America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State

Paperback | September 1, 1994

byRonald Schaffer

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After such conflicts as World War II, Vietnam, and now the Persian Gulf, the First World War seems a distant, almost ancient event. It conjures up images of trenches, horse-drawn wagons, and old-fashioned wide-brimmed helmets--a conflict closer to the Civil War than to our own time. Ithardly seems an American war at all, considering we fought for scarcely over a year in a primarily European struggle. But, as Ronald Schaffer recounts in this fascinating new book, the Great War wrought a dramatic revolution in America, wrenching a diverse, unregulated, nineteenth-century societyinto the modern age. Ranging from the Oval Office to corporate boardroom, from the farmyard to the battlefield, America in the Great War details a nation reshaped by the demands of total war. Schaffer shows how the Wilson Administration used persuasion, manipulation, direct control, and the cooperation of privateindustries and organizations to mobilize a freewheeling, individualist country. The result was a war-welfare state, imposing the federal government on almost every aspect of American life. He describes how it spread propaganda, enforced censorship, and stifled dissent. Political radicals,religious pacifists, German-Americans, even average people who voiced honest doubts about the war suffered arrest and imprisonment. The government extended its control over most of the nation's economic life through a series of new agencies--largely filled with managers from private business, whoused their new positions to eliminate competition and secure other personal and corporate gains. Schaffer also details the efforts of scholars, scientists, workers, women, African- Americans, and of social, medical, and moral reformers, to use the war to advance their own agendas even as theycontributed to the drive for victory. And not the least important is his account of how soldiers reacted to the reality of war--both at the front lines and at the rear--revealing what brought the doughboys to the battlefield, and how they went through not only horror and disillusionment but felt afervent patriotism as well. Some of the upheavals Schaffer describes were fleeting--as seen in the thousands of women who had to leave their wartime jobs when the boys came home--but others meant permanent change and set precedents for such future programs as the New Deal. By showing how American life would never bethe same again after the Armistice, America in the Great War lays a new foundation for understanding both the First World War and twentieth-century America.

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After such conflicts as World War II, Vietnam, and now the Persian Gulf, the First World War seems a distant, almost ancient event. It conjures up images of trenches, horse-drawn wagons, and old-fashioned wide-brimmed helmets--a conflict closer to the Civil War than to our own time. Ithardly seems an American war at all, considering ...

Ronald Schaffer is Professor of History at California State University, Northridge, and is the author of Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War II.

other books by Ronald Schaffer

Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War II
Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War II

Kobo ebook|Sep 29 1988

$56.29 online$72.99list price(save 22%)
America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State
America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare S...

Kobo ebook|Apr 28 1994

$42.39 online$54.99list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.13 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:September 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195049047

ISBN - 13:9780195049046

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"A very readable text with a clear--and reasonable--point of view. It should work well with students."--Manfred Jonas, Union College