Sunday, November 27, 2011

The End of the Hot War--and the Beginning of the Cold War

I) End of the Hot War

A)    Victory in Europe – pretty much a forgone conclusion after the successful landing at Normandy; Allied forces were able to advance on German forces from left and right.

B)    Victory in Japan – the beginning of the Atomic Era

1)      Atomic Bomb – the Manhattan Project was able to produce three atomic bombs by the summer of 1945

2)      Why Japan?

(a)    Payback to Japanese for Pearl Harbor, Bataan (death march), other atrocities

(b)   Limit the amount of territory that would have to be surrendered to the Soviet Union for its “sphere of influence” in Asia

(c)    Limit number of American casualties – fears of massive casualties from an invasion of Japan.

(d)   Racist feeling toward Japanese, which also fueled earlier movement to use of internment camps.

3)      “Spheres of influence” – agreement between FDR, Churchill, and Stalin that would provide Soviet Union control of the countries immediately were surrounding the country so that the Soviets could maintain a buffer to decrease the likelihood that they would be invaded.

4)      Soviet entry into Pacific – the Soviet Union was scheduled to begin its role in the PTO by August 8

5)      Hiroshima – bomb dropped on August 6, 1945; 80,000 people burned to death instantly, tens of thousands died soon afterward from the effects of radiation; five square miles were leveled by the blast

6)      Nagasaki – bomb dropped August 8, 1945; 35,000 were killed instantly; 1 ½ square mile was leveled.

7)      Surrender – surrender formally signed on September 2, 1945—VJ Day

C)    Alternatives – Smithsonian controversy over the Enola Gay display; most veterans of the war do not want to hear of any alternatives to dropping the bombs, because they believe that dropping the bombs saved their lives.  There was strenuous opposition on the part of the generals advising Truman, however, who did not believe the intentional slaughter of civilians, which was clearly going to be the case in the two targets chosen in Japan, was any way to conduct a war (they wanted to limit civilian casualties to “collateral damage”).

1)      No invasion was planned until November 1945

2)      Japan had signaled a willingness to surrender months beforehand.

D)    Allied fallout

1)      Death of FDR – dynamics between the leaders of Great Britain, Soviet Union, and United States changed greatly with death of FDR; Truman less confident of abilities than FDR, nor did he initially inspire much confidence.  Truman was much more likely to follow the lead of Churchill, who was vehemently anti-Communists; Truman was anti-Communist himself, and distrusted Stalin greatly.

I)       The Cold War in Europe

A)    Truman and Communism

1)      Distrust of Stalin – although FDR had developed a relationship of statecraft with Stalin, Truman did not develop the same level of trust as his predecessor; in fact, Truman believed that Stalin was one of the most dishonest, evil men that he had ever known (a fact that is hard to argue with, certainly).

(a)    Cancellation of Soviet Lend-Lease Aid – at war’s end, Soviets denied any further access to lend-lease aid, which shut off their access to US military hardware.

2)      Influence of Winston Churchill – Churchill had never put the level of trust in Stalin that FDR did, so when Truman became distrustful of Stalin, Churchill was there to feed those fears, which he shared with Truman.

(a)    “Iron Curtain” speech – in a speech at a tiny college near St. Louis, Churchill delivered his famous Iron Curtain speech, where he encouraged isolating Western European countries from those under the domination of the Soviet Union.

3)      Nuclear terror – the US insisted, since it was the lone country that could possibly hold the interests of the whole world ahead of its own self-interests (or that its self-interests alone were of concern to the rest of the world), insisted that this country, alone, should control these new weapons of mass destruction.

(a)    Soviets successfully test Atomic bomb in 1949 – the acquisition of nuclear technology by the Soviet Union fed fears of the red menace at home.  Part of this hysteria led to the construction of backyard bomb shelters, and the identification of public buildings that could also serve as temporary bomb shelters.

(b)   Escalation by the US – after the Soviet Union acquired nuclear capability, the US went ahead with the development of the more powerful Hydrogen bomb, which had ten times the killing power of the atomic bomb.

4)      Policy of containment – an increased confidence on the part of the military and diplomatic elite after the US successes in the second World War led to a belief that the military might, or the threat of the use of military might, of the US could “contain” the influence of the Soviet Union as it was constituted in 1946.

(a)    George F. Kennan – was the diplomat stationed in Moscow who came up with many of the theories, and the term, which we now refer to as constituting the policy of containment

(b)   Truman Doctrine – the Truman doctrine went hand-in-glove with the policy of containment. The Truman doctrine pledged to aid countries in their fight against “communist aggression.”

(i)     Plan was formulated in response to an ongoing civil war in Greece, which pitted forces that had fought against fascists in the world war (led by a number of communists) against those forces that had collaborated with the fascists forces (which of course was anti-communist, and therefore backed by the US government).  The aid the anti-communist forces received helped them to prevail in the struggle.

(c)    Marshall Plan – named after Truman’s secretary of state, Gen. George C. Marshall; was a $16 billion dollar plan (that’s $140 billion in today’s dollars) plan for the reconstruction of Europe.  Money was even offered to countries in the so-called Soviet bloc, if they would agree to strengthen economic ties with the West.  This plan worked great for countries with strong social democratic traditions (like Great Britain, France), but it mainly strengthened the grip of right-wing dictators around the world.

II)    Cold War in Asia – The Cold War was by definition a global conflict, and the United States took a much more active role in Asia after the World War than it ever had before—perhaps because the Soviet Union, like the United States, also was a Pacific Ocean power.

A)    Fall of China – the Red Army of Mao tse-Chung prevailed over the forces of Chang Kai-shek in 1949, and Chang and his followers were forced to withdraw to the island of Formosa, just off the Chinese coast.  Chang was a venal, corrupt leader, who lost this war despite the aid that he was provided by the United States; however, in domestic politics, Truman was blamed for the “loss” of China, and these domestic pressures in turn prompted and reinforced Truman’s commitment to militarily aid anti-communist governments in Asia

1)      NSC-68 – a proposal by the National Security Council to triple the amount of money that the United States spent on defense.  This increased defense spending in fact acts as a sort of welfare program for selected parts of the US industrial complex (mainly aeronautics, but also some other manufacturing concerns).

B)    The “Domino Theory” – the need to oppose communism anywhere and everywhere it arose was fed by the fear that if communism were tolerated in one country, it would spread country by country, like dominoes toppling one after another, until the threat undermined the freedoms of the people of the United States.

C)    Korea – Kim IL Sung attempted to reunite his country, which had been portioned at the insistence of the United States along the 38th parallel.  The US suspects that the Soviet Union is responsible for this intrigue, and immediately begins aiding anti-communist forces in the South, both with material and men.  After some initial difficulties, the US military operation after a brilliantly executed flanking maneuver utilizing a large scale amphibious assault was quite successful, and the combined forces are able to push the so-called North Koreans back well above the 38th parallel—in fact, in direct contradiction of the orders of his commander in chief, Douglas McArthur pushed the North Korean forces above the area claimed by China as its border with North Korea—at which time the Chinese Red Army joined the fight against the Allied forces.  The US was initially overwhelmed, but eventually recovered, and the fighting bogged down at the end of the year about where it had started, at the 38th parallel.

D)    Wars to end colonial domination – Because of the focus upon the battle against communism, the US government tended to support the re-establishment of colonial rule around the globe, rather than the indigenous populations which looked to the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution for inspiration.

1)      The French in Indochina

(a)    Opposed by the Vietminh – the Vietminh, led by Ho Chi Minh, had been supported by the US during the war against Japan, even though the OSS was aware that Ho was a communist.  This attitude quickly changed after the conclusion of the war, however, and the United States supported France’s efforts to re-establish control over the Indochina peninsula.  Because of the strong resistance of the Vietminh, the US had to increase the support it furnished the French throughout the early 1950s, even going so far as providing advisors.  In 1954, however, a large French force was surrounded near a little hamlet called Dien Bien Phu, and forced to surrender. The US quickly stepped in here, and declared that the country of Vietnam should be divided along the 49th Parallel, into North and South Vietnam, until a plebiscite could be held to choose a popularly elected government.  Former collaborators ran the south with the French, some of who had even converted to Catholicism.  The promised election never happened.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Assignment 12--Plus a Bonus

Although the New Deal did not end the Great Depression, the policies it promoted about the use of government spending to "prime the pump" of the economy is the reason that government spending on the war effort did. Why was there so much resistance to spending on domestic programs, but no resistance to spending on the war effort? You should find more than one answer for this question.

In addition, you may choose to substitute (or add) this assignment. With the Thanksgiving holiday, and the time away from school, many choose to spend the time in front of the television or at the movie theater (the reviews of Clint Eastwood's new film J. Edgar have been very good, I hear). If you intend to do either, and choose to write a review of the movie that places it in its historical context, you may hand that in sometime before the end of the semester. You may want to consult this list of 100 movies reviewed by historians before venturing to the video store or checking your Netflix queue.

World War II and the Homefront

I)       Roosevelt turns to internationalism – the growing international crisis during the latter 1930s gained more and more of Roosevelt’s attention as his New Deal policies began stalling; Roosevelt’s background left him well-prepared to handle this problem, as well.

A)    Threat of Fascism – the world-wide economic crisis of the 1930s led many countries to experiment with new forms of government; one of the most popular was what we call fascism

1)      Definition of fascism – government control of all aspects of life, promising a “third way” between Marxism and capitalism, emphasizing the organic national community; it glorified war and violence; it embraced the irrational (like the occult), and the presumption of revolutionary change.

B)    Italy

1)      Rise of Mussolini

(a)    Fascism – rigid, one-party rule which crushes opposition (especially on the left), retention of private ownership of means of production (which differentiates it from the tenets of Marxism), but which operates under centralized government control; belligerent nationalism (and sometimes racism); and the glorification of war.

(b)   Il Duce (the leader) – former socialist; appealed to Italian nationalism, and played upon the perceived slights to Italy from its participation on the First World War.

(c)    Invasion of Ethiopia – the last independent state on the continent of Africa in the 1930s, but it received no help from other countries to fight of Italian aggression.

C)    Germany

1)      National Socialism (Nazi)

(a)    Hostile to all forms of democracy

(b)   Rise of Adolph Hitler

(i)     Appeals to pride in German culture

(ii)   Racism – believed in the “natural” superiority of the “Aryan” race (whatever that is); racism was a much more important ideology for German fascists than it was for Italians.

(iii) Compare Nazi ideas of the superiority of Aryans to the belief (backed by scientific “proof”) that Anglo-Saxons were destined by biology to rule the earth.

(c)    Burning of the Reichstag – fire of suspicious origin (which has been probably rightly been blamed on the Nazis) destroyed the meeting place for the equivalent of the German congress, which then did not meet any longer.

(d)   Kristallnach (November 9-10, 1938) – Nazis burned over 200 synagogues, and looted thousands of Jewish-owned stores

(i)     Signaled the beginning of a more aggressive anti-Semitism on the part of the German government

(ii)   Point of comparison – until Kristallnach, Jews in Germany suffered less discrimination in that country than they suffered in the United States (no restrictions on residence, or clubs they could not join).

(e)    Repudiation of the Versailles Treaty – moved arms into the de-militarized Ruhr Valley, also began claiming the right to “lebensraum” or living space, pieces of land that Hitler thought other European powers would not go to war to prevent him from claiming.

D)    Japan

1)      Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere – to ensure Japan’s continued access to raw materials to run their industries, forced on other East Asian countries by the military power of Japan.

(a)    Invasion of Manchuria – Manchuria lies between China and Russian Siberia, and had traditionally been part of China; had the richest deposit of minerals in Asia.

(b)   1937 Sino-Japanese War – the “Rape of Nanking” which resulted in 300,000 deaths of Chinese civilians; numerous women were carted off to serve as “pleasure girls” (prostitutes for the Japanese army—a practice which they also practiced in other areas in Asia)

2)      Racist stereotyping

(a)    Japanese superiority – Japanese thought that the Chinese were an inferior people, who gave them the rights to dominate; in the Japanese view, westerners like the US and British were decadent westerners who would crumble when confronted by the pure Japanese spirit.

(b)   US racism – US saw Chinese has helpless peasants, largely incapable of self-government; the Japanese, on the other hand, were the “yellow peril,” devious, and set upon ruining the West by exporting their cheap goods, and not buying enough western goods.

E)     Spanish Civil War – the Spanish Civil War served as a surrogate battle between fascist and communist forces, with the fascist forces prevailing.

F)     Isolationism – the foreign policies of the US government had long promoted isolationism from foreign entanglements, and this; although this had begun to dissipate, it had not disappeared.

1)      US Senate rejected membership in the World Court

II)    Neutrality Acts – mandated an arms embargo against both victim and aggressor in armed conflict; stipulated a narrower interpretation of neutrality rights; “cash and carry” trade policy for belligerents that would deprive them of access to US credit, ships, and military goods.

A)    Neutrality Act of 1935—isolationist sentiment in the United States—especially among Republicans, but strong also among Democratic politicians, as well—led to the passage of the Neutrality Act of 1935, which prevented the sale of arms by US countries to belligerents (the parties engaged in war), and warned US citizens that they undertook voyages on ships from belligerent nations at their own risk (to prevent another occurrence like the SS Lusitania)

B)    Neutrality Act of 1936—because the provisions of the 1935 Neutrality Act were set to expire in 6 months, a new act in 1936 extended those provisions an additional 14 months.

C)    Neutrality Act of 1937—With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in late 1936, Congress passed a new law that extended most of the provisions indefinitely, and extended them to cases of civil war (war between citizens of the same country), as well. In addition, this act forbade US ships from shipping arms or US citizens to countries at war.

1)      “Cash and Carry” Provisions—in a concession to Roosevelt, Congress did provide for the sale of arms to those countries able to pay cash for them, and then immediately transport the arms on their own ships. This, Roosevelt believed, would aid Great Britain and France in a subsequent war, because both nations were able to control traffic on the Atlantic Ocean, and would be able to take advantage of this provision, while other European countries would not. Congress provided for this exception for a two year period.

2)      Sino-Japanese War—when Japan invaded Manchuria in 1937, Roosevelt did not invoke the provisions of the Neutrality Act, since he favored the Chinese in this conflict—which caused a bit of consternation with Congress.

D)    Neutrality Act of 1939—after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in early 1939, Roosevelt lobbied Congress to have the “cash and carry” provision renewed, but Congress refused. In September, when Germany invaded Poland and France and Great Britain declared war on Germany, Roosevelt invoke the Neutrality Act, but lamented that with no cash and carry provision, the US could not aid either France or Great Britain in their struggle against Germany.  Two month later, Congress passed a cash and carry provision to the act.

E)     End of the Neutrality Acts—after repeated attacks on US ships by German submarines, Roosevelt authorized the US Navy to attack U-boats in order to “protect” US shipping. All of this became moot, of course, after the events of December 7, 1941.

III) Pacific Theater of Operation (PTO)

A)    Pearl Harbor – Despite the fact that the US was well on its way toward full wartime mobilization, the Japanese attack was still a surprise to the US forces in Honolulu (discuss evidence that some in the US were aware that an attack on Pearl Harbor was imminent)

1)      Initial Japanese successes

(a)    Indonesia (Dutch)

(b)   Indochina (French; spawned the creation of the Vietminh, who with US backing carried on a guerilla war against Japanese—Vietminh were led by a previously exiled, French-educated Vietnamese who renamed himself Ho Chi Minh)

(c)    Hong Kong, Malay, and Burma (Great Britain)

(d)   Most of eastern China (China)

(e)    Philippines (US)

2)      US turns tide

(a)    Battle of Coral Sea – depleted navy fleet won its first battle of the PTO

(b)   Battle of Midway – US gained control of the Central Pacific

3)      1943 – US, with major assistance from Australia and New Zealand, and from many of the indigenous populations of the various Pacific islands and East Asia continental areas, regains the iniative.

B)    Island hopping – the strategy of choosing to battle Japanese fortifications on some islands, while skipping (or “hopping”) over others.

1)      Amphibious assault

IV) European Theater of Operation (ETO)

A)    Soviet Union – from mid-1941 on, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war with Germany

1)      “Scorched earth” tactics – much of the eastern front had to be given up by the Red Army in a series of strategic retreats, but the Soviets burned to the ground anything that they could not carry with them, which prevented the German Army from obtaining the material, which caused the supply lines of the Germans to be stretched dangerously thin.

2)      Battle of Stalingrad – German Army was encircled, supplies from the West were cut off, and the Germans were starved into submission.

B)    Air War – to relieve some pressure on the Soviet Union before the Allies were ready to open a second front in Europe.

1)      “Precision bombing” – a misnomer; when attacks on industrial areas increased, Germany decentralized its industry, which led to the Allied bombing of population centers—like Dresden in Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five (much of the same thing was happening in the United States, as the government paid industry to build new factories in previously rural areas)

C)    Allied invasion of Europe

1)      D-Day at Omaha Beach – (show Private Ryan)

V)    The Home Front

A)    Centralized planning – 1941 was a banner production year for the auto industry, which was reluctant to abandon civilian production to make war material, and did so only under duress (and the promise of guaranteed profits of cost-plus contracts).

B)    “Dollar-a-year-men” – executives from the US firms who came to Washington to help the military plan the economy

1)      War Production Board – set prices and determined production

2)      Suspension of anti-trust laws – encouraged the formation of larger firms, which officials in the military believed would better meet their production criteria—and which made procurement easier.

3)      Construction of new factories – at the governments expense, or with low cost government loans (often, after the war, these factories that the government owned were sold to private industry for pennies on the dollar

4)      Cost-plus contracts

C)    War Labor Board – arbitrated labor-management disputes; set wage rates for all workers.  In return, labor officials promised to abide by a “no-strike” pledge, which individual workers supported, except when it involved their own grievances at work.

D)    Office of Price Administration – set price ceilings for almost all consumer goods.

E)     Selective Service – FDR administration followed the practice of Woodrow Wilson, and instituted a wide-ranging conscription program.

F)     War Manpower Commission – determined which workers work was vital to the war effort (which would prevent them from being drafted); also determined when a workers could change jobs.

G)    Concentration of the Economy

1)      Procurement system – fostered further concentration of the US economy; by the end of the war the top 100 companies held 70% of all civilian and military contracts, compared with 30% five years before.

2)      Industrial boom

(a)    By 1943 unemployment disappeared

(b)   Second Great Migration – whites and blacks leave the South for the Midwest and the West Coast, where most of the jobs created by this economic boom are to be found.

3)      Real income growth – 27% between 1939 to 1945

(a)    Redistribution of wealth – income of those at the bottom of the wage scale grew at a faster rate than the heavily taxed incomes at the top of the scale.

4)      Americanization push – although there were ugly, racist aspects of this new push toward Americanization, it was not anti-European immigrant; in fact, most propaganda celebrated the ethnic diversity of America.

H)    Rosie the Riveter – women began to move into industrial jobs in unprecedented numbers during the war years; although most were force to give up those positions at the end of the war, they fought hard to remain in those positions, and a significant number of women remained in the industrial workforce after the war.

1)      Male resistance – women who moved into these jobs faced tremendous amounts of resistance from the males who remained on these jobs (give examples of harassment)

2)      Working mothers – faced problems relating to the lack of childcare, and the related problem of the alleged juvenile delinquency that their neglect caused.

3)      Role of women in society – remained largely unchanged; many saw women in these kinds of positions as a temporary war expediency.

VI) Conclusion – the pressured of the war caused many of the programs to be implemented that the FDR administration had attempted to implement during the two phases of the New Deal; in fact what happens is the implementation of the military-industrial-government complex that a later president (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied Supreme Commander during the war) warned against in his farewell address in 1959.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FDR's New Deal

The First New Deal

I)       Poor People’s Campaigns

A)    Communist Party and Unemployed Council – led the agitation for rent relief and anti-eviction actions, as well as for direct relief, in many large cities.  The Communist Party was not the only left-wing political party active in this type of activity, however; the Socialist Party was active, as well as the American Workers’ Party, led by A.J. Muste (a former minister)

1)      Sharecroppers’ Union – active in Alabama, helping croppers fight for their rights; one such organizer, named Angelo Herndon, was charged and convicted of inciting insurrection in the States

2)      Scottsboro – role of Communist Party in publicizing this miscarriage of justice, as well as paying for the defense of the Scottsboro Seven (or the Scottsboro Boys, as they were popularly known at the time), increased the popularity of the party in the African American community.

3)      Ford Hunger March – from Detroit to River Rouge plant in Dearborn; Ford shutdown had forced more than 60,000 people onto relief rolls in Detroit.  A crowd of about 3,000 people marched, and were met with tear gas, fire hoses (in sub-zero weather), and bullets from the Dearborn police and the Ford Service Bureau thugs.  Four people were killed and more then 60 were injured; the funeral procession attracted 20,000 marchers while thousands more observed.

B)     Bonus Marchers – Congress had promised each veteran of WWI a bonus to be paid in 1945; 20,000 were soon camped out on the Mall to urge an immediate payment, which the House passed by the Senate did not.  In July, the Hoover administration decided to evict the protestors, which McArthur did with tanks, tear gas, and bullets.  Most American people were repelled by this action when they saw it on newsreels, and even more so when Hoover defended this action.

II)     1932 Presidential Election

A)    Hoover’s popularity – Hoover, of course, was hugely unpopular; most of the blame and frustration with the economic woes most people were facing were placed upon him.

B)     Franklin Delano Roosevelt – promised to balance the federal budget (Hoover was running the largest peace-time budget deficit in the country’s history at this time) and trim the federal payroll; his stand on religion and drink were completely unexamined during the campaign (much to his benefit).  Roosevelt campaigned on the slogan “A New Deal for the American People.”

1)      Background – patrician (meaning he came from old money, as did his cousin TR).  In many ways, he tried to model his political career with that of his cousin’s—he served as New York assemblyman, secretary of the Navy, and he was the Democratic Party’s choice to run as Vice-President in 1920.  In 1921 he was stricken with polio, and was never able to walk without some kind of assistance after that.  That he was able to make a political comeback from this disease was due in large part to the assistance of his wife, his second cousin Eleanor.

2)      FDR won 57% of the popular vote (against an immensely unpopular Republican candidate); the only state that he lost outside of New England was Pennsylvania.

III)  First 100 Days – this has often been treated by historians as the implementation of the Roosevelt “plan;” however, Roosevelt operated during this time period without any plan, and often under conflicting advice from his advisors.  Most of the actions taken during these 100 days were forced upon the administration by events.

A)    March 1933 Bank Holiday – the first action that Roosevelt took during his administration was to order all banks closed to prevent a “run.”  Banks were allowed to reopen when they were able to prove that they were solvent.  While this sounds like a very drastic measure, it should be pointed out that 36 states had already closed the banks they chartered (and at this time there were only 48 states). This caused some temporary hardships, but as banks reopened they did so with the assurance that they were solvent—and thanks to the insistence of Michigan Republican Arthur H. Vandenberg, the federal government now protected bank deposits up to $2,500 through the predecessor of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

B)     Fireside Chats – FDR became the first president to regularly use the radio to communicate with the American people.  FDR used a friendly, conversational tone on the radio, and many people came to look upon the president as a personal friend, someone who was interested in their welfare.  Because he also came to embody the government, many people came to see the government as directly interested in their welfare, as well.

C)     “Alphabet Agencies” – these agencies were populated with young Jewish and Catholic intellectuals, who were largely unwelcome in the Protestant-dominated business world.

1)      Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) – the agency charged with providing funds for the unemployed.  Although the agency did hand out direct relief, much of the relief that people received they had to work for.

2)      Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – largely served young adult males; moved city boys into the country (away from those corrupting influences) to work on conservation projects.

3)      Civil Works Administration (CWA) – small scale public works projects, mainly road-building.

4)      Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) – implemented a whole series of laws and policies to assist farmers; restored “parity”; government made payments to farmers for NOT planting crops, which acted to decrease the supply and force prices upward.  The timing of the implementation of this piece of legislation meant that many farmers had to destroy crops that were already planted as well as livestock.

(a)    Who benefited? – most of the benefit of these policies went to larger and corporate farmers, who could take more land out of cultivation

(i)     Southern Tenant Farmer’s Union – formed to protest this development; it was a bi-racial group, which of course was threatening to those in power in the South, and therefore was swiftly and violently put down (evictions, and attacks on road side camps)

5)      Public Works Administration (PWA) – funded larger building projects, like University Hall and the Glass Bowl, as well as much of the expansion of the Toledo Zoo, and eventually a new public library.

6)      Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) – provided flood control for the Tennessee Valley (the Tennessee River flows northward from Alabama, through Tennessee and Kentucky to the Ohio River); the dams for this flood control also brought cheap electricity, which attracted industrial development in the area as well.

7)      National Recovery Agency (NRA) – perhaps the most famous of the alphabet agencies was the NRA. What the NRA proposed to do was to foment the development of cartels in the US economy—that is, to encourage the formation of monopolies. It was thought at the time that this would help stifle cut-throat competition, because companies would be allowed to collude together to fix prices and divide the market between themselves.

(a)    Section 7a – in return for being allowed to form cartels, businesses were to allow employees to join unions “of their own choosing.” This section was ambiguous on the point of whether these had to be independent unions, or whether they could be company unions. United Mine Workers president, however, sent organizers into the field with the message that “The President wants you to join the union.”

(b)   The NRA was overturned by the Supreme Court, and was the impetus for Roosevelt’s attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court (which had to this point blocked much of the New Deal legislation).

(c)    The NRA, headed by the mercurial (and possibly unstable) Gen. Hugh Johnson, had largely failed before it was killed by the Supreme Court. Compliance to the NRA codes was largely voluntary, and therefore businesses often failed to comply. Additionally, the union provision proved unsatisfactory to both businesses (who were, for the most part, extremely reluctant to work with labor unions) and labor (who were disappointed that Section 7a allowed the creation of company unions to compete with them).

The Second New Deal

I)       Works Projects (Progress) Administration (WPA) 1935-1942

A)    Productive jobs – WPA employees saw themselves as workers and citizens, not welfare cases; workers received nearly double to rate of pay of workers on earlier programs (although, at FDR’s insistence, still below the rate of the private sector, so that no one would be tempted to live on government largess), and they were exchanging their labor for money, just as they had during their employment in the private sector

B)    8,000,000 people put to work during the life of the life of the program

1)      Toledo – Anthony Wayne Trail, Toledo Zoo

2)      Cleveland – numerous bridges, Memorial Stadium

3)      The Ohio State guide series

C)    Popular Culture and the New Deal

1)      Art

(a)    Murals – numerous murals were painted in public buildings, inspired by Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco (local examples include the Perrysburg Post Office and various buildings at the Toledo Zoo).

2)      Federal Writers Project

(a)    State guides – government funded “guides” were produced for each of the 48 states; larger cities also got their own guides.

(b)   Slave narratives

(c)    Narratives of immigrants and cowboys, as well

3)      Federal Music Project

(a)    Created 34 symphony orchestras

(b)   Sponsored numerous dance bands

(c)    Collection of folk music (Alan Lomax)

4)      Federal Theater Project – perhaps the most controversial of the federal projects

(a)    Living newspaper – writers and actors collaborating to produce drama out of recent news, and dramatizing current events.

(b)   Ethnic theater groups – Yiddish, Spanish language.

5)      Photography – not strictly WPA; photographers were also hired by the Department of Agriculture, and particularly the Farm Security Administration.  The photographers often were able to publish their photographs in popular magazines of the day.  When viewing these photographs today, one should keep in mind that these photographers were hired to take photographs by government agencies, in the expectation that these materials would help the government build its case for specific government programs.

6)      Cultural forces outside of government

(a)    Woody Guthrie

(b)   John Steinbeck – Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men

(c)    Warner Brothers Studio – the unofficial house studio of the New Deal; Jack Warner was FDR’s main supporter in Hollywood, outside of the acting and production talent.

7)      Screen Actors Guild – although established earlier, the Screen Actors Guild becomes more of a force to be reckoned with during this time period (in fact, a second banana actor named Ronald Reagan begins a second career when he rises to the presidency of the organization in the 1950s).

II)    Social Security Act (1935) – now synomomous with an old age pension, the program encompassed much more than this at its inception; it was an attempt to build a European-style welfare state, with cradle-to-grave coverage.

A)    Help for the elderly

1)      Immediate aid – a whopping $15 a month

2)      Federal pension financed by payroll tax split evenly between workers and employers

B)    Unemployment insurance – administered at the state level, which meant that compensation was higher in the north than in the south; the program was meant to counteract the insecurity caused working families caused by temporary layoffs.

C)    Political, rather than fiscal, issue – because the program was supported by a tax paid by workers and employers (for whom the workers produced a profit), workers felt that they had “earned” benefits, which made it appear to them (and some of the more conservative elected officials who represented them).

D)    Aid to Dependent Children – granted on a monthly basis, after a social worker visited the family to ascertain their needs.

E)     Racial Inequalities – as the potential for more non-whites began to receive these benefits, the benefits became more controversial.

1)      Racial code of the Social Security Act – the act excluded, at the insistence of Southern legislators, agricultural workers and domestic servants—or about 60% of the African American workforce.

2)      Sharecroppers and farm laborers – excluded from benefiting from unemployment insurance, as well

3)      Disparities in Aid to Dependent Children – families in Arkansas received approximately 1/8 of the total aid given to families in Massachusetts

F)     Fair Labor Standards Act – ended ½ day on Saturdays as a usual workday, and made the 40-hour week standard nation wide; the FLSA also pegged the minimum wage to Southern wages of textile and lumber workers, in the hopes of eventually raising those rates.

G)    Wagner Act – officially known as the National Labor Relations Act, but named for its Senate sponsor, Robert Wagner of New York.

1)      Hoped to answer two problems

(a)    Industrial unrest and social turmoil – as was seen in the labor actions in 1934

(b)   Wage stagnation and under consumption – these two problems were seen by an increasing number of people in the New Deal as the reason for the Depressions grip on the economy of the country.

III) Rise of the CIO – initially these letters stood for the Committee for Industrial Organization; after the break away from the AFL, the organization became known as the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

A)    Formed in the fall of 1935 – by unionists inside the AFL who believed that unions had to begin organizing workers by industry to begin combating the economic clout of large corporations.

1)      John L. Lewis – president of the UMW; to this point Lewis was an autocratic leader (and he remained that in the UMW).  Lewis’ change of heart was probably dictated by his unions inability to organize “captive” mines—that is, the mines owned by the steel companies

(a)    Communist organizers – Lewis utilized numerous Communist and Socialist organizers in his drive, mainly because of their superior organizing results.  When asked if he were concerned that these organizers might persuade workers to join these other organization, Lewis replied, “Who gets the pheasant, the dog or the hunter?”

B)    Flint Sit-Down Strike (1936-1937) – in many ways, this strike was the defining moment for the early CIO, and certainly for the fledgling United Automobile Workers (UAW).

1)      GM employed 80% of the Flint workforce at this time, either directly or indirectly, so the economic impact of the company on the community was huge, and the corporation could usually rely upon city government to be compliant with their wishes.

2)      GM workers began strikes around the country in November and December of 1936.

(a)    Toledo GM workers – had successfully struck the Chevrolet Transmission plant on Central Avenue in the spring of 1935, with hardly any violence; many Toledo union members had advocated asking other GM workers to go out on strike as well—in fact, a caravan drove to Flint.  The AFL representative actively discouraged this action, however.  The corporation responded by pulling out half the machinery in the plant over a Thanksgiving lay over, with a resultant loss in jobs.

(b)   UAW plan – the leadership of the union planned to strike Fisher Body plants in Cleveland and Flint after the start of the year, when workers received a bonus from the corporation, and more labor-friendly administrations took office in Ohio and Michigan

3)      The Sit-Down Strike – this tactic allowed a militant minority to shape events; by occupying the building, workers were able to ensure that their would be no scab replacements—and that the threat of attacks on the workers would be minimized because they were inside with all of the expensive machinery

(a)    First utilized in Akron – this tactic was first used by tire workers in Akron, even if Flint workers get most of the credit

(b)   Battle of Bulls Run (January 11, 1937)

(c)    Workers seizure of Chevrolet Plant #2 forced GM to bargaining table.

IV) Presidential politics

A)    1936 Presidential election

1)      Roosevelt Landslide – Roosevelt used a great deal of populist rhetoric in the election, calling the Republican Party “economic royalists” and “organized money.”

2)      Roosevelt won 60% of the popular votes cast (greater than his victory over Hoover), and the electoral votes of every state except Maine and Vermont.

(a)    African American vote – by 1936, African Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of FDR over the Republican standard-bearer, in a reversal over long-standing tendencies to vote for the party of Lincoln.  This occurs, despite some discriminatory practices in New Deal programs, for several reasons.

(i)     “Black Cabinet” – second level bureaucrats and black leaders outside of the administration who provided advice to the administration; these African Americans were particularly influential upon Eleanor Roosevelt.

(ii)   Eleanor Roosevelt – when African American singer Marion Anderson was refused the use of the DAR Hall in DC to hold a concert, Eleanor R. resigned her membership in the organization, and arranged for Ms. Anderson to give her concert on the Mall, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

B)    Roosevelt Recession – FDR’s lack of ideology comes back to haunt him; because he was not a true believer in Keynesian economics (explain Keynesian economics), Roosevelt was never comfortable with the sizable deficit that his government was running; with his sizable victory in 1936, he decided to greatly reduce spending in 1937, with disastrous results.

1)      Economic recession – the Roosevelt Recession probably contributed most to the disenchantment towards Roosevelt, and the gains by conservatives in the elections in 1938.

2)      Political backlash

(a)    Reaction to “packing” the Supreme Court – a reactionary court had ruled against Roosevelt policies in numerous cases to this point; FDR advocated being enabled to nominate an additional justice for each one over the age of seventy-five (which would have added four additional justices to the bench); both Republican and many Democrats claimed Roosevelt was attempting to become dictator. The public fallout here was probably less severe than the bad press this generated for the President.

3)      Backlash against labor

(a)    Monroe MI – Republic Steel private police force gassed SWOC headquarters and set fire to it.

(b)   Youngstown – Gov. Davey, who labor had supported in the 1936 election, read the handwriting on the wall, and used the National Guard to protect and escort strikebreakers to another Republic Steel plant on strike in this city.  Phil Murray, whom Lewis had appointed to head up the SWOC Little Steel organizing drive, called for FDR to assist in this crisis, which he refused to do; this was the beginning of the rift between Lewis and FDR.

                   (c) Chicago Memorial Day Massacre – Republic Steel employees in Chicago on strike were rallying when Chicago police opened fire on the unarmed crowd, killing several; newsreel footage of this incident was withheld because officials feared it would be incendiary.