A2 America 1917 to 1954

The link below will help you study the correct material and enable you to find your own resources. The scheme of work is designed for teachers to use although the timescale and order is very much one’s own choice. All topics are listed however, so students can develop and organise their own checklist for revision.
The assessment criteria in the document below is a little exhaustive. However, I would recommend printing off a copy and highlighting those comments which you think are relevant to you. You may already include some of the required analysis so things that are new may be among those highlighted.
The four areas to study are as follows;
  • The economy of the United States in the 1920’s
  • Political and social tensions, 1917-33, Ku Klux Klan; Prohibition and organized crime, immigration and the Red Scare.
  • Opposition to Roosevelt as President, 1933-45.
  • The USA, 1941-54; the impact of the war and the significance of anti-communism.

Practice Papers

USA practice paper A

USA practice paper B

USA practice paper C

Reading Lists for the USA.

There are innumerable resources on the net but students should be wary that some may link to contemporary political events. Therefore, the information available may be bias in some way. The only way to be accurate is to read from several sources. Some generic websites are listed below.

General website on U.S. history

A variety of information from a student website.

A general website about the 1920’s decade.

From USA history.

The 1920’s from a USA history website.

A detailed analysis of the decade from ‘academicamerican’.

A social studies webpage.

USA quiz.

International Relations 1919-1939.

The following websites have been suggested by a Year 13 student;

Student notes on the period 1917 to 1933. This is extremely detailed, quite a lot of it probably not needed,a lot of facts though and statistics for employment and the boom, and reasons and evidence for the boom, however the presentation is huge! If you keep scrolling past the economy stuff it starts on the social aspect of America, even just as a first glimpse it looks amazing, very detailed, for example breaking up reasons why there was hostility towards immigrants, and mentioning events, really helpful! But at the same time a lot of information you need to look through, to see what is relevant. However, I would def. recommend even printing it off and giving it to the year 12s and getting them to read over it and highlighting points, it has everything from what I can see.

The USA from 1919 to 1941. Boom and Bust and Recovery, simplified bullet points some details about American socially during the Boom but not much.

Summaries of topics within the period 1920 to the New Deal  To be honest this is quite boring to read, not sure how helpful it is, it gives some information on policies and that, but it has more of the business side of America, so not sure how useful it will be, but figured you would be the better judge

  • The economy of the United States in the 1920’s

The key question here is whether America really was the ‘Roaring Twenties?’ America’s economy in the 1920’s performed well. There are several graphs in the link below which point to this. The first, which shows the increase in individual incomes over the decade, is perhaps the best illustration of this. However, the rise per capita, (for each person), is an average figure. Obviously, there are winners and losers in the decade so can it be called ‘Roaring’?

An encyclopedic entry of the US economy.A useful, easy to understand, analysis of the economy in the 1920’s.

A short essay analysing the shortcomings of the 1920’s.

Remember to use the general websites as well as these all refer to the economy.

  • Political and social tensions, 1917-33, Ku Klux Klan; Prohibition and organized crime, immigration and the Red Scare.

The Ku Klux Klan

The remainder of the series is on YouTube.

The KKK from spartacus.schoolnet
The KKK’s own perspective of history.

Prohibition and Organised Crime

A typical question for this topic can be;

Why did Prohibition fail as a social experiment?

Did Prohibition actually fail or were there long-term successes?

An article on why Prohibition failed.

Organised crime in the 1920’s.

Organised crime from Sky Minds.

An essay on the topic from Free Essays.

Red Scare

Questions on the Red Scare and McCarthyism.

An article from the Socialist Worker on the Red Scare.

Short article from Knowledge Rush on the Red Scare and McCarthyism.

The Red Scare from a US history website.


An Alice Paul website.

An entry from a North Carolina encyclopedia.

1929 – 1940

A variety of articles and worksheets.

  • Opposition to Roosevelt as President, 1933-45.

The New Deal

Was Roosevelt’s New Deal similar to Obama’s current economic policy? Is the opposition similar to Roosevelt’s? Currently the U.S. is said to be coming out of recession. How much is this due to Obama’s policies and do you think the ‘recovery’ will last?

Useful academic information for students studying the New Deal.

Documents and articles from the British Archive.

  • The USA, 1941-54; the impact of the war and the significance of anti-communism.

USA and the Second World War

Wikipedia page

How did the war affect the economy?

General website about the effects of the war

The U.S. economy and the Second World War

A word document from a school website. Easy to Use.

A brief analysis of the economy from Learn History.

A detailed paper from the Economic History Review. More for undergraduates but very useful.

The Smith Act Trials


A summary of 1950’s AmericaWomen’s role in society in 1950’s America


McCarthyism from Spartacus Educational

How stuff works – McCarthyism.

How McCarthyism affected America?


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