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WW1 to Great Depression Essay

1) What caused American entry into World War I, and how did Wilson turn the war into an ideological crusade? A: Although America did not want to enter WW1, once German submarines sunk the American ship Lusetania, it killed American sailors. Instead of his original idea to spread peace, Wilson now wanted revenge. In his war message to Congress, he said that if America did not act quickly, the Western hemisphere’s ideals would be destroyed by German’s beliefs. Then, he referred to WW1 as the “war to end all wars”. He hoped that countries would never just go to their weapons whenever there was a disagreement. Wilson wanted the League of Nations to resolve any problems countries had before they went to war with each other. Americans supported Wilson’s ideals because he was trying to keep the world safe and democratic.

2) Do you agree that the primary responsibility for the failure of America to join the League of Nations lies with President Wilson rather than with his opponents? A: It would be his opponents in Congress’ fault because it was their decision to not ratify the Treaty of Versailles. They also didn’t want to send soldiers that they could lose for other countries. They didn’t want other world powers trying to rule their country. Congress thought joining the League of Nations would threaten their independence. Wilson wanted to join the League of Nations, but due to Congress’ dislike of the Treaty of Versailles, America did not join.

3) How did some events of the 1920’s reflect national conflicts over social, cultural, and religious values?

A: The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti proved that America had a fear of foreigners and anyone who shared political differences not shared by the majority of people. Sacco and Vanzetti were foreign Italian anarchists who were unfairly changed and executed. The Scopes trial showed that Americans did not want any religious change and believed that their biblical ideas were the only correct ideas that should be taught. The 1st Red Scare gave Americans a phobia of communists. They thought communists would take over the government and ruin their democracy.

4) In what ways were the twenties a social and cultural reaction against the progressive idealism that held sway before and during World War I?

A: Before and during WW1, Progressives were in a way trying to perfect the world. They believed by controlled people’s lives, they would help them. They did this through things like Prohibition. They thought by keeping Americans from alcohol, they would help them and make America a better place. After WW1, the progressive idealism was gone. People didn’t care about a perfect world, they just wanted to live life to the fullest.

5) What weakness existed beneath the surface of the general 1920’s prosperity and how did these weakness help cause the Great Depression? A: The major problem was people’s inability to use credit properly. The market was doing so great and people made lots of money, so they kept using credit to borrow money. They were careless and didn’t worry about the money they had to pay back, instead they kept spending. Once the market crashed, the borrowed money to invest in stock couldn’t be payed back. A lot of people couldn’t get their remaining money out of the banks because the banks had already payed others back. No one could get their money, whatever money people had loaned couldn’t be payed back. Jobs were cut because there was no way to pay employees. Eventually, the lack of money in circulations led to lack of jobs causing the Great Depression.

6) How did the early New Deal legislation attempt to achieve the three goals or relief, recovery and reform?

A: When President Roosevelt attempted to relief the 1/3 hit hardest by the depression, he created the CCC, which gave 18-25 year olds jobs to work on flood control and planting windbreaks. The PWA also helped relief them by encouraging the construction of industry. For recovery, they had to establish a financial system. The New Deal got rid of the gold standard and limited farm production to increase crop prices. Lastly, for reform, they created safe guards and took more responsibility financially. Instead of limited government or a laissez-faire government, they became active in helping those who needed help.

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