‘War is Health of the State’
Howard Zinn argues that American capitalism, through international rivalry caused by the Great War, caused big breaches between the power of big business and the voice of the working class to determine the stance of participation in the war. Zinn therefore recollects numerous tactics throughout that time, such as the Espionage Act of 1917 which was, “used to imprison Americans who spoke or wrote against the war,” (Zinn, p. 67). Since many individuals did not express their acceptance of supporting the cause of WWI, many were punished or discriminated against for their reluctance to defend. Zinn also disputes the claim that industrialists and political leaders, in regards to affluence, “talked of prosperity as if it were classless,” (Zinn, p. 64). As if prosperity were the only reason to support the war, the American people were more condemned to support rather than oppose if they were to maintain their position in society; they were fighting the rich man’s war whether they liked it or not.
Zinn’s argument implies that the “classless” war was most definitely still a “class” war between industrialists vs. working class Americans. The benefit of the war, profit from labor and support to allied countries, was advantaging the people in power at the time and forcing men to contribute to a ruthless war without opposition without punishment. Given Zinn’s recitals of resistance, trials, and serving time, he argues in favor of the individuals who were under-represented in their rights to freedom of speech and declares the implemented power of authority over the people.
Zinn’s reoccurring stories of disagreement concerning the people’s outlook of the war are particularly effective in supporting his argument against industrialism and power during the Great War. Since American’s live in a current society that wholeheartedly backs the freedom of individualism and expressionism, his argument paves a direct path of progress and comparison...
Cited: Zinn, Howard. Chpt 3: "War is the Health of the State" The Twentieth Century of People 's
History. New York: Harper & Row. 61-78.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document