babe” Ruth, embodied the new celebrity athlete. Babe was quite popular in New York, the media capital of the nation, newspapers and magazines chronicled his enormous appetites for food, whiskey, expensive cars, and big-city lights. He was even the first athlete avidly sought by manufactures for celebrity endorsement of their products. Baseball attendance dramatically increased in 1929, with a one-year total of 10 million. The new media configuration of the 1920’s created heroes in other sports as well such as football, boxing, golfing, tennis and swimming. New technologies of mass communication played a major role in the changes for sports, without newspapers and advertisements the nation would have never been attracted to the sports and realized what a thrill they were to watch. Just like in the decade of the 20’s, sports are still a very prevalent part of our everyday lives in America, with news circulating throughout newspapers, on TV and other forms of advertisement. To what degree were the grim realities of the depression reflected in popular culture? To what degree were they absent? The Great Depression profoundly affected the world, on many levels, but there were also strong celebrations of individualism, longing for a simpler, rural past, and many attempts to define American core virtues. Blue-collar workers weren’t the only workers strongly affected by the depression, American’s writers, artists, and teachers were affected just as much as the rest of the nation. In 1939, WPA allocated $300 million for the unemployed in these fields. Federal One was one of the most innovative and successful New Deal programs, offering work to desperate unemployed artist and intellectuals, which left a substantial artistic and cultural legacy. During the 1930s’ mainstream mass media, such as Life magazine along with artists, novelists, journalists, photographers, and filmmakers tried to document the devastation brought on by the depression in American communities. The “documentary impulse” became a prominent style in the 1930s’ cultural expression. The grim reality of the depression reflected in popular culture was absent through the eyes of photographers, like Stryker. He believed that when you looked at the faces of the subjects you could, “see fear and sadness and desperation. But you saw something else, too. A determination that not even the depression could kill. The photographers saw it- documented it.” Despite the many negatives of the depression, the grim reality was also absent in film, radio and the swing era. Toward the end of the 1920s, “talking pictures” helped make movies the most popular entertainment form of the day. More than 60 percent of Americans attended one the nation’s 20,000 movie houses each week. Gangster films did very well in the early depression years such as, Duck Soup (1933) and A Night at the Opera (1935). Mae West’s popular comedies made people laugh by cleverly subverting expectations about sex roles. Radio broadcasting emerged as the most powerful medium of communication in the home, profoundly changing the rhythms and routines of everyday life. By the end of the 1930s’, 90 percent of American homes had radio sets. The depression actually helped radio expand. The New deal profoundly changed many areas of American life; it radically increased the role of the federal government in American lives and communities, creating a new kind of liberalism defined by an activist state. The depression was significantly a miserable part of our nation’s history, but at the same time, it’s when America as a whole began to discover itself and rebuild. Which is why we are so strong as a country, no matter what, we always come together and rebuild.

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