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Therefore, both individual states and the federal government established a multitude of temporary agencies to bring together the expertise necessary to redirect the economy and society into the production of munitions and food needed for the war, as well as the circulation of beliefs and ideals in order to motivate the people.
Firmly maintaining neutrality when World War I began in Europe in , the United States helped supply the Allies, but could not ship anything to Germany because of the British blockade. Sympathies among many politically and culturally influential Americans had favored the British cause from the start of the war, as typified by industrialist Samuel Insull , born in London , who helped young Americans enlist in British or Canadian forces. On the other hand, especially in the Midwest, many Irish Americans and German Americans opposed any American involvement and were anti-British.
The suffragist movement included many pacifists, and most churches opposed the war.
German efforts to use its submarines " U-boats " to blockade Britain resulted in the deaths of American travelers and sailors, and attacks on passenger liners caused public outrage. Most notable was the torpedoing without warning the passenger liner Lusitania in Germany promised not to repeat, but it reversed its position in early , believing that unrestricted U-boat warfare against all ships headed to Britain would win the war even at the cost of American entry.
When Americans read the text of the German offer to Mexico, known as the Zimmermann Telegram , they saw an offer for Mexico to go to war with Germany against the United States, with German funding, with the promise of the return of the lost territories of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. On April 1, , Wilson called for war, emphasizing that the U. Congress authorized President Woodrow Wilson to create a bureaucracy of , to 1 million new jobs in five thousand new federal agencies. Employing talented writers and scholars, it issued anti-German pamphlets and films. It organized thousands of "Four-Minute Men" to deliver brief speeches at movie theaters, schools and churches to promote patriotism and participation in the war effort.
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In the administration decided to rely primarily on conscription, rather than voluntary enlistment, to raise military manpower for World War I. The Selective Service Act of was carefully drawn to remedy the defects in the Civil War system and—by allowing exemptions for dependency, essential occupations, and religious scruples—to place each man in his proper niche in a national war effort. The act established a "liability for military service of all male citizens"; authorized a selective draft of all those between twenty-one and thirty-one years of age later from eighteen to forty-five ; and prohibited all forms of bounties, substitutions, or purchase of exemptions.
Administration was entrusted to local boards composed of leading civilians in each community. These boards issued draft calls in order of numbers drawn in a national lottery and determined exemptions. In and some 24 million men were registered and nearly 3 million inducted into the military services, with little of the resistance that characterized the Civil War.
They fought "for honor, manhood, comrades, and adventure, but especially for duty. The Espionage Act of and the Sedition Act of attempted to punish enemy activity and extended to the punishment expressions of doubt about America's role in the war. The Sedition Act criminalized any expression of opinion that used "disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language" about the U. Government police action, private vigilante groups, and public war hysteria compromised the civil liberties of many Americans who disagreed with Wilson's policies.
The private American Protective League , working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation , was one of many private patriotic associations that sprang up to support the war and at the same time identify slackers, spies, draft dodgers and anti-war organizations. In a July speech, Max Eastman complained that the government's aggressive prosecutions of dissent meant that "You can't even collect your thoughts without getting arrested for unlawful assemblage.
The nascent film industry produced a wide variety of propaganda films. The most successful was The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin , a "sensational creation" designed to rouse the audience against the German ruler. Comedies included Mutt and Jeff at the Front. The greatest artistic success, considered by many a landmark of film history, was Charlie Chaplin 's Shoulder Arms , which followed the star from his induction into the military, his accidental penetration of the German lines, and his eventual return having captured the Kaiser and Crown Prince and won himself a pretty French girl.
By , Britain was funding most of the Empire's war expenditures, all of Italy's and two thirds of the war costs of France and Russia, plus smaller nations as well. Treasury in — United States Cartridge Company expanded its work force ten-fold in response to September contracts with British purchasing agents; and ultimately manufactured over two billion rifle and machine gun cartridges. Production rate of explosives by the United States was similarly 40 percent higher than Britain and nearly twice that of France.
The financing was generally successful. The United States Cartridge Company Lowell, Massachusetts , factory which manufactured nearly two-thirds of the small arms cartridges produced in the United States during the war, closed eight years later. The US effort to produce and ship war material to France was characterized by several factors.
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The US declared war on Germany on 6 April with only a small munitions industry, very few medium and heavy artillery pieces, and few machine guns. By June the US had decided that their forces would primarily operate alongside the French, and would acquire their artillery and machine guns by purchasing mostly French weapons in theater, along with some British weapons in the case of heavy artillery. Shipments from the US to France would primarily be of soldiers and ammunition; artillery equipment in particular occupied too much space and weight to be economical.
These priorities combined with the short month US participation in the war meant that few US-made weapons arrived in France, and the need for extensive training of artillery units once in France meant that fewer still saw action before the Armistice. A comparison with World War II would be that the US started preparing for that war in earnest shortly after the Germans invaded Poland in September ; by the time the US entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December there had already been 27 months of mobilization.
It was envisioned that US artillery production of French- and British-designed weapons, and a few US-designed weapons chambered for French ammunition, would be ramped up and that US-made artillery would eventually be delivered to the battlefields in quantity.
However, major production snarls occurred with most of the artillery programs, and as mentioned artillery shipments had a lower priority than many other types of shipments overseas. The food program was a major success, as output expanded, waste was reduced, and both the home front and the Allies received more food. Food Administration under Herbert Hoover launched a massive campaign to teach Americans to economize on their food budgets and grow victory gardens in their backyards.
Apart from 'wheatless Wednesdays' and 'meatless Tuesdays' due to poor harvests in and , there were 'fuelless Mondays' and 'gasless Sundays' to preserve coal and gasoline. In terms of munitions production, the first 15 months involved an amazing parade of mistakes, misguided enthusiasm, and confusion. Americans were willing enough, but they did not know their proper role. Washington was unable to figure out what to do when, or even to decide who was in charge. Typical of the confusion was the coal shortage that hit in December Because coal was by far the major source of energy and heat a grave crisis ensued.
There was in fact plenty of coal being mined, but 44, loaded freight and coal cars were tied up in horrendous traffic jams in the rail yards of the East Coast. Two hundred ships were waiting in New York harbor for cargo that was delayed by the mess. The solution included nationalizing the coal mines and the railroads for the duration, shutting down factories one day a week to save fuel, and enforcing a strict system of priorities. Only in March, , did Washington finally take control of the crisis  The transportation system then worked smoothly. Shipbuilding became a major wartime industry, focused on merchant ships and tankers.
Convoys were slow but effective in stopping u-boat attacks. An oil crisis occurred in Britain due to the German submarine campaign. Archbold" between May and September. The solution was expanded oil shipments from America in convoys. The close working relationship that evolved was in marked contrast to the feud between the government and Standard Oil years earlier.
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This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. February Learn how and when to remove this template message. I ended up going to high school and college and then graduate school, and I got out being a molecular biologist.
I got into my late 20s, and I was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut in biology. I worked with a group of viruses and many of the enzymes that make up genetic material.
United States home front during World War I
Somewhere in that sequence I got into the psychedelic revolution. There were many different steps in that, but most striking was sitting in a creek for six hours with Ron McComb. They did lightshows using liquid projection and slides. I was a graduate student in molecular biology, but I used to like to go to the Fillmore East and listen to rock and roll. I was working more than hours a week doing molecular biology and I would take off five hours on Saturday night because I needed a break, and that would be my break.
I believe that intrinsically all us urban kids raised in fairly heavily constrained circumstances — and in many ways the school system is a continual tribulation against freedom — were being constrained in one way or another to be able to adapt to a society which in many and most ways is truly sick in the way it interacts with the Earth. The society we live in is so destructive of the natural world.
Now what do you see? We know not that many people have ever squeezed the teats of a cow and known what that was like, or dug their hands into the fertile earth and smelled it and tasted it.
After you had this series of experiences and epiphanies what direction did you move in? I got out of academia and went first to British Columbia and then to Oregon. Then I moved into a commune and lived with a bunch of people. Everyone was having a good time, and they were doing the same thing; they were taking a lot of psychedelics and going through circles and rituals where all of a sudden you get in touch with a higher consciousness.