The United States will collapse

The period from 1890 to the outbreak of World War I is known as the "Progressive Era". As a reaction to the excesses of capitalism in the 19th century and the prevailing political corruption, a reform movement called "progress" emerged. Almost all leading figures of the time were at least partially involved in this movement. The goals of the progressives were more democracy and social justice, more effective regulation of business and a revitalization of the community spirit. They believed that strengthening government would guarantee the advancement of American society and the prosperity of its citizens. The biggest changes took place between 1902 and 1908. Many states passed laws to improve living and working conditions. Child labor laws have been strengthened and new laws passed. The age limit was raised, working hours shortened, night work restricted and compulsory schooling introduced.

When the First World War broke out in Europe in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pursued a policy of strict American neutrality. In January 1917, Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare against all ships that would call at Allied ports. After five American ships were sunk, Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917. It ended on November 11, 1918 with the announcement of the armistice. Wilson's proposal for a League of Nations was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles, but not by the U.S. Senate ratified and the United States did not participate in the federal government. The majority of Americans did not regret this development. The US withdrew from European affairs and turned back to domestic politics.

The changes in the 1920s were far-reaching. The weekly working time was reduced from 60 to 48 hours. For the first time, leisure was seen as just as important as work. It's been a wonderful decade for the arts and literature in America. Technology spread, and cars, radios, and movies were hugely popular. Due to the increasing profits and low interest rates, a lot of money was available for investments. Much of it, however, flowed into daring stock market speculation. In the fall of 1929, New York stock market trading was more active than ever. On October 24, 1929, Black Thursday, the soap bubble burst and the stock market collapsed. Banks closed. The nationwide economic crisis lasted well into the 1930s.

The 20s were the golden years for big business, but superficial prosperity whitewashed deep problems. The 1920s was also a time of prohibition and intolerance, criminals and crime. Almost 19 million people immigrated to the United States between 1890 and 1921. In 1921, Congress passed restrictive immigration legislation for the first time. Most of the immigrants came from Italy, Russia, Poland, Greece and the Balkans. But there were also people from outside Europe: from Japan, Canada and Mexico.

See also:
About the USA> History of German-American Relations> 1901-1939