USA, 1918 - 1941

Timeline of events: 1918- 1941

USA 1918 - 41: supporting resources

  • Student resources
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    USA 1918-1941

    Comprehensive notes:

    . The Roaring Twenties
    . Increasing social tensions
    . The USA in depression, 1929-1933
    . Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1933 - 1941
    . Opposition to the New Deal

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  • Films
    Numerous films portray cicvil rights issues during this period. Below are some of our recommendations. Be beware that some content my be inappropriate for your class. Be check before showing.

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  • YouTube

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    Check out or youtube channel:
    GCSE History for selected recommended viewings.

USA 1918 - 41 Timeline

  • America in the 1920s

    Treaty of Versailles 1919

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    . President Wilson introduced his 'Fourteen Points' at the Peace Conference
    , Division over the Treaty in the USA - Democrats negotiated it, Republicans less keen on it.


    Volstead Act - Prohibition 1919

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    . In 1919 the USA passed the Eighteenth Amendment to the US constitution:
    "a ban on the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors"
    but the consumption of alcohol was still legal
    . Described as a 'noble experiment'.


    Palmer Raids 1919

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    . Palmer Raids 1919-1921
    Attorney General Mitchell Palmer set up a division headed by J Edgar Hoover to look into ‘Reds’ in government.:
    . 200,000 + investigated
    . Thousands deported or jailed
    . Most were innocent, many arrested for looking like a radical


    League of Nations 1920

    . Republican leader in Congress, Lodge wanted changes to League & Wilson refused to compromise.
    . Republicans had a majority and refused to support the League.
    . Many wanted a return to
    isolationism, to be away from European problems.

    . Without USA the League was weakened, plus no Germany or Russia.
    . Without the USA sanctions were often meaningless, as countries could trade with the USA


    Women's Right to Vote 1920

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    . Women won the right to vote in 1920
    . Some women became more independent in the 1920s - the 'flapper'


    Steel Strike ends 1919

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    . After WWI many people lost their jobs as govt work for the war stopped.
    21 January 1919: 35,000 shipyard workers on strike
    6 February 1919: general strike in Seattle with 60,00 workers on strike
    “Reds” were blamed (though no evidence that Reds were involved) & the mayor got the police and troops on the streets.
    Striking workers went back to work in 1920


    Inventions 1920

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    . The 1920s saw numerous new devices come to the market including:
    . refrigerators
    . washing machines
    . vacuum cleaners
    . dishwashers
    . frozen food


    First radio broadcast 1920

    . The first radio news programme was broadcast on 31st August, 1920
    . In the 1920s over 10 million radios were sold. Over 50 million people were regularly listening to the radio, with hundreds of stations across the country, listening to news, sports events, drama & music inc. jazz.


    The 'good' bootlegger

    . Roy Olmstead become a bootlegger whilst serving as a police officer
    . "My dad thought that prohibition was an immoral law. So he had no compunction about breaking that law.. And Dad's particular job was the bagman for the police department. He decided that patrolmen would get so much and no more per week; sergeants would get so much; lieutenants, captains and so on. So he was the paymaster for the Olmstead Gang". Edwin T Hunt


    Rum running

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    . William McCoy, a Florida boat captain established the 'rum running trade'
    . He shipped cases of rum from Nassau, in the Bahamas into Florida, making over $15,000 per trip


    Mass production

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    . Henry Ford set-up the first assembly line in 1913
    Factories set up assembly lines to produce goods more quickly & cheaper - mass production
    . Each worker did only one or two jobs. Henry Ford used assembly lines to make cheap cars (Model T)


    Emergency Immigration Act 1921

    . Emergency Immigration Act 1921
    . limited number of immigrants to 3% of those in the country in 1910.
    . therefore favoured immigrants from Western Europe


    Sacco & Vanzetti arrested 1921

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    Sacco & Vanzetti Trial 1921
    . Found guilty of armed robbery & murder. in 1921. There were witnesses who said they were not even there when the crime happened. The judge did not like the fact they were anarchists (against government).
    . Appeals were dismissed.
    . There were protests from all around the world.


    Harding becomes president, 1921

    . Warren Harding sworn in as 29th US President

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    4 March 1921

    Fordney-McCumber Act 1922

    . The US govt. passed the Fordney-McCumber Act 1922 which increased tariffs (taxes) on goods imported.

    . This made products made in the USA cheaper so people bought US goods.


    Coolidge becomes President 1923

    . Calvin Coolidge sworn in as 30th US President
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    3 August 1923

    Marcus Garvey deported, 1923

    Marcus Garvey
    . Founded UNIA Universal Negro Improvement Association.
    . He stated blacks should not be part of white society, they ought to do business only with other blacks.
    . Black Americans would return to Africa, via his shipping line, the ‘Black Star.’
    . Garvey was arrested for fraud and deported in 1923.
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    Immigration Act 1924

    . Immigration Act
    . limited immigration to 2% (from 3%)
    . designed to stop Eastern & Southern Europeans


    John Scopes Trial, 1924

    . John Scopes was as a biology teacher in Tennessee, who taught about evolution, which was banned. In the 'Monkey Trial' which followed Scopes was fined $100, but most Americans thought the Christian Fundamentalists who wanted the law, were being ridiculous.
    Biology text books avoided the word ‘evolution’ for many years afterwards. Trial showed the growing differences between traditional christians and the new belief in science. A battle between the old and the new.


    Dawes Plan, 1924

    . USA loaned Germany $200 million dollars, enabling Germany to rebuild its economy allowing it to pay its reparations


    Klu Klux Klan, 1924

    . By 1924 the KKK had a membership over over 5 million


    Al Capone leader of Chicago gang, 1925

    . The most famous of all the gangsters. Became leader of Chicago gang in 1925.
    . He controlled all the sales of alcohol in the city after he had his rival Moran & six others killed.
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    Sacco & Vanzetti executed 1927

    . Sacco & Vanzetti were executed. in 1927, despite in 1925 another man confessing to the robbery & murder.


    Hollywood 'talkies', 1927

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    . Sacco & Vanzetti were executed. in 1927, despite in 1925 another man confessing to the robbery & murder.
    . Cinemas appeared in every town & city in the USA
    . A weekly visit was normal
    . Movies were silent until 1927
    . Stars included: Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo and Rudolph Valentino
    . Films began to be made in Hollywood, Los Angeles


    Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928

    . USA and other major countries agreed not to go to war with each other


    St Valentines Day Massacre, 1929

    . The 'St. Valentines Massacre' in 1929, shocked the USA. with seven of Bugs Moran's gang shot by Al Capone's men. It was the one of many shootings across cities in the USA
    . No one knows how many people Al Capone had killed, some say over 200.
    . Reporters followed him around like a movie star.
    . It is thought he made £60 million a year.
    . Police could not convict him of any murders as nobody would say anything against him, fearing for their lives.

    14 February 1929

    Al Capone found guilty

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    . Al Capone found guilty of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison

    17 October 1931
  • The Great Depression and the New Deal

    Agricultural Marketing Act 1929

    . Recognised that crop prices had been in decline for a number of years
    . Federal Farm Board would purchase surplus crops to keep the prices higher
    . BUT farmers realised they could keep selling their surplus so increased production with greater use of fertilizers and mechanisation

    June 1929

    Stock market falls, 1929

    . Stock market falls as companies over the summer reported lower profits

    5 September 1929

    Stock market rebounds, 1929

    . Stock market prices rise as brokers buy 'cheaper' shares and people 'buy on the margin'

    6 September 1929

    Share prices fall

    . Stock market prices fall rapidly

    21 September 1929

    'Black' Thursday

    . Panic hits as 13 million shares are sold, wiping $9billion off the value.
    . Banks buy shares to stop the panic.

    24 September 1929

    'Black' Monday

    . More panic on Wall Street as 16 million shares are sold
    . People and banks instantly become bankrupt
    . People 'buying on the margin' couldn't pay back their loans
    . Banks went bankrupt

    29 September 1929

    Tax cuts

    . President Hoover introduced tax cuts worth $160 million to encourage people to buy to increase demand


    Reconstruction Finance Construction

    . 1931: Reconstruction Finance Construction set up to help businesses and banks with loans plus help for the unemployed with shelter, clothing & food


    Big project spending

    . Hoover set up a fund of $400 million to build big infrastructure projects like the Hoover Dam to create jobs and stimulate the economy


    Share prices down

    . Shares are down on average 40% in one month

    Share prices 1929: (cents)
    Company Sept Nov
    US Steel 279 150
    Standard Oil 83 48
    General Motors 182 36
    Brooklyn Gas 248 99
    Westinghouse 289 102

    Mid November 1931

    Emergency Relief & Reconstruction Act

    1932: Emergency Relief & Reconstruction Act gave $1.5 billion in loans to states to help them build projects to create jobs.


    Economic Depression

    By 1932 the US economy had was in a depression

    . Unemployment went from 1.5 million to 12.8 million in 1933 (average 25% )
    . Wealth
    of the country (Gross National Product) fell by 50%
    . Banks
    closed in their thousands inc. Bank of US in New York (30% of New Yorkers lost)
    . Companies
    went bankrupt (100,000 by 1933)
    . Farmers
    income fell by 50%. Examples: 1919 prices compared to 1932: Cotton 353 cents to 0.65 cents - Wheat $2.16 to $0.38 - Corn $1.51 to $0.310

    Social Impact
    . Unemployment: people lost homes etc. got food from charities
    . Suicides: 20,000+ committed suicide in the years 1930-1933
    . Hoovervilles: people lived in shanty towns built out of rubbish
    . Farmers: thousands of farmers lost their farms as they could not pay their bank loans
    . Hoboes: thousands of unemployed men, travelled the country looking for jobs


    1932 Presidential Election

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    President Hoover: Republican
    16 million votes)
    . Business to create jobs not government
    . USA would recover in time
    . Seen by many as dull & not caring
    . Blamed for Wall St. Crash & Depression
    . Seen as not doing enough to help people

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    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Democrat
    (23 million votes)
    . Had polio as a child, so seen as a fighter
    . Helped people as Governor of New York
    . Excellent public speaker
    . Gave people hope for the future

    . Promised a New Deal


    Emergency Banking Act

    . Reopened good banks with federal loans if needed
    . 75% of banks reopened within 3 days
    . Money and gold got back into circulation
    . Smaller were merged into larger banks

    9 March 1933

    Securities Act

    . Brought rules and regulations to Wall Street
    . Companies on the stock exchange now had to declare details of the company - profit, loss etc. verified by independent auditors


    First New Deal 1933 - 1934

    . Civilian Conservation Corps CCC Give work to young people on conservation projects

    . Home Owners Loan Corporation HOLC Help home owners who could not pay their mortgages

    . Agricultural Adjustment Administration AAA Support farmers to make a profit

    . National Recovery Administration NRA Encourage business to pay higher wages & charge fair prices

    . Federal Emergency Relief Admin FERA Money given to the states to help unemployed & homeless people

    Tennessee Valley Authority TVA To help the Tennessee Valley area which was very poor


    Second New Deal 1935 - 1936

    . National Labour Relations Act NLR Replaced the NRA. Increase trade union membership.

    . Social SecurityAct SSA Pensions for people 65+

    . Soil Conversation Act SCA To help tenant farmers & look after the soil.

    . National Housing Acts NHA To help low income families. Help with mortgage payments.

    21 April 2022