2. Did World War I substantially alter American society and culture (ethnic, class, gender, and race relations)?
Prior to World War 1, America was experiencing the reform period, and was full of unrest. Women were looking for equal rights, the middle class was trying to grow and the country was working hard to become a melting pot of cultures and races. America’s entry and involvement in World War I propelled the country forward and accomplished independence for women and growth of the middle class and better lives for African Americans.
Lasting from 1914 through 1918, the war effort needed many American made supplies. Because many of the country’s men were fighting in the war, women were forced to enter the work force. This opportunity shifted the gender culture in America because women realized that there was more to life besides working in the home and that they could hold jobs and contribute to the country and their families. This independence carried over to after the war. Prior to the war, the women’s suffrage movement was unable to gain the right to vote. However, because women’s contributions during the war, helped the war cause in so many ways, President Wilson convinced Congress to allow women to vote and moved them toward more equal rights with men.
World War I helped America to grow industrially. Manufacturers had to keep production growing to keep up with the demand of supporting the war. With the work force smaller because of so many men fighting in the war, more unemployed people were able to find and hold jobs. The economy improved, growing the middle class because more people were at work.
Employment opportunities also grew for African Americans. Before the war, many African Americans lived in rural areas. During the war, more African Americans moved to the cities where jobs were plentiful. Also, as the war raged in Europe, African Americans saw the opportunity to win the respect of white citizens by fighting in the war. Prior to the war, African