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The Americanization Of British Culture After Wwi

2151 words - 9 pages

World War I, fought between major European superpowers, was an event that shook the world. The first global war was a shock to all, but was experienced differently by everyone. For Richard Lindsay Mackay, World War I was a time for him to fight bravely for his country as he experienced the horrors of war. He wrote in his journal whenever he had the scarce opportunity for down time. He wrote accounts mentioning the pain of making a homemade cross for his comrade’s grave, the brutality of only getting five hours of leisure time, which he used for sleep, and not even being able to recall if he ate something one day. However, despite his hardships as a soldier, he enthusiastically wrote about travelling to London and hearing the popular song Destiny Waltz that symbolized bravery in wartime (Mackay). Like Mackay, people back home in belligerent countries also associated wartime with consumer goods, such as music. In fact, many British citizens noticed an increase in American-made goods available in their country. As many men fell in war, America rose as a new superpower, creating situations that would lead to a more homogenous society. American domination of the world market from 1914 to 1930 started the “Americanization” of Britain’s culture through increased American influence and the simultaneous disdain for traditional Victorian society by the new generation of British youth.
America’s mobilization for war and aid to Britain led to an advancement of the American economy. As a country at war with many working-aged men occupied by serving in the army, Britain was in great need of supplies such as food, clothes, guns, and ammunition. In four years, the United States’ exportation of these goods increased from one and a half billion to four billion dollars to Britain (Industry during WWI). The increase in exchange of goods required American mobilization, increased factory production, and exports to Allied countries which increased revenue for the American economy. With more capital, industries were able to increase efficiency, which led to even greater outputs for export to Britain.
Improved productivity and increasing exports led America to develop a consumer economy after the war. Since the economy became so focused on mobilization during the war, afterwards factories needed to shift their focus of production in order to maintain increased profits. European economies, however, were devastated by the war, which caused destruction on their home fronts, and it was American foreign investment that kept them afloat (Douglas). American factories began to produce vehicles, kitchen appliances, and other consumer items. The American middle class, who benefitted most from these new gadgets, was observed as the “envy of the world,” because many other countries observed their lavish lifestyle with longing (Ashenmiller). They began to buy American made products in an effort to achieve such comfort that Americans got to experience. The new consumer economy and...

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