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During most of the 1920s, the United States enjoyed a period of sustained prosperity.
Despite overall prosperity, remained depressed and coal mining was shrinking as oil
became the main energy source. Otherwise most sectors prospered. Prices were
stable, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew steadily until 1929, when the
financial bubble burst.
In foreign policy the nation never joined the League of Nations, but instead took the
initiative to disarm the world, most notably at the Washington Conference in
19211922.…read more

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The End of the War and the start of the
Problems.
In November 1918 the Germans surrendered before they were ultimately defeated on
the battlefield. The Germans were hoping for a fair settlement based upon the principles
that Wilson had proposed in January 1918 his Fourteen Points.
1. No secret treaties.
2. Freedom of navigation of the seas.
3. Removal of trade barriers in international trade.
4. Disarmament to the lowest possible level, while still allowing for national security.
5.…read more

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When Wilson travelled to Europe to take part in the Post War Peace Conference
outside Paris, he was met by huge crowds as a hero.
`Like Jesus Christ, President Wilson brings good news above all to the small and the
weak. To the humiliated he gives the ideas of equality. The European powers are
none too enthusiastic about Wilsonism. They are already trying to work out how to
exploit his ideals for their own purposes. But the ordinary masses believe one
hundred percent in Wilson.…read more

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For the old world, war was an opportunity for gain, for Wilson, it was an opportunity
to build a better future. This does not mean that Wilson was correct, as he ignored the
real issues on the ground in Europe. Clemenceau noted this
"What ignorance he had of Europe and how difficult it was to work with him! He
believed that you could do everything with formulas and his Fourteen Points. Even
God Himself was content with Ten Commandments.…read more

Page 6

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Wilson travelled the country making his argument
`This nation went to war to see it through to the end, and the end has not come yet.
This is the beginning, not of the war, but of the processes which are going to render a
war like this impossible. It is a great treaty, it is a treaty of justice, of rigorous and
severe justice, but do not forget that there are many other parties to this treaty than
Germany and her opponents...…read more

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American I was born and an American I have
remained all my life. I have always loved one flag and cannot share that flag with a
mongrel banner created for a League of Nations. The United States is the world's
best hope, but if you chain her to the interests and quarrels of other nations, if you
tangle her in the intrigues of Europe, you will destroy her power to do good and you
will endanger her very existence.…read more

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Pandemic of flu 1918 ­ 19
The menace of communism following the Russian Revolution.
The returning veterans finding it hard to find work.
The mass migration of black people to the north in search of work.
Despite the wish for isolationism, American foreign policy in this period is not one of
withdrawal from the world. The importance of trade to America meant that they had to
have an interest in the affairs of the world. It would be impossible to separate business
and politics.…read more

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The Failure to join the League of Nations ­ America rejected Wilson's idea
of international peace being reliant on American involvement.
A make shift hospital for influenza.
The legacy of WW1 was such that the USA did not want to be involved in the affairs of
the rest of the world, but it could not completely disengage either, due to the necessities
of trade. So a series of governments followed a policy they called `independent
internationalism'.…read more

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In 1921 Washington hosted the first of the great post war Disarmament
Conferences. The Secretary of State, Charles Evan Hughes invited delegates from the
UK, France, Japan and Italy to discuss issues of the balance of power and
disarmament in Asia. The powers agreed to limit their ships for the next 10 years in the
ratio of five for the US and UK, three for Japan and 1.75 for Italy.…read more

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