Maintaining one’s moral code and spiritual convictions is easier when personal and societal values exist in a familiar equilibrium. That happened in America during WWI. Under General Pershing we had a million men in France by May, 1918, and four million in uniform. We also had many thousands of women working outside the home for the first time in history.
Yet, when the war ended, most of the men returned to their hometowns and most of the women to their homes. In fact, 26 states had laws prohibiting employment of married women. And a 1930’s survey showed that 82% of Americans didn’t want married women earning a salary.
WWII somersaulted Americans into an altogether different mindset. For example, of the 8 million women employed during the war, 6 million remained in the work place afterwards. Sixteen million men and women wore the colors during the war: training in multiple basis nation-wide; and sent to fight or serve on foreign soil. Afterward, millions of them followed the pioneer’s wanderlust and re-located. As a result, while mid-western towns saw a decrease in population, Pacific Coast states increased 110% between 1940-1960.
That change turned a religious, small town, America into an increasingly urban, suburban and secular America. Previously, living in hometowns; attending local schools and churches; with friends of shared common values, people more easily remained true to the lifestyle fostered by the churches. End Part I