Over Here: The First World War and American Society

By David M. Kennedy | Go to book overview

Preface

This book provides a reasonably complete account of events in the United States during the nineteen months of American belligerency in the First World War, but it also seeks to do more than that. I have used the occasion of the war as a window through which to view early twentieth-century American society. From that vantage point, I believe, some familiar historical landscape can be seen in a new light, and perhaps some new terrain identified. The book, therefore, is not a comprehensive chronicle of all that happened in wartime America, though the pages that follow contain much of that sort of detail. Neither is it, strictly speaking, a study of the impact of the war on American society, though dimensions of that impact are frequently examined. The book might best be described as a discussion of those aspects of the American experience in the First World War that I take to be crucial for an understanding of modern American history.

The paramount theme of any account of American participation in the Great War of 1914-18 must be the historic departure of the United States from isolation and all that isolation implied. That departure not only spelled the abandonment of nearly a century and a half of American diplomatic practice, a commonplace observation to which I offer neither dissent nor elaboration. It also compelled the United States, as almost never before, to measure itself against Europe, even to compete with Europe for a definition of the war's meaning and for the fruits of

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Over Here: The First World War and American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Over Here - The First World War and American Society *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Prologue: - Spring, 1917 3
  • 1 - The War for the American Mind 45
  • 2 - The Political Economy of War: the Home Front 93
  • 3 - "You'Re in the Army Now" 144
  • 4 - Over There - and Back 191
  • 5 - Armistice and Aftermath 231
  • 6 - The Political Economy of War: the International Dimension 296
  • Epilogue: - Promises of Glory 348
  • Bibliography 371
  • Index 389
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