Visions Of W.W.I. Essay, Research Paper
Visions of WWI
1. Compare and contrast the fashions of the W.W.I. with the fashions of W.W.II
a. What does hairstyle, length and width of skirts, jewelry, bathing suits, make-up, cigarette smoking, etc. indicate about W.W.I. and W.W.II: During W.W.I the Austrian wore the pike gray 1909 pattern tunic and trousers. They have three white stars on the collar which indicate Sergeants rank. Some have leather gaiters worn by mountain troops; others wore the ordinary trousers with the integral gaiter which fastened around the ankle with two buttons. Men and women wore tunics made of khaki serge flannel or cord. Most men, and some women, also wore leather cartridge pouches and a slouched hat. Women were seen wearing long, more fuller skirts. Blouses usually had a high neck line and the sleeves were full length. Women also wore their hair longer but usually pulled it back into a bun or pony tail. Fashions were very conservative. (p. 36-47, A Photo history of World War I).
On the Eastern Front, German infantry wore white coats with fur on the inside. They did this for warmth and camouflage. They wore the field gray cap with black/white and red at the top, and state blockade on the band. The band was red for infantry, black for rifles and artillery, and brown for machine gun battalions. The German Army uniform began to change in 1915. They went from buttoned cuffs to a simple turned back cuff. (p. 36-47, A Photo history of World War I).
During W.W.I. tobacco was not frequently used, but drinking tea and whisky was used more for entertainment and relaxation. (p. 125, Over There).
During W.W.II. materials were scarce. Skirt hems were much shorter and skirts were more form fitting. The clothes could not have any cuff, ruffles or flap pockets. Pants could be no more than 19 inches wide. There were also shortages of fabric such as silk, rayon and nylon. American women were starting to become fashionable by wearing military hats, men’s pants, and patches. Women also stopped wearing large jewelry such as bangles and beads. Short haircuts were considered much safer at work and less trouble. The short hairstyles became popular during the war.
Men’s suits were rationed and each man was only allowed one suit per year. Men were allowed to only have four cigarettes per day. (p. 150-162, Time Life).
The styles during W.W.I were not as conservative as the styles during W.W.II. The styles during W.W.II. indicate a shortage of products which mandated the fashion industry during that era for both men and women. (p 36-47, A Photo history of World War I), (p. 150-162, Time Life).
b. How do the fashions of these two periods in history show how our attitudes have changed: The changing of the fashions from W.W.I. to W.W.II. show that men and women were becoming more in tune with fashion. Styles were not as conservative as they used to be. Women were accepting the shorter hairstyles and more form fitting clothes. Women were participating in the war. Men were learning how to clean, and cook meals in the kitchen. Men and women were taking on roles that the other sex would normally do.
c. How do the fashions of these two periods reflect war America: The fashions of these two periods reflect war in America by the type of materials that were being used, the availability of the supplies, and how conservative attitudes changed over time. The soft hats, high boots, war metals seen pinned to their jackets, longer coats, long full dresses worn by women reflect the W.W.I war in America. The hard hats, slender fitting clothes, stripes on the collar or sleeve, flashy or low cut costumes worn at parties for entertainment reflect W.W.II. war in America. We can see throughout time, from the changing of styles between W.W.I, and W.W.II that people became more casual. People of W.W.II looked for more ways to have fun, while people from W.W.I were more serious.
4. Life in America during W.W.I and W.W.II
a. W.W.I – “It was the best of times”
During the best times in W.W.I. large groups of military men would visit cathedrals and write endless and appreciative accounts of what they had seen or done during the war. Memories left by high ranking officers became a tourist attraction, and part of military history. Some of their accounts of good times during the war was playing sports, such as baseball. One officer left memories of seeing the opera “Faust”. He said the opera was very good and even better than the Boston Opera. (p. 312-314, Over There).
Comment – Some of the things they experienced during the war were positive accounts according to the memories they left behind. These experiences offered happiness for them and their families during a time of destruction.
Weary Soldiers would dance with YMCA girls on the balcony of the Casino, Aix-les-Baines. This was arranged by the YMCA. Several hundred men for seven days lived a life of luxury and pampering, seemingly as free as though they were civilians. The men described some of the best of times as–fine hotels, swell boarding houses, pretty parks and mountain scenery. They would enjoy tag dancing or poker in the evening. The girls were scarce (50 to 1 ratio), but their company much enjoyed. The women in America were enjoying all the attention they were getting from the soldiers they were helping by entertaining them, volunteering, or serving time in the Service. (p. 312, Over There).
Comment – This offered some of the best times for the men in the Service, and women in America. They enjoyed the entertainment, volunteer work, parties, and serving time in the Service.
a. W.W.II – “It was the best of times”
For many GI’s, Saturday nights brought a boyhood fantasy come true. Much like the era during W.W.I., beautiful women would try to please them. The GI’s would be entertained by Hollywood stars and starlets, and home front volunteers. They would see Broadway musicals and have dates with celebrities. Many celebrities would have parties for the GI’s. Women in America were pleased to hear that sometimes the men in their lives were happy during the time they served in the war. (p. 177-188, Life Goes to War).
Comments – This became some of the best times for the men that served in the Military. Even the women in their lives did not mind all the attention they were getting as long as they were alive and happy.
During W.W.II. Americans had it pretty easy compared to the Chinese and Britons. Wages were higher. Some war plants worked around the clock. Assembly lines were working at full capacity. The factory worker became as much a part of the war as the soldier. There was an influx of unskilled labor, but production climbed steadily producing airplanes, steel, guns, boats and ships. The industrial payroll rose from 13 billion in 1939 to 44 billion in 1944. Full employment now put an end to the Great Depression. (p. 191-192, Life Goes to War).
Comment – These were some of the best of times because the economy was doing very well and the Great Depression was coming to an end.
b. W.W.I – “It was the worst of times”
Three American ships on their way to Texas were destroyed by the Germans in March, 1917. The United States felt their neutral rights were violated, and the US developed a new hatred for Imperial Germany. As war started to break out in the seas, many supplies needed by the Americans became scarce such as food, loans, and war materials. (p. 8, Over There).
In June, 1917, President Wilson declared that every man in his twenties must register for the draft. He declared that each man drafted would be placed in an area where he would serve his country the best. Many families were torn apart as each district throughout the United States would draw numbers for the selected men to go off to war. (p. 9-13, Over There).
b. W.W.II. – “It was the worst of times”
Americans became aware that war was changing their lives for the worse. even though wages were higher, working hours were long and hard. Men had to work the long hours to make up for shortages in fuel and raw materials. Trains were dirty and crowded, and travel was discouraged if not restricted. Families were painfully separated or uprooted as fathers, sons and lovers were called to war. (p. 188-192 Time Life Books).
Comments – These were some of the worst times because the fuel and material shortages forced Americans to conserve energy more. They could not enjoy the luxury of heating their homes, or having plenty of raw materials to purchase. People were tired from the long working hours, and commuting to jobs were difficult.
The first good-byes for the men going off to W.W.II. were being said. The men and women would stand in front of the gates leading to the trains, holding each other in their arms. Each good-bye was a drama in itself. Sometimes the women are seen with their arms around the mans waist–as though they’re not going to let go. Other couples are seen crying. Some of the men are seen speaking reassuringly to the women. Other couples are seen standing in silence. Each couple shows much sadness and tenderness. (p. 196-197 Time Life Books).
Comment – This was some of the worst times for the families because the unknown was ahead of them. Women did not know if they could support their children, or if their husbands would return back to America alive.
c. W.W.I. – “It was the age of wisdom”
Because communications during W.W.I. were so primitive, the military men in the battle fields would use animals for communications. Pigeons would be released with messages attached to them. Dogs would be used to fetch supplies for the wounded. (p. 128, Great Battles of W.W.I.)
Comments – I thought this was a good example of the wisdom they displayed in communicating back and forth, or tending to the wounded, because this procedure protected the men in battle from exposure to the battle field.
America became fascinated with the war but preferred to remain neutral. The Americans kept their distance and they were uninvolved with the war up until Germany became more belligerent. Even when America had to enter the war, their goals remained positive. They knew America’s rights were more precious than peace. (p. 3-5, Over There).
Comment – I think the Americans were very wise to remain neutral during the onset of the war. I believe it showed during that era that America had much respect for their people.
c. W.W.II. – “It was the age of wisdom”
During Roosevelt’s first cabinet meeting in 1933, he warned the Americans that they may be forced into war with Japan. Three months later $300 million was allocated to building new warships. When the Pacific war broke out in 1941, the United States was well prepared for the war at sea. Roosevelt was elected President for 4 successive terms. (p. 134-135 The World at Arms.)
Comment – This was very wise for President Roosevelt to warn the Americans in advance to prepare for war because they would probably be involved. Roosevelt immediately put money into a fund to build warships, and as a result, America was ready for the attack at sea.
After the Pearl Harbor attack, America accelerated their research in creating the first atomic bomb. A crash program was funded costing 2 million dollars. Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist, was put in charge of the project. The project was co-named The Manhattan Project. After years of work, the first A-bomb was created at Los Alamos, New Mexico. (p. 177-182 World War II for Beginners).
Comment – I think creating the atomic bomb during this time period was a wise thing because it was America’s only resource at the time to end the war. Even though the atomic bomb only guarantees mass destruction, it has kept America and other countries from warfare.
d. W.W.I. – “It was the age of foolishment”
America did not envision the enormous impact the war would place on the availability of food and supplies needed for survival. America did not fully understand the amount of lives that would be taken during the war. (p. 271, The Last Act).
Comment – I feel it is very foolish not to envision the devastation that the war would place on getting supplies, and how it would affect the lives of men and their families.
Youngsters were drafted as soon as they became the minimum age causing them to lose their patriotic pride. Since they were immediately placed in battle after a short training period, they were at times unreliable and did not obey orders. (p235-237, The Last Act).
Comment – It was foolish to draft such young men, or boys, before they are ready to go to war. Doing this drastically cut down on volunteers entering war.
d. W.W.II. – “It was the age of foolishment”
The American Military was slow to accept women wanting to serve in the war. There were shortages of men in the military, and pressures from patriotic women who wanted to serve their country. The armed forces slowly and reluctantly gave in. After much hostility, hundreds of thousands of women had volunteered to serve in the Army, Airforce, Navy and Marines. (p. 496-497 A World At Arms).
Comment – It was foolish for men in the military not to let women serve their country. With the shortages of men in the service, letting the women join the service might have taken care of the manpower shortages.
Limitations ad restrictions were placed on black men and women in the armed forces. The Afro-Americans were presented with many frustrations during the war. Many blacks had to move to the urban areas of the North and Midwest. Employment was hard to find because of wide spread discrimination. (p. 495-495 A World At Arms).
Comment – Similar to the shortages in the military, there were also shortages in the factories. Discriminating against blacks and women was very foolish, because discrimination is not necessary and it might have resolved the shortages in the military and factories.
e. W.W.I – “It was the epoch of belief”
When the American Army returned home in 1935, they felt little need for their existence. The Army and the entire war effort fell into dispute, and American became so involved in looking towards the future instead of the past, that ex-soldiers were treated ungrateful and uncivilized. (p.284-285, The Last Act.)
Comment – this displayed a change in the treatment of many Americans after they believed the war was over. the negative effect the war had on America was displayed in the treatment of the ex-soldiers
Many men had to learn to work in the kitchen, cook, clean and wash dishes. They had to manicure mules or horses, and learn how to ride them for transportation. It is stated “If I’ve got to die for my country, I want to die gloriously on the field of battle. I’d hate to have my brains kicked out by a mule.” (p. 24, Over There)
Comment – This shows their belief and positive attitude toward the war. I felt they considered themselves heroes if they were to die for their country.
e. W.W.II – “It was the epoch of belief”
The onset of the war brought much economic expansion offering employment opportunities for the unemployed. Several factories were now operating as never before. The government was investing heavily in industrial plants, creating many jobs. Private contractors were getting huge contracts from the Government. The United States was beginning to come out of the Depression. (p. 494-495 A World At Arms).
Comment – When more job opportunities became available, and wages were higher, Americans were starting to enjoy a higher standard of living. They were starting to believe that the economy was starting to get better.
Mothers and Grandmothers working on assembly lines would pack holiday treats in special parcels for the POWs. They believed that men overseas would receive the boxes which contained 11 pounds of staples and delicacies. The contents were very carefully placed into a space 10 by 10 by 4 1/2 inches. Many of them working on the assembly line were relatives of the prisoners. the volunteers would pack 600,000 parcel boxes per month not knowing their true destination. (p. 191-197 The Neutrals World War II).
Comment – These women were very devoted to their men in the war. Even though the women did not really know the destination of the packages, they truly believed the men would receive the boxes filled with goodies.
f. W.W.I – “It was the epoch of incredulity”
When the United States entered the war, the allies stood in disbelief that they could win. They were afraid of failure and of losing the war. Fighting the Western Front had become boring–By the time America entered the war, Germany and France had displayed a great loss of their armies at the Western Front. The American Army thought the war would last forever. (p. 13-15, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – This displayed an epoch of incredulity because the American Army could not imagine winning a war that already displayed much blood shed.
America felt their government could have avoided war, and that the war should somehow avoid America. The majority of Americans favored peace. Protests came from all parts of the country. However it became evident after the Germans sank the Lusitania and made threats to start unrestricted submarine warfare, President Wilson changed the public position to go ahead and participate in the war. The American people were bewildered over the decision, however President Wilson announced that our own fortunes as a nation are involved and we now have no choice. (p. 1-12, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – The people were bewildered and in denial that President Wilson announced America’s participation in the war.
f. W.W.II. – “It was the epoch of incredulity”
Throughout the United States news of the war brought stunned disbelief and outrage. Even the American newspapers were printing that the prospect of war with Japan was remote. Some radio stations were broadcasting that the invasion was on its way. Irate and unbelieving callers were jamming the switchboard trying to find out more information. People on the New York’s Time Square were shouting angrily saying, “We’re going to get them for this”. (p. 140 The World At Arms)
Comment – This was a good example of the epoch of incredulity because so many Americans refused to believe they were now at war with Japan. They could not accept that America was invaded.
Edgar Hoover ordered that all Japanese-Americans needed to be rounded up in the USA. During a baseball game between Paramount studio team and a Japanese team, the FBI agents started arresting the Japanese. Many of California’s Americans that were of Japanese decent quickly sent the White House telegrams denouncing Japan’s actions. In spite of the denouncement, all Japanese-Americans were rounded up anyway under an order signed by President Roosevelt in February, 1942. (p. 140, The World At Arms).
Comment – Americans, especially those with Japanese decent, were stunned that they were being imprisoned because of the invasion. The Japanese-Americans were in denial, and did not believe that Japan had intentions to invade Pearl Harbor and cause so much destruction to the American people.
g. W.W.I – “It was the season of hope”
While the war was going on, the President of the United States dreamed of a Peace Conference where he would bring peace to all the American people. He felt his country’s aims were different from those of his allies, and he avoided arguments over this issue. The President hoped to hold the allies economically and militarily in his hand once the war was over. (p. 135-136, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – This was a season of hope because President Wilson was moved by his feelings to bring peace to the American people. He hoped to end the war for the sake of our country.
In 1919, President Wilson suffered a stroke. He had many problems that followed his stroke for years to come. In spite of his illness and stubbornness, he held on to his covenants and would not make any revisions to the Peace Treaty. Several members from the League of Nations opposed his ideas, however President Wilson knew what the American people needed to regain peace and protect their future. (p. 156-177, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – The President extended much hope to the American people by not changing his views before signing the Peace Treaty. America put their trust in his views.
g. W.W.II. – “It was the season of hope”
The Japanese attack brought unity between the Americans. Before the attack the United States was a nation bitterly divided. Two groups, one led by Roosevelt, and the other led by the American First Committee, were now united as never seen before. Labor leaders soon called off strikes and union members would work around the clock if it was necessary. (p. 140-141 The World At Arms.)
Comment – It was a season of hope because the Japanese attack brought Americans closer together. It brought much hope for the future of America. Americans were now anxious to help each other in a time of crisis
The wartime efforts brought many advances for blacks and women. The outcome of the war proved that blacks and women had the same capabilities as white men. The war showed they had just as much ability working as veterans and civil workers as did all humans, white or black, and even women. The war also brought many benefits to veterans and their families. They could now receive bonus payments, pensions, medical services, and the GI Bill of Rights. The GI Bill helped provide educational benefits. Veterans could now expand their education and receive home loan entitlements. Many more families could now purchase their own home. (p. 493-497 A World At Arms)
Comment – Having blacks and women in the work force or military was a season of hope for America because it liberated those that were once discriminated against. It brought more hope for the military by having more people to help out in the war. It helped fill factories with more needed laborers, and it lessened discrimination. The GI Bill of Rights gave much hope to families wanting to expand their education or own a home.
h. W.W.I. – “It was the season of darkness”
In the spring of 1918, the Americans realized that a massive American army would be sent overseas. The news complicated industrial production which extended to railroads tie ups and shortages of supplies, such as coal and food. Everything was a mess and it sent people into a panic. (p. 100-105, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – This was a season of darkness because America would now lose several men, many of them who supported their families, who were drafted into the war.
The lack of planning before entering the war caused a fuel shortage. The Fuel Administration placed maximum prices on fuel. Unfortunately the winter in 1917 was the coldest in fifty years, which hampered transporting fuel to the factories. America was ordered to have “heatless Mondays” for several weeks. The American people were angry and accused President Wilson of letting industrial mobilization slip from his hands. (p. 98-106, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – Having no fuel, or not enough, for heat or other sources gave the people a feeling of hopelessness not knowing if the situation would change or become worse.
h. W.W.II. – “It was a season of darkness”
Some men were required to take over the mothering chores while women were becoming liberated in the work force. Because of labor shortages, it became necessary for women to work outside the home in factories, or provide volunteer services for the war. Before the war, capable baby-sitters were easy to find. If the parents didn’t take turn with the child-care, then inexperienced baby-sitters were all that could be found. (p. 188-189 Life Goes to War)
Comment – It was a season of darkness for families that had to depend on strangers to care for their children while they went off to work. Most families did not chose to hire inexperienced child-care or young girls to care for their children but they had no choice because families needed to make a living.
Many mistakes and squabbles would slow down the war efforts. There was a bitter legacy of race riots in cities such as Detroit. Blacks and whites would maul and murder each other. The racism and labor disputes caused a troublesome setback in the war. The US Government was criticized by reporters for not exhausting all legal efforts to end the war, but instead resorted to violence. (p. 194-195 Life Goes to War).
Comment – Not taking care of the racism when the war was continuing was a season of darkness for America. It only caused war at home as well as overseas. It caused too many setbacks for America. More lives might have been saved if the Government had taken care of the problem sooner.
I. W.W.I. – “We had everything before us”
Before the war, President Wilson was re-elected as President in April, 1917; the soldiers and marines stood at attention while thousands of citizens waved their little flags. They chanted “He kept us out of war”. When the United States finally became involved in the war, the people were unsure of their security and safety for the future. (p. 1-4, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – This shows that the American people felt secure and safe, and they had everything before the war. They thought they were exempt from entering the war.
Before the war, foreign trade had increased. Imports and Exports were at 188 million. The economy was doing extremely well, and trade with the allies was markedly up. Americans were raising their standard of living. (p. 1-8, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – Before the war the Americans had their good economy and an abundance of supplies to enjoy.
i. W.W.II – “We had everything before us”
Much like W.W.I., many women were becoming widows during W.W.II. Before the war, wives had their husbands to help support and take care of the family. Children were now left without the influence and support of a father. It became necessary for women to find work. Many of these women would put in long tiring hours trying to make a living for their families. Some women could make a good living working, but those who remained at home with the children were struggling without their husband’s earnings. Many women would live with other families to help consolidate the bills. (p. 138-139 Life Goes to War)
Comment – Before the war, women had the luxury of staying home with their children, and they had the companionship of a husband. Several women were now forced to find employment, or live with other families just to pay the bills.
Some women and their children would have to live together in a single house or apartment just to help make ends meet. Overcrowding was a real problem, but they would share the rent, split weekly food bills, and rotate housekeeping chores. This living arrangement was called “tripling up”. This arrangement allowed them to save enough money to by war bonds. (p. 138-139 Life Goes To War).
Comment – Families had everything before them prior to the war. They had their own families to contend with. Those women who lost their husbands in the war did not have as much income coming in to support a family. Women, and their children, had to learn how to get along living together, and sharing the expenses and chores.
j. W.W.I – “We had nothing before us”
Before World War I, veterans had adjust by themselves to civil life without any relief from the Government. The war brought Congress to pass the GI Bill of Rights, which offered veterans college and university education. This in many ways helped change their lives. (p 231-234, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – Before the war, veterans had nothing to fall back on for support. The GI Bill of Rights was a positive outcome of the war.
Before W.W.I, America’s armed forces were not adequately equipped with weapons and manpower. Many changes were made, and the armed forces went from a small army to a massive army–ready to defend their country in any future attacks or threats. (p 235, Woodrow Wilson and World War I 1917-1921).
Comment – This shows that before W.W.I., America did not have dependable armed forces. W.W.I. brought a very needed change in the protection of the country.
j. W.W.II. – “We had nothing before us”
Before the war, women generally did not work outside of the home. Women were not even considered to serve in the war. The war brought liberation to women. The war was now forcing society to see women in the service or work force as acceptable. Women in the work force went from 1 percent in 1941 to 65 percent in 1943. Because of shortages in the working industry, and in war efforts, women were now being hired for employment or to serve in the military service. Traditionally, women were barred from working in wartime production, however women were soon learning they were just as capable of performing the same tasks as the men. (p. 140-145 Life Goes to War)
Comment – Before the war women were not as liberated. Women were now enjoying their independence as never before. Women felt before the war they did not have the same rights as the men when it came to employment, or serving in the military. Liberation was replacing discrimination and giving them the freedom they could
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