Free “The Nation at War” Critical Review Essay Sample

The chapter “The Nation at War” deals with the history of the United States of the first 20 years of the 20th century. The politics, both external and internal, of the three presidents is discussed: Woodrow Wilson, William Taft and Theodore Roosevelt

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In general I can say that I sympathize with the policy of the USA about neutrality and not intervening into foreign affairs, as long as they do not have an influence on the domestic affairs as well. Especially Wilson made a stress on that. What was interesting, though, is that American presidents did everything possible to establish the country as the world super power at the beginning of the 20th century. It seems to me that the two policies contradict each other: it is not possible to be neutral in foreign affairs, and at the same time gain dominating power in the world arena.

Therefore, I consider it logical that the USA got itself into the World War I, even though it was proclaiming keeping neutrality till the end. Being the world power that it strived to be, the USA had to take one or the other side, especially seeing that the state, as well as the businessmen, considered war to be quite profitable for them, selling things to both Germany, as well as Allies. Doing that the USA increased commercial ties with Britain and France, and gained a lot of profits too.

Another conclusion that I came to is that war never brings profits. It can seem like this, when the state gains immediate profits, be it monetary, or in terms of influence and power. Being a progressive state as it was before the war, after it the progressive reforms in the USA slowed down. The nation supporting the war when it was at place, very fast became disillusioned with it, and angry at the government, which is quite logical and understandable.

Examining the aftermath of World War I, it becomes evident that the war-induced economic prosperity for the United States was not sustainable in the long term. While the immediate gains from supplying war materials to both sides were substantial, the post-war economic landscape witnessed challenges. The demand for American goods experienced a sharp decline as war-torn European nations struggled to rebuild their economies.

Furthermore, the political ramifications of the United States' involvement in the war were profound. Woodrow Wilson's vision of a new world order, as encapsulated in his Fourteen Points, aimed at establishing a lasting peace and preventing future conflicts. However, the Senate's rejection of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations, driven by a desire to maintain American sovereignty, reflected the complexities of translating wartime ideals into peacetime policies.

The societal repercussions of World War I were equally significant. The war marked a turning point for various social movements, including the women's suffrage movement. Women's contributions to the war effort, both on the home front and in non-combat roles, played a pivotal role in securing the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in 1920.

Moreover, the war had a profound impact on the psyche of the American population. The disillusionment and trauma experienced by soldiers returning from the front lines shaped the cultural and artistic expressions of the Roaring Twenties. The "Lost Generation" of writers, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, captured the sense of disillusionment and aimlessness that pervaded post-war American society.

In the realm of international relations, the United States, having emerged from the war as a formidable economic power, faced the challenge of redefining its role on the global stage. The tension between isolationist sentiments and the recognition of the interconnectedness of world affairs set the stage for future debates on America's involvement in international conflicts.

In conclusion, the aftermath of World War I left an indelible mark on the United States, shaping its economic, political, social, and cultural landscape. The intricacies of post-war reconstruction, the challenges of implementing Wilsonian ideals, and the profound societal shifts underscore the multifaceted impact of this pivotal period in American history.


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