America: 1914-1945

Information from Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th edition


World War I

1914 - 1918

U.S. declares war in 1917

Great Migration


African Americans from rural South to northern industrial cities for work

Daylight Savings Time instituted


Allowed more daylight for war production

Roaring Twenties

1920 - 1929

Characterized by enlarging boundaries for acceptable self-expression. Young people particularly wanted more diverse, permissive, and tolerant styles of life. Prohibition merely taunted them.

Sacco-Vanzetti trial

1920 - 1927

Italian immigrants arrested after a robbery and murder in Boston. They were anarchists, and it was widely believed they were innocent but treated differently for their political beliefs. Executed in 1927. Many writers demonstrated in support of the two.

Prohibition/19th amendment gives women right to vote


Fascism rises in Europe


Mussolini becomes dictator of Italy

Exclusionary immigration act bars Asians


The Jazz Singer, first full-length "talkie" released


Stock Market Crash - GREAT DEPRESSION

1929 - 1941

The war increased industry, putting an end to the economic depression.

Sinclair Lewis - 1st America awarded Nobel Prize for lit


Scottsboro Trial


Nine black youths indicted in Scottsboro, Alabama for the alleged rape of two white women. All found guilty; some sentenced to death. Convictions reversed twice. People across political spectrum saw case as crucial question as to whether African Americans could be tried fairly in South. Led to much literary output.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected to presidency


Created social security

Hitler's Nazi Party comes into power; Prohibition repealed


Wheeler-Howard (Indian Reorganization Act) passed


Conserved and developed Indian lands. Served to decrease federal regulation and increase self-government.

Hitler begins armed occupation of Europe


Spanish Civil War

1936 - 1939

Communists fought against fascism

Stalin's Purges in Russia


World War II

1939 - 1945

Attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941

This caused America to enter the second world war, which would end in 1945, following America's bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Roosevelt orders internment of Japanese Americans in camps


D Day


Allied Invasion of Normandy

German forces surrender spring; Japanese in fall