America Impacts of World War

The total number of casualties in WW1 which lasted only from 1914 to 1919 came to a terrifying height of 37,508,686 of that number only 323,018 belonged to the U. S. World war one had many effects on the United States including weapons advancement, change in the workforce and economy, and women’s rights. The first and one of the most important impacts of ww1 on America is the weapons advancement. Tanks were one of the many inventions that aided the battle in world war one. The tank was not invented by just one person unlike various other inventions in the past.

The first tank was constructed in 1899 and boasted an engine by Daimler, a bullet-proof casing and armed with two revolving machine guns developed by Hiram Maxim. It was offered to the British army but was later dismissed as of little use and was deemed by Lord Kitchener as a “pretty mechanical toy”. Developments continued despite the harsh words used by Kitchener. Colonel Swinton reopened the designs and pushed the project and eventually convinced Winston Churchill to sponsor it. With luck, determination, and pressure the first combat ready tank rolled off the line a little over a year after the war officially started.

The tank was given the nickname “little Willie” weighing in at 14 tons, bearing 12 foot long tracks, and a top speed of 3 miles per hour. The problem with the tank was that it could not cross the trenches and could only reach 2 miles per hour in the rough terrain of war. The conditions inside the tank were unbearable and temperatures could sky rocket. The fumes alone were enough to choke a man. Thanks to the great enthusiasm of Col. Swinton the tank was modified and aided in the victory of many battles making the tank a great weapon of world war one. Another invention that took place in WW1 was the machine gun.

The first Machine gun in 1914 invented by Hiram Maxim weighed a whopping 45-60kg. It could fire 400-600 rounds per minute with ammunition that was fed through a fabric belt or a metal strip. However these early machine guns would rapidly overheat and become inoperative. They required a lot cooling down usually done in 2 methods, water cooling or air cooling. By the time war broke out in 1914 the German’s had their own version of the machine gun called the Maschinengewehr 08 and had already produced 12,000. They later modified Hiram Maxim’s model to weigh only 12kg and involved less overheating.

Yet they could still not adapt it to be an offensive weapon and therefore was mostly used as a defensive weapon in trenches. Even though it was bulky and heavy it was a giant devastator and claimed many lives in world war one. Despite advances in machine gun, tank and grenade technology, all remained relatively unwieldy and cumbersome in comparison to the rifle, which remained the most crucial, ever-present infantry weapon throughout World War One. Designers took the Mauser action and altered it by replacing the single firing pin with a two-piece unit.

While a broken pin could be more easily fixed, the modification caused the assembly to be somewhat weaker than the original. Too, the gun’s breeching setup owed more to the Krag than the Mauser, resulting in less case support and some gas control problems. It was also fitted with a magazine cutoff—an arrangement that was in vogue at the time but which proved to be pretty much of a fifth wheel. The cutoff prevented rounds (the gun held five) from being stripped off from the magazine and allowed it to be fired single shot, should the need ever arise.

The gun that originally appeared in 1903 had a full-length walnut stock, blued barrel and other metal parts, case-hardened receiver and a sophisticated ladder sight. An unusual feature was an integral rod-style bayonet that harkened back to a similar design on the Model 1884 . 45-70 “Trapdoor” rifle. The 1903 Springfield was a very versatile weapon and was even used up until the Korean War. Another impact on America as a result of WW1 was the workforce and the economy. U. S. exports to Europe rose from $1 billion dollars in 1913 to $4 billion in 1917.

Suppose that the United States had stayed out of the war, as a result all trade with Europe was cut off. Suppose further, that the resources that would have been used to produce exports for Europe were able to produce only half as much value when reallocated to other purposes such as producing goods for the domestic market or exports for non-European countries. The loss in 1917 would have been $2 billion per year. This was about 4 percent of GNP in 1917, and only about 6 percent of the total U. S. cost of the war. The economy was great. It had to keep growing in order to meet the ever growing standards of war.

Not only was the economy doing well but just about all businesses. Women were finally fully introduced into the workforce and were taking over jobs only men had once done. Women would go off to work and to help with the war effort they would work in factories helping construct all the weapons and tools required to win. They would operate machinery and work in hot and unbearable conditions. Women for the first time legally served in the armed forces. Though women never saw combat they were utilized as nurses, telephone operators, and secretaries.

Without women the war would have been increasingly difficult to win with the 4 million troops that were mobilized. When the men fighting the war came back they were surprised to see that their jobs had been filled and not only that but they were filled by women. For the men it was difficult to adjust back to a normal routine and to find a job. For a while the roles had been reversed. Not only were women able to get jobs during the war so were young adults. Since women had to step up and take care of work and the families the feeling for rights increased dramatically making them fight harder for it.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the efforts of suffragists had begun to bear fruit. Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho had given women full suffrage rights and in many states women were allowed to vote in municipal and school board elections. A women’s suffrage amendment was debated nationally for the first time in 1878, and Stanton, Anthony, and other suffragists used civil disobedience attempting to vote to gain attention for their cause. During the Progressive Era (1890-1920), women played more active roles in the larger economic, cultural, and political transformation of American society.

This growth in women’s public roles allowed suffragists to be more aggressive in support of their cause as they developed stronger bases of support in the settlement houses, temperance organizations, labor unions, and reform movements that now sprang up across the country. The National American Women’s Suffrage Association, led by Carrie Chapman Catt, fought for suffrage using parades, street speakers, petitions, and rallies. Sixteen states, including New York, had given women the right to vote by 1917, but the U. S. Constitution was not amended to enfranchise women until after World War I.

Alice Paul, a founder of the National Woman’s Party, led daily marches in front of the White House during the war, using President Woodrow Wilson’s rhetoric of democracy and self-government to support the cause. As more and more states endorsed suffrage, so did their representatives in Congress. In 1918 Wilson reluctantly approved a constitutional change, and in 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment made women’s suffrage the law of the land. World War one had many impacts on America and these were the most important and significant of them.