Exam preparation materials

CULTURE IN THE 1920s

Vast numbers of Americans were attracted to the culture of business that so permeated American life in the 1920s. It was possible, it was felt, that an individual could start with nothing and become a millionaire (a few buying land in Florida and elsewhere did exactly that). It is no surprise that individual heroes were worshipped in the press, on the radio, and on street corners. Sports heroes such as Babe Ruth were perceived as hardly mortal (members of the press had to cover up the excesses found in the personal lives of Ruth and many other heroes). Newspapers delighted in reporting incidents such as those involving Ruth visiting children’s hospitals and promising countless home runs for sick children.

Other heroes of the decade included other athletes, such as boxer Jack Dempsey and movie stars Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Clara Bow, and Mary Pickford. No hero, however, was lionized more than Charles Lindbergh after he became the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean by himself in 1927. Incredible numbers of songs and newspaper headlines were devoted to Lindbergh for several years after this historic flight.

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