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Each respectively distilled the experience and defined the historical legacy of a century. Each embraced a pair of episodes with lastingly transformative impacts. From to the Revolutionary War and the adoption of the Constitution brought national independence and established the basic political framework within which the nation would be governed ever after.
To understand the logic and the consequences of those three moments is to understand much about the essence and the trajectory of all of American history.
To a much greater degree than in the earlier cases, the changes set in motion by the Great Depression and World War II had their origins outside the United States—a reminder of the increasing interdependency among nations that was such a salient feature of the twentieth century.
The Great Depression was a worldwide catastrophe whose causes and consequences alike were global in character. Economists and historians continue to this day to debate the proximate causes of the Great Depression.
The war exacted a cruel economic and human toll from the core societies of the advanced industrialized world, including conspicuously Britain, France, and Germany. The lingering distortions in trade, capital flows, and exchange rates occasioned by the punitive Treaty of Versailles, as the economist John Maynard Keynes observed at the time, managed to perpetuate in peacetime the economic disruptions that had wrought so much hardship in wartime.
To those abundant physical and institutional ills might be added a rigidly doctrinaire faith in laissez-faire, balanced national budgets, and the gold standard.
The United States had participated only marginally in the First World War, but the experience was sufficiently costly that Americans turned their country decidedly inward in the s. Congress in effectively closed the American market to foreign vendors with the Fordney-McCumber Tariff, among the highest in United States history, and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff eight years later.
Washington also insisted that the Europeans repay the entirety of the loans extended to them by the US Treasury during the war.
And in the republic for the first time in its history imposed a strict limit on the number of immigrants who could annually enter the country. Among those eventually excluded though none could yet know it were thousands of Jewish would-be fugitives from Nazi persecution.
Militarily, diplomatically, commercially, financially, even morally, Americans thus turned their backs on the outside world. American prosperity in the s was real enough, but it was not nearly as pervasive as legend has portrayed. And well before the Great Depression, almost as soon as the Great War concluded ina severe economic crisis had beset the farm-belt.
It did not entirely lift until the next world war, more than twenty years later. Virtually none enjoyed such common urban amenities as electricity and indoor plumbing. Other maladies began to appear, faintly at first, but with mounting urgency as the Depression began to unfold.
Some twenty-five thousand banks, most of them highly fragile "unitary" institutions with tiny service areas, little or no diversification of clients or assets, and microscopic capitalization, constituted the astonishingly vulnerable foundation of the national credit.
As for government—public spending at all levels, including towns, cities, counties, states, and the federal government itself, amounted only to about 15 percent of the gross domestic product in the s, one-fifth of which was federal expenditures.
Ideology aside, its very size made the federal government in the s a kind of ninety-pound weakling in the fight against the looming depression.
Then in the autumn ofthe bubble burst. The Great Crash in October sent stock prices plummeting and all but froze the international flow of credit.
Banks failed by the thousands. Businesses collapsed by the tens of thousands. Herbert Hoover, elected just months earlier amid lavish testimonials to his peerless competence, saw his presidency shattered and his reputation forever shredded because of his inability to tame the depression monster—though, again contrary to legend, he toiled valiantly, using what tools he had and even inventing some new ones, as he struggled to get the upper hand.
Bysome thirteen million Americans were out of work, one out of every four able and willing workers in the country. Even those horrendous numbers could not begin to take the full measure of the human misery that unemployment entailed.
Given the demography of the labor force and prevailing cultural norms that kept most women—and virtually all married women—out of the wage-paying economy, a 25 percent unemployment rate meant that, for all practical purposes, every fourth household in America had no breadwinner. Many Americans came to believe that they were witnessing not just another downswing of the business cycle, but the collapse of a historic economic, political, and social order, perhaps even the end of the American way of life.
Yet curiously, as many observers noted, most Americans remained inexplicably docile, even passive, in the face of this unprecedented calamity.For five years during World War II, Indochina was a French-administered possession of Japan.
On September 22, , Jean Decoux, the French governor-general appointed by the Vichy government after the fall of France to the Nazis, concluded an agreement with the Japanese that permitted the stationing.
Why did the United States support French control of Vietnam after World War II? Update Cancel. ad by Indochino.
The US however did not support the initial war. If you put yourself in the boots of Kennedy, you'd do the above. Why did suburbanization happen in the United States after World War II? World War II. International Relations. The United States of America.
Why didn't the US support Vietnam independence after WWII? Update Cancel. Answer Wiki. 10 Answers. Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia. After the First Vietnam War and French exit the UN was involved in many of the disputes in Indochina. Laos was particularly interesting.
United States: Ute Paiute: Victory: World War II (–) Location: Europe, South Vietnam United States US vessels launch missiles in support of the Libyan Civil War. Finally, the war in Vietnam has come closer than any event since World War II to placing Asia in a realistic perspective in American eyes and policy.
The number one foreign policy issue in the United States today is an Asian one, and Europe is secondary. World War II was the good war: well-defined, righteous goals, ending in clear, unambiguous victory.
After winning, most Americans came home. Those who stayed to oversee reconstruction in Germany.