How did America change because of World War I?
Download Primary Source Set: US in WWI
Just as World War I stands as an important marker of the new role for the U.S. on the world stage, the war also is an important event that started a century-long growth of the federal government. Once the United States entered the war, the government grew through the administration of the draft, the organization of the war at home, and the promotion of civilian support for the war. Americans on the home front had mixed reactions to the war. Some bought Liberty bonds to support the war, while others opposed the war. National security concerns led to the passage and enforcement of the Espionage and Seditions Acts, which encroached upon civil liberties. German Americans experienced prejudice and extreme nativism. African Americans, who served in the military –in segregated units –came home and often moved to industrial centers as part of the “Great Migration,” and were often met with hostility from locals. Young men serving abroad found European ideas about race and sexuality very liberating. The war provided the context in which women’s activism to secure the vote finally succeeded. The war also had consequences for soldiers who returned home with physical injuries and a new syndrome known as “shell shock.” A number of American writers and poets of the “Lost Generation,” such as Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and Ezra Pound, sought solace in their creative work to make meaning out of the death and destruction of the war, and their resulting disillusionment with American idealism. This question can help students synthesize their studies of World War I both abroad and at home.