U.S. History, 1914-1945 (Dr. Chris Schutz)

The years 1914-1945 formed one of the most pivotal and fascinating periods of American history. The United States emerged from World War I as both an enormous economic power on the world stage, and an extremely important military power as well. The nation entered the post-WWII era as the preeminent world power in both areas, and ushered in an era that the journalist Henry Luce entitled “The American Century.” Interestingly, however, the years that fell between the two world wars were among the most tumultuous in our history. The 1920s brought dizzying change that shook American traditions to their core, and frightened many in the national heartland. The decade which preceded World War II, of course, left many Americans asking fundamental questions about the wisdom of its economic and governmental systems. As President Franklin Roosevelt came into office in the dark days of 1933, he told the people quite bluntly, “I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day...I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” Over the course of the semester, we will examine how Americans came to grips with these tremendous national challenges, and how they emerged with a nation which not only recovered, but how they ushered in an era of unprecedented American prosperity and power.