America Between the World Wars

America Between the World Wars

America Between the World Wars Class 2 William A. Reader E-mail: [email protected] 1 What We Will Cover Today Four Key Wilson Decisions

The Flawed Treaty of Versailles Refusal to accept any changes The Decision Not to Resign the Presidency The Impact of the Treaty and the Failure to Ratify It Prohibition

Origins of the Prohibition Movement The 18th Amendment & the Volstead Act Rumrunners, Bootleggers, & Al Capone Effects of Prohibition Why It was Repealed The Aftermath Four Key Wilson Decisions 2 The decision to accept a flawed treaty in order to win foreign acceptance of the League of Nations Treaty contained provisions and omissions that

Were politically unpalatable to the U.S. Senate Were to cause future trouble The refusal to accept any changes or reservations in the Treaty to win Republican support 3 Four Key Wilson Decisions - 3 The Decision not to resign the Presidency after his stroke Led to the U.S. being governed by Wilsons wife This meant that the problems of postwar inflation,

demobilization, and recession were totally ignored Let the Lodge Republicans dominate the debate over ratification of the Versailles Treaty This sapped support for the Treaty and led to its eventual defeat 4 Impact of the Treaty of Versailles Led to great resentment in Germany Signing the Versailles diktat weakened the Weimar Republic, giving the German Right (and

the Nazis) a tool with which to attack the Republic Created instability in Eastern Europe Created weak and unstable states Strengthened Germany strategically Constituted a peace settlement that neither Germany nor Soviet Russia supported 5 Impact of Failed Ratification Greatly weakened the League of Nations Fostered a sense of disillusionment With World War I and its results

With U.S. participation in the war With U.S. engagement with the world This in turn fostered a spirit of isolationism that was reflected in restrictive immigration laws, high tariffs, and the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s 6 Prohibition Wild West Origins of Prohibition - 1 Prohibition had its origins in the West an

area where crime rates were high and drinking was common As one historian noted, A mixture of alcohol and kids with guns always causes problems Much of the Wild West violence and drunkenness was connected to the saloon 8 Wild West Origins of Prohibition - 2 As time passed, there was a growing presence of women and children. This

Changed the population structure Changed the moral climate, since most women were moral conservatives Moral reaction against the saloon led to the movement for Prohibition Having their reform efforts blocked by politicians allied to the vice industries led to support for female voting enfranchisement 9 The Anti-Saloon League The Anti-Saloon League Knit together a wide constituency opposed to the

liquor traffic and the saloon Focused on the single issue of liquor Willing to accept incremental gains Supported any politician willing to vote dry regardless of political party Prototype of the modern lobby group that uses its political power to influence public policy 10 Liquor and Culture Clashes The Prohibition Movement provoked the first of the culture clashes that have marked American politics in the 20th century

Middle class native Protestants vs Working class ethnic Catholics and Lutherans The saloon and biergarten were important elements of immigrant culture Rising alcohol consumption after 1900 Germans popularized beer drinking 11 Role of the Saloon Saloons integrated into urban political machine politics Saloons often used as polling stations and as political gathering

sites Many saloonkeepers held political office Served as a clearinghouse for the exchange of money and favors Where the political boss met his petitioners and made deals Provided services to neighborhood workers Hiring halls

Free (or cheap) meals Check cashing Use of saloon safes to store valuables Place for socializing with neighbors and fellow workers (i.e. the poor mans club) 12 Beer and the Saloon As the brewing industry became a big business, it developed close ties to the saloon for the following reasons: Dominance of draft beer High license fees

Close ties between brewers and saloons led to an overexpansion of the saloon trade This led to saloons encouraging excess drinking Also led to saloons allowing illegal activities to take place 13 The Prohibition Tide

The South becomes dry The Impact of Progressivism The Impact of Science The Impact of World War I 14 The South Goes Dry The South had traditionally opposed federal mandates This changed, however, during the Progressive Era as far as liquor is concerned

Southern whites feared disorder and violence between blacks and lower-class whites Saw liquor as fostering such disorder. Hence, growing Southern support for Prohibition 15 The Impact of Progressivism Progressivism with its various reform laws accustomed Americans to accept some governmental controls to further the general welfare Pure Food and Drug laws Regulation of womens and childrens labor

Factory safety laws Consumer protection laws 16 The Impact of Science By 1916, there was a lot of scientific evidence in support of limiting alcohol consumption Alcohol was a depressant Alcohol depressed higher mental functions Alcohol use was positively correlated with crime, prostitution, and poverty 17

World War I & Prohibition World War I Fostered the belief that drink impeded industrial productivity and soldierly fighting ability Brewing and distilling diverted grain needed by the troops and European allies into the creation of products that inhibited the war effort Discredited the principal opponents of Prohibition the brewers and the German-American Alliance Enabled the Anti-Saloon League to successfully link liquor to disloyalty and beer-drinking with sympathy to

the kaiser and his Huns 18 The 18 Amendment th Amendment forbade the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within the United States and all territories subject to its jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes. Approved by Congress on November 21, 1917 Ratified by Nebraska (the 36th state to do so) on January 16, 1919

Took effect on January 16, 1920 Did not define what were intoxicating liquors Did not forbid the use or possession of liquor 19 The Volstead Act - 1 Defined an intoxicating beverage as one containing 0.5% alcohol Forbade the manufacture, sale, transport, importation, delivery, or possession of any intoxicating liquor except Medicinal alcohol prescribed by a doctor

Sacramental wine Flavoring extracts and syrups containing alcohol 20 The Volstead Act -2 Allowed brewers to manufacture near-beer Beer containing less than 0.5% alcohol Allowed households and grape growers to produce non-intoxicating cider, fruit juices, and fruit cakes Allowed the manufacture and sale of industrial alcohol provided denaturants were added to

make it unpalatable Provided a fine of $1,000 and/or 30 days in prison for the first offense 21 The Volstead Act 3 Placed the Prohibition Bureau under the Treasury Department and exempted its agents from civil service requirements Allowed the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages that the possessor owned and stored prior to January 1920

22 Inherent Enforcement Problems Vastly inadequate staffing levels and appropriations 18,700 miles of unguarded land and sea borders Difficulty in policing the legal traffic in alcohol Industrial Alcohol Near beer Tracking liquor permits held by thousands of doctors and druggists (as well as permits for sacramental wine)

Dried grape and raisin cakes Illegal stills, breweries, and saloons (speakeasies) 23 Premonitions of Trouble Warnings that the 2 million soldiers overseas would not like the new dispensation Experience of towns and states that had adopted Prohibition before 1920 Warning of ex-President William Howard Taft Warnings that Prohibition would prove so unpopular and unworkable that it would

quickly be repealed 24 Rumrunners & the Real McCoy European shipping of liquor to nearby sites in Mexico, Canada, the Bahamas, and St Pierre & Miquelon Rumrunning ships & speedboats American & European bank financing of liquor smuggling The Real [Bill] McCoy Roy Olmstead

Olmstead vs United States 25 Loopholes & George Remus George Remus was a drugstore owner who became a pharmacist and a mob lawyer Bought up whiskey certificates & got permission to sell whiskey to drug companies licensed to sell medicinal whiskey Used the drug companies (many of them Remus fronts) to sell most of it to bootleggers, nightclub owners, and middlemen

26 Chicago & Al Capone - 1 Before Prohibition, Chicago gangs involved in gambling, protection racketeering, and prostitution had established links with local politicians Many of the politicians and gangsters operated saloons and cafs Big Jim Colasimo operated the Colasimo Caf on South Wabash Ave the towns hottest nightspot The band by playing both opera medleys and jazz helped popularize jazz in the Chicago area

27 Chicago & Al Capone - 2 After 1920, Big Jim Colasimo, saloon owner and brothel king, got involved with bootlegging Colasimo imported his nephew, Johnny Torrio, to manage his illegal enterprises In 1920, Colasimo was probably killed by Johnny Torrio Colasimo had the first of the expensive ostentatious funerals 28

Chicago & Al Capone 3 Torrio took over Colasimos empire and: Entered into an alliance with the former legal brewers who were eager to keep their breweries going and capable of producing good beer Organized a temporary peace among the bootleggers and racketeers Brought in Al Capone to act as an enforcer 29 Chicago & Al Capone 4

The prospect of vast profits, however, caused the peace to break down, resulting in gang wars One consequence was that Torrio decided to retire, leaving the enterprises to Capone Capone, building on Torrios legacy, created a criminal empire Included breweries, distilleries, speakeasies, nightclubs, brothels, gambling houses, and horse & dog racing tracks Took in an estimated $105 million a year 30

Chicago & Al Capone 5 The St. Valentines Day Massacre Part of the long-running gangland feuds that from 1920-1933 killed nearly 800 gangsters in Chicago Brought Capone to the attention of Herbert Hoover who put the Federal Government on Capones case Eliot Ness and the Untouchables to raid Capones breweries IRS audits of unpaid Federal income taxes 31

The Effects of Prohibition - 1 Made organized crime a big business Whereas prostitution, racketeering, and gambling had largely been local, rum-running and bootlegging required organization, capital, and links to gangs in other cities and supplies outside the U.S. Provided upward social and economic mobility to members of ethnic minorities excluded from legitimate enterprises by their ethnic background 32 The Effects of Prohibition 2

Made drinking fashionable among young people of college age Made it respectable for women to drink in public Changed patterns of public entertainment Created caf society Popularized cocktail drinks 33 The Effects of Prohibition 3 Notably decreased the amount of drinking overall in America Significantly decreased drinking among the

working class Destroyed the old-time saloons and created a new culture of drinking in public Constituted the first of the culture wars that were to beset America in the 20th -21st Centuries 34 Why Prohibition Was Repealed - 1 Prohibition destroyed the forward-looking optimistic image of Temperance Reform 19th Century Prohibitionists had supported womens suffrage and socio-economic reform

1920s Prohibitionists became identified with nativism, anti-Catholicism, the Ku Klux Klan, and puritanism. Both the Anti-Saloon League and the Klan suffered scandals that deeply tarnished their public images 35 Why Prohibition Was Repealed - 2 Movies helped turn the American people against Prohibition Movie depictions of the urban jazz-age flapper and her boyfriend conveyed the impression that drinking was widespread and that violating Prohibition laws

was socially respectable Many movies gave celebrity status to gangland figures, magnified by the appearance in the early 1930s of gangster films featuring such stars as James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson as appealing bootlegging entrepreneurs 36 Why Prohibition Was Repealed - 3 The emergence of a new middle-class culture based on secular consumerism The emergence of socio-economic elite organizations dedicated to repeal

Association Against the Prohibition Amendment Included many prominent former drys who now supported repeal Womens Organization for National Prohibition Reform The impact of the Great Depression The Economic Argument The 1932 election 37 The Aftermath of Repeal - 1 Many of the major bootleggers became

legitimate businessmen Other members of the bootlegging gentry went into new avenues of organized crime The development of canned beer and the spread of home refrigeration made home consumption of beer more popular This diminished the role of both the saloon and the restaurants, taverns, and bars that replaced it 38 The Aftermath of Repeal 2 After repeal, the disease concept of alcoholism began to dominate thinking about

drinking In contrast to WWI, the brewing trade in WWII was considered a vital war industry The issues, problems, and culture conflicts that cropped up during Prohibition would resurface later 39

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