Making Men Modern: Social Engineering During the Great War

TitleMaking Men Modern: Social Engineering During the Great War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsBristow, Nancy
Number of Pages298
PublisherNew York University Press
CityNew York

Anxious about the United States's pending entry into the Great War, fearful that their sons would be polluted by the scourges of prostitution, venereal disease, illicit sex, and drink that ran rampant in the training camps, and concerned that this war, like others before it, would encourage moral vice and corruption, countless Americans sent missives to their government officials. In response to this deluge, President Wilson created the Commission on Training Camp Activities to ensure the purity of the camp environment. Training camps would henceforth mold not only soldiers, but model citizens who, after the war, would return to their communities, spreading white urban middle-class values throughout the country. Fortified by temperance, abstinence, self-control, and a healthy athleticism, marginal Americans were to be transformed into truly masculine crusaders. What began as a federal program designed to eliminate venereal disease soon mushroomed into a powerful social force intent on replacing America's many cultures with a single homogeneous one.

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