1915-1945 'War, boom and bust'


A-Levels History Mind Map on 1915-1945 'War, boom and bust', created by ldldooley on 05/26/2013.
Mind Map by ldldooley, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by ldldooley over 10 years ago

Resource summary

1915-1945 'War, boom and bust'
  1. WW1 1914-1918
    1. Whilst production increased, wages did also so workers were contented.
      1. For the first time, the government recognised labour unions and negotiated with them through the 'National War Labour Board' asking that they wouldn't strike.
        1. In return they'd guarantee the worker's right to join unions and would experience collective bargaining.
          1. Union membership practically doubled between 1916-1920.
          2. Employers agreed to safeguard working conditions and form an 8 hour day as well.
          3. Post WW1: violent outbreaks followed the war, these were race riots but also fuelled by the influx of returning soldiers into the labour market and the 'Red Scare' of communist infiltration.
            1. Employers were responding drastically to any labour unrest with accusations of anarchy, even when they were exerting their rights, so a series of strikes broke out in 1919.
          4. The 1920s
            1. In the 1920s 'nativism' towards the old whilte Americans was high alongside fears of Communism, so actions of union leaders were questioned.
              1. The increase in production because of the introduction of the assembly line led to powerful employers, especially giant corporations like Ford.
                1. There was a dramatic fall in unemployment and high spending power, removing many labor concerns.
                2. Although employers improved working conditions, reduced working hours, made pensions etc. It was so that they could prevent strikes lowering production.
                  1. Welfare Capitalism and Ford
                    1. Included setting up 'company unions' who couldn't strike or negotiate wages, but they could discuss grievances.
                      1. Workers were forced to sign 'yellow dog contracts' that prevented them from unionising.
                        1. Employers hire spies to suppress any attempt at unionisation.
                        2. Ford had one of the biggest factories in the world. He hired strong, armed security men to intimidate and assault his workers if they weren't obeying.
                          1. Ford didn't recognise any union for collective bargaining until 1941.
                        3. Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids (BSCP) (1925)
                          1. Fighting to be recognised as a union by the Pullman company. Thid was opposed by Pullman and also the AAs themselves.
                            1. Pullman denounced this union as an outside agency with foreign ideas and drew for a company union opposing BSCP. Local authorities allowed Pullman to ban the BSCP meetings. They kept fighting.
                              1. They decided that the only way to force the issue was to strike, but leadership was divided, some wanting to show strength and others like Randolph wanting to force negotiation.
                                1. But by 1934 the law had changed somewhat, and they were able to claim to be the only legitimate union for Pullman Company. Randolph demanded that the National Mediation Board (the federal means for labour relations in the railway trade) certify this, and they successfully won in 1935.
                            2. Pullman was the largest employer of AAs in the 1920s and 30s. Although it appeared a lucrative job, they were reliant on tips for their wages and they were humilated by the white passengers. They had to pay for their own food, uniforms and lodgings, also for anything that was stolen or broken by passengers. Offered no promotion aspects for AAs.
                              1. Chose Randolph as a leader because he was an outsider and they were launching this in secret, company spies wouldn't know him.
                                1. ~In 1941 he had Roosevelt to ban racial discrimination in the federal government with the threar of a massive protest in Washington during the wartime
                                  1. He was a prominent member of the 'socialist party', limiting his support.
                              2. The Great Depression 1929
                                1. Led to the closure of factories and bankruptcy of most businesses and this meant mass unemployment that left most families below the poverty line, particularly AAs.
                                  1. Those with a job were happy to have one, but there was more employee-employer conflicts. Desperate workers would strike, sit-in and occupy factories. By 1933 only 10% of workers were in unions as they had no right to strike within one, yet when they striked most employers sacked them.
                                2. The New Deal 1932-38
                                  1. 1933 the National Industry Recovery Act (NIRA) formed the National Recovery Administration (NRA).
                                    1. Set the precedent for working hours, wages, production levels and trade union rights, agreed by both employer and employee, yet it tended to favour the employer.
                                      1. Complying companies were allowed to display the NRA Blue eagle symbol, however many like Ford never did.
                                        1. Was deemed unconstitutional in 1935.
                                      2. 1935 National Labor Relations Act / Wagner Act: Set up to provide a structure for collective bargaining, as to avoid picket line violence and the disruption caused by strikes. Wagner believed that only legislation could stop employers from preventing any labour rights.
                                        1. The first piece of legislation that recognised the workers rights to take part in collective bargaining, also they gained the right to join trade unions and elect who represent them in bargaining. It ended 'closed shops' and employers' spies and blacklisting 'agitators'.
                                          1. Trade union membership rapidly grew, and even into many industries that previously had resisted the unionisation of their workers, like Chrysler.
                                            1. Divisions in trade unions when considering unskilled workers meant that many however were still deprived of their rights, especially in mass production industries. e.g. AFL was still excluding unskilled labor, amalgamating skilled craft unions. Even with the CIO many unskilled workers had low wages and no voice.
                                              1. This led to the breakaway group of CIO from the AFL, in 1937 with John Lewis as it's leader, this stood for organising the unskilled workers in the mass production industries. CIO used the new methods of 'sit ins' to get recognition of car workers' right to join unions. Ford held out until 1941.
                                                1. They operated like the AFL, but with the CIO African Americans, women and immigrants were welcolmed. The idea of equality for labor gave the AAs confidence to strike.
                                          2. Set up the 'National Labor Relations Board' NLRB to bargain for workers and sto companies from creating company unions. It also had the power to stop unfair dismissals of workers.
                                            1. The Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938 set a minimum weekly wage and time and a half pay for excessive overtime. It also prohibited child employment. This still upheld wage differences for women.
                                          3. The Second World War 1939-45
                                            1. Control of industry was taken away from employers, hence shifting the balance into favouring the workers for their essential war effort for a brief period.
                                              1. High levels of production in industry and agriculture occured, by set production targets.
                                              2. Government established the National War Labor Board (NWLB) in 1941 to aid wage disputes, permitting a wage increase due living costs and boosted overtime pay during the war. This was a result of unions' agreement not to strike during war.
                                                1. The President could sieze any plant that threatened striking and it made spontanious strikes illegal, unions had to give 30 days notice.
                                                2. There was such a need for labor, unemployment decreased and there were even opportunities for women, AAs and the young. Pay was still different for women.
                                                  1. End of the War: Led to immediate strikes following the end of wartime restrictions. Politicians believed that trade unions were becoming too powerful and the anti-Communist feeling of the 1940s made them suspicious of labor, since the Communists were active here.
                                                    1. The Taft-Hartley Act in 1947 restrained the powers of unions and sought to end the Communist labor support. Union leaders were made to swear that they didn't ally with Communists before they could vote for members in the NAtional LAbour Relations Board.
                                                      1. Weakened the CIO as many of the unions were Communist, others weren't, so CIO expelled the Communist unions in 1949, reducing their numbers by 1/3 and deprived their message of uniting the interest of the unskilled. Leading to them rejoining the AFL in 1955.
                                                        1. Showed how Republicans didn't want to get the support of unions, hence why President Truman's veto of this was defeated.
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