Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Stephen Moore

Second Committee Member

Brian Carroll

Third Committee Member

Daniel Herman


This paper examines the impact of World War I and the Red Scare upon public education in Washington State. Schools, expected to be the instruments of governmental policy, played an important role in the everyday lives of people on the American homefront. Although many helped in the war effort willingly, this wartime drive included both instilling nationalism and loyalty to American political and economic institutions as well as the assimilation of immigrants. While these forces existed well before World War I and the Red Scare, they strengthened and became more publicly acceptable in 1917-1920 as more people grew convinced that these ideas were a means to protect national security, especially in Washington State where radical activity was particularly significant. These triplet forces of instilling patriotism, hunting radicals and assimilating immigrants characterized three critical school issues that affected Washington State, and indeed the nation during World War I and its aftermath. The issues, in a rough but overlapping chronological order, were opposition to the war by both teachers and students, instruction of the German language, and saluting the American flag. This intensity allowed conservative forces to express and gain support for their long-standing nativism and anti-radicalism.