Ronald Schaffer's America In The Great War

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Ronald Schaffer's America In The Great War Ronald Schaffer’s America in the Great War gives new insights into World War I. The book gave historical accounts about the war that other books negated to included. The thesis that Schaffer tries to prove that the Great War was the start of the American welfare state and the beginning of “big” government. America in the Great War was structured in chronological order of the war, from America’s mobilization to the actual fighting. What the book did not include is a detail account of the fighting. This was the biggest draw back in a otherwise well thought book. The book begins with the mobilization of the United State’s industry and man power. The first two chapters dealt with how the Federal Government shaped the view of the war in America’s minds. The methods that the Federal Government used varied from propaganda to coercion. The point behind the Federal Government’s involvement in propaganda was to rally the country to fight the war. The first step in shaping the people’s mind was to get the labor and industry to work together. The Federal Government established committees and teams to persuade the minds of the United States. One of these committees were the Committee on Public Information established in April 13 1917 by order on the President of the United States. The committee was led by George Creel, former social reformer. He had great power in what the United States saw and heard for the next few years. His first order was to manage American minds without directly using propaganda and censorship. Other nations fighting the war practiced wide spread censorship of all war related material. Creel realized that this would not work in the United States, instead he flooded Americans with news. The news released to the public was in such large numbers and in such great detail that Americans could not understand all of it. The Committee on Public Information also produced films. The films were designed to rally Americans behind the war effort. The films were nothing else but propaganda, but Creel designed the films to not come across as propaganda. The committee was very successful in hiding the fact that they were engaging in propaganda. Many Americans believed in the films and supported the war e... ... middle of paper ... ...overnment helped veterans in such a large scale. The treatment of the shell shock veterans would eventually lead to one of the largest welfare programs, the Veterans administration. In addition Schaffer changed my views about the American home front. I was not aware about the extent of propaganda involved shaping the thinking in the United States. I did not know that the Federal Government suppressed dissent to the level that it employed. Such use of propaganda and suppression in the United States would be impossible and such a government using that would be called a Fascist government. In conclusion, I liked the book due the fact that Schaffer proved his thesis, the Great War gave rise to the American welfare state. I believe that Schaffer proved his thesis with clear and concrete evidence. I enjoyed how Schaffer shed new light on the Great War. Many historical accounts only deal with the actual fighting and not the behind the scenes action that Schaffer writes about. Schaffer’s account about women and blacks during the war gave new levels. History has forgotten the contributions that these groups gave to the war.

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