Research Universities from World War I to 1930
The experience of waging total war, which had a visceral impact on the citizenry of the beleaguered European combatants, had a more cerebral significance for Americans, who were far more fortunate in terms of its duration and distance. Nevertheless, the intensity of the American involvement, physical and emotional, accelerated the pace of social, economic, and cultural change. The exigencies of war jarred individuals out of the trajectories of their anticipated life patterns, caused institutions to accept hitherto unimaginable arrangements, and spawned new organizations for previously unforeseen purposes. In the span of less than two years, individuals and institutions alike were subject to a richness and variety of experience that profoundly affected their perceptions and interpretations of the world in which they lived. In the longer term, however, the novelties and innovations of wartime had consequences that could not be predicted. Many of the specific agencies of the war mobilization were quickly deflated after the armistice. But other wartime arrangements provided powerful precedents that persisted in the postwar world. Certainly, all of these reactions were evident in the impact of the war on American universities.
World War I induced a period of extraordinarily rapid technological development, but of more significance for American science was an even