1 The Great War AKA > World War I America s Home Front >Mobilizing America The first and most important mobilization decision was the size of the army. When the United States entered the war, the army stood at 200,000, hardly enough to have a decisive impact in Europe. (See information on the Selective Service Act below) Once the size of the Army had been determined, the demands on the economy became obvious, although the means to satisfy them did not: food and clothing, guns and ammunition, places to train, and the means of transport. The Navy also had to be expanded to protect American shipping and the troop transports. Contracts immediately began flowing from the Army and Navy to the private sector. The result, of course, was a rapid increase in federal spending from $477 million in 1916 to a peak of $8,450 million in (See Table 1 below for this and other data on the war effort.) The latter figure amounted to over 12 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP), and that amount excludes spending by other wartime agencies and spending by allies, much of which was financed by U.S. loans. Table 1 Selected Economic Variables, Industrial production (1916 =100) Revenues of the federal government (millions of dollars) $930 2,373 4,388 5,889 6, Expenditures of the federal government (millions of dollars) $1,333 7,316 15,585 12,425 5, Army and Navy spending (millions of dollars) $477 3,383 8,580 6,685 2, Stock of money, M2 (billions of dollars) $ GNP deflator (1916 =100) Gross National Product (GNP) (billions of dollars) $ Real GNP (billions of 1916 dollars) $ Average annual earnings per full-time manufacturing employee (1916 dollars) $ Total labor force (millions) Military personnel (millions) Selective Service Act The draft (AKA conscription). On May 18, 1917 a draft was imposed. All males between ages of 18 and 45 had to register. Initially, the expectation was that the United States would mobilize an army of one million. The number, however, would go much higher. Overall some 4,791,172 Americans would serve in World War I. Some 2,084,000 would reach France, and 1,390,000 would see active combat. However, a number of men exempt from the draft were conscientious objectors > A conscientious objector (CO) was an individual following the religious, moral or ethical dictates of his conscience that was incompatible with being a combatant in military service, or being part of the armed forces as a combatant organization. In the first case, conscientious objectors may be willing to accept non-
2 combatant roles during conscription or military service. In the second case, the objection was to any role within armed forces and resulted in complete rejection of conscription or military service. Some conscientious objectors considered themselves either pacifist or antimilitarist. *Also, learning from the inequality of the draft during the Civil War, and its practice of a draftee paying $300 dollars for a substitue to take their place if called up by the draft, in World War I there would be no substitiutions. 2. The National War Labor Board - In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson established the National War Labor Board (NWLB) which was composed of representatives from business and labor. It was chaired by former President William Howard Taft. Its purpose was to arbitrate disputes between workers and employers. Capitalizing on labor shortages during America's entrance into World War I, unions led by Samuel Gompers under the American Federation of Labor organized mass strikes for tangible gain. With more than 1200 cases heard the board ruled in favor of labor more often than not. In response the AFL issued a 'no strike' pledge. Wilson then instructed the NWLB to uphold the right of labor to organize and bargain collectively. In one instance, Wilson dispatched Federal Agents to commandeer a Smith & Wesson factory that violated WIB regulations. The WIB also constructed low-income housing around war factories and shipyards to ensure an adequate labor pool. It also encouraged a living wage. Union membership almost doubled after the formation of the WIB. Of note the AFL rose from 2 million in 1916 to 3.2 million in By the end of the decade, 15% of the nonagricultral work force was unionized. The NWLB was abolished August 12, 1919.The biggest setback in the process of creating the program was the exclusion of the up-and-coming African-American Citizens of the United States. Much dispute had arisen from the situation. 3. Emergency Fleet Corporation - The United States Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation was a federal corporation that operated from 1917 until 1936 when its functions were assumed by the newly created U.S. Maritime Commission.The U.S. Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation was established September 16, 1917, under provisions of the Shipping Act, to acquire, construct, and supervise the operation of U.S. Shipping Board merchant vessels. 4. War Industries Board - The War Industries Board (WIB) was a United States government agency established on July 28, 1917 during World War I to get America on wartime footing (Go from the production of consumer goods in our factories [ butter ] to the produciton of war goods [ guns ]. It was reorganized in 1918 under the leadership of Bernard M. Baruch, a very successful Wall Street banker.the organization encouraged companies to use mass-production techniques to increase efficiency and urged them to eliminate waste by standardizing products. The WIB set production quotas and allocated raw materials. It also conducted psychological testing to help people find the right jobs. The WIB also dealt with labor-management disputes resulting from increased demand for products during WW1. The government could not negotiate prices and could not handle worker strikes, so the WIB regulated the two to decrease tensions by stopping strikes with wage increases to prevent a shortage of supplies going to the war in Europe. Under the WIB industrial production in the U.S. increased 2000 percent. However, the WIB applied price controls only at the wholesale level. As a result, retail prices soared, almost doubling during the war years. 5. Fuel Administration - Fuel Administration, a World War I agency instituted on August 23, 1917 under authority of the LEVER ACT (see below) and under the leadership of Harry A. Garfield. The agency exercised control over the production, distribution, and price of coal and oil. Its main activities were to (1) stimulate an increase in the production of fuel; (2) encourage voluntary economy in the private consumption of fuel; (3) restrict consumption by industries not essential to winning the war; (4) regulate the distribution of coal through a zoning system; and (5) check the inordinate rise of fuel prices by fixing maximum prices within each zone. Characteristic of its methods for inducing voluntary conservation was its appeal to people residing east of the Mississippi River to observe "gasless Sundays days on which motorists could not drive so that America could use more fuel for the war effort. Also introduced at this time was daylight savings time so factories would use less fuel to light their plants. Plus non-essential factories to the war effort were shut down one day a week. 6. The Lever Act - (AKA > The Smith-Lever Act) The Lever Act of 1914 was a United States federal law that established a system of cooperative extension services, connected to the land-grant universities, in order to inform people about current developments in agriculture, home economics, and related subjects. This aided in fuel and food conservation for the war effort.
3 7. Food Board The Food Board was a World War I agency instituted in April of President Woodrow Wilson appointed Herbert Hoover the Food Board administrator. Hoover had gained renown for his efforts to help feed the Belgians after being invaded by Germany in fall Hoover undertook an unprecedented relief effort as head of the Committee for Relief in Belgium (CRB). As America s Food Board leader, his job was to regulate and direct food production, including the supply of food to Allied and neutral countries. Hoover asked Americans to cooperate by saving food. His motto was "Food will win the war!" and the term "Hooverize" was coined to mean "economize." Hoover encouraged people to grow their own Victory Gardens and observe meatless Tuesdays & wheatless Wednesdays. 8. Railroad Administration - The United States Railroad Administration was the name of the nationalized railroad system of the United States between 1917 and It was possibly the largest American experiment with nationalization, and was undertaken against a background of war emergency. Background: The nation's railroads proved inadequate to the task of serving the nation's war efforts. There were several sources of the problem. Although the carriers had made massive investments in first years of the twentieth century, there were still inadequacies in terminals, trackage, and rolling stock. Inflation struck the American economy, and when in 1906 the federal government empowered the Interstate Commerce Commission to set maximum rates, the rail firms had difficulty securing revenue sufficient to keep pace with rising costs. The Interstate Commerce Commission did allow some increases in rates, however. Also, investors had overexpanded the nation's trackage, so by late 1915 fully onesixth of the railroad trackage in the country belonged to roads in receivership (bankruptcy). The railroad unions (commonly called "brotherhoods"), desiring shorter working days and better pay, threatened strike action in the second half of To avert a strike, President Woodrow Wilson secured Congressional passage of the Adamson Act, which set the eight hour day as the industry standard. When the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional, the carriers had no choice but to comply. The railroads attempted to join forces to coordinate their efforts and help the war effort, but private action proved inadequate. Observers noted, for example, that sometimes competitive practices prevailed that were not in the best interests of efficient mobilization. Also, government departments sought priority for shipment made on their behalf, and congestion in freight yards, terminals, and port facilities became staggering. Finally, in December 1917 the Interstate Commerce Commission recommended federal control of the railroad industry to ensure efficient operation. The resulting efficiencies were to go beyond simply easing the congestion and expediting the flow of goods; they were to bring all parties, management, labor, investors, and shippers, together in a harmonious whole working on behalf of the national interest. Nationalization: On December 26, 1917, President Wilson used the Federal Possession and Control Act to nationalize the vast majority of US railroads. William McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury, was appointed Director General of Railroads. The United States Railroad Administration officially took charge at noon on December 28, The Railroad Administration directed traffic of 400,000 miles of track, standardized rates, limited passenger travel, established time zones in America all to speed up arms shipments. 9. Creel Committee - The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI and the Creel Committee, was established under President Woodrow Wilson as an independent agency by Executive Order 2594, April 13, The committee was lead by George Creel. The purpose of the CPI was to influence American public opinion toward supporting U.S. intervention in World War I via a vigorous propaganda campaign. Among those who participated in it were Wilson adviser Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, the latter of whom had remarked that "the essence of democratic society" was the "engineering of consent", by which propaganda was the necessary method for democracies to promote and garner support for policy. Many have commented that the CPI laid the groundwork for the public relations (PR) industry. The CPI at first used material that was based on fact, but spun it to present an upbeat picture of the American war effort. Very quickly, however, the CPI began churning out raw propaganda picturing Germans as evil monsters. Hollywood movie makers joined in on the propaganda by making movies such as The
4 Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur, and The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. These titles illustrated the message the CPI tried to convey. CPI pamphlets were created and warned citizens to be on the lookout for German spies. Dozens of "patriotic organizations," with names like the American Protective League and the American Defense Society, sprang up. These groups spied, tapped telephones, and opened mail in an effort to ferret out "spies and traitors." The targets of these groups was anyone who called for peace, questioned the Allies' progress, or criticized the government's policies. They were particularly hard on German Americans, some of whom lost their jobs, and were publicly humiliated by being forced to kiss the American flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or buy war bonds. The committee used newsprint, radio, telegraph, cable and movies to broadcast its message. There was a volunteer services corps, called the Four-minute men whose 75,000 members spoke around the country. The Four-minute men worked in 5,200 communities and gave 755,190 speeches. During its lifetime, the organization had over twenty bureaus and divisions, with commissioner's offices in nine foreign countries. In addition to the Four-minute men both a Films Division and a News Division were established to help get out the war message. What was missing, Creel saw, was a way to reach those Americans who might not read newspapers, attend meetings or watch movies. For this task, Creel created the Division of Pictorial Publicity. Charles Dana Gibson was America's most popular illustrator - and an ardent supporter of the war. When Creel asked him to assemble a group of artists to help design posters for the government, Gibson was more than eager to help. Famous illustrators such as James Montgomery Flagg, Joseph Pennell and N. C. Wyeth were brought together to produce some of World War I's most lasting images. 10. Role of Women Women took an active role in WWI. Primarily they took jobs in factories traditionally held by men in shell making shipping etc. However, more than 25,000 US women served in Europe in World War I. They helped nurse the wounded, provided food and other supplies to the military, served as telephone operators (the Hello Girls ), entertained troops, and worked as journalists. Many of these self-selected adventurous women found their own work, improvised their own tools argued, persuaded, and scrounged for supplies. They created new organizations where none had existed. Despite hardships, the women had fun and were glad they went. Women s efforts in WWI provided the needed catalyst for women s suffrage and were perhaps the largest factor in getting the 19 th Amendment passed in 1920 which gave women the right to vote. 11. African-Americans - With America s entrance into World War I the military needs drained manpower from Northern industries. Increasing job vacancies enticed more black migrants to urban industrial centers, and for the first time, substantial numbers of black men and women held industrial jobs. Thousands worked in industrial plants producing goods for the war effort and for a growing domestic consumer market. Most appreciated the higher pay and greater autonomy compared to domestic work. As black communities in the North grew, so did opportunities for blacks, more of whom became politicians, newspaper publishers, real estate brokers, insurance agents, lawyers, and teachers, serving the black communities. African Americans also went to war; approximately 400,000 black soldiers served in the armed forces. Over half of the African American men who served in the war were stationed in France. They served in segregated units, and most were assigned as cooks, laborers, cargo handlers, or to other noncombat support positions, but some black regiments saw extensive combat duty. Despite their demonstrated military proficiency and bravery, black soldiers were insulted and harassed by white soldiers. Some American military officials attempted to establish the Jim Crow system in France. General John Pershing, commander of the Allied forces, issued a document called 'Secret Information Concerning the Black American Troops. This document warned French military leaders against treating black soldiers as equals, but French people were unconcerned about such American practices and often welcomed black soldiers as heroes. Most black leaders supported America's involvement in the war, but not all agreed. Labor leader A. Philip Randolph and socialist Chandler Owen vigorously opposed World War I and were sentenced to over two years in jail for publishing their views. Leaders were united, however, in the view that blacks' wartime sacrifices entitled them to first-
5 class citizenship. At the end of the war, African Americans were determined to demand respect from the nation for which they had fought. 12. Espionage and Sedition Act - The Espionage Act of 1917 was a United States federal law passed shortly after entering World War I, on June 15, 1917, which made it a crime for a person to convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies. It was punishable by a maximum $USD 10,000 fine ($169, in today's dollars) and 20 years in prison. The legislation was passed at the urging of President Woodrow Wilson, who feared any widespread dissent in time of war constituted a real threat to an American victory. Enforcement of the Act A year after the Act's passage, Eugene V. Debs, Socialist Party presidential candidate in 1904, 1908, and 1912 was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for making a speech that "obstructed recruiting". He ran for president again in 1920 from prison. He was pardoned by President Warren G. Harding after serving nearly 3 years. Publications which the Wilson Administration determined were guilty of violating the Act "were subject to being deprived of mailing privilege, a blow to most periodicals." A section of the Act allowed the Postmaster General to declare all letters, circulars, newspapers, pamphlets, and other materials that violated the Act to be unmailable. As a result, about 75 newspapers either lost their mailing privileges or were pressured to print nothing more about World War I between June 1917 and May Among the publications which were censored as a result of the Act were two Socialist Party daily newspapers New York Call and Milwaukee Leader. The editor of the latter, Victor Berger, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment after being convicted on a charge of conspiracy to violate the Act. This was later appealed on a technicality. Other publications banned from the mails were the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) journal Solidarity, (IWW s leader William Big Bill Haygood will also be convicted under the act and sent to prison and later pardoned by President Warren G. Harding too.) Other magazines like American Socialist, The Masses, German-American or German-language newspapers, pacifist publications, and Irish nationalist publications (such as Jeremiah O'Leary's Bull) will be banned as well. The Act in the Courts The laws were ruled to be compliant with the United States Constitution in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States, (1919). Schenck, an anti-war Socialist, had been convicted of violating the Act, after he published a pamphlet urging resistance to the World War I draft. Schenck had challenged the law with the 1st Amendment. In this 1919 case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Sedition Acts were constitutional because the right of free speech was not always absolute. Although Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who upheld Schenck's conviction in 1919, he also introduced the theory that punishment in such cases can only be limited to political expression which constitutes a "clear and present danger" to the government action at issue. In the lesser known Court case of Abrams v. Schenck v. United States, (1919) a man (Abrams) was convicted for pamphlets that had attacked the government's sending of troops to Russia and his call for a strike. This case WAS overturned. Justices Holmes and Louis Brandeis disagreed with the conviction because they saw no immediate threat to the war effort. The Sedition Act- The Espionge Act was later extended by the Sedition Act of 1918, which made it illegal to speak out against the government. Discouraging the sale of war bonds and criticism of the U.S. government or military, for example, became illegal and could be punished by imprisonment or fine. More than 1,500 people were arrested under the act for criticizing the government. During and after World War I, the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act were used in some prosecutions that would be considered constitutionally unacceptable in today's United States, even in the political climate after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York's World Trade Center. While many of the laws were repealed in 1921, major portions of the Espionage Act remain part of United States law.
6 13. Paying for the War a) Bonds - War bonds are a type of savings bond used by combatant nations to help fund a war effort. In 1917 and 1918, the United States government issued Liberty Bonds to raise money for its involvement in World War I. Silent movie stars, such as Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. used their stature in the movie industry to promote the purchase of Liberty Bonds. They went on an exhausting series of fund-raising speeches. Pickfrod, Americ a Sweetheart, kissed American flags for cameras and auctioned one of her world-famous curls for $15,000. In a single speech in Chicago she sold an estimated five million dollars' worth of bonds. She was christened the U.S. Navy's official "Little Sister"; the army named two cannons after her and made her an honorary colonel. Liberty and Victory bonds netted $21 billion. b) Taxes - Taxes on income and luxury were passed. (The 16 th Amendment 1913) ** The main source of paying for the American war effort was through U.S. loans. However, bonds and taxes were able to pay for the $30 billion the United States used during the war. It is significant to mention that the bonds also pushed the U.S. government into a larger debt. Significance??? The Effects of World War I To what extent did World War I accomplish what the Populists and the Progressives could not? To what extent did the role of government increase because of World War I?