From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society

By Neil A. Wynn | Go to book overview

Of course, all historians use periodization and begin and end their particular studies with one event or another, but the First World War was more than just an historical full stop marking the end of one period and the beginning of another: for America, as for other countries, the war was a complex affair that saw some pre-war developments brought to a conclusion, some come to a temporary halt, and others continue, colored by the peculiar nuances of wartime. The experience of war also brought new concerns, new emphases, new ideas, and new personalities to the fore, thus creating the sense and reality of change. So much was this to be the case that a digest of newspaper articles and editorials in 1918 found a widespread "unargued assumption that things will never be the same again as they were before the war." 23 Try as they might in the 1920s, Americans could not turn back the clock and deny the experience of the war years.


Notes
1.
M. A. Jones, "American Wars," in Dennis Welland, ed., The United States: A Companion to American Studies ( London, 1974), 153; the reviewer was David Englander, "An Age of Total War," Times Higher Education Supplement, 1 June 1984.
2.
See Arthur Marwick, War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century ( London, 1974); Britain in the Century of Total War ( London, 1968); The Deluge: British Society and the First World War ( London, 1965); and numerous journal articles and papers; Alan Milward, The Economic Effects of the World Wars in Britain ( London, 1970); Geoffrey Best, War and Society in Revolutionary Europe ( London, 1983), and editor of the Fontana History of European War and Society series. The Open University History course and television programs broadcast on BBC television entitled "War and Society" (led by Marwick) have been very influential in Britain. See for example, J. M. Winter, ed., War and Economic Development ( Cambridge, England, 1975); B. Bond, ed., War and Society: A Yearbook of Military History ( London, 1975); and, with I. Roy, vol. 2 ( London, 1977).
3.
Jim Heath, "Domestic America During World War II: Research Opportunities for Historians," Journal of American History 58 ( September 1971): 384-414.
4.
Over Here: The First World War and American Society ( New York and Oxford, 1980), despite its title is not, as the author admits (p.v.) "a study of the impact of the war on American society," but only of certain aspects of it. Thus labor, women, and blacks are all dealt with in a single chapter, and the main focus of this ably written book is on traditional areas of interest. The central chapters deal with the military experience and its interpretation through literature. Two other studies, both "folksy"—almost to the point of nostalgia—are Edward Robb Ellis, Echoes of Distant Thunder: Life in the United States, 1914-1918 ( NewYork, 1975)

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From Progressivism to Prosperity: World War I and American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • From Progressivism to Prosperity *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Note on Sources xi
  • Introduction War, Reform, and Social Change— the First World War in American History xiii
  • Notes xx
  • From Progressivism to Prosperity *
  • 1: The Progressive Era American Society, 1900-1914 1
  • Notes 23
  • 2: From Peace to War 1914-1917 26
  • Notes 38
  • 3: Mobilizing the Population for War Propaganda and Civil Liberties 41
  • Notes 61
  • 4: Organizing for War Government, Business, and the Economy 65
  • Notes 82
  • 5: Labor and the War 86
  • Notes 124
  • 6: War, Women, and the Family 133
  • Notes 163
  • 7: Black Americans and the First World War 170
  • Notes 191
  • 8: The Aftermath of War Reconstruction, Red Scare, and the 1920s 196
  • Notes 221
  • Epilogue from Progressivism to Prosperity: the First World War in Perspective 226
  • Notes 236
  • Bibliography 239
  • Index 257
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