Presentation on theme: "America Joins the War Why?. Background The beginning of World War I in Europe coincided with the end of the Recession of 1913-1914 in America. Exports."— Presentation transcript:
America Joins the War Why?
Background The beginning of World War I in Europe coincided with the end of the Recession of 1913-1914 in America. Exports to warring European nations rose rapidly over the first four years of the War from $824.8 million in 1913 to $2.25 billion in 1917
Background Loans from U.S. financial institutions to the Allied nations in Europe (particularly Britain and France) also increased dramatically over the same period While theoretically, loans and arms were available to all warring nations, one side was notably receiving the benefits of American help Who?
Allied PowersCentral Powers Great Britain, France, Russia, +Serbia, Italy, and many others Germany, Austria - Hungary, Ottoman Empire (Turkey), Bulgaria - Because of some favouritism (many Americans preferred this side, which was seen in financial loans provided by American financial institutions) -but also because British Royal Navy was blockading supplies to Germany
The Relevance of US Contributions Prior to 1917 From Germany’s perspective, America’s claim of neutrality was far from that. The U.S. was providing money and ammunition to the Allies long before the American troops ever left for Europe, and this advantage to their enemy frustrated them. In the United States people believed that Germany’s refusal to respect American claims to neutrality had forced the U.S. to retaliate. Lets explore the causes and trigger of the US declaration of war in more detail… We will see how these sentiments above came about and caused trouble
Causes and Trigger for American Entry into the war
Cause 1:German Submarine Warfare German U-boat: submarine changed the rules of naval warfare element of surprise - give no warning to their targets Americans felt like this was unfair and unjust Irony: Britain had set up a blockade of the seas trying to lead to the starvation of the German people (America felt like this was justifiable in wartime) HOWEVER the use of U-boats to destroy these blockades were uncivilized in the American eye. ***connect to Roosevelt speech ( q 8, 9 from homework)
Cause 2: British influence Britain had destroyed the transatlantic cable connecting Germany and US so all communication came through Britain. Information biased - but helped shape the attitudes of US in favor of Britain Exaggerate stories to try and create a stir. Common story in newspapers was that German troops would chop off the hands of Belgian babies. Of course after the war this proved to be untrue.
Cause 3: Sinking of the Lusitania: British passenger liner Germany spotted the Lusitania in the Irish Sea and suspected correctly that it was carrying weapons for the allies. fired on the liner and within 18 minutes the ship sunk with its 1,198 passengers 128 of the dead were Americans sparks start flying at home
Germany had issued a warning reminding all potential travelers that there was a war going on and to do so at your own risk. They took no blame for the incident. Wilson demanded that Germany renounce unrestricted submarine warfare and make payments to the victims survivors. Germany laughed. Wilson ordered a second stronger note - Germany says they will stop sinking ships without warning but of course they continued to do so. Wilson had just been re-elected on the promise to “keep us out of war” ( refer back to passage a from hmwk, not his election speech but it is reflective of the views he was voicing). Q: What would you do?
The Trigger(s) – Zimmerman Telegram and the Resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare by Germany
Zimmerman Telegram A telegram from Germany was intercepted on its way to Mexico by Britain and they released it to the U.S. Essentially, it was an agreement that if the U.S. decided to declare war Germany would form an immediate alliance to Mexico promising them that if they would fight Germany would recover their lost lands for them of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare In early 1917 Germany decided to resume all- out submarine warfare on all commercial ships headed toward Britain, realizing it would mean war with the U.S. publication of the Zimmerman telegram outraged American opinion just as the U- boats (submarines) started sinking American ships in the North Atlantic. Double Whammy!
Finally Wilson declares war Wilson asked Congress for "a war to end all wars" and "make the world safe for democracy," and Congress voted to declare war on April 6, 1917