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To what extent was World War One the most important reason why National Prohibition was introduced in the USA

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Introduction

To what extent was World War One the most important reason why National Prohibition was introduced in the USA in 1919? There were several factors behind the decision on the 26th January 1919 to pass the eighteenth amendment which outlawed the manufacture, sale and movement of intoxicating liquor but did not directly outlaw purchase or drinking. These factors included the campaigning of the Anti-Saloon League and The Women's Christian Temperance Union. As well as World War One which caused patriotism to become wound up in the matter and a wealth of other people and groups saw reason to ban it, industries, religious groups and women, those against Prohibition did little to oppose. World War one did play a role in the introduction of prohibition however in my view it was not the most important reason. That is a title which should go to the Anti-Saloon League who were ably assisted by the Women's Christian Temperance Union in their campaign lobbying for prohibition. The most important factor, in my view, was the Anti-Saloon League; they were the primary pressure group in the prohibition campaign. Nigel Smith describes them as a "Effective and powerful pressure group". ...read more.

Middle

Some members went into saloons and sang and prayed in an attempt to persuade saloon keepers to stop selling. Not every member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union took this passive approach to protesting, a prime example being Carry Nation who rampaged around Kansas destroying saloons with the aid of a hatchet. The Women's Christian Temperance Union provided valuable support to the Anti-Saloon League and are still campaigning today. Another of the key reasons behind the introduction of Prohibition was America's involvement in the First World War. This brought a number of key arguments forwards for opponents of alcohol. Grain was used heavily in brewing; some figures suggest that up to eleven million loaves a day were used. These could of course be put to better effect in feeding soldiers. As well as this many of the brewers were of German origin and so brewers such as Pabst and Busch were avoided as they supported German interests. The Anti-Saloon League managed to persuade people that avoiding these and drink in general was not only good for the war effort, but a necessity. Many felt that once the war was over they would be pushed into what Peter Clements refers to as a "Brave New World" where sobriety would be common place. ...read more.

Conclusion

However I do not feel that World War One was the most important factor in the introduction of National Prohibition. The Anti-Saloon League was the most important factor. They campaigned tirelessly for the outlawing of alcohol, World War One gave them more ammunition, they were able to say that the alcohol was affecting the performance of the soldiers, and that grain was being wasted. They blamed alcohol for so many of society's ills that near enough everyone were likely to find something personal to them. They were ably assisted by the Women's Christian Temperance Union who wanted to protect themselves as they saw alcohol as a means by which they were oppressed by men. Businesses who wanted more efficient workers also backed the campaign, as did many others including religious groups and immigrants; however all of these combined to be the supporting cast of the Anti-Saloon League. It was the work of the League in bringing politicians that supported the cause into positions of power and publicly preaching the negatives of alcohol which eventually lead to the passing of the eighteenth amendment and the introduction of national prohibition. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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