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  Many Americans wanted to remain isolated from European conflicts  War not in best interests of America  Panama Canal completed in 1914 – one week.

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Presentation on theme: "  Many Americans wanted to remain isolated from European conflicts  War not in best interests of America  Panama Canal completed in 1914 – one week."— Presentation transcript:

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2   Many Americans wanted to remain isolated from European conflicts  War not in best interests of America  Panama Canal completed in 1914 – one week before war breaks out in Europe  The war is in… Europe  Atlantic a barrier of protection from Eur. probs. U.S. Neutrality

3   Woodrow Wilson – a neutral U.S. could arrange a fair peace agreement in Europe (Washington & Jefferson Tradition)  Campaigned for 1916 election on slogan: “He kept us out of war” (wins, but a close election) U.S. Neutrality

4   President Wilson’s beliefs:  U.S. will lead nations toward peaceful world: free trade, capitalism, democracy, open diplomacy, fewer arms, no empires  U.S. “destiny” to save the world U.S. Neutrality

5   Shock – why are “civilized” nations going to war?  Glad Atlantic offered “barrier” of protection (no danger of being drawn in)  Sympathetic – ethnic groups  1/3 of America = “hyphenated Americans” (recent immigrants still had ties to home)  “Old-Line” Americans supported Allied Power/Triple Entente (British Heritage)  Government leadership definitely supported Allied Powers U.S. Reactions to War

6   Pre-War Policy  U.S. had right to trade with the warring nations  Warring nations should respect U.S. neutrality  “Freedom of the Seas” Threats to Neutrality

7   U.S. continued to trade w/ Europe  Wilson allowed banks (JP Morgan, etc.) to extend credit (loans) to Triple Entente to maintain trade  *WWI transforms US from debtor to creditor nation*  U.S. traded more w/ Britain & France (so not strictly neutral…)  $2 bil in credit to Allied before armistice, only $27 mil to Germany Threats to Neutrality

8   Between , trade w/ Allied Powers quadrupled  Trade w/ Allies grows from $825 mil in 1914 to $3.2 bil in 1916  Trade w/ Central Powers goes from $70 mil in 1914 to $1.3 mil in 1916 Threats to Neutrality

9   Britain was blockading Ger.  No supplies, no sunken ships  Britain violates U.S. neutrality by seizing U.S. cargo bound for Germany (takes property)  Germany tries to stop U.S. trade w/ Britain via submarines (takes lives)  Wilson demands Germany comply w/ international law Threats to Neutrality

10   Jan 1917 – Germany attempts full sub war (wants to defeat Triple Entente before US entry)  Wilson breaks off U.S. diplomatic relations w/ Germany  1 st weeks of March, German U-Boats sink 5 unarmed U.S. merchant ships Threats to Neutrality

11   May 7, 1915 – Br. passenger ship Lusitania sinks (128 Americans die)  Aug 1915 – U-boats sink passenger ship Arabic (2 Americans die)  March 1916 – French merchant ship Sussex sunk, several Americans injured  Wilson threatens to break off diplomatic relations  Sussex Pledge – Germany promises not to attack merchant or passenger ships (w/o warning)  Until 1917 Sidebar: Sunken Ships

12   The Zimmerman Telegram  March : Newspapers print telegram  German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman proposed Mexico ally w/ Germany against U.S.  Would get German help reclaiming TX, NM, & AZ Threats to Neutrality

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14   1917 – Bolsheviks overthrow the Russian Tsar  Wilson believed revolution would end monarchy, bring democracy to Russia  w/o Tsar, easier for Wilson to support Allied Powers  “keeping the world safe for democracy ” Russian Revolution

15   April 2 nd 1917 – Wilson calls special session of Congress  Speech:  Condemned Germany’s unrestricted sub warfare “warfare against mankind”  Declared “the world must be made safe for democracy”  April 6 th 1917 – Congress votes for a declaration of war U.S. Enters the War


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