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HIST313: War and American Society

Unit 6: The First World War   Despite America’s growing involvement in world affairs in the early 20thcentury, the American people continued to be wary of political or economic alliances with European nations.  These concerns were justified by the outbreak of World War I in 1914.  Separated from Europe by three thousand miles of ocean, Americans hoped to remain isolated from the deadly conflict.  American President Woodrow Wilson supported American neutrality, but eventually changed his mind in 1917, following German attacks on American passenger and cargo vessels.  Wilson then argued that American military forces could turn the tide of the struggle, which would allow the United States to play an important role in the post-war settlement.  Many Americans supported the war effort, but a vocal minority objected to the conflict for various reasons.  Wilson used the coercive power of the federal government to arrest and imprison numerous protestors.
           
In this unit, we will examine how American forces fought on the Western Front and the lessons they learned from bloody struggle.  We will also focus on the American home front during the war and study the ways in which the conflict led to new economic and social opportunities for women and minorities.  Finally, we will examine how the war led to American disenchantment with military affairs and a period of renewed isolation from world politics.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15 ½ hours to complete.

☐    Introduction- Subunit 6.6: 12  hours

☐    Subunit 6.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 6.4: ½ hour

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify the causes and consequences of U.S. involvement in World War I.

  • Reading: Wikibooks: US History: “World War I” Link: Wikibooks: US History:World War I” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entirety of the website in order to get a sense of the causes and consequences of World War I.  This reading addresses subunits 6.1 through 6.6.5.  This online text was developed by Wikibooks as an open educational resource for use in undergraduate history courses.
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikibooks version of this article here (HTML).

  • Lecture: WGBH Boston: Eugen Weber’s “The Western Tradition”: “Lecture 47: The First World War and the Rise of Fascism” Link: WGBH Boston:Eugen Weber’s “The Western Tradition”: “Lecture 47: The First World War and the Rise of Fascism” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: You must disable pop-up blockers before attempting to view the video.  Scroll down the webpage until you reach lecture 47.  Then, click on the “VoD” icon to begin the lecture.  Please listen to Professor Eugen Weber’s entire 30-minute audio lecture to get a sense of how World War I was a turning point in European and American history.  This website hosts an entire series of lectures produced by WGBH Boston called “The Western Tradition.”  This program addresses subunits 6.1 through 6.6.5.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: Yale University/John Merriman, European Civilization (1648-1945): “Lecture 16: The Coming of the Great War” Link: Yale University/John Merriman, European Civilization (1648-1945): Lecture 16: The Coming of the Great War (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    iTunes U

    Mp3
    HTML
     
    About this link: YouTube hosts complete college courses created by Yale University. This particular lecture is part of Professor John Merriman’s course on European Civilization (1648-1945). Please watch the entire 50-minute lecture to get a better understanding of the causes of World War I.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: Yale University/John Merriman, European Civilization (1648-1945): “Lecture 17: War in the Trenches” Link: Yale University/John Merriman, European Civilization (1648-1945): Lecture 17: War in the Trenches (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    iTunes U

    Mp3
    HTML
     
    About this link: YouTube hosts complete college courses created by Yale University. This particular lecture is part of Professor John Merriman’s course on European Civilization (1648-1945). Please watch the entire 50-minute lecture to get a better understanding of the course and end of World War I.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: Yale University/John Merriman, European Civilization (1648-1945): “Lecture 19: The Romanovs and the Russians” Link: Yale University/John Merriman, European Civilization (1648-1945): Lecture 19: The Romanovs and the Russians (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    iTunes U

    Mp3
    http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/588/hist-202
     
    About this link: YouTube hosts complete college courses created by Yale University. This particular lecture is part of Professor John Merriman’s course on European Civilization (1648-1945). Please watch the entire 50-minute lecture to get a better understanding of the Russian Revolution and World War II. This is crucial background for understanding the Cold War.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: C-SPAN/John Keegan, “The First World War” Link: C-SPAN/John Keegan, The First World War (Adobe Flash)
     
    About this link: This video is from C-SPAN’s excellent library of discussions with authors of non-fiction books. The First World War is an excellent overview of the conflict.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: C-SPAN/Niall Ferguson, “The Pity of War: Explaining World War I” Link: C-SPAN/Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War: Explaining World War I (Adobe Flash)
     
    About this link: This video is from C-SPAN’s excellent library of discussions with authors of non-fiction books. The Pity of War examines some of the most interesting questions about World War I and provides a contemporary analysis of this war. Please watch the entire 80-minute clip.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.1 Complex Alliances   6.1.1 European Origins of the War   6.1.2 America’s Relationship to Combatants   6.1.3 Social Attitudes in the United States   6.2 American Resistance to War   6.2.1 A Divided Population   6.2.2 Neutrality   6.2.3 Challenges to American Neutrality   6.3 Wilson’s Objectives   - Lecture: C-SPAN: American Presidents: “Life Portrait of Woodrow Wilson” Link: C-SPAN: American Presidents: Life Portrait of Woodrow Wilson (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Please watch the entire 3 hour video to better understand Woodrow Wilson’s actions during World War I. 
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.3.1 Progressive Critique of War   6.3.2 Concern About Post-War Settlement   6.3.3 Desire to Develop League of Nations   6.3.4 Concern About America’s Place in Global Society   6.4 America Enters the War   6.4.1 Wilson Sells the War   6.4.2 American Opposition to War   - Reading: The Quaker Peace Page: Friends National Peace Committee’s “A Message From the Religious Society of Friends in America,” March 1917 Link: The Quaker Peace Page: Friends National Peace Committee’s “A Message From the Religious Society of Friends in America,” March 1917 (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read the entirety of this website to better
understand American opposition to World War I.  This 1917 pamphlet
by the Society of Friends (Quakers) presents the Society’s moral
objections to American participation in World War I.  They argue
that the cause is just, but the war itself is “unchristian and
immoral.”  The Quakers assert that true patriots do not desire war,
but instead desire to achieve peace through other means.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above*. *

6.4.3 Political Repression and War Resistors   6.4.4 Mobilizing the Home Front   6.4.5 Building a New Army   6.5 American Combat in Europe   6.5.1 The Horrors of Modern Combat   6.5.2 American Control Over Military Forces   6.5.3 Wartime Experiences   6.5.4 American Weaknesses and Strengths   6.5.5 Turning the Tide   6.5.6 Lessons   6.6 World War I and American Society   6.6.1 Pride in Victory   6.6.2 Neutrality   6.6.3 Negative Attitudes Towards War   6.6.4 Disengagement from World Affairs   6.6.5 Downsizing of Military Forces