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The Anti-Saloon League, for example, was bitterly divided. Some members sought stricter enforcement laws, believing the League should actually be given power over appointment of ofﬁcers. Others emphasised education programmes to deter people from drinking in the ﬁrst place. (7) Role of government Some historians have argued that Congress did not do more to enforce Prohibition because it did not want to alienate rich and inﬂuential voters who enjoyed a drink. In addition, this was a period of a reduced role by federal government and most state governments were, at best, lukewarm in enforcement, particularly where cost was concerned.
There was a march and rally in New York City, a parade in Baltimore, and a resolution against taking away the working man’s beer by the American Federation of Labor. Other than this, there was little protest. 36 | Prosperity, Depression and the New Deal Crime and gangsterism The failure of Prohibition The Anti-Saloon League (an organisation which supported Prohibition) estimated a $5 million budget would be enough to enforce it successfully. In the event, Kramer was given $2 million. Although Kramer insisted his department would ensure alcohol would be neither manufactured nor sold in the USA, Prohibition was to be a classic case of a law being passed that was impossible to enforce.
In 1925, Torrio retired to Italy after being shot. Capone took control of all Torrio’s business. Vicious ‘turf wars’ took place to gain control of more territory. Capone was very skilled at having rivals killed. Hitmen would rent an apartment near to a victim’s house and kill him when he ventured out. Capone was arrested for three murders in 1926 but was released because everyone was afraid to testify against him. Because of attempts on his own life he moved to Florida in 1928. The following year he had seven members of a rival gang killed in the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.