BY 1919 THE USA:
· Had only lost 100,000 men in WW1
· Had not fought the war on US soil so people at home were not affected.
· Had played a large part in the defeat of Germany and peace talks
· Had become the strongest country in the world
· Had high rates of immigration it was seen as the land of dreams
· Had gained many overseas markets (selling good to other countries) in Europe.
During the 1920s, the USA achieved a degree of prosperity never seen before; it was the age of the Ford motor car, of jazz, of cinema, of the stock market boom, of consumerism. However prosperity only reached to about half the population. Poor workers, including most black people and famers had lifestyles that were greatly in contrast to those of the rich. Society was divided and increasingly violent through the activities of the Ku Klux Klan and of gangsters during the period of Prohibition. In October 1929, the so called ‘Roaring 20s’ came to an abrupt end with the Wall Street when stocks and shares rapidly lost much of their inflated values. Mass unemployment and the Great Depression followed.
America had limited involvement in the war, in fact in august 1914 when the war broke out in Europe; President Woodrow Wilson issued a declaration of neutrality. But in 1917 America entered the war after German U-Boat patrolling the Atlantic Ocean fired torpedoes at a British Passenger ship killing 128 Americans. With extra resources and its part in fighting in the Western Front; America helped in the defeat of Germany.
TREATY OF VERSAILLES
After the war had ended, Woodrow Wilson (the 28th American President) was committed to the USA playing a leading role in policing the Treaty of Versailles through active involvement in the League of Nations. However the mood of America was rapidly changing. Most the American people wanted to end of the ‘entanglements’ in European affairs that did not concern them.
The Republican Party shared this view and argued against Wilson’s vision and had won a vote was cast in the senate and America’s joining of the League was not ratified.
In the 1920 presidential election, Warren Harding, the republican candidate was elected due to 61% vote. He won with slogans ‘America first’ and bringing back America to ‘normalcy’. As a result, America cut all ties with Europe and went back to isolation (Staying out of foreign affairs).
WHY WAS THE USA SO PROSPEROUS IN THE 1920s?
There was an increase in the interest of American goods during the war as such food supplies and technologies as Europe who had the biggest trade industry was in desperate need of supplies as all their resources were destroyed during the war so they looked to America to supply them. Countries that traded with Europe sought to America too. This led to prosperity as American goods were highly sought after and also in 1922 any foreign goods that were sold in America were given high tariffs (The Fordney-Mcumber Tariff). This led to the American people buying more American goods as foreign goods seemed more expensive, thus benefitting the American economy as demand in goods increased.