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The United States Goes to War

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1 The United States Goes to War
Chapter 12 Section 2 The United States Goes to War

2 U.S. Neutrality President Woodrow Wilson announced a policy of neutrality concerning the war in Europe Due to the high population of immigrants as well as the British propaganda campaign most Americans sympathized the Allied cause Despite the policy of neutrality the U.S. was not unaffected by the war. {Early in the war the British blockaded Germany and laid mines in the North Sea.} Their navy stopped U.S. ships bound for neutral territory and searched their cargos looking for goods that might be destined for Germany. Wilson protested this violation of U.S. neutrality

3 Continued…. In 1915, Germany responded to the blockades by establishing a “war zone” {around Britain. ANY ship entering this zone was subject to attack by U-boats}, or German submarines. On May 7th 1915, a U-Boat torpedoed the British passenger liner called the Lusitania. The dead included 128 Americans. America was outraged Germany pointed out that they warned Americans against sailing into the war zone They also charged that the liner was transporting arms for the British-which later proved to be true

4 German U-Boat

5 The Sinking of the Lusitania

6 Wilson’s Actions Criticized
In August 1915, the Germans sunk another British liner, the Arabic, killing two Americans, and the French passenger vessel the Sussex injuring several more Wilson threatened to cut ties to Germany if it did not stop its unrestricted submarine warfare Germany responded with the {Sussex pledge in which the German government promised not to sink any passenger ships without warning} Reactions to Wilson’s response were mixed. Some believed he did not act strongly enough to German aggression. Where as some accused him of abandoning neutrality because {even before the U.S. entered the war it supplied war materials to the Allies}

7 Preparedness and Peace
In 1916, Wilson instated a military “preparedness” program. In which Congress passed the National Defense Act increasing the number of soldiers in the army from 90,000 to 175,000 with an ultimate goal of 223,000. The National Guard and the Navy increased as well Wilson won reelection, stating that he had not abandoned neutrality and had kept the U.S. out of the war After the election Wilson tried to negotiate a settlement to the war, but once again the warring nations rejected Wilson’s efforts to mediate

8 Diplomatic Relations Broken
On Feb. 1st 1917, Germany resumed the U-Boat attacks hoping that their boats would destroy Allied fleets before the U.S. could get involved. Wilson broke off diplomatic relations with the Central Powers and armed all merchant ships that sailed into the war zone Nonetheless Germany sank 5 American ships On March 1, 1917, Americans published an intercepted cable from German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmermann to the German minister in Mexico {The Zimmermann Note proposed a Mexican alliance with Germany in exchange for Germany’s help to “reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona”} On April 2, 1917 the president asked Congress for a declaration of war {The Senate declared war on April 4, 1917}


10 Recruiting an Army May 18, 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service Act. It required men from ages 21 to 30 to register with the local draft. It was later changed to 18 to 45. In the war, of the 4.8 million men who served, over half were draftees {African Americans, American Indians and Mexican Americans often faced discrimination and segregation in the armed forces} Training and medical examinations of the soldiers were completed in record time even without enough uniforms or equipment for all the troops.


12 Over There {Under the command of General John J. Pershing the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which included the army, National Guard, draftees and volunteers, reached France in June 1917.} On July 4, 1917 thousands of “Yanks” marched through Paris, France with huge crowds cheering them on U.S. troops kept coming in droves over the next several weeks. Troops did not actually begin fighting until 1918. Some 10,000 American women worked in army hospitals, and thousands more went to Europe as volunteers for the Red Cross and other agencies

13 The Red Cross in WWI

14 Continued…. Escorted by U.S. warships, merchant vessels transported troops, supplies and volunteers through the submarine infested North Atlantic in an effective convoy system Of the more than 2 million U.S. soldiers who crossed the Atlantic, not one died as a result of enemy attack U.S. warships patrolled the U.S. coastline, and laid more than 60,000 miles of mines in a 240 mile line across the North Sea creating a barrier against German U-Boats

15 Review Questions Early in the war the British _________ Germany and laid mines in the North Sea ANY ship entering the “war zone” around Britain was subject to attack by German what? What was the German governments promised not to sink any passenger ships without warning even before the U.S. entered the war it supplied war materials to which side? What proposed a Mexican alliance with Germany in exchange for Germany’s help to reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona

16 Sill recovering and removing underwater mines

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