US attempted to stay neutral and Wilson encouraged neutrality. However in 1914 1/3 rd of Americans were foreign born. Many of these individuals supported their home countries though most sided with Britain and France. 3 positions on war: 1) Isolationists - believed it was none of America’s business. 2) Interventionists - felt US should intervene 3) Internationalists - believed US should play a role and work towards peace but not enter the war.
11 million German-Americans Irish-Americans hated Great Britain Close cultural ties Big business loaned much $ to allies US Exports to both sides:
Wilson had promised the American people neutrality in his election campaign. BUT, 128 American civilians had been killed on the Lusitania. The Allied nations were quickly sinking themselves. Debt Loss of soldiers Lack of supplies
Blockades Blockade- a war measure that isolates some area of importance to the enemy Germany attempted to block British ships carrying supplies in an attempt to starve out the British Isles Often called “starvation blockades” Germany announced a submarine war around Britain. In May, 1915 Germany told Americans to stay off of British ships They could/would sink them
Britain and France nearly bankrupt Common language, and TRADE were huge influences. Allied Pressure Petrograd, 4 July 1917. Street demonstration on Nevsky Prospekt just after troops of the Provisional Government have opened fire with machine guns.
Lusitania - a British passenger ship. It was torpedoed, sinking with 1200 passengers and crew (including 128 Americans) Was eventually found to be carrying 4200 cases of ammunition Lusitania
S USSEX P LEDGE On March 24 th, 1916 a German sub attacked another British passenger ship called the Sussex. It didn’t sink, but 50 people were killed and American people were injured. Wilson gave Germany an ultimatum. Germany replied quickly with this pledge. Germany promised the US that they would end their unrestricted submarine warfare.
Unlimited Submarine Warfare 1917 Germany announced “unlimited submarine warfare” in the war zone
Zimmerman Note British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from the German Foreign minister, Zimmerman to Mexico. It promised Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona back in return for an alliance Zimmerman Note + the sinking of 4 unarmed American ships led to a declaration of war by the United States
“… A WAR TO MAKE THE WORLD SAFE, FOR D EMOCRACY ” “We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.” President Woodrow Wilson, 1917 Asking the Congress of the United States for a Declaration of War against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy)
“T HE A MERICAN E XPEDITIONARY F ORCE ” America’s Army had to be built from scratch. Only the USMC had real combat experience -and then only in “ Small Wars” against poorly armed guerillas. Minimal training turned civilians into officers, NCO’s and “Doughboys” AEF 4 million Overseas 2 million 126,000 Dead 234,000 Wounded A modern military force by 1918 with advanced logistics, tanks, bombers and artillery.
A MERICA M OBILIZES FOR W AR US Army was originally a fraction of the size of European armies. Wilson encouraged Americans to volunteer and pushed congress to pass “Selective Services Act” Passed in 1917 Authorized a draft of young men for military service in Europe. 9.6 million registered for the draft and were assigned a number. Gov’t held a “great national lottery” to decide the order in which the draftees would be called into service. Over the course of war 24 million registered 2.8 actually drafted. 4 million total served including volunteers.
1. American economic goods 2. America's democratic political structure 3. America's blend of morality and Christianity W ILSON B ELIEVED THE A MERICAN SYSTEM WOULD SAVE THE WORLD
“It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war... But the right is more precious then peace and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried in our hearts. “ - Wilson
O PPOSITION TO THE WAR German Americans and Irish Americans opposed the allies Sometimes treated with prejudice Draft created controversy Some refused and often court-martialed and imprisoned. 12% of men who received draft notices didn’t respond.
C ONSCIENTIOUS O BJECTORS Moral or religious beliefs forbid them to fight in wars. Exempted from combat “any well recognized religious sect or organization… whose existing creed or principles forbid its members to participate in war.”
T HE A RMISTICE The Central Powers began to collapse. The German military had weakened. In July 1918, with fresh troops from the US, the Allies and the Germans battled again at the Second Battle of the Marne. In October, revolution swept through Austria-Hungary. In Germany, soldiers mutinied and the public turned on the Kaiser. On November 11, a new representative of Germany signed an armistice with the French Commander. Armistice- an agreement to stop fighting.