World War I Begins Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist on June 28, 1914. Austria-Hungary, backed by Germany, demanded that the Serbs allow them to conduct an investigation of the assassination. Serbia refused, knowing that it had the backing of Russia.
Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia July 28. Triple Alliance (Central Powers): Germany and Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire Triple Entente: Russia, France, and Britain President Wilson declared official neutrality on August 19.
German U-Boats Violate International Law 1915: Germany began using unrestricted submarine warfare to prevent supplies from reaching Great Britain The Sinking of the Lusitania Sailed from NYC to England and was attacked by a German U-boat Over 1200 died, including 128 Americans and 125 children The secret cargo, including 4200 cases of gun cartridges, went down with the ship. Wilson campaigns for US neutrality: “He kept us out of war.”
Why did the U.S. enter the war? Cultural links Few Americans were actually neutral. Economic ties Propaganda Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Events of 1917
Events of 1917 Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Zimmerman note: message from German foreign secretary to Mexico asking for an alliance Four U.S. merchant ships were sunk by the Germans Russian Revolution
The U.S. on the Homefront Espionage and Sedition Acts, 1917 Outlawed criticism of the war and the draft Fined up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in jail Violation of the 1 st Amendment “Liberty Cabbage” Selling of “Liberty Bonds”