The Cambridge History of Law in America, Volume 3: The Twentieth Century and After (1920-)

The Cambridge History of Law in America: Volume 3, The Twentieth Century and After (1920–)
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Since the s, American historians have produced an extraordinarily rich and diverse account of law and legal institutions in American history. But even though our knowledge has increased enormously, few attempts have been made to draw its many parts together in a summary and synthesis of the history of law in America. The Cambridge History of Law in America has been designed for just this purpose. Sixty of the leading historians of law in the United States have been brought together in one enterprise to present the most comprehensive and authoritative account possible of the history of American law.

Volume 1 discusses the place of law in regard to colonization and empire, indigenous peoples, government and jurisdiction, population migrations, economic and commercial activity, religion, the creation of social institutions, and revolutionary politics. American legal history long treated the era of the founding of the republic and the early nineteenth century as the beginning of American law.

Volume I disputes that tendency and corrects it. Volume II of the Cambridge History of Law in America focuses on the 'long' nineteenth century, from the creation of the Republic to the immediate aftermath of the First World War - the century of continental expansion, urban growth, capitalist innovation, industrialization, and war. The crystallization and then, after the Civil War, the reinvention of a distinctly American state system is examined, as is the establishment and growth of systematic legal education, the spread of the legal profession, and the growing density of legal institutions.

It also was in the East and South-East that societies had suffered proportionally the greatest military losses.

Although we are accustomed to picture the slaughter of the First World War as death in the trenches of the Western Front, proportions of soldiers killed in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe were greater than in the West: of all the nations that fought in the war, it was the Serbs who lost the highest proportion of soldiers, at 37 percent, while about a quarter of the Romanians, Turks and Bulgarian servicemen died; by contrast, the Germans and French lost roughly one in six, and the British one in eight.

In what became postwar Poland, for example, a succession of offensives during the First World War, and then the Polish-Soviet War that followed, meant that when combat finally ceased in This trail of destruction left large sections of the population without access to rail transport and without adequate housing — hardly an auspicious framework for re- constructing postwar society. Across much of the eastern half of the European continent, society had been blasted apart.

Although the Russian Empire suffered more dead and wounded than any other combatant of the First World War, in many respects for Russia, that war was overshadowed by the civil war that followed. The civil war, together with the revolutionary upheavals that it paralleled, fundamentally altered society — as a result not only of combat casualties and mass starvation, but also the physical destruction of large areas of the countryside, and the precipitous depopulation of the largest cities.

Between May and , Moscow lost half of its population of two million, and the population of Petrograd fell from 2. This meant, in effect, that the urban working class, which had provided much of the support for the Bolshevik revolution, was reduced drastically in size by the time that the Bolsheviks were able to cement their power. The transformations outlined above also meant that hundreds of thousands of former urban dwellers in effect became refugees in their own country. Yet that was only one aspect of a phenomenon that affected postwar societies across the European continent and beyond: the presence of huge numbers of refugees.

After the defeat of the Whites in Crimea in , a mass evacuation across the Black Sea brought an estimated , subjects of the former Russian Empire to Constantinople by Generally, the First World War and its aftermath saw an explosion in the numbers of people forced from their homes, whether as a result of military action, campaigns of forced removal, flight from ethnic conflict and massacre, or postwar border settlements that ran roughshod over the complex patterns of ethnic settlement that had characterized the European continent. After the First World War, the removal of people because of the language they spoke, the faith they held or the ethnic group with which they identified accelerated.

Actions that, at least in Central Europe, had been almost unthinkable before became seen as an obvious solution to the supposed problem of ethnically-mixed populations once new borders were drawn after Thus, after the defeat, many Germans who had lived within the prewar Reich found themselves compelled to leave their homes in what now were in France or Poland together with smaller numbers from border areas ceded to Belgium and Denmark. Altogether, according to the census, there were , people in the Reich who before had lived in territories subsequently lost to Germany, including nearly , from the provinces of Posen and West Prussia, , from Alsace and Lorraine, and 90, from Upper Silesia.

Consequently, while many postwar societies remained ethnically mixed, they often were less so than before the war and, at the same time, were plagued by tensions and conflicts far greater than had been apparent before Postwar migration was not only forced removal. In addition, huge numbers of people migrated voluntarily or semi-voluntarily within Europe during the postwar years. The s saw a fundamental change in migration patterns as they affected Europeans, as the United States largely closed its doors to Southern and Eastern European migrants when a restrictive immigration regime was introduced that more or less remained in force until the s.

In the place of virtually unfettered immigration from Europe — the restriction of Chinese immigration into the United States had been introduced in — a regime of quotas that favoured northern Europeans, tough border controls and the removal of illegal aliens were put in place. The restrictions introduced during the first year of the Harding Administration and then the US Immigration Act [67] were part of a global trend towards strict border and passport controls, a new postwar regime that left hundreds of thousands of people — refugees and stateless persons — without a national citizenship.

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This exacerbated the plight of postwar refugees, not only those who had fled Soviet Russia after the revolution and civil war, but also those made homeless as a consequence of the postwar dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The break-up of the Ottoman Empire led to the transfer and flight of hundreds of thousands of people: the Treaty of Lausanne in stipulated the transfer of roughly , Turks from Greece and 1. According to the Greek census of , the settled population in Greece of only 5,, inhabitants had had to absorb 1,, Greek Orthodox refugees.

The closing after the First World War of the transatlantic escape valve for European economic migrants occurred as countries within Europe had to repair the damage caused by war, most notably postwar France. In this regard, postwar Germany provides a contrast. There, the First World War was followed not by an increase in the numbers of foreigners in the country, but rather a decline. Most of large numbers of refugees fleeing Soviet Russia moved from Germany to France and often then further afield during the inflation; some 50, settled in Paris.

Postwar societies were shaken not just by the loss, disablement and displacement of millions of people, but also by war-related economic dislocation. While the main Western economies recovered during the course of the s — by the end of that decade, the French economy had exceeded prewar levels of activity by 38 percent and the American economy by 70 percent, and even the German economy had reached its prewar levels [82] — economic developments during the immediate postwar years were extremely disruptive.

In many countries, and not only in the former combatant states, the postwar years saw soaring inflation and mass unemployment. Even in the victorious industrial countries, the sudden shift from a war economy to a peacetime economy — with the need to shift production from supplying the military to producing goods for civilian needs — at the same time as millions of soldiers were returning to the civilian job market, was massively disruptive.

In the developed world, the beginning of the s saw a sharp postwar economic depression and huge numbers of people without jobs.

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In Britain, the postwar depression saw the rate of unemployment suddenly shoot up to 12 percent in After the short-lived economic boom once the war ended, this heralded a fundamental change in the nature of the British labour market, which then was characterised by high rates of unemployment through the interwar period. In Germany, the end of the war was followed by a rapid upsurge in unemployment at the very end of and first four months of as soldiers were demobilised.

However, the proportion of unemployed trade-union members never exceeded 6. There, as we have seen, the problem after the war was not a surplus of labour, but rather the opposite — chronic shortages as a result of wartime losses almost twice those of the British , a long-term history of low birth rates, and the need for large numbers of workers to rebuild the north of the country where, as noted above, the slack was taken up by immigrant labour.

The consequences of postwar inflation and hyperinflation — most notably in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Soviet Russia — for the lives of people in postwar societies can hardly be exaggerated. Inflation undermined accepted cultural values and relationships, the belief that hard work would bring rewards, and a sense of stability.

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Where price controls were put in place, the move gave rise to thriving black markets and drastically altered the relative costs of various necessities — for example, making controlled rents ridiculously cheap, while the prices of food often available only on the black market skyrocketed.

It was estimated that by the spring of , one-third of all the food sold in Germany was purchased on the black market. That is, of course, if one could find a dwelling to rent. Rent controls shielded tenants from inflationary rent rises, but they could not shield the population from the effects of severe housing shortages — a result of the almost complete cessation of house-building during the war, the surge in the establishment of new households after the war, and low levels of house-building during the inflation due not least to lack of expected returns as long as rents were controlled.

While rent controls put sitting tenants in an advantageous position, enjoying low rents and having scope for profiteering by subletting rent-controlled flats and pocketing the difference, it left many newly married couples out in the cold. Housing shortages had another, related consequence for postwar societies: namely that large numbers of newly-wed couples found themselves unable to set up households on their own and had to live with parents and in-laws. The increases in the numbers of marriages and births! The consequences of the lack of house-building during the war and, in areas where there had been fighting, the destruction of dwellings, increased tensions within many households, and the arrival of children frequently made already cramped living quarters yet more difficult to negotiate.

This, too, was an important aspect of everyday life in postwar societies. Surveying postwar societies after the First World War necessarily reveals a social landscape scarred by war — a landscape characterised by economic and social dislocation, geographical displacement and the smashing of communities, homelessness, disease and disability, loss and mourning. Yet, at the same time, we should not overlook the huge sense of relief that millions of people felt to be sure, more so in the West than in the East at having survived and being able to look forward to daily life no longer convulsed by war and to enjoying themselves.

Having survived, now they wanted to enjoy life. What did you learn in the war?

To return to the famous quotation from David Lloyd George with which this article began, it appears that the First World War was a deluge that in many countries led to postwar societies very different from those in existence before While this was true in particular for Eastern and Central Europe, perhaps ironically it probably was less so for the country that Lloyd George was addressing: Britain. For in Britain, once the deluge of the First World War receded, underlying social and political stability meant that many aspects of social life had proved themselves to be remarkably stable.

Altogether, many of the consequences of the First World War — particularly when one looks at demographic trends or family structures — appear to have been relatively short-term.

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However, in other respects — in particular many of the economic and cultural consequences of the war — the effects of war were enduring, and in that sense we are living still in what might be regarded as postwar society. Section Editor: Robert Gerwarth. Bessel, Richard: Post-war Societies , in: online.

International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. DOI : Version 1. Post-war Societies. By Richard Bessel. It is an earthquake which is upheaving the very rocks of European life. It is one of those seismic disturbances in which nations leap forward or fall backward generations in a single bound.

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With smashed limbs and a broken body I stand, thirteen years after the end of the war, with the question still on my lips: Will anyone help me, give back my health? Where are the homesteads we were promised? Where is employment, bread, fraternity? I eat, I drink, I breathe. I sleep with pleasure.

Through this precious good humour I am inclined not to worry much about minor matters. Finally, I have lost that bourgeois habit that I used to have, of wanting to impress by appearances. This is quoted, for example, in the introduction to Tooze, Adam: The Deluge. Family, Work and Welfare in Europe, , Cambridge The quotation is taken from the introduction by Richard Wall and Jay Winter, p. Ambition, Love and Politics, Oxford , p. The figure he gives is 4,, Jay, Jr. Alexander Watson gives the number of Poles who served in the German armed forces as , Of these Indian recruits, between 53, and 70, died and more than 60, were wounded.

Volume I Global War, Cambridge , p. Britain, France and Germany, , Cambridge , pp.

Kriegsgefangene in der Donaumonarchie , in: Oltmer, Jochen ed. See also Jones, Heather: Prisoners of War, in: online. In London, the number dropped by more than a fifth from , in to , — London, Paris, Berlin , Cambridge , pp. France in the s, London , p. The exact figure was 2,,, or This figure represents approximately Lomas, Janis: Delicate Duties. Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, , Berkeley et al.

The typhus epidemic was short-lived, as the incidence of the disease declined over the following decade. Europe in the Twentieth Century, London , p. The Crisis of Constitutional Government, Oxford , p. See also Hassell, James E. Germany and the East, , Ithaca and London , pp. Report on the Work of the High Commission for Refugees. Jahrhundert, Frankfurt am Main , p. The Act reduced the cap further, to , per year. See Tooze, The Deluge , p.