War have become an inevitable part of the United States History. So far, the U.S. have engaged in numerous wars dating back to the civil war to the present Iraq war. However, it was in the First and Second World Wars that the U.S. had a major participation that resulted in the restoration of peace and order all over the globe.
During World War I, the U.S. held a neutral stand for quite a long period during the early 1900s. At first, World War I was perceived by many Americans as a European conflict but when they realized that their economy and even the lives of some Americans were being adversely affected, they gradually shifted to a warring mode. At that time, U.S. economy was largely dependent on overseas trading but when the war broke out, it dramatically halted economic trading because they were no longer able to sell goods to other countries particularly to Britain and Germany.
This event negatively influenced the economy of the United States. More so, the Americans became more agitated when the Germans attacked passenger ships that led to the death of numerous prominent Americans. However, it was the alliance between Mexico and Germany that triggered U.S. to be directly involved in the war because it imposed an imminent threat since Mexico was geographically close to American soil (Hardgrove United States Involvement in WWI).
On the other hand, the U.S. participation to World War II had some similarities with their involvement during First World War. In both wars, U.S. started with a neutral stance but the intensity of their involvement in World War II was heightened because of the direct attack at Pearl Harbor. The entire period of WWI, U.S. was only at the sidelines that was carried on to the early part of WWII. At first, Americans aid was mostly confined at providing supplies to the allied forces through the Lend-Lease Act. But when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and Germany and Italy declared war against the Americans, U.S. launched a massive offensive alongside with the British and Russians in Europe and Asia (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia War comes to the United States).
Clearly, U.S. involvement during World War II was more prevalent than in the First World War. Americans exhausted all their human and material resources during WWII to the point that it resulted to millions of casualties and thousands of deaths (Digital History Learn About World War II).
2. Explain how the Great Depression seemed to bring the U.S. to the brink of revolution and why you believe a revolution did or did not occur.
The Great Depression was the time when the economy had an immense disparity between U.S. productive capacity and the ability of Americans to consume. At that time, the stock values at the New York Stock Exchange was at an all time low, many businesses have closed, several factories and banks have shut down. Also, there was a meager disposable income for an average American and the unemployment rate have catapulted ( Modern American Poetry The Depression in the United States). These were the economic consequences brought by the participation of the U.S. in WWI who became a major creditor and financier of of postwar Europe.Aside from the economic distress, depression also brought significant implications in the American political system. The presidential reign of Franklin Roosevelt allowed several modifications in the economy by increasing government regulation and massive public-works projects to facilitate rapid recovery. In spite of these initiatives, mass unemployment and economic stagnation persisted.( Modern American Poetry About the Great Depression)
It seemed at this point that the Americans were already tired of waiting for the government to take bold actions in order for them to be instantaneously removed from the sinking hole of economic downfall. But the realization of the New Deal policies which focused on mitigating the effects of the depression and the outbreak of World War II have hindered the possibility of having a revolt against the American government (Modern American Poetry The Depression in the United States).
3. How did World War II led to the Cold War and how was actual warfare between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. avoided while the two powers competed?
Prior to the WWII, the U.S. had illustrated the Soviet Union as an evil nation but during the war, the two became allies because of their common enemy which were the Germans. However, their alliance was filled with doubts and distrusts that became very apparent at the end of the war. Actually, Gen. Patton, an American General, expressed his desire to lead the Allied army against the Soviet Red Army. More so, many were agitated particularly Americans and British when Gen. Eisenhower, Supreme head of the Allied Command, conceded to the demand of Stalin that the Red Army would be the first to invade Berlin.
America was threatened of Stalins vast and powerful Red Army, while the Russians were very cautious of U.S. advance weapons capabilities. This relationship facilitated the emergence of the Cold War (Trueman What was the Cold War). Because of the Cold War, the world was divided into three main groups. The West which is comprised of democratic countries while the East was spearheaded by the Union which is composed of communist countries (GlobaSecurity.org Cold War).
Since both nations acknowledged each others competencies in the field of war, they opted to have a cold war to prevent a massive catastrophe from happening. They were both afraid of each others nuclear weapons in which if used, it could destroy the whole human population. So instead of directly fighting, Russia and the U.S. agitated each other through other means such as by supporting conflicts in various parts of the globe and by setting up a propaganda war against each other (GlobaSecurity.org Cold War). Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union used client states to forward their indirect war against each other. These client states are countries who fought for the the Americans and Russians on their behalf. Such as in the case of North and South Vietnam and Afghanistan. Americans supplied the anti-communist South Vietnam with weapons when they were at war with Communist North Vietnam who was on the other hand used weapons from the Soviet Union. Also,Afghan rebels were helped by the Americans when the Russian invaded their country in 1979 (Trueman What was the Cold War).
4. Explain how motion pictures are documents of American culture and society.
Films are useful tools in understanding a particular culture. More so, Hollywood have dominated the global industry of movie-making. It is because of their status as the most powerful country in the world that projected them to be the front runners in this field. Furthermore, since many admire the American way of life, American filmmakers used this opportunity to showcase the American culture through movies. From then on, numerous films were made that had an American-theme. An example would be the movie Reality Bites. This film is about the dilemmas that most college graduates experience such as looking for work or determining their purpose in life. Also, it depicted the American modern yuppie life in an urban setting. Another example is the movie Titanic.
It showed the economic disparity between the rich and the poor of the American society. Though the setting was multicultural, it focused mainly on two American characters who were separated in love because of their different social status. These are just few samples that depict the American culture and society. Some of the themes adapted showed the typical suburban family life, the X generation lifestyle which is defined by technological gadgets and invention of new colloquial terms and others.
Also, it seems that movie goers are entertained and at the same time educated by these American-oriented films. Most of the motion pictures produced by Hollywood utilizes American culture, society and history to impart to audiences from within and outside the U.S. the richness and distinctness of their knowledge, customs and civilization. More so, it is a subtle way of reinforcing their socio-economic and political status as a powerhouse nation.