American History Vocabulary Words

Treaty of Versailles
in 1919, a treaty ending World War I that required Germany to pay huge war reparations and established the League of Nations.
Big Four
name given to the leaders of the Allied Powers who dominated the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.
Fourteen Points
President Woodrow Wilson organizing post-World War I Europe and for avoiding future wars.
Liberty Bonds
bonds that American citizens bought that helped to pay for the costs of World War I.
Selective Service Act
In 1921, an act which required men between the ages of 21 and 30 to register to be drafted into the armed forces.
Sussex Pledge
a pledge Germany issued which included a promise not to sink merchant vessels “without warning and without saving human lives”.
U-Boats
small submarines named after the German word, unterserboot, which means “undersea boat”.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand
King of Austria-Hungary who was assassinated by a Serb nationalist that started World War I.
Red Scare
widespread fear of communism.
Alien
citizen of another country living in the United States.
Deportation
being sent back to one’s country of origin.
Productivity
the amount of product made by a worker or machine.
Credit
a system of borrowing money from banks to make purchases, and then paying it back later with interest.
Teapot Dome
a federally owned piece of land in Wyoming; it was the center of a government scandal in 1921 when President Harding’s Secretary of the Interior accepted bribes in return for allowing oil companies to drill for oil there in 1921.
Charles A. Lindbergh
first man to do the first transatlantic flight.
Bootlegger
people who smuggle liquor during Prohibition.
Harlem Renaissance
a blossoming of African American art and literature that began in the 1930s.
Roaring Twenties
a nickname for the 1920s.
Great Depression
the most serve economic downturn in the history of the United States from 1929-1930s.
Hooverville
makeshift shantytowns that sprung up during the Great Depression; named for President Hoover.
Federal Reserve System
the nation’s central bank.
Drought
a period of very dry weather.
Dust Bowl
a nickname for the Great Plains regions hit by drought and dust storms in the early 1930s.
Black Tuesday
Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day that the stock market crashed.
Buying On Margin
buying stocks with loans form brokers.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
the 32nd president of the United States. He was president from 1933 until his death in 1945 during both the Great Depression and World War II. He is the only president to have been elected 4 times, a feat no longer permissible due to the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.
Incumbent
the person who currently holds a public office.
Fireside Chat
conversational radio addresses given by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
New Deal
a plan by President Franklin Roosevelt intended to bring economic relief, recovery, and reforms to the country after the Great Depression.
Minimum Wage
the lowest wage an employer can legally pay a worker.
Francisco Franco
Fascist leader of the Spanish revolution, helped by Hitler and Mussolini
Blitzkrieg
a German word meaning “lighting war”.
Fascism
a system of government that focusses on the good of the state rather on the individual citizens.
Luftwaffe
German air force.
Manhattan Project
the top-secret program to build an atomic bomb during World War II.
Axis Powers
the alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan in World War II.
Benito Mussolini
Fascist dictator of Italy (1922-1943). He led Italy to conquer Ethiopia (1935), joined Germany in the Axis pact (1936), and allied Italy with Germany in World War II. He was overthrown in 1943 when the Allies invaded Italy.
Appeasement
giving in to the demands of uncompromising powers to avoid war.
Adolph Hitler
Totalitarian dictator of Germany; his aggressive invasion of European countries lead to World War II. He believed in the supremacy of the German Aryan race and was responsible for the mass murder of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust.
Winston Churchill
Prime Minister of Great Britain during WWII
Joseph Stalin
Communist dictator of the Soviet Union
Kristallnacht
in 1938, a German word for broken glass; an event occurring on the nights of November 9 and 10 during Hitler’s Nazis encouraged Germans to riot against Jews, and nearly 100 Jews died.
Concentration Camp
a detention site created for military or political purposes to confine, terrorize, and in some cases, kill civilians.
Tuskegee Airmen
unit of African American pilots that fought in World War II; the first African Americans to receive training as pilots in the United States military.
Ghetto
an area where people from a specific ethic background live as a group.
Operation Overload
in 1944, the codename for the Allied invasion of mainland Europe in World War II starting with D-Day’s landings.
Yalta Conference
a meeting on n1945, between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin.
Cold War
an era of high tension and bitter rivalry known between the United States and the Soviet union following the end of World War II.
Baby Boom
a dramatic rise in the birthrate following World War II.
Containment
policy that the United States adopted in the late 1940s to stop the spread of communism; it involved providing economic aid in order to strengthen countries against the Soviets.
Fair Deal
plan proposed by President Truman that included a number of programs in the tradition of the New Deal; few of the fair deal ideas ever became law.
Truman Doctrine
1947, president’s Truman pledge to provide economic and military aid to countries threatened by communism.
GI Bill
Act, 1944, that helped veterans make a smooth entry into civilian life by providing money for attending college or advanced job trainings.
International Monetary Fund
organization designed to encourage economic policies that promoted international trade.
Marshall Plan
a plan, 1947, for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II announced by the United States Secretary of State George C. Marshall.
McCarthyism
the name critics gave to Joseph McCarthy’s tactic of spreading fear and making baseless charges.

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