Post By: Megan Petrick
War World I was a global war that began in 1914 in Europe and lasted until Novemember 1939. 135 countries took part in this great war and took the lives’ of more than 15 million people. The Western front was the location where most of the fighting between the Allies and Germans took place. For the first time our world exerpeinced a tactic of trench warfare and the use of aeroplanes, submarines and tanks. The United States of American tried for several years to take a neutral approach on the war, excluding financial aid given to Great Britain. However after Germany’s continued use of U-boats sinking unarmed ships, Americans felt it was their duty to intervene. The interception of the Zimmerman Telegram, ordering Mexico to wage war on the US in exchange for regaining land, also led to the US declaring war.
Social Change was majorly impacted by the United States choice to enter WWI. A drastic change could now be seen in women’s roles around the country. Now that sons, husbands, and fathers were being drafted half way across the world, the US’s work force called for women to enter. Millicent Fawcett president of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies said the following statement in 1918, “The war revolutionised the industrial position of women – it found them serfs and left them free” (BBC History). It was estimated that just between 1914 and 1918 two million women had replaced men in the work force. This was increase also helped wages by over 13 cents an hour for the average women. Overall wages were higher, conditions were better and independence for women drastically enhanced.
An important change to note is that women were now able to work a wider varity of jobs. Instead of being captivated to the domestic sphere, women were getting hired as nurses, telephone workers, and secretaries. Women who were employed in the munition factories produced 80% of the weapons and shells used by the army. In WWII an even grater impact of women in factories working on aircrats and submaries would be seen.
The workfoce movement help lead to several historical advancemetns for women. In 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed supporting women suffrage. There was also the creation of the Women in Industrity Service thanks to the Department of Labor which eventually became the Women’s Bureau. This reform pushed women to expand the strengths of the Federal government and demand to see change in education, sanitation, health, wges, working condtions and social welfare.