Flags of the United States: Twenty-Fifth U.S. Flag, July 4, 1912
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Flags of the United States: Twenty-Fifth U.S. Flag, July 4, 1912


By Jon R. Warren

On July 4, 1912, the forty-eight star flag was raised to honor the admission of New Mexico and Arizona into the Union. For the first time, specifications for proportions and arrangement of stars were issued for a non-military American flag. A prior investigation ha shown that sixty-six different proportions were being used by the Federal government. President Taft's executive orders, issued on June 24 and October 29, 1912, allowed for only twelve different sizes, with uniform proportions and a fixed pattern for the stars.

The forty-eight star flag served for forty-seven years, the longest period of any American flag to date. Under it the United States, already a large and prosperous nation, became a world power. The American flag became a symbol known all over the globe.

With the exception of the Barbary Wars, America's entry into World War l was its first direct intervention in Europe. President Woodrow Wilson played a key role in arranging the peace after 1918. He helped set up the League of Nations, an organization whose basic concern was to prevent future wars. However Congress rejected American participation in the League, and it soon became ineffective without the support of the United States.

The post-war boom brought overproduction and ultimately led to the stock market crash of 1929. The subsequent world-wide depression of the 1930s was blamed on the policies of the Republicans who were in power, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Democrat, was elected President. He introduced monumental and sweeping changes into government policies. The very concept of government was changed in this period.

While America was shaking off the effects of the depression World War ll was breaking out in Europe. Although the United States maintained nominal neutrality, armaments and munitions were sent to Britain. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, America entered the war. Almost five years of fighting followed until Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. In the Pacific Theater, United States Marines raised the forty-eight star flag over Mt.Suribachi on lwo Jima, as shown in the illustration. A bronze plaque showing an American flag still marks the spot. The Japanese signed terms of surrender, aboard the battleship Missouri in September 1945 after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The development of atomic weapons made it imperative to form a global peace-keeping agency, and the United States sponsored and joined the United Nations. Russia, under Communist government since 1917, soon acquired atomic weaponry, and the new super-powers, Russia ans the United States, entered into a phase of competition known as the "Cold war". In 1950, as a member of the United Nations, the United States was drawn into combat again during the Korean War. The fighting ended with an armistice in 1953.

During the 1950s consideration was given to the admission of Alaska to the Union. The vast area, the largest of all American possessions, was finally admitted as the forty -ninth state on January 3, 1959.

This article has been read 5086 times. Last read on 2/28/2021 10:51:40 AM

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