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Changing Course:
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Teacher's Best - The Creative Process


20th Century America History Posters Series
for the social studies and history classrooms.


history > 20th CENTURY AMERICA < social studies


Educational history posters of 20th Century America: World War I, the Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, the Postwar Era, the Troubled Decade, America in a Changing World and the Nineties, William Jennings Bryan.



America in the 20th Century - World War I Wall Poster
World War I

series image
no longer available

America in the 20th Century -
World War I (1914-1919)

Poster Text: At first, the United States tried to stay out of World War One. Then, when it entered, the governemt described the war effort as another kind of progressive crusade – an effort "To make the world safe for democracy. " But in a way, the war brought on end to the Progressive Era, as millions of Americans lost interest in politics and crusades for refom. Horrified by the bloodshed, many of them longed for a quieter, more private age.

1). World War One began in Europe in the summer of 1914, when a Serbian nationalist assissinated the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary. Armed to the teeth, and grouped in two great alliances, the most powerful nations of Europe all soon became involved in the conflict. Deadly modern weapons – the machine gun, the submarine, the tank, poison gas – and the misery of stalemate and trench warfare made this the worst war the world had yet experienced.

2). At first, President Woodrow Wilson promised that the United States would stay out of Europe's war. But most U.S. trade and billions in U.S. loans went to the Allies, especially Britain and France. And when German submarines sank the Lusitania, a British ship with 128 Americans on board, the country was outraged. Still, as the banner here suggest, most Americans continued to hope the U.S. could stay out of the conflict.
President Wilson was re-elected in 1916 on the slogan, “He kept us out of war.” But expanded German submarine attacks finally led the U.S. to join the conflict. On April 2, 1917, President Wilson went before Congress to ask it to declare war on Germany.

3). The governemt mounted a huge effort to convince Americans the war was worth fighting. This included recruiting posters, news bulletins, movies, rallies, speakers, and campaigns to sell Liberty Bonds. About 53,500 U.S. soldiers died from the influenza epidemic that ravaged the world while America was at war. But U.S. losses were nothing compared with the total of 10 million soldiers and 20 million civilians who died worldwide in this terrible conflict.

William Jennings Bryan, Giclee Print
William Jennings Bryan,
Giclee Print

William Jennings Bryan
b. 3-19-1860; Illinois
d. 7-26-1925

Nebraska posters
Darwin posters
Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

4). While most Americans supported the war, many did not. Some continued to believe the United States had nothing to gain from involvement in Europe's battles. Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs went to prison for urging workers to “resist militarism”.

5). President Wilson wanted World War One to be a “war to end all wars.” And at the Paris peace conference of 1919, he was able to get other nations to agree to establish the League of Nations to resolve international onflicts peacefully. But many Americans were tired of worrying about the troubles of the world. On a grueling trip across the country to win support for the League, on exhausted Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke. His wife Edith had to help him finish out his term. And in the meantime, Congress failed to agree to let our own nation join the League. An era of isolationism had begun.


America in the 20th Century - The Great Depression, 1929-1939, Art Print
series image
no longer available

The Great Depression, 1929-1939

Stock Market Crash, FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt, The New Deal, Gone with the Wind, Mary McLeod Bethune

Poster Text: The stock market crash of 1929 turned the prosperty of the 1920s into economic disaster. A decade of hard times set in.

more Great Depression posters


America in the 20th Century - World War II, 1939-1945, Art Print
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no longer available

World War II, 1939-1945

Aldoph Hitler, Pearl Harbor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, D-Day, Atomic Bomb, December 7, 1941 "A date which will live in infamy."

Poster Text: The Great Depression of the 1930s was worldwide in scope. It generated unrest and anger everywhere. And in several nations it helped bring to power ... new generation of dictators. Soon these leaders plunged a large part of the world into a war in which some 50 million people would die. ...

WW II posters


America in the 20th Century - The Postwar World, 1945-1963, Art Print

series poster
no longer available

The Postwar World, 1945-1963

Churchill, FDR, Stalin, Eisenhower, McCarthy, Elvis, Civil Rights, JFK, Khrushchev

more Post War posters


America in the 20th Century - The Troubled Decade, 1963-1974 Wall Poster
America in the
20th Century -
The Troubled Decade,
1963-1974
Art Print

The Troubled Decade, 1963-1974

Poster Text: From the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, a decade of change transformed American politics and cultural life. Racial upheaval, student rebellion, social reform and an unpopular war in Southeast Asia marked this time of crisis and change.

1). The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, shocked the nation. Adding to the unease of millions was the murder a few days later of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of killing the President. Oswald's murder made it impossible to resolve the doubts and suspicions engendered by this fateful day in Dallas.

2). The assassination was traumatic for other reason as well, it came as the civil rights movement in the South and elsewhere was cresting. the age of non-violent protest, as typlified by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. achieved temendous victories. The most notable of those victories were the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, which ended segregatin of public facilities and protected the voting rights of minorities. But the deeper problems of black urban ghettos remained, exploding in many bloody riots in the mid-1960s.

3). President Lyndon Johnson hoped to solve the problems of urban poverty through his many so-called Great Society programs. But the War in Vietnam distracted him. By 1968, more than 500,000 soldiers were in Vietnam. Among young people, doubts about the war grew, many protested and refused to fight in Vietnam. Other Americans were angered by the way the war dragged on and called for a more decisive military effort. In 1968, President Johnson decided not to run for a second term. And huge student riots marred the Democratic Party's Convention that summer, helping Republican Richard Nixon win the election.

4). In spite of its troubles, America had its share of triumphs – especially the successful manned Apollo moon landings. the space program was dramatic proof that America's economic and technological creativity was enormous in these years.

5). Many Americans hoped Richard Nixon would restore orderliness and respect for the law. Instead, the Watergate Scandal destroyed his Presidency. The scandal began on June 17, 1972, when some men working for Mr. Nixon were arrested for breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. A long investigation showed the President himself had helped to hide this crime. On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon became the first U.S. President to resign.


America in the 20th Century - America in a Changing World, 1975-1991, Art Print

series poster
no longer available

America in a Changing World, 1975-1991

Iran Hostage Crisis, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Jackson, Gorbachev, Berlin Wall Falls


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