Effects of War
Effects of War
Immigrant Labor Dynamics during the Great War
This chapter addresses how the onset of World War I raised questions about if and how the United States should prepare itself for a military confrontation with a “foreign” enemy, and gave added implications to any talk of armed class conflict, especially if it involved immigrant workers. Americans everywhere increasingly championed the need to provide adequate defense against a potential attack from abroad. But this bulwark alone would not suffice. Dangers to national security also emanated from domestic sources, especially those deemed foreign or un-American. Millions of immigrants, already under scrutiny for their involvement in labor unrest, became potentially dangerous internal enemies. Business leaders would use this heightened tension to portray strikes, and the agitators who allegedly fostered them, as threats to national security. Alleged perpetrators became saboteurs and traitors. In pursuit of their eradication, what had been tacit connections between business interests and governmental agencies in the pursuit of labor tranquility became more direct and the results more draconian.
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