tv Reel America Home Front 1917-1919 CSPAN June 17, 2017 10:00pm-10:19pm EDT
well, if not, give me a hand, and let's end it. [laughter] >> [applause] prof. lewis: thank you. thank you very very much. >> you are watching american weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation like us on facebook at c-span history. of2017 marks the centennial the u.s. entry into world war i. next on american history tv's reel america, home front 1917-19 19, war transforms american life. this 1965 encyclopaedia britannica film examines how the
war was sold to the american public through the committee on public information and how dissent was discouraged and even outlawed. the documentary shows how the war effort expended the federal government and led to a booming industrial economy. this is about 20 minutes. ♪ narrator: on the eve of grave decisions on april 2, 1917, an anxious president woodrow wilson voices his forebodings.
lead his people into war, and they will forget there was ever such a thing as tolerance. to fight, you must be reported and ruthless. conformity would be the only virtue. days later, with the president leaving as he must -- leading as he must, america now at war. all separate voices drowned out by the great chorus of the war effort. do your bit for the boys over there. the spirit of 1917 on the american home front, a nation rallying to the war. behind them keeping the spirit moved is the machinery of government, a new agency set up by the government, with a committee on public information,
which will grow from a handful to 150,000. he tackles the war effort as a plain publicity proposition. the world's greatest adventure in advertising. it will be an all-star production, offstage and on. ♪ the march king, john philip sousa, trimming of sales of liberty mobs, was the star of the method chosen opera -- the metropolitan opera. ♪ boots car content, author of a bestseller, writes on american facts and german propaganda. a young novelist turns out press
releases for i was. so does -- for allies. mary pickford and other stars of the infant medium, the movies, make appearances as salesman for uncle sam. the kaiser. ♪ to weld the people of the united states into one white-hot mass, with determination and deathless determination. country's artists are told, draw tilted -- draw til it hurts. ♪ draft, starting in july
1917, makes potential heroes of some 3 million men who will be called on to do their bit in uniform. the national league outfielder turned evangelist towards the country with inspiring sermons. upset autocracy and forge liberty throughout the world. the president who suffered such forebodings at the prospect of war calls for force. it,ce without stint or lim righteous and triumphant force. theuched by battle, american landscape is altered by the war. washington, once described as a drowsy capital, becomes a boomtown in 1917. this is the time in american history when government grows
into big government, spending almost as much on the 20 month more as in the previous century and a quarter of its history. dozens of new agencies, a federal payroll that nearly doubles from 500,000 employees to almost one million. not to mention in the unpaid volunteers. liberty bonds, allied relief, red cross -- scores of wartime and causes. -- wartime causes. ♪ narrator: for just one dollar per year, government secures the services of some of its most distinguished citizens, an army of businessmen, like thomas edison. one observer calls washington a patriotic madhouse. one of the new faces in government, herbert hoover, organizer of war worldwide
relief for belgium in 1915, now summoned to run the full program at home. battalions of volunteers, work forms plant war gardens to feed the nation and allies. four housewives, the words are 'save food.' out in the field for women and youngsters, the slogan is "do a man's job." ♪ narrator: love may not change, but motherhood will never be the same after this war.
america's women taking on a man's job make up new arguments to support for the vote, demands that will be fulfilled in a constitutional amendment after the war. how are you going to keep them out of the voting booth after they helped win the war? along with its heroes and heroines, the war effort produces new villains. this scene takes place in birmingham, alabama. a slacker german out of town by his neighbors, with the draft strictly policed, the penalties of being a slacker are severe. slogans grow into passions. a hatred of all things german. a harvard professor finds in
wagner's music the traits of war, lust, and cunning. jobs owned by german-americans are wrecked. sauerkraut becomes liberty cabbage. in several states, teaching german is banned. president wilson worries that the war spirit may become the mob spirit. 9 months of american participation in the war, 4 whole divisions shipped overseas, more units leaving every week, and no visible impact on the still make of the western front. stalemate on the western front. the public has only received reports of the first american deaths. the spirit of over there is becoming needed. the farewells grow somber. -- is becoming muted. ♪
the material of the whole front -- the homefront is installed in a transit as the nation's railroads further strained by labor shortages and strikes, finally break down. even on the home front, every day is a battle. ♪ war production spotters under a variety of handicaps. competing for materials and nonpower or any reasonable -- ma npower or any reasonable substitute, government falters under committees. washington's patriotic madhouse has become a bureaucratic madhouse. is empowered by wilson took it the more industry
out of its doldrums. doldr industry out of its rums. by government fiat, production gets rolling. armedre industry board, with extraordinary powers, reporting directly to the president, keep the economy disciplined with a tough regime of priorities. it is a pattern alien to american. business by government regulation. blessed steel for auto parts, none for corsets, none for guns. for cltoh for blouses, more airplane fuselages. ♪ industry the speed up, will never quite catch up with the war. in a single ceremonious day,
fourth of july, 1918, 95 ships are launched. one will cross the atlantic by the time of the armistice. tankill any american-made get into action. the american expeditionary force will fight with french and british tanks and artillery, while the bugs are being worked out over here. ♪ the war before the arsenal of democracy is geared up for the business of war. its problems of manpower and material settled. one new source of industrial manpower is the negro. recruited by the south of the thousands, giving of jobs for the prospect of higher paid war work in the north. ♪
the migration, which will have a profound effect on the course of american life, is accompanied by conflict. race riots in northern communities like philadelphia, chicago, and east st. louis illinois, where 37 americans are killed, white and negro. ♪ another kind of disease is loose in the land, suspicion, attacking all forms of dissent. vigilantes operating in the name of patriotism pursuing their own blacklist of enemies, draftdodgers and war bond slackers, pacifists who condemn war, labor groups that insist on voicing discontent, the
foreign-born. wilson's fears of a brutalized conformist america loom over the nation. the government acts to take the law out of the hands of the mob. the wilson administration seeks and gets tough new laws suppressing freedom of speech and opinion. one controversial labor group, the industrial workers of the world, the wobblies, is violently suppressed by mob and government. in arizona, 1200 members are expelled to an army post in new mexico, where their preachings of strike with anarchist overcomes. andoffices are raided
arrested, including bill haywood. socialist party leader eugene b. debs, who got one million votes for president of the street of -- president of the united states in 1912 is arrested for objection to the war effort and is sentenced to 10 years in jail. with prosecution of dissidents, wilson has both crushed the antiwar spirit and appeased the extremists. ♪ answer to the threat from abroad, the threat of the german armies, also becomes more vigorous in the summer of 1918.
narrator: woodrow wilson, who feared that war would prove an enemy of liberty, has compromised with that enemy. in the promising autumn of 1918, the nation has not sensed this. what americans feel is an irresistible strength of purpose. the army is on the march in france. the nation is in step over here. ♪
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