Walsh, pp. 194-5;
SHP, pp. 36-9;
Edexcel, pp. 180-183.
The key changes can be summed up in the mnemonic POWER:
- Organised Crime
- Women’s lives
- Entertainment revolution
- Race relations
The contemporary songwriter ‘Hoagy’ Carmichael said that the 1920s ‘came in with a bang of bad booze, flappers with bare legs, jungled morals and wild weekends.’
This was the generation of ‘fads’ and ‘crazes’. Some of the fads are still with us – e.g. Crosswords, the Chinese game Mahjong. ‘Crazes’ involved marathon contests such as non-stop dancing, kissing, talking, laughing, eating and drinking. Extremists were celebrated. Alvin Shipwreck Kelly sat on top of a flag pole for 13 hours and 13 minutes. By 1929 the record had extended to 49 days! In 1927 Charles Lindbergh became the hero of the day for flying non-stop from New York to Paris in his plane The Spirit of St Louis – a flight which took 33 and 1/2 hours – without a radio or a parachute (6 persons had died previously making the attempt)! In 1928 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic (in 20 hours and 40 minutes).
For a quick but detailed (and quite excellent) overview of the 1920s, try John Green’s CrashCourse history:
An overview with contemporary footage: