To what extent did organised crime and "The Mafia" cause Prohibition in the USA, 1919 to 1933, to fail?
When answering this question, it is important to define the terms within it, specifically "The Mafia." American history is inseparable with the role of the gangster and the mafia and its notoriety grew immensely during the time period. It was largely due to the Prohibition Laws that enabled them to get such a strong grip on society. Even after the amendment was repealed, they had established themselves within American life and culture and simply moved on into gambling, prostitution and "security," all aspects that we associate the mafia with today.
During the First World War, the government had placed a temporary ban on alcohol. It was seen as though alcohol, which was largely brewed by German companies, was inappropriate and led to social problems. It was also seen as using up vital crops that could help the war effort and many business leaders, John D. Rockefeller in particular, believed that workers would be more industrious if alcohol was removed from society. And so, in 1919, through the 18th Amendment to the Constitution,
"…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…is hereby prohibited.1"
The Volstead Act, which was passed by Congress in 1919, gave the amendment a law and so could be enforced judicially. It copied the amendment, prohibiting the manufacture, transportation and sale of beverages containing more than 0.5 per cent alcohol. However, by 1933, prohibition had been repealed by the passing of the 21st amendment to the constitution.
The period that saw this huge political and social change within society, the 1920's, was a difficult period for the USA and also the World. Many place the Great depression, caused by the Wall Street Crash in 1929 as a contributing factor to the repeal of prohibition. Many suggested that if…