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The article, “Fighting Everything German in Texas”, highlights aspects of racial oppression and segregation perpetrated by Texans and the Texan authority against German-Americans. These acts largely arose due to the belief that the American way of life was under threat by foreigners. The declaration of the war against Germany by the United States heightened anti-German slogans and campaigns in Texas. Texans embraced ethnic intolerance and feigned patriotism to suppress German-Americans. They engaged in crusades that sought to restrict the operation of German-language press, schools and churches. Authorities in Texas established various laws that aimed at Americanizing the Germans. Such laws included the mandatory use of English in all public schools. The implementation of measures against the Germans failed to consider various provisions in the constitution such as the freedom of religion. Racial oppression is also the key theme in the article “The Houston Mutiny and Riot of 1917”. These events occurred during the United States’ war against Germany. However, in this case, blacks were the victims of racial segregation. The article highlights oppressive acts against members of the Twenty-Fourth United States Infantry. Despite their role in serving the country, they had to carry passes, which was not the case for their white counterparts. There were sentiments among the Americans that black soldiers posed a threat to racial harmony. The Texas and Huston events highlight the need by Americans to promote the belief that they were superior to other races. In this regard, they subjected Germans and blacks to hostile environments and minimized their interaction with the whites.
The decision by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to restrict the Metal Workers Union from acting as the agent for workers at the Hughes Tool Company resulted due to the back unionists’ objection to the racial segregation promoted by the Union. The Labor Board established that the union violated the Labor Relations act. The outcome in this case largely depended on federal interventions, which enabled the workers to successfully overcome the restrictions on unionization at the Hughes Tool Company and attain racial equality and civil rights at the place of work. The establishment of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) promoted the black unionists to demand for civil rights by highlighting the company’s violation of the National Industrial Recovery Act. CIO opposed unions that fostered workers segregation and racial and political intolerance. It aimed at incorporating workers within a firm in one union irrespective of their occupation. This approach considerably empowered workers by providing a means for combining the strength of the skilled, semiskilled and unskilled workers. The workers at Hughes Tool used CIO’s approach to lobby for plant-wide reforms involving all workers without segregating them based on their skills, as was traditionally the case within the Tool Company. Considerations of the Wagner Act showed that Hughes Tool circumvented the guidelines within the Act to ensure the survival of segregated unions. Lobbyists used the Act to demand for reforms within the company and achieve equal civil rights. Furthermore, the Act outlawed the dominant unions such as HTC, which had considerable influence within the company.
The period between 1918 and 1920 witnessed numerous upheavals within the labor industry. Effects of postwar inflation led to increased cases of unemployment in America. This resulted from the decline in the demand for labor in various industries that supported the war. The result was numerous strikes by workers who faced difficulties in maintaining the standards of life promoted by high wages during the war. The return of millions of soldiers enlisted in the war further worsened the unemployment situation. Labor unions that had considerable influence during the war suffered declining bargaining power due to the decrease in the demand for labor, goods and services. They could no longer effectively mediated negotiations between organizations’ management and workers. The hard economic times made workers vulnerable to exploitation. Lack of reliable bodies to address workers’ grievances drove the country to a state in which workers rights received little attention. Collective bargaining, which ensured settlement on management and labor lost favor within the labor industry. The control of wages and working conditions became largely the decision of organizations’ management. Measures aimed at preventing strikes during the war had created labor laws that addressed worker plights. However, the dissolving of agencies such as the National War Labor Board promoted disregard for workers’ rights.
Historians describe consumerism as a post-First World War phenomenon. The integration of automobiles, electric appliances and mass communication considerably standardized the American society. The need to expand markets for production goods promoted the emergence of the advertising industry. The advertising industry minimized regional diversity by promoting the demand for modern products and services. It played a central role in creating a national culture and behavioral changes within America through means such as radio and movies. This was because people watched similar content and listened to the same radio stations. Due to their regimented lifestyles, people started to view movie stars and radio celebrities as role models. Thus, the media started to play a central role in shaping the lifestyles of most Americans. The mass media promoted the discarding of most traditions and morals and the adoption of more relaxed behavior. The shift towards mass entertainment largely arose due to workplace routines that necessitated the need for pastime activities. The monotonous lifestyle promoted people to seek for alternatives sources of fulfillment. The consumerism culture altered the traditional role of the American woman because of the shift in work and behavior patterns. Women started to work outside their homes as gender favorable jobs emerged.