Cultural Clashes in The USA after Ww I

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Words: 1195 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 1195|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

After World War I, many men who had gone to fight in the war were returning and desired to take their jobs back from the women and African Americans who had taken them in America; because African Americans and Women had been exposed to the taste of equality in factory jobs and good wages, they didn’t want the splendidness to end. This conflict between white men who had left America as cultured people and the Africans and Women caused much of the cultural clash in the 1920s. In a sense, the nostalgia of men returning from war and heavily religious people helped cultural clashes develop with people who favored change and growth beyond World War 1. Those who rejected nostalgia were able to live comfortably with little conflict.

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Women, who had gained nursing jobs, factory jobs, and higher pay during the war began to understand the power that they had to make change in America; their movement for Women’s Suffrage was quite successful, and taught them that they could be successful in other movements, especially in Temperance, education, and science. The National WCTU, a women’s group that grew in this time, expressed the extreme confidence that women had in their capabilities through “Women Smokers,” which outlines their goals of slowing smoking and adding an amendment against it to the Constitution (Doc E). This inspired conflict with men, most of whom had fought in the war, who had made smoking a part of the American culture. Often times, women’s goals came into conflict with fundamentalists, because they were based on scientific principles that did not agree with the Bible or Bible studies. The movements led by these women, while inspiring some conflict, helped lead to policy development much later in the 60s and 70s, with cigarette regulation, the Green movement, and the political rights movement.

While women and African Americans inspired much cultural conflict in the 1920s, conflict also began to arise in science and religion. Businesses such as Coca-Cola, Ford, and Health Industries sought to do research in the science fields in order to develop products most effectively, and often times, the results were directly at odds with Christian teachings. The theory of evolution was one of the many scientific theories that developed at this time, and it was at odds with fundamentalists who stuck hard to their Christian faith. In the Tennessee Evolution Case, it’s clear that the scientific minds represent a new age of thinking, while the fundamentalists remained nostalgic of times before the war, when nothing required reflection and thought. Mr. Bryan rejects all scientific hypotheses, while Mr. Darrow, a teacher, accepts them; Mr. Bryan was more detached from the war than Mr. Darrow, and had not evolved his beliefs based on the times (Doc A).

The clash between men and women grew extremely evident as women obtained more rights, conducted their own social lives, and became more independent. The marriage rates of men and women fell suddenly, demonstrating the amount of conflict that may have occurred between them, and divorce rates increased as well (Doc F). During a time when women became more independent, more disagreements with men emerged, and clashes between the groups continued; the men remained nostalgic of a time when they were completely dominant, while women favored the new rights of the era.

In addition to the slight sentiments against women and many African Americans, America grew a nativist culture through the Ku Klux Klan that stems from the isolationist policies of America before WW1; after business had been done in other nations, people, especially white men, wished to return to “Normalcy.” The Ku Klux Klan advocated for policy against immigration, and wished to protect the plain American (Doc B). This was a source of cultural conflict between immigrants and white Americans, yet representative of nostalgia as well. After the war, many immigrants had begun to arrive, and America wished for immigration to be as it had before; cultural clash was a result of nostalgia. The Ku Kluc Klan was largely composed of white men who had fought in the war; this led them to many of their Nativist beliefs. After seeing the trouble that engagement with other nations could cause, they wished to protect America from harm from all cultures.

During the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans prospered because they were able to avoid the previous goal of African American and white equality; they rejected the memory of an oppressed African culture in favor of a new culture. Langhston Hughes, a famous musician in the Harlem Renaissance, expresses this sentiment when he says that the Harlem Renaissance grew because of its rejection of white ideas and the acceptance of black culture (Doc A). The potential conflict that could have arisen between blacks and whites in this area was avoided, and the groups intermingled with blacks performing many shows for whites and spreading their culture. The Harlem Renaissance is an excellent example of cultural cooperation, as many arts from this area spread across the nation, such as jazz, poetry, and literature. Because of this cultural growth in the Harlem Renaissance, jazz emerged as a large part of American culture even after the 20s.

This artistic zeal was challenged by nostalgics as well, who felt that wealth was not the aim of all people; the 1920s was characterized by people’s strive to accumulate wealth and material goods. However, nostalgics remembered a time before the Roaring Twenties when material goods were not the most important parts of life; ethics and morals were. The economy had not been as successful earlier, and people did not place as much importance on money. Mary Mullett expresses the realization that wealth was a change from the past in her honoring of Lindbergh’s accomplishment; as a person who retained nostalgic ideas, likely religious, she believed that the importance of achievement was ethic, rather than wealth (Doc D). This directly clashed with the business culture of the time, where businesses strove to grow and be wealthy, another example of nostalgia leading to conflict.

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After WW1, men who had fought in the war had seen what involvement with other countries could do; no amount of science or technology could make it better. These people wished to return America to its state before the Great War. Many people who lived in America, however, had developed new ideas on culture, science, and living. When the men came back from the war, the two cultures that had emerged from the war clashed, and the clashes continued throughout the 1920s. The main group that avoided these clashes were African Americans in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. Despite rejecting nostalgia, they were able to succeed because they embraced their own culture without aiming to conflict with whites. Their success became a model for success in other communities throughout the nation. The nostalgia of this age eventually played a part in America’s participation in World War II; while America wished to remain neutral at first, as it had before World War I, it was sucked into the second world war again by cultural clashes between foreign countries and itself.

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Cultural Clashes in the USA After WW I. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from
“Cultural Clashes in the USA After WW I.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
Cultural Clashes in the USA After WW I. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
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