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Wartime Catalyst: Patriotism, Nationalism, and Isolationism in the Making of the US Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry, 1910-1930

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Abstract:

During World War I, the United States faced severe shortages in synthetic dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, and high explosives—chemicals manufactured almost entirely in Germany prior to 1914. In the xenophobic, charged atmosphere during and after the war, American industrialists and government officials attempted to foster the growth of a domestic industry through policies that included protectionism, war mobilization, and confiscation of German chemical property in the United States. In Germany, the Americans found their wartime enemy, an imposing economic rival, and a model of a successful industry to emulate.

Because Germany was so closely identified with synthetic organic chemicals, Americans working to build a domestic industry portrayed their efforts as patriotic, and the infant domestic industry received unusual political support. While creating a fertile economy for developing the industry, however, the policies could do little to help American manufacturers and scientists overcome the Germans’ 40-year accumulation of technical know-how and expertise. This story shows the struggles of a nation with an underdeveloped economic sector trying to catch up with a nation with a powerful head start in this “high tech” sector of the late 1800s and early 1900s. One also sees in this story the deliberate steps American policymakers took to break the pre-war global network in synthetic dyes and pharmaceuticals; they consciously embraced autarky and isolationism as they faced the postwar world.
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Name: American Historical Association
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http://www.historians.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p24044_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Steen, Kathryn. "Wartime Catalyst: Patriotism, Nationalism, and Isolationism in the Making of the US Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry, 1910-1930" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p24044_index.html>

APA Citation:

Steen, K. "Wartime Catalyst: Patriotism, Nationalism, and Isolationism in the Making of the US Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry, 1910-1930" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p24044_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Abstract: During World War I, the United States faced severe shortages in synthetic dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals, and high explosives—chemicals manufactured almost entirely in Germany prior to 1914. In the xenophobic, charged atmosphere during and after the war, American industrialists and government officials attempted to foster the growth of a domestic industry through policies that included protectionism, war mobilization, and confiscation of German chemical property in the United States. In Germany, the Americans found their wartime enemy, an imposing economic rival, and a model of a successful industry to emulate.

Because Germany was so closely identified with synthetic organic chemicals, Americans working to build a domestic industry portrayed their efforts as patriotic, and the infant domestic industry received unusual political support. While creating a fertile economy for developing the industry, however, the policies could do little to help American manufacturers and scientists overcome the Germans’ 40-year accumulation of technical know-how and expertise. This story shows the struggles of a nation with an underdeveloped economic sector trying to catch up with a nation with a powerful head start in this “high tech” sector of the late 1800s and early 1900s. One also sees in this story the deliberate steps American policymakers took to break the pre-war global network in synthetic dyes and pharmaceuticals; they consciously embraced autarky and isolationism as they faced the postwar world.

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