The American Way: A Geographical History of Crisis and Recovery

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Publisher Lexington Books. Imprint Lexington Books. Language English. Pages File size 5. This compares to about 9. Scarce groundwater supplies also are being used for energy. A recent study from CERES, an organization that advocates sustainable business practices, indicated that competition for water by hydraulic fracturing—a water-intensive drilling process for oil and gas known as "fracking"—already occurs in dry regions of the United States.

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The February report said that more than half of all fracking wells in the U. Satellites have allowed us to more accurately understand groundwater supplies and depletion rates. GRACE has given us an improved picture of groundwater worldwide, revealing how supplies are shrinking in several regions vulnerable to drought: northern India , the North China Plain, and the Middle East among them.

As drought worsens groundwater depletion, water supplies for people and farming shrink , and this scarcity can set the table for social unrest. Saudi Arabia, which a few decades ago began pumping deep underground aquifers to grow wheat in the desert, has since abandoned the plan, in order to conserve what groundwater supplies remain, relying instead on imported wheat to feed the people of this arid land.

Managing and conserving groundwater supplies becomes an urgent challenge as drought depletes our surface supplies. Because groundwater is a common resource —available to anyone with well—drilling equipment-cooperation and collaboration will be crucial as we try to protect this shrinking line of defense against a future of water scarcity.

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Dennis Dimick grew up on a hilly Oregon farm named Spring Hill, where groundwater from a spring provided his family's—and the farm's—water supply. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram , and flickr. The National Geographic Society supports a project to restore freshwater ecosystems.

You can find out more about Change the Course here , and how by pledging to reduce your own water footprint you can restore 1, gallons of water to the Colorado River. When it's gone, the real crisis begins. By Dennis Dimick , National Geographic. To learn more about global water wars, watch Parched.

Photograph by Peter Essick, National Geographic. The Ogallala Aquifer supplies the water for center-pivot irrigation on farms in western Kansas. Continue Reading. He was talking, rather, about those farmers and immigrants and African Americans who had long languished on the margins of American life and whom he hoped to usher into its main stream. One test of the logic of this argument might be to ask: If FDR had somehow found the solution to the Depression by, say, the end of the fabled but in the last analysis scarcely consequential Hundred Days in , would there have been a New Deal as we know it?

Save only FDIC, all the reforms mentioned above date from and thereafter.

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If the economy had been immediately restored to full health, it is at least arguable that business as usual would have meant politics as usual, and the United States would have missed what FDR called its "Rendezvous with Destiny"—that is, its chance to tame at last the volatile and destructive demon of no-holds-barred industrial capitalism whose unchecked gyrations had ravaged lives—and fortunes—for nearly a century before the s. The world the American people had tried to exclude after the First World War could not forever be kept at bay.

Adolf Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt came to power within weeks of one another. Hitler was installed as the German chancellor on January 30, ; Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States just thirty-three days later, on March 4. The challenges of the Great Depression and the accomplishments and shortcomings of the New Deal, and of FDR, cannot be understood outside of that framework. The Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, , brought the United States into the war as a formal belligerent—more than two years after the war had begun with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, Yet while it has become a commonplace to note that the Pearl Harbor attack dramatically extinguished American isolationism, the fact is that traditional isolationist sentiment was by that time already markedly diminished—and that anxieties about its possible revival animated American leaders throughout the conflict and well into the postwar period.

At the outset of his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt had not challenged the isolationist mood of his countrymen, declaring in his first Inaugural Address that "our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in point of time and necessity secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. He chafed increasingly under the restrictions of the several "Neutrality Laws" that Congress passed between and , and succeeded at last in securing passage of the Lend-Lease Act in March , committing the vast economic resources of the United States to the war against the so-called Axis Powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Hitler, correctly, deemed the Lend-Lease Act tantamount to a declaration of war. With some qualifications, the "arsenal of democracy" concept remained at the core of American grand strategy throughout the war.

ISBN 13: 9780739172490

To be sure, the United States took nearly sixteen million men and several thousand women into uniform, fielded a ninety-division ground force, floated a two-ocean navy, built a gigantic strategic bomber fleet, and suffered , military deaths. Yet the greatest American contribution to the war effort was neither manpower nor heroism, but cash and weapons. As the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin cynically but accurately observed, the United States adhered to a policy of fighting with American money, and American machines, and Russian men. In a war with the dubious historical distinction that it inflicted more civilian than military deaths, the American toll of civilian deaths attributable to enemy action in the forty-eight continental states was six—a young woman and five schoolchildren killed together by a crude Japanese balloon-borne fire bomb that exploded in south-central Oregon on May 5, Thus if the response to the question "who won World War II?

Yet if one means which country most benefited from victory, the equally unambiguous answer is the United States. Not only were American war deaths, proportionate to population, about one-sixtieth those in the Soviet Union, and one-fourth those in Great Britain, but among all the major belligerents, the United States alone managed to grow its civilian economy even while producing prodigious quantities of armaments and other supplies for itself and its allies.

The civilian economies of both the Soviet Union and Great Britain shrank by nearly one-third during war time. In the United States civilian consumption expanded by nearly 15 percent. The war forever banished the Depression and ignited the economic after-burners that propelled the American economy to unprecedented heights of prosperity in the postwar decades.

How did the Americans manage to fight a war so different from the war that so horribly punished so many other peoples? Geography—or, more precisely, the conjunction of geography with the technologies available in the mid-twentieth century—is surely part of the answer. The much-debated "unconditional surrender" formula that FDR announced at Casablanca in January was primarily intended to reassure the Soviets that the Americans and British, too, were committed to seeing the war through to the extinction of the Nazi regime, which eventually came on May 8, The war against Japan, originally conceived as a purely defensive affair to hold the Japanese at bay in the mid-Pacific until Germany was defeated, took an unexpected turn in June when the Imperial Japanese Navy lost four aircraft carriers at the Battle of Midway.

Though the war against Germany still had the higher priority, the door now opened for American offensive actions in the Pacific. US forces relentlessly closed in on the Japanese home islands, culminating in months of intensive firebombing raids against Japan and ultimately the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August , which clinched the Japanese decision to surrender. In that same month Winston Churchill declared that the triumphantly victorious United States, restored to economic health, flush with energy, morally and politically self-confident, stood "at the summit of the world.

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