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Unit III – A Modern
Chapter 9 Section 1
Post War Havoc
Postwar Havoc
The Main Idea
Although the end of World War I brought peace, it did not ease
the minds of many Americans, who found much to fear in
postwar years.
Reading Focus
What were the causes and effects of the first Red Scare?
How did labor strife grow during the postwar years?
How did the United States limit immigration after World War I?
Allied Intervention in Russia 1918-1921.
1917- Bolsheviks led by Lenin, took over Russia from the
Tsar and pulled the country out of WWI. Made a peace
agreement with Germany.
To stop the Germans from moving their troops out to the
Western Front, the Allies stepped in to Russia
The other purpose for the intervention was to help Russia
form a stable government- keeping the Communists
from taking over.
After the Armistice came in 1918, American troops stayed in
Russia to fight against communism. Along with English,
French and Japanese troops
This helped prolong the Civil War in Russia as the Allies
joined the White side.
This eventually failed and the Allies pulled out (no clear
mission, no rules of engagement, no agreement, lack of
understanding of Russian history and people, and too
many parties to deal with. However, it would help lead
to the Cold War and the Soviet distrust of Western
Post WWI Reaction
The war actually
created new
problems- starvation,
death, revolution in
governments and
even factories.
Labor Strife- in 1919 over 4 million
workers went on strike. Union
violence- such as in Boston. The
government, businesses, courts and
public opinion helped to break up the
strikes and the unions.
Urban Riots- In crease of racial
friction after the War. 70 blacks
lynched after the war. 1919-25 race
riots. Chicago was the worst. Attorney
General A. Mitchell Palmer blamed the
riots and rioters of being Communist
Bomb scares- Epidemic of terrorism.
Letter bombs being sent to public
officials. Lunch time bomb on Wall
street killed 38 and wounded 100’s/
100 Percent Americanism
• The end of World War I brought great rejoicing but
also many problems.
An influenza epidemic from Europe had spread to the U.S.,
killing more than half a million Americans.
Farms and factories that had prospered during war years
closed down as demand for products fell.
Returning soldiers had trouble finding work.
• The emotional turmoil had disturbing political
effects, as wartime patriotism turned to hatred of
• These sentiments gave rise to a movement known as
100 Percent Americanism, which celebrated all
things American while attacking all ideas, and
people, it viewed as foreign or anti-American.
The Roaring Twenties (05:03)
The Red Scare
Rise of the Bolsheviks
American Reaction
Americans worried about a new
Many Americans were frightened by
The Bolsheviks, a revolutionary
group led by Vladimir I. Lenin, gained
control of Russia during World War I.
Americans embraced capitalism and
feared a rise of the working class.
Five years later Russia became part
of a new nation called the Soviet
The Bolsheviks wanted communism,
a new social system without economic
classes or private property.
Lenin believed all people should share
equally in society’s wealth.
Soviets called for the overthrow of
capitalism and predicted communism
would inspire workers to rise up and
crush it.
The picture of “the Hun,” a German
symbol, Americans focused hatred
on during WWI, was replaced by a
new target: communists, known as
Communist parties formed in the
U.S. after the war, some advocating
violent overthrow of the government.
A Red Scare, or widespread fear of
communism, gripped the nation.
Plots, Laws, and Raids
• Radical communists might have been behind a failed 1919 plot, in which
bombs were mailed to government officials, including U.S. Attorney
General A. Mitchell Palmer, a former Progressive.
• Though the communism threat was probably not very great, the
government took it seriously.
• New York legislatures voted to bar five legally elected socialists from office
and passed a law making it a crime to call for government revolution.
– The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional in the 1925 case of
Gitlow v. New York.
• Palmer was a key leader in the government’s anti-Communist campaign,
attacking radicals in the Palmer raids and justifying them with wartime
laws that gave the government broad power against suspected radicals.
• For aliens, or citizens of other countries living in the U.S., just belonging to
certain groups considered radical could lead to deportation, or being sent
back to one’s own country.
• In late 1919 Palmer's forces arrested thousands and deported hundreds.
• In time, the Red Scare died down, as overseas communism began to fail.
A. Mitchell Palmer pursues the
To Palmer, the Attorney General, the
strikes, bombs and riots were the work of
He believed the country was infested with
Bolsheviks and Anarchists.
He began a campaign against them.
Deportations to Russia, raids on Communist
meetings, jail, illegal arrests. Palmer
recruited John Edgar Hoover as his special
assistant and together they used the
Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act
(1918) to launch a campaign against
radicals and left-wing organizations.
Citizens followed his example and vented
their fears on Jews, blacks, Catholics, and
all reformers, and mostly on Foreigners.
Attorney General Mitchell Palmer and the Prosecution of Communism – 2:01 min.
The First Red Scare
What were the causes and effects of the
first Red Scare?
What problems faced the United States
after World War I?
How did the 100% Americanism combine
feelings of both pride and prejudice?
Why do you think capitalism is considered
fundamental to American life?
The First Red Scare
How did the government react
to the first Red Scare?
What caused the Red Scare to
die down?
Do you think the media acted
correctly in reporting the Red
Today -Homeland Security
Department of Homeland
Security- Anti-Terrorism bill.
180,000 employees and 22
agencies merged.
Color coded warning system
for terrorist threats.
Biological agents- such as
Airport security.
U.S. Patriot act
Strengthen powers of law
enforcement and collect
secret information.
Some believe this is a
threat to basic freedoms.
Axis of Evil- Iraq, Iran, and
North Korea.
Problems for Laborers
Postwar Difficulties
• During the war, President Wilson sought good relations with workers who
were keeping the troops clothed and equipped.
• Organized labor won many gains, including shorter hours and higher wages,
and labor leaders hoping to build on this were frustrated by several factors.
•Wilson now focused on promoting his postwar peace plan, not labor.
•The sinking postwar demand for factory goods hurt many industries.
•Returning soldiers expected jobs that weren’t there.
•Unhappy workers and strikers were replaced.
•The Red Scare damaged labor’s reputation, making many suspicious of
organized labor.
Labor’s Losses
• The showdown between labor and management in 1919 devastated
organized labor.
• Unions lost members and national political power.
• It took another decade and another national crisis to restore organized
labor’s reputation, status, and bargaining power in the U.S.
Major Strikes, But Not Major
• The year 1919 was one of the
most explosive times in the history of the
American labor movement.
• Some 4 million workers took part in over 3,000 strikes nationwide, and labor
lost in nearly every case.
• A few strikes in 1919 hold a place in labor history.
In Seattle, Washington, labor unrest at the shipyards spread across the
city, igniting what became the nation’s first general strike, or one in which
all industries take part.
The conflict shut down the city yet failed.
The strike discouraged industry in Seattle for years.
In Boston, the police force went on strike to protest low wages and poor
working conditions.
The city descended into chaos, and Governor Calvin Coolidge
called in the militia to end the strike, making him a national hero.
The United Mine Workers had a “no strikes” pledge during the war, but a
strike in 1919 won a large wage increase but not better hours.
The steel industry also struck in 1919.
The American Plan
Some corporations adopted the “American
Plan,” a pledge to maintain a union-free shop.
One business owner said, “You can hardly
conceive of a more un-American, a more antiAmerican institution than the closed shop”.
Closed Shop- An establishment in which the
employer by agreement hires only union
members in good standing
Some businesses even used union spies to
maintain a non-unionized workforce.
Labor Strife Grows
How did labor strife grow during the
postwar years?
What were some of the gains labor made
during World War I?
Why were labor leaders unable to build on
the gains they had made during World War
What was the result of the Seattle general
strike of 1919?
Limiting Immigration
• Competition for jobs was fierce, and combined with the
Red Scare, a backlash against foreigners struck the nation.
• The rise of nativism, or distrust of foreigners, produced a
culture clash between the country’s earliest immigrants
and its newer ones.
• Many nativists were Protestant Christians whose roots
were Northern and Western European, and they targeted
newer arrivals from Southern and Eastern Europe.
• Many of the newer arrivals were Catholics and Jews, and
nativists argued that these groups were less willing to
become “Americanized.”
• Labor leaders, along with nativists, pushed for
immigration restrictions because new arrivals were usually
willing to work for low wages.
The Fear of Foreigners
Immigration Restriction League- This organization
was founded in 1894 by a group of Boston
lawyers, professors, and philanthropists who were
alarmed by the large number of immigrants
entering America each year. Got Congress to
pass a law during WWI – every immigrant must
be able to read and write- Literacy.
The restrictionists believed in superior and
inferior races- and this law kept the inferior ones
out. Prejudice against Eastern and Southern
Europeans. By 1917, Congress had expanded the
legal definition of those "likely to become a public
charge" to include: "all idiots, imbeciles,
feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane
persons…," "persons of constitutional
psychopathic inferiority…, and" "mentally or
physically defective..,"
1921- National immigration quotas introduced.
Reactions to Immigration
• A 1921 law established a quota,
or set number, of immigrants to
be allowed into the U.S. from
various nations.
• Then, the National Origins Act of
1924 set quotas for each
country at 2 percent of the
number of people from that
country currently living in the
U.S., clearly to reduce
immigration from certain
• The act nearly eliminated
immigration from Asian
• Nativism produced a 1920s
revival of the Ku Klux Klan.
• The Klan’s terror group had
originally targeted African
Americans in the South but
began also to target Jews,
Catholics, and radicals.
• The Klan slogan of the 1920s
was “Native white,
Protestant supremacy.”
• The Klan moved from the
South into other parts of the
Sacco and Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti
• In the late 1920s a court case in Massachusetts proved nativist and
anti-radical feelings.
• Two men named Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested
for armed robbery and murder.
• The two men were Italian immigrants and also proclaimed anarchists,
or radicals who seek the destruction of government.
• The evidence against the two men was weak, but it was apparent that
the two were on trial for their beliefs as much as for the crimes.
• Amid great publicity and protests in Europe and South America as
well as in the U.S., the two men were convicted and sentenced to death.
• Their 1927 executions were highly controversial, but by then the nation
had largely recovered from the Red Scare and the turmoil of the
postwar years.
Sacco and Vanzetti
It was a bold and outrageous pair of murders. Three
o'clock in the afternoon - in broad daylight - two
armed men shot and killed a paymaster and his
guard. Seven shots in all were fired. The killers
picked up the two boxes containing almost $16,000,
leaped into a car containing several other men, a car
that had pulled up with precise timing, and sped
away. The whole audacious enterprise had taken less
than a minute.
Retrospect, the evidence against them seems slim,
and certainly the question of reasonable doubt is
Arguments supporting their innocence are indirect,
but important. What happened to the $16,000? Who
were the other three criminals? How can one explain
the variety of bullets taken from the victims that do
not match Sacco's gun? Why did the accused show
no change in their behavior? Why were the members
of the Morelli gang not questioned?
Sacco and Vanzetti
Two Italian immigrants, who
became unwilling martyrs for
the struggle of equal justice
for all.
Arrested for a hold up at a
shoe factory in which one
person was killed.
They had no criminal record
but were anarchists.
Tried, found guilty and
sentenced to die with real
hard evidence.
Were they victims of fear and
Limiting Immigration
How did the United States limit
immigration after World War I?
How did immigrants before and after 1900
Why did labor unions join nativists in
pushing for restrictions on immigration?
Do you think the convictions of Sacco and
Vanzetti were justified?