Positive Impacts Of World War I

2018 Words 9 Pages
On April 6th 1917, in defence of its allies Britain, France and Russia, the US declared war on the Central Powers and officially entered World War One (WW1). The war had both positive and negative effects on the US economy and American society as a whole. This essay will evaluate the impact the war had on the US economy through analysing its effect on industry and agriculture. It will also show the impact it made on society in the US through the impact on race, gender, health and Progressivism.
On the whole, the impact of World War One (WWI) was mainly positive on the US economy as it created growth in industry and agriculture. At the beginning of the war, the US was experiencing recession, however 44 months of consecutive growth from 1914-1918
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The progressive movement was an era where improvement was promoted in American society, by making government more efficient and expert, by promoting equality, improved education and morals in society . The progressive movement however could be domineering in its approach and the war was used by some reformers to take a harder line with their policies. This was particularly evident in relation to prohibition . The government for example used the war to its advantage by perpetrating the myth that the availability of beer was actually a plot by the Germans to weaken the American population and that it was dwindling scarce resources away from the production of Food to the production of liquor. They also argued that because of the war, they needed every man working to his full capacity instead of being intoxicated. With the introduction of prohibition being directly linked to the war it gave the illusion that prohibition was a patriotic cause to support which in turn helped it attract increase backing from the public . An example of this is shown by a poster exhibited by the Ohio Dry Federation which showed the image of a soldier in the trenches and …show more content…
The war for example led to the creation of the War Labour Board (WLB) the purpose of which was to settle disputes between workers and employers in the aim of maximising productivity in the workforce during the war. The progressive led WLB encouraged workers to join unions and pressured businesses to introduce improvements for the labour force. These improvements included the introduction of 8 hour working days, ending child labour and increasing safety at work for employees .
In the short term however the war was seen to have a negative impact on the progressive movement, particularly on its social justice aims. Even though the progressives achieved their aim in creating stricter regulations over the economy, this ended up faltering as the regulation agencies created by it disbanded after the war. There was also disagreements amongst left leaning progressives, over the treatment of radicals and anti-war dissenters which weakened the progressive cause. The weakening of the progressives was capitalised on by the conservative Republican Party who gained control of government after the war. In the longer term however the development of the progressive’s ideals during the war years set the scene for a resurgence in progressive ideals in the 1930’s. After the great depression, the improvements made by the WLB, and other progressive groups inspired a new generation and the

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