Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History  CSPAN  April 23, 2016 8:00pm-9:26pm EDT

8:00 pm
announcer: you can learn more huerta onres sunday at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on lectures in history, chapman university history professor jennifer keene looks at myths about america's involvement in world war i, including misconceptions the u.s. was not involved in europe prior to entering the war, or that world war i failed to have lasting impacts on american society. this class is about an hour and 20 minutes. jennifer keene: all right, so today we are going to talk about america during the first world war. i called this lecture americans at war, the myth busters addition. i did that kind of intentionally because we think about understanding the first world war in general, there are so
8:01 pm
many myths and misconceptions attached to the war that it is really interesting for us to first understand why those myths exist and then unpack and see the reality of the experience. i wanted to start first by sort of talking about how this connects to the first world war all. not as america but also the sense of how we entered the first world war to begin with. we think of the general narrative we have attached to it. one of the most common narratives is that world war i was a senseless slaughter. we have already talked about why this war even occurred, but once it is underway, there is this imagef predominant , those are the images i have up there for you. the idea that this was men sent needlessly to their death. i have two examples, all quiet on the western front. you are going to like this image
8:02 pm
. this is the cover for the first english edition of the novel. you will recognize that image from something we discussed last class. last class was a german war bonds poster, and that soldier was supposed represent germany's last hope, willing to sacrifice for his country. now it has become recycled as a different image, now it is an image of a man who is needlessly sacrificed for his country. and over here, which is from a movie in the 1960's called "oh, what a lovely war," and i think this little part over here is instructive. popular wargames with songs, battles, and jokes." it is a war game for them, but it is the men on the battlefield who have to suffer. i'm not trying to suggest to you that world war i did not senseless slaughter.
8:03 pm
what i do want to suggest is the overarching image obscures the realities to the war in a more general sense. here is one example of this. of how many notion people died overall in this war. we have less of a notion that actually, the majority survived. most men actually will come home. there is tremendous numbers of casualties, but there is also a high rate of survival. we have statistics, 9/10 british soldiers will actually come home. so the sentiment that the senseless slaughter conception of skiers that for us. it also obscures the reality that in fact, soldiers spend a lot of their time outside of the trenches. they were obviously fighting, but the majority of their time with either spent in reserve trenches or behind the lines. we can take this even one step forward to point out that all
8:04 pm
the men in the front line, there needs to be at least two or three behind the line supporting them. so there are large numbers of men who survived not just because they are not in the front lines that long, but because so many men are noncombatant. they are serving in the rear. those are people that we never really factor in the narrative women just think about the first world war as -- when we just think about the first world war as senseless slaughter. overall have this connected to the first world war, it obscures the fact that in 1918, there is a learning curve that it happens. there is a breakthrough in the trench stalemates. the war ends in 1918. i have this map to show you that at this moment, we have movement in 1914, the stalemate, and then 19--there is movement again.
8:05 pm
lions led byenges donkeys, generals are stupid, willing to sacrifice many men without thinking about it. they were trying. were trying to make improvements in how they fought. so the point i am trying to make here is that we can think about not just to point out how they are wrong, but by dissecting them, we can learn a little bit more about the war is self. this is something we can do overall for world war i. what about the united states? americaixed myths about and world war i that i want to talk about and do the same thing i did in the introduction. , myth first myth here number one, america was neutral 1917.april april 1917, that is with the united states officially enters the war against germany.
8:06 pm
what i am going to argue is untrue about this myth is that while officially united dates was neutral, that does not mean that americans were uninvolved. the key point here is that neutrality does not mean noninvolvement. and we can get a sense of how this different concept, neutrality and noninvolvement, if we take a look at woodrow wilson in 1914. here we have the countdown to war, something we have already discussed, how we get from the assassination of archduke ferdinand to the german army actually invading belgium, right ? and no woodrow wilson has to say to the american people, where are we, what is our stake as this war is spreading across europe? this is the quote that we always hear. this is the one that gets pulled out again and again. "we must be impartial in thought as well as action."
8:07 pm
woodrow wilson told us to be impartial. mother is another thing that woodrow wilson said i actually think is more revealing about what is going to happen. in that same neutrality address , the effect of the war will depend on what american citizens say and do. he is recognizing right from the very beginning that the government can say america is neutral. the government can say that we have a policy of treating both sides the same. but what the government does is only going to be one side of the story. what american people decide to tellhat is going to really the tale of how america behaves in this so-called period of neutrality. now, what do the american people do?
8:08 pm
there are well-known parts of this story and lesser parts. we know for instance that the banks, american banks, lend overwhelmingly to the allies. that is a well-known parts. manufacturersan sell their goods overwhelmingly to the allies side. they have another well-known part of the story. lessis really well-known is what the average american says and does. the average americans do, they reach into their pockets and they contribute humanitarian aid causes. they realize there is some way for them to be involved in the conflict, and the way for them to be involved in the conflict is through humanitarianism. the person who starts this ball rolling is herbert hoover. and herbert hoover organizes a
8:09 pm
sort of massive relief effort for belgian civilians. here you can see the kind of propaganda he uses. you have got really hungry children holding out empty tins. they have no food, they need to be fed. you have got propaganda about people donating clothes and people donating food to help bd civilians. herbert hoover is amazing at what he does. statistics say that in terms of the amount of aid that he sent and the amount of money that he raised, there was no greater humanitarian effort, organized by americans, until the recent soon on a. that is a tremendous -- the recent tsunami. that is tremendous. herbert hoover buys his own ships, he paints them his own colors. he flies his own flag. he negotiates with the germans
8:10 pm
and the british to let him both through the blockade and the british blockade and allow them to demonstrate food in a german occupied territory. he becomes a quasi-nation in and of himself. he enlists the help of average american citizens in this quest. so aiding eldon civilians is what americans overwhelmingly decide that they want to do -- belgian civilians is what they want to do. they are on the side of the civilians, the people caught up in this war through no fault of their own. now, but we tend to to do is stop there in the story and just to talk about the western front. but if we think for a second what wilson said, the effect of the war on american society depends on whaamericans say or do.
8:11 pm
the thing he was really concerned about and the thing that he knew was that america had just undergone this massive wave of immigration. he knew we had people from all parts of the world, all parts of europe, here in the in the united states, and he did not want the war to tear people apart. he was right to realize different places where americans came from would influence their reactions to the war. we can see this through humanitarian efforts as well. this is the map they come from a friend of mine who did some research into the jewish-american humanitarian aid effort and realize we had massive immigration coming from russia. a lot of people fleeing religious persecution. if you take a look at this map, which shows you the eastern front, not the western front, but the eastern front, you can see actually a lot of the places that were caught up in the heaviest fighting and therefore
8:12 pm
had the biggest refugee crisis were places that were heavily populated by jews. the eastern front did a lot of movement back and forth. whenever the army comes through, civilians it up and run. they run as fast as they can. they don't want to get up in this fighting. , you haves to begin massive numbers of refugees descending on cities, and they are overwhelmingly jewish refugees. so american jews organized to actually help these people. for a long of these russian jews, for people who are helping build and civilians, it is sort , it isldon civilians sort of trinitarian. but for the russian jews, this is very personal. you have got refugee workers that walk around the encampments
8:13 pm
, and they go up to people and ask them do you have relatives and ifunited states, they say yes, do you have your address? so they would say, your hands, your grandfather, your former neighbor is sending you money. that is personal outrage, trying to make sure -- outreach, trying to make sure the person becomes political or the political becomes personal. we can see this with italians, they are also mobilizing. they are very concerned about this as well. andes where they came from making sure they can actually help those communities in need. so in this case, we can see it as a personal that kind of motivates people and groups to com contribute to the war effort. ,ven when we talk about belgium i am not sure you can see what
8:14 pm
these cases are, but i find this fascinating. these are facts, facts that have flowered, facts that flower actually going to belgian relief. these are sacks of flour from kansas as a part of hoover's humanitarian relief effort. what is happening is that belgian women, very renowned for their embroidery skills, have embroidered them and sent them back to that kansas community. basically to say, thank you. people want to make a personal connection do they are sending money to. here is the flip side. these people in belgium are saying thank you to the kansas town for the aid. these go up in topeka storefronts, and people are able to see them. it is that kind of personal connection that begins to feel humanitarianism as well. in fact, one of the things
8:15 pm
people complain about on the american side is, you know the clothes? when people donate clothes, relief workers have to go through all the pockets. what is happening, americans are writing notes. their writing notes to people in belgium. sending bibles, things like that. the agreement with german authorities, no notes, nothing else can pass. that is how desperate people are to make a personal connection about, as they are rendering this you military and aid. so to the point -- humanitarian aid. arehe point that americans involved, they are involved through humanitarian effort. the personal and political connected. closely the abstraction of the cause begins to have personal meaning or people even because they are helping people they knew, or
8:16 pm
they are developing a personal investment in former strangers they are now helping. this begins to motivate people to really care about what is going on in europe. my last sort of major point about humanitarianism is that humanitarianism is never neutral. it is impossible. we agree this is a massive military and effort, americans are actively participating and shaping it. it is not a neutral effort. first of all, given the politics of the war, the vast majority of this aid goes to the allies side. they did not give examples of a going to germany. it is still going primarily to the allies side. as much as americans are ativated by the empathy that feel for starring civilians, there is something in it for them as well. by thee also motivated
8:17 pm
way they feel, increasing the stature of the united states in the world. we can see a really good example of this in this poster from the red cross. they are looking to us for help. are you one of us? i love how the "us" almost says u.s.. conflict it is america alone that can rise above and be above the fray. we are interested in humanitarianism and philanthropy , doing the right thing. we are not and rested in actually taking sides or territorial or anything else that the european nations are involved in. we are above the fray. that is important because what it means, 1917, when woodrow wilson actually asked for a declaration of war, and he says to america, the war goals are
8:18 pm
better than everyone else's. we don't want any territory, we don't want enemies. we are just service of mankind. of mankind. the american people are already there. they have gotten their through humanitarian efforts. this is not out of the blue. they had begun to see themselves as a nation that can rise above and do some good in the world. what i think is important is not just to do think about america being neutral but also pay attention to what average americans are doing in this period of neutrality, not just woodrow wilson. not that woodrow wilson is unimportant. as i am going to say in my next myth here. myth number two, america entered world war i because of the sinking of the lusitania. one, becausevorite
8:19 pm
it would be so nice if it wasn't true. is a big people almost always get wrong. he really makes no sense because if you think about the dates, 1915, andsinks in may the united states doesn't enter the war until april 1917. almost two years before the united states actually enters the war. it is interesting why people so consistently get this wrong. , ifways tell my students you write on a test the lusitania is the reason america got an world war i, you fail automatically. i don't write anything else. i don't need to talk to you the rest of the class. why? why is this a perpetual myth that we have? i think this headline almost is the indication of that. peopleople, that is 1200
8:20 pm
die as a result, including 120 americans. this is incorrect in the first report. look at the subhead. washington stirred as this boat sank. if you think about the overall narrative of american history, think of how many times a ship going down and america going to war works for you. mayne goes down, spanish-american war, pearl harbor, world war ii, boca tonka, vietnam war. it is the easiest thing to remember. it would be so straightforward. i think that is one of the reasons why so many people tend to cite that because it is that kind of narrative they have in their head. would bethat they attacked, ship goes down, we go to war. that is who we are. immediate response is going to be forceful. what happens in lusitania is not that. it is going to take another two
8:21 pm
years before we go to war. i made that point. that narrative should make us feel good. we look in the past, we have a moment where americans have died and we don't actually immediately jump into war. nonetheless, this is something we commonly see people making that mistake about right here. you i want to point out to exactly where the lusitania is, because that is another kind of this perception about why the lusitania becomes the kind of highly publicized sort of cause that it is. part of it is to realize where the lusitania was sunk. here you can see the sinking of the lusitania, right off the coast of ireland. the lusitania was really one of if you askts where people 20 or 30 years later, they can tell you where they were when they heard about it.
8:22 pm
it is like 9/11. they can remember when they heard about lusitania. why? why was it such a shock to people? it goes a little bit of a way of answering that question, because it sunk so fast. it sunk in 18 minutes. no time for people to get to the lifeboats or anybody to make it off the boat. you do survive, you were lucky. days after the sinking, these bodies are washing up on the short. so you have a sinking in the middle of the ocean that nobody witnesses and nobody sees the aftermath, they just your about thirdhand -- hear about thirdhand. seems grizzly, bodies and victims washing up to shore, the press is very happy to report upon. so any sense, the drama of the
8:23 pm
moment, the quickness of the sinking, the awfulness of actually seeing human tossed of cost of this, this became very visual, very visceral in terms of how they were responding. for woodrow wilson, the lusitania sinking is going to be a critical moment for him in his own ideas of defining what neutrality would be. before we were talking a lot about how the average american defined neutrality, how they did humanitarian efforts to make their contribution to the war. but now we have to think about social policy in terms of what is going on, right? and the dilemma for woodrow wilson, and we go back to the map and we can see it, both britain and germany have decided to go to the ocean to fight the war. there is a stalemate on the western front, so both sides are
8:24 pm
seeking an advantage, so how can they do that? the british blockade, the green dots here, they will use their and stuff fromp getting into germany, and the germans have to fight back with the u-boat. they will use the u-boat. it is important looking at this map that it takes time. that is a war zone by germany. that is the zone that germany is saying to neutral nations like the united states, do not come here, do not come into the war zone don't come into the wars of ofause you are at risk getting attacked by a u-boat. they are not saying, don't go anywhere in the atlantic ocean. they are not saying g don't go anywhere in the world, just don't go here. the reason that is going to be
8:25 pm
important is that you are going to see that in 1915, when woodrow wilson has to decide how to respond to lusitania, he has to do something if people are angry, then he has got several different options. people are going to look at that map and interpret lusitania in very different ways. if i hadn't gone through all of this, if i had just put this up here in terms of what actually happened, i am not going to say, most of you, but a few of you woodrowve said that wilson goes with breaking to the medic relations and declare war on germany there is that is -- diplomatic relations and declare war on germany. this is the moment where we have to enter. then you have some people here arguing almost exactly the opposite. they were the people who looked at that map, and they saw that
8:26 pm
redline, and they said, we don't want to get involved in this war. here is an idea. why don't you tell americans not to sail into the war zone? if we prohibit people from actually going into this area where germany is patrolling, isn't that a way to stay neutral? isn't that a way to stay out of the war? some people are like, this means war. some people are like, listen, we need to stop a few people from getting us into war. what wilson is going to decide is the middle course year. he is going to demand germany pay reparations and accept the right of americans to travel and trade are they wish or risk hostility. this is why the lusitania is important. it is not important because it gets america into the war, it does not. is important because this is a moment in woodrow wilson draws a line in the sand and says to
8:27 pm
germany, you step over this line that therehly likely will be hostilities. and what is the line? the line is that we are neutral nation, we can do what we want. freedom of the seas, baby. we can go where we want, trade with whom we want. that is our right. neutrality means we have the right that you have to respect. now, that is an interesting definition of neutrality. you may think neutrality means treat both sides equally or stay out of it. after 1915, what woodrow wilson is saying, neutrality is about the rights of neutral nations. that is what germany must respect. and germany will back off because they don't have enough u-boats to really do that much
8:28 pm
damage to american ships. they have got their hands full. they don't want america to come into the war. in 1917 they will change their mind. they go back to unconditional warfare and woodrow wilson has drawn the line in the sand, we have seen them come to the decision that we need to go to war against germany. so 1915 is important, but in terms of the official policy of neutrality, but it is another thing that gets us into the war. you may be thinking to yourself, is the average american really following all of this? is this really the kind of intricacy national law and debate the average citizen is all worked up about? we could look at this and say no , this is what makes it important in official ways. in the popular consciousness, what the lusitania does, we have moments where americans have died, women and children have
8:29 pm
died, and we can now connect this event -- this is a picture of a woman touching a child sinking to her death, the first propaganda poster of world war i. in response to lusitania. it comes from an actual news report, a report of one of these women who washes up and they talk about her clutching her baby as she washes up on the shore. and now we have something tangible about american lives being lost that connects to british propaganda about atrocities committed by the german army in belgium. that is the idea that uniquely children from german barbarians, which is at the heart of german propaganda movement, now has resonance in the united states as applied to us as well, ok? but the debate is not over in
8:30 pm
1915. if we look at this one, we can see the debate is going to go on. for every person that says, look, this is the truth about germany as if we need more. there will be other people that will keep reading this drum. they put munitions on the ship. supplies, you could potentially get shot or attack. you were warned not to do it. this is your own individual responsibility right, right? this will make a difference for woodrow wilson, when he decides to go to war in 1917, he knows he has to declare that line in the sand. but he knows that he is leading a divided nation into war, right? the nation has not been united
8:31 pm
in calling for war even because of subsequent things that happened after that, like the telegram. d tohat is going to lea miss numbemyth number three. that wartime spontaneously appeared. we like to believe that we will disagree up until the moment that war is declared, right? we argued about it, but once wilson says this is our war, americans will rally behind the flag. they will do the right thing. right? now, we know that a lot of propaganda encouraged people to do the right thing, right? this is maybe one of the most famous propaganda osters, uncle sam, the recruitment poster. what does uncle sam want
8:32 pm
americans to do? so in this case, i want you for the u.s. army, fight in the army. but uncle sam will want other things in the war, as well. he is going to want them to buy war bonds, conserve food, and some cases spy on neighbors can make sure they are not engaging in espionage or treasonous activities. and what is interesting about this propaganda poster is that it says, "i want you for the u.s. army," implying you have a choice. we see other propaganda posters like this. this is one of my favorite ones here, right? and it is an interesting poster because it really does -- you like that? it is good. it really does show a man kind of wrestling with his conscious, and upperclassm man, hiding in
8:33 pm
the shadows, hiding in the dark, trying to decide what to do. looking out the window, making up his mind. he sees outside is community walking in community in the bright sunlight, not afraid, not hiding in the shadows. and the question is really clear, which side of the window are you? you have to make a decision about what you are going to do. there is a lot that is wrong about this poster, in terms of what actually happens, right? and the first part is with the ienlist. in raising an army, america will do something it has never done before. from the very beginning of the war, they will institute a draft. now, we have had drafts before. but the drafts before always came in the middle of the war. so, when people stop in listing,
8:34 pm
stop volunteering. they said, ok, we have to go to the draft. in this instance, we go to the draft right from the very beginning, right? and we do this for a few reasons. and here is the sort of interesting -- of course you do not call a draft. we hardly ever call it conscription. if you say inscrip conscription, that says that maybe the u.s. is divided, forced to fight an unfortunate conflict. what do we call it? service," right? the men here know that. just think about branding, selective service is different from the draft. it means that if you are chosen,
8:35 pm
right, you are selected -- lucky you -- you are selected for service to your country. serviceybody owes some to your country, nobody is going to get off the hook for owing some service. serving idea of people in the military, the reality is different than people sort of individually making up their own minds. so there is a kind of propaganda -- out right liars, there is a short window you can enlist in the army. then, they cut it off. and from that point on, selective service fills the ranks of the majority of the branches of the army. and besides the idea of making sure that everybody complies, there is also the notion that we need to organize this army efficiently. because we are coming in late, right, almost two and a half years late?
8:36 pm
we know it is almost important to have people on the home front, producing weapons and foods, all the things keeping the army going in the field. so besides making sure that people serve in the military, it is also making sure that the right people serve in the military. right? do not wantexample, all of your trained engineers walking off of railroad lines and joining the military. who is going to drive the railroad, move goods around the country? you don't want farmers, skilled laborers doing this. it is a way to kind of manage your workforce at this exact same time. now, what i find, fascinating about this, besides the fact of conscription, how it actually works in practice. we had it in the civil war. it is introduced well into the conflict. and it is kind of an individual thing. we literally have a re
8:37 pm
gistrar, individually registering men. you know there is a lot of resistance to the draft, a lot of resistance. you could buy a substitute, it was easy to get out of it. right? war, theyst walorld want to make sure you are not alone, that you are watched while you do it. on june 17, 1915, there was a national day to register for the selective service. ,hat means all the men, 21-30 you have to go to your polling place, church, school, wherever they are having the registration, and everybody is going to watch you do it. and if you forget or you do not show up, we are going to publish your name in the newspaper. basically, going to use peer and community pressure to make sure you do the right thing. right? and this idea of turning registration and even the whole
8:38 pm
induction process into this community event, self policing on the committee level to make sure men actually register for the draft, this is going to be very, very successful. right? now, in the second year of the draft, we will have another national registration date. but we will have another thing that happens to make sure men go into the service. and that is going to be a phenomenon in which vigilante groups, kind of wearing semi-official armbands from the justice department are going to conduct things they call " slacker raids," to round up all of those men who are suspected of not registering for the draft, or not reporting when they have been told to come. or for some reason, able-bodied, but got a deferment, change jobs, should not have it anymore. and they fan out, going into
8:39 pm
movie theaters and grab people by the back of the neck, through them in the truck, stand outside the gates of state fairs. there is one day across the country, here you have an literallyom maine, throwing these guys in the back of a pickup truck down to the police station as suspected slackers. i am sure they were only motivated by patriotism, not by the bonus for each slacker that they got when they were coming down, right? so many problems with this, right? these people do not have any authority, they are taking it upon themselves. most of these people turn out to be not slackers, they have reasons not to be in the military. they are sort of legitimate. it is bad publicity for the war because it seems to suggest that people are not fighting, they do not want to fight the war is unpopular. we see the government actually putting an end to this one
8:40 pm
pretty quickly. but the point here, in terms of wartime unity, is to say that when we think about people complying with selective service regulations, and most people do, there is a lot of pressure to actually do that. and it just because you are a woman, that doesn't mean you're off the hook either. right? oh, sorry, i was going to say little bit here about alvin york. he is the most famous american who comes out of the first world war. he is highly decorated. credited in one book of killing 15 germans and gathering 132 prisoners. that is a picture of alvin york. no, it is not. you guys are too young. that is not alvin york. that is gary cooper, who place them in a movie, ".
8:41 pm
that goes over well with a certain generation. an older crowd, that is right. here is alvin york. old, notost 30 years going to be drafted. he applied for conscientious objection because of his religious principles are incompatible with him serving. his application is rejected. he reports to training camp. and now, he has choices he can make. he can request non-combatant duty, try again, refusing to perform any military duty. some people do this. they went to leavenworth. because i told you he was the most decorated hero of world war i, you know he chooses number three. it is interesting why he chooses number three. he has a sympathetic company commander, well-versed in the bible. and a theological discussion,
8:42 pm
alvin york says to him, the bible says thou shall not kill. the commander says the bible also says render unto caesar, that which is caesar's. of a the government. he says to alvin york, i will give you the weekend, make up your mind. he goes home, studies is bible, and the company commander says, why did you change your mind? because the bible says, blessed are the peacemakers. this is going to be woodrow wilson's war, the last one we will have to fight. and the question we have about alvin york, what does he tell us, right? he is telling us he decides to fight, but it shows you how hard it is to become a conscientious objector. people are putting into this war to create an important goal in terms of how we think about it.
8:43 pm
and we have some interesting things in the training camp, where even the military understanding the a judaism and being for the war, always working on it -- understanding the patriotism and being for the war. this is one of the craziest things i've think. seen. these are 18,000 soldiers standing on pieces of boards in iowa. the guy is up there in the shape of the statue of liberty. why are you making these guys do this? this is showing their patriotism, by standing in formation, demonstrating that you actually -- you are a loyal american citizen. so these are these kind of crazy demonstrations of patriotism, that even if you are a soldier in uniform, evil ar people are asking you to engage. even if you are a woman, you are
8:44 pm
not off the hook. women are being asked to participate in all sort of ways, knitting is a big one here. people wonder why knitting, why focusing on women knitting? if you think a bit about trench warfare, member when we talked about it? the germans dug nice, dry trenches, the allied side is closer to the water, standing in wet feet. all sorts of nasty things like gangrene., i could show you gross pictures. a functional purpose, men actually do need socks. but it is safe to say that american women go a little crazy with knitting. this is 1917. let us say 1918.
8:45 pm
i mean, most of the class would be here -- you would not have a pencil, you would be sitting here knitting while i was talking, to show you are patriotic. you even had notices like this, women basically being told, stop knitting during performances. this is from the new york philharmonic society, saying stop knitting, because it is really disturbing. people are trying to enjoy the music, right? and you have to ask yourself, why are women feeling like it is knit andsary to every spare moment? they are being, in a sense, pressure to demonstrate their patriotism in ways that are somewhat similar to men registering in front of their neighbors for the draft here, right? you know, knitting, yes, men need socks.
8:46 pm
is it the best way? i am not so sure. i don't think any of you would want a pair of socks that i would knit. i think you would rather go to target, it would be cheaper, standardized, what you actually wanted. this is a question about if it was necessary, getting people on board for the war effort? we can make a sort of similar suggestion about the food conservation efforts to go on, in terms of the kind of pledges that people are being asked. herbert hoover, who had organized the humanitarian effort for belgium, now becomes food administrator during the war. he takes pride that we never instituted formal rationing, that people volunteered for meatless mondays, porkless thursdays. but you have to get people to do this, right?
8:47 pm
one of the ways here, the example, here is the food latch, pledge. every family is asked to sign pledge,e by the hoover you can expect another -- i told you you will not get a knock on the door by registering for the draft what you could get one for the food pledge. how do i know that my neighbor has signed the food pledge, that they are actually complying? they thought it through. you are going to put that sign in your window, and that will demonstrate everybody you are doing your duty, demonstrate the people that you are actually involved. and for the people that do not do this, the people that do not want to hang these in the window, that do not want to sign and admit that -- this is seen
8:48 pm
as evidence of disloyalty, not doing your patriotic duty. isa sense, wartime cultivated and coerced. it is not summing it naturally comes about. it is something communities enforce upon each other. and in that sense, it tells us something little bit different. that once we are at war, americans spontaneously come together. yth numberiut four. it had no lasting impact on american society. i am not exaggerating to you to say it is my life work to get books andff of the out of people's minds. well, we don't really have to talk about it too much, it does not matter that much for the u.s. matters more for europe, not really for us. so, i could say a lot about
8:49 pm
this. what i am going to say are some things about how it affects social movements in the u.s. i wanted to about three things -- civil rights, suffrage movement, and the movement for prohibition. these are three movements, long-standing reform movements, that are dramatically affected by the first world war. i am going to go ahead and start with the civil rights movement. i like this poster because it is a good counter to the traditional way we look at the gander. propaganda, we almost always look at the government side of the story, the official propaganda posters that are distributed. but what we fail to remember or look at, privately produced propaganda posters. there is a thriving industry during the first world war, which is important because it allows voices that we don't
8:50 pm
normally pay attention to to actually show us their point of view about the war. this is an interesting poster. obviously, created for the african american community. it is published in chicago. i don't know if you can see the bottom, it says trueblue. and if you look at the poster, it is kind of a generic propaganda fare. you have the father serving in the military, the flags there. we know he is alive. how do we know? the starred flag in the window. if he had been killed, it would have been a gold star. advertising to the community that he is serving, and we know he is on the front lines, look at that german helmet. the souvenir, right? and it is full of patriotic symbolism, right? washington, wilson, abraham lincoln -- marketed as always
8:51 pm
the big guy, the big figure. very proud and patriotic. probably if we think about it, not that popular of an image. but i will tell you why this image is so important. you know, we have the official propaganda posters because the government is a good collector. at the end of the war, some agency puts those things, slides and into a drawer. 100 years later, we can come look at them. these things at the end of the war, they are trash. i'm sure you all had posters in your room, you went to college, your mom ripped them down. why do we have this poster? theave this poster because postmistress in melbourne, florida sent it to the postmaster general to ask him if this was the kind of seditious material that should be banned
8:52 pm
from the mail under the terms of the espionage act. sink in there for a second. she considers this seditious material. is seditious about this poster to her? >> is in the color of their skin? jennifer: the color of the skin, in what sense? >> they live in an upper-class home. jennifer: they probably lived better than this white postmistress does. it is a sense of economic achievement, the assertion of equality. that they are on the same level as whites. that we can surmise it is at the heart of her objection. in fact, she actually knows in her letter "the considerable
8:53 pm
influence from the negro element lately." what is in her mind? this kind of privately produced poster, that this war for democracy, with african-american men and communities doing their bit, is going to advance the civil rights movement. it will mean that finally there will be honor and justice for all. and what that exchange demonstrates to us is that this is exactly what white supremacists are provide is petrifiedappen -- are is going to happen. right? and one thing is to shut down from the mail anything that advocates racial equality. and another thing is, after the war, to engage in racial rioting and an upswing in lynching. we see a dramatic upswing after
8:54 pm
the first world war. but that is not the only thing that happens. it is not even the most important thing in my mind to what happens. what also happens is an exchange in the -- a change in the mentality of the civil rights movement itself. what we see happening in the first world war is that military service politicizes african-american soldiers. and you think of what we have now as a really kind of rallying slogan, black lives matter. that is a very potent set of words that are energizing the civil rights movement at our time. hasthe rules one generation is a set of word from dubois. we return fighting with fighting. that we have fought for democracy elsewhere, now we will fight for democracy at home. right?
8:55 pm
and we can see that this new noti of fighting back, this is going to be the new tenor of the civil rights movement. in 1919, african-americans fight back by joining the naacp in record numbers. by making it a strong civil rights organization. and i can just point to one example here, from charles houston, who writes some years after the war that fellow americans convinced me there was them.nse and dying for i made up my mind that i would use my time fighting for men who cannot fight back." this is just one example, i could give you more. you may not have heard of charles houston, but he is the guy who devises the naacp rules for brown versus board of education. he is a genius of our time that made the modern civil rights
8:56 pm
movement possible. in 1919, it is not a success story. 1950's,ward to the those successes start here. this is the foundation of that, coming out of the first world war. now, the second sort of big movement that we have here is the suffrage movement. and again, we look at this cartoon here. it is like if you are good enough for war, you are good enough to vote. kind of like giving the impression that a grateful stowed the vote on women for all of that knitting. this is so not what happens, so not what happens. looking at the first world war, it is activist women -- look at what they are doing, picketing in front of the white house. nobody had ever done that before. this is new. this is a new idea. you have women like this, right?
8:57 pm
making the world safe for democracy, they are in it. and they are holding up posters of woodrow wilson, what about women in this country? when are they going to be allowed to vote? this picture is deceiving because it is the before picture , the after picture is after the mob attacks, rips the posters down, please come and send them to jail. force-fed, put in solitary confinement. what is their crime? they stood outside the white house with a banner, right? but these women, i mean, if you have time to study them in depth, it is amazing. here are some ideas from the new york times. does backlson finally women's suffrage in the middle of the war. again, you want to think it is because of women supporting the war effort. but the real secret is down here at the end.
8:58 pm
states, some states are beginning to pass female suffrage. new york just past -- it is because i'm touching the screen. they were worried that when women started voting in new york state that that was going to hurt the democratic party, right? now they think about women having power. but this campaign goes into 1919. a goes in the 1920 when the amendment is finally ratified. even in 1919, they burn woodrow wilson in effigy, out that the e white house. they were organized, radicalized, militant. they were the ones out there pressing their cause, right? so i don't think anybody could say that it does not matter that women got the right to vote. that comes out of the first world war. and a major, long-standing reform movement's prohibition.
8:59 pm
i do not want to say too much about it, but it is kind of interesting that the war somehow become the winning argument. they talked about all sorts of things -- an aerial disease, eneralic abuse -- the merrv disease, domestic abuse. it becomes a kind of patriotic thing to save grain by not making beer, do not buy german products. that prohibition finds amazing success, that they did not success. it was a constitutional amendment prohibiting people ohol.purchasing out thalch five, america was not bloodied in world war i. america was barely bloodied, another reason why we do not
9:00 pm
need to study it, right? of course, calling it a m yth, i will tell you some endeavor. where does it come from? from these kinds of numbers, from taking the u.s. and toparing its death toll other belligerent nations. looking at this chart here, we see deaths in the american army. i can tell you it is even fewer number of people dying on the battlefield. because half of those are because of spanish influenza, they are from disease, not battlefield deaths. if we take that number and stack it up against britain and france, it does not look like we suffered. because the casualties were so tremendous on the other side. but you know, numbers are so funny. what do they actually mean?
9:01 pm
it is so relative. and it matters i you contextualize it. you can catch life in this way, america was barely bloodied -- you contextualize it this way, america was barely bloody. you compare that to korea and vietnam, right? more americans, died in the first world war than either of those wars. and i will contextualize it to you this way. it takes america one year to get itself organized, train the men, get to france, get into battle. this is not even a year and a integratedix months si. this is three years, this is nine years. in the first six months of coffins in iraq, 52,000 came home. ah, that is nothing?
9:02 pm
right? we're not, right. for the people fighting this, this is not barely bloody. this is a pretty significant number of people who died. and we can ask why it is that we do not really remember that? and i think there are probably a lot of reasons for that. but i do have a question for you. this one, i want you to answer. what is the most lethal battle in american history? most lethal battle in american history? >> in terms of how many americans died? history, in american the most lethal battle for americans? >> gettysburg? jennifer: gettysburg is a good
9:03 pm
example. >> people would generally say antietam. jennifer: the bloodiest day is antietam. anybody have a gas? euess. ? when you don't know something, where do you go? do not lie to me. i know what you go. [laughter] the most lethal american battle? i.ber one, world war i will bet nobody has heard of the offensive, i'm what you say that is a safe bet for most people right there. battle from september until the last day of the war, 47 days, 1.2 million men involved. killed, 100,000
9:04 pm
stragglers on the field. this is the most lethal battle in american history. nobody knows about it. why is that? why is that? i think those are really good questions, right? it is why we remember certain things and why we do not remember other things. and i think for a lot of people even at the time, they did not want to dwell on this. because the questions you can ask, why did so many of these men have to die? it raises uncomfortable questions about american leadership, sending untrained men into battle not ready to fight. and also, thinking about the needless slaughter narrative of the first world war, there is no pickets charge. there is no great tr triumphant moment. performing this aerobic saying heroic thing, they need
9:05 pm
a hero. saint summit about this hard, hard slog. there is a sense of satisfaction americans feel, that a lot of people died, why did they die? that is what americans want to know. that is what they are not sure about. this kind of feeds into last year, world war i was quickly forgotten. we have forgotten. but the generation that participated in not forget world war i. and i can demonstrate this in just a few quick ways. hugeirst is that, we built overseas cemeteries -- eight of them in france and belgium for the war dead. this becomes an interesting puzzle between the government and the families of the fallen. because at the beginning of the war, the secretary of war had promised american families have promised they would bring bodies home if they fell on the battlefield. now they reverse course and want to build these cemeteries
9:06 pm
overseas. in part, because they want americans to stay invested in what happens in euro. they want europe to remember how many men died to save them from germany. but a lot of families want their loved ones wrought home, right? so you see again this personal and political jostling once again. 70% of americans are brought home. you would never know that. you go to the cemeteries, they are huge. they have the same plot, they want to make it look as impressive as possible. but in a sense, this is a sense, this is a lot of effort. it takes lots of years to build these, not forgetting the war. this is a visible presence about it. there is a high degree of depression. lete mothers and widows who the bodies stay in europe are given a free trip to go visit the grave. a pilgrimage to the battlefield
9:07 pm
.f the world war, this is 1930 what is going on? the height of the great depression. we are spending all of this money to send women to the graves of the fallen, reminding the country that patriotic service will not be forgotten, right? you can forget all about this in the height of depression. we have other problems. it is not forgotten by the veterans themselves, who come to washington, d.c. in 1932 and stage a demonstration march. for about six weeks, 40,000 veterans want early payment of a bonus they had been given in 1924. they are forcibly evicted from the city, driven out by the army. the shantytowns are burned down. and they are somewhat credited with helping fdr when the election in 1932. because herbert hoover, the
9:08 pm
great humanitarian ironically enough, who allowed the army to drive them out of the city. but the most important thing about the bonus march, the memory is really strong in people's minds in 1944. why 1944? looking towards the end of world war ii, you think, we are going to have 13 million veterans coming home whenever the war ends. look at all the trouble those 4 million men gave us after world war i, when we did a properly prepare for homecoming. we have to do it better this time around. we could have the government overthrown, who knows what could happen? what do they do? they institute the g.i. bill of rights. to learnirect desire the lessons of the past, and not
9:09 pm
have similar dissatisfied veterans organizing and marching on demonstrations in washington, d.c. no one will underestimate the importance of the g.i. bill of rights in american society. also about the bonus march, it is integrated. black and white veterans participating side-by-side. what is significant about this, what the civil rights movement sees. and what it sees is a march on washington. and you have progressive commentators saying, this is the first time we are really trying to implement collective nonviolence protest in the u.s. the seeds of an idea are in place, in terms of marching on washington as a political protest strategy. the last thing i want to mention today is how this memory of world war i really begins to influence -- well it has dramatic influence -- on how we respond to war clouds in europe
9:10 pm
in the 1930's. this is an interesting painting. war, curry's "parade to allegory." here she is, the sweetheart sending off to war. you see the kids all caught up in the pageantry. they have the parade, really happy. but if you go to the side of the painting, this is what is interesting. the is the war mother, sudden loss, hiding in the shadows crying. and there is the war widow. she is actually trying to reach the men, but the policeman stopped her from speaking the truth about war, right to the men marching off. now, look at the guys, their faces. what is happening to them> they are literally? corpses, the walking dead.
9:11 pm
this is a political statement, right? saint people in 1938, hitler is empowered. 1938,ing to people in hitler is empowered. fascism is on the rise. what can america do? this is clearly an antiwar campaign. remember the promises, the needless deaths of our men. and that is what to be away -- a , a memory of the u.s. response to the second world war, a war we stay out of for two years until pearl harbor, the attack on that ship that will bring us into the war. so i just want to end the lecture by reiterating what i think the message of this painting is, which is really that in a sense, the first world war, like all wars, is at its core a story of countless personal tragedy.
9:12 pm
alright, thanks you guys. i think we want to have a few minutes for questions, right, finishing up with the taping. anybody have questions or comments? now is a time where you are actually allowed to talk. [laughter] trying so hard not to say anything. right? i am sure you have to have at least something. go ahead, erica. germans saying don't come through here, had herbert hoover already worked out his approval plan to get through those war zones? jennifer: yes, exactly right. what he had to do was have permission. that is why he had to go to the ship, so they would be identified in color with humanitarian ships that were
9:13 pm
coming in. it was still dangerous. because of course with the british did a lot of times, they flew the flag neutral -- a lot of cheating going on. it was a dangerous thing to be doing great but that is exactly right. that is why he had to have his own fleet in order to do that. that is a good question. sarah? who else has a question? i feel like two or three more. i know you guys have something. if we send them, he american soldiers,an which that'll have the most gross -- which number had the most gross number of deaths? jennifer: in terms of both sides? i do not know. i am not sure. that is a good question. one of the reasons the civil war is the most, katie, when we talk about american deaths, we do
9:14 pm
consider both sides american. and we do not do that in any other conflict. so that is a good question. maybe wikipedia can answer it for you. [laughter] go have a look. give us one more question, so they can get what they need for the taping. i will ask, i'm thinking. yes> ? go ahead. >> the decision to enter the war waiting for the russian government to back out of war? jennifer: that kind of goes back, i went over it quickly, but the suffrage bantener, the envoys of russia. protesting the russian delegation coming to visit the white house.
9:15 pm
and when the u.s. enters the first world war, you have the first russian revolution, a democratic revolution. you hope that with the czar gone, it is democracy versus autocracy, right? and of course what makes the war effort really so potentially catastrophic for the allied side, the second russian revolution, bolsheviks and in, britain and france thinking it is a one front war. america is not here yet. this is the end. when you look at those cavity figures and say, all of these untrained men in battle? they needed them. they needed the extra manpower. the russian revolution is really important, and kind of understanding the overall
9:16 pm
experience. and it helps wilson rhetorically, when america entered the war. in itself, not a reason america goes to war. go ahead. ecumenical, like -- [indiscernible] rigidly: the army was segregated. and there were some units that have black officers, trolls houston. . --charles houston. but the army was segregated. it was not going to be desegregated until 1942. a very important point. go ahead. segregation, the white soldiers in world war i, they as likeblack soldiers
9:17 pm
more friendly to them, more like a friend or just another american soldier? jennifer: i think another important thing to say about african-american soldiers was that they were not only segregated, they were disproportionately drafted. they are 13% of the army. 89% will serve as noncombatants. atthat means you are looking 40,000 african-americans. and i think that answers your question. segregating them for noncombatant roles, and you had sort of these campaigns to remove them from positions of leadership. it was central to the message that african-american and white soldiers are not equal. like we will take the manpower, but we do not want their manliness, if that makes sense in terms of that. and that is why for the african-american press, how
9:18 pm
those african-american soldiers perform in battle is so, so important. and they have one great example. because the american army is so uncertain about what to do with black combatants, they have two divisions. one of them, they get to the french army. so you are going to have -- 20,000 american men fighting under french command for the entire war. the french are very happy to have them. medals,ht, they get recognition. right? now, the men come home, and they were not necessary treated badly, but look at what we did with the french. we performed very well. so they come out of the war also with a strong example to sort of throwback and white america's face, when they are told they are not up to snuff. right? in other words, beginning a long campaign.
9:19 pm
but what you're seeing is a huge shift in tenor, much more militancy in the civil rights movement than before. those are good question. i'm glad you asked me those things. we are covering a lot of ground. we don't have time for much detail. anybody else? >> they built the cemeteries in europe, how committed not build any national monuments here? jennifer: that is a good question. the preoccupation we have with national monuments is kind of a relatively new phenomenon. we did not have a world war ii monument either, until the whole greatest generation degreed it started with vietnam. and we started with korea, going backwards. then we started -- now we have world war ii. and just now because of the centennial, they're talking about building a monument -- a national monument in washington, d.c. but now, you guys are going to
9:20 pm
be paying attention, right? you are going to see monuments everywhere in your town. losrial hall, l a pershingoliseum, downtown. but the greatest generation also built utilitarian monuments, things the community could use. you sort of forget that they do not exist in more. but that was a football stadium in chicago, soldier field. all of these things open to the public. it is one of the things you walk by a million times, once you start paying attention, you are going to start realizing it is all around you. it really, really is. if you realize that, i have done my job. [laughter] that world war i mattered for american history. ok, so we will see you on
9:21 pm
monday. i look forward to your presentations. everycer: join us saturday as we join students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures in history are also available as podcasts. visit our website, or download them from itunes. >> this weekend on road to the white house rewind, a look at democratic presidential candidate gary hart. here's a preview. seek the i intend to presidency of the united states in 1988. [applause]
9:22 pm
and i do so for one single reason. and that is i love my country. this country is 250 million human beings, united by a common history and heritage and a set of beliefs. but america is and always has been an ideal. this land was built for a quality and justice, for a generations of americans and millions of people around the world. now, we have come close to that ideal. but i think all of us know that deep down, in recent years, this country has fallen short of the ideal of america. we have seen personal greed replace a sense of social justice and equity and the national guard. anal good. we have seen right wing ideology skew priorities. we have seen narrow single
9:23 pm
interests control our political process. and we have seen high standards for public officials, and public ethics, being eroded. most of all, this nation has lost the sense of the national interest. and we are in serious danger today of letting our future pass us by. i believe this nation can do better. and i believe that is what the issue in 1988 is all about. we must rebuild this nation. and the latter years of the century, using a full set of new ideas, based upon a foundation of the national interest. [applause] announcer: watch more from gary hart's 1988 campaign on sunday, for our weekly series on american history tv. only on c-span3.
9:24 pm
>> monday night on the communicators, the safety and security of the electric grid is the subject of a new book by ted for a, a cyber attack nation unprepared, surviving the aftermath. it examines the potential for a cyber attack on the electric grid. he looks at what happened, how vulnerable it is, and the degree to which the government and electric companies are equipped to respond. ted: the notion that you are going to give over control of the defense of your industry requires that you give up an awful lot of information. and a lot of these companies do not want to give that up. passed lastbill clas fall in the senate, after years of wrangling, that now has private industry willing to pass on information to the government. but only after they have
9:25 pm
sanitized it. announcer: watchmen they night at 8:00 eastern -- watch monday night at 8:00 eastern. tv,ext on american history university of pepperdine school of law professor talks about the origin of the office of vice president. we will hear about the role of the first man who held the office, and the nearly convoluted method of selecting. before the 12th amendment, the office of vice president did not have substantial executive or legislative power. this talk was posted by the university of pepperdine school of law. and it is about half an hour. >> thank you very much for that kind introduction. thank you for that. not just me, the introduction for all of us. welcome h


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on