There is No Place Like Home
The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, "I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas."
"That is because you have no brains" answered the girl.
"No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of
flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country,
be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home."
Well, I think that pretty much sums up the feeling toward America during late 1800's and early 1900's. No matter how gray or dismal the American landscape was, there was freedom! I think that is what Baum was making comparisons toward throughout the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
In the late 1800's, tensions were high. While World War I actually started in 1914, many events preceded the violence. Starting in the 1880's, European countries were making treaties and allegiances with one another. Now, does that sound a little like the four witches from Oz? The two from the North and South are considered "good" while the East and West witches were the "wicked" ones.
American patriotism during WWI soared and this was the first war we fought as a united nation after the Civil War. Many teachers infused the curriculum with American ideals, having their students learn patriotic songs such as, "Yankee Doodle," "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America."
Even though this work was published in 1900, fourteen years before the war, I can still see the beginning of Patriotism and unrest in the storyline.