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WWI and America’s Involvement. Causes of WWI Militarism and Rivalries Germany was formed in the late 1800s and quickly grew to become one of the most.

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Presentation on theme: "WWI and America’s Involvement. Causes of WWI Militarism and Rivalries Germany was formed in the late 1800s and quickly grew to become one of the most."— Presentation transcript:

1 WWI and America’s Involvement

2 Causes of WWI Militarism and Rivalries Germany was formed in the late 1800s and quickly grew to become one of the most industrial and powerful nations in the world. They even invaded their neighbor, France, and forced the French to give up territory.

3 Germany knew that their actions may have consequences. In order to protect themselves, the Germans made a military alliance with Italy and Austria-Hungary called the Triple Alliance. The Triple Alliance


5 The Russians were also competing with Austria-Hungary in South East Europe (the Balkan Nations and the Ottoman Empire). Russia, another German neighbor, became concerned that Germany might attack and try to take Russian territory. Russia Becomes Concerned

6 Realizing that Germany and the Triple Alliance was a common threat, the Russians and the French signed the Franco-Russian Alliance (1894). Both nations promised to aid each other if attacked by the Triple Alliance.

7 In 1907, the United Kingdom joined France and Russia to form an even larger alliance called the Triple Entente. Other nations, such as Portugal and Japan also supported this alliance. “Agreement”: Russian propaganda poster showing the UK and France looking to Russia for help The Triple Entente


9 These alliances fed feelings of intense nationalism in Europe. The build up of military strength is referred to as militarism. The alliance system put Europe on a course for war. Some agreements were made in secret. European nations could not trust each other.

10 The war began on July 28 th, 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. In response, Austria-Hungary demanded that the Kingdom of Serbia take responsibility.

11 This may have been a relatively small event in history, but the alliance system soon brought all of the major European powers to war.

12 The Triple Alliance and their allies were called the Central Powers, and the Triple Entente and its allies were called the Allies. The war did not end until November 11 th, 1918. Nine million soldiers and seven million civilians were killed as a result of the fighting.



15 However, America had close ties with the British and American businesses sympathized with the United Kingdom. What about The United States? The United States maintained neutrality at first. The war was viewed by Americans as a European problem.

16 The British engaged in propaganda to encourage the U.S. to enter the war on the side of the Allies. The British cut the Transatlantic telegraph cable. This allowed the British to only allow their side of the war story to reach America.

17 At the same time, American banks made investments by loaning over two billion dollars to the Allies in Europe. President Wilson won re-election in 1916 by campaigning on the fact that he had kept America out of the war. He was the “Peace Candidate”.

18 It was difficult for Wilson to refrain from entering the war. Consider the following two incidents…

19 The Lusitania, a British passenger ship, that also carried war supplies, and briefly the largest ship in the world, was torpedoed by a German U-boat on its way back from New York. The fleet of German submarines was becoming a serious military threat, and 128 of the dead were Americans The Lusitania

20 The Germans defended their actions by pointing out that the Lusitania was classified as an “auxiliary cruiser”, was carrying munitions, and had been warned not to enter war zones declared by Germany.

21 The Sussex was a French ferry that was torpedoed by the Germans in 1916. Fifty lives were lost. The Sussex Incident At the time, the Germans had a policy of nearly unrestricted submarine warfare. Unlike the Lusitania, the Sussex was a small ship designed for passengers only.

22 As a result of unrestricted submarine warfare, President Wilson threatened to break diplomatic ties with Germany.

23 The Germans were fearful of the U.S. entering the war. To prevent this, the German government made the “Sussex Pledge”. Passenger ships would not be targeted. Merchant ships would only be attacked/sunk if weapons were found to be on board. Provisions would be made for the safety of the crew if merchant ships were attacked. The Sussex Pledge

24 The Sussex pledge allowed America to stay out of the war, and Wilson used this fact in his reelection campaign.

25 1917: The U.S. Enters the War Based on shifting public opinion, and two major events, the U.S. finally went to war. 1. The resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare 2. The Zimmermann Telegram

26 Resumption of Submarine Warfare In 1917, the Germans decided that the advantages to allowing their U-boats to become free of restriction outweighed the possibility of the U.S. entering the war.

27 The Zimmermann Telegram Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann (Germany) sent a telegram to the German ambassador to Mexico. The intent of the telegram was to convince the Mexicans to join the war and fight with Germany.

28 The telegram instructed the ambassador to let the Mexicans know that Germany would help Mexico regain territory lost to the U.S. after the war was over. This, of course, assumed a German victory. Britain, and then the United States intercepted and decoded the telegraph.

29 The U.S. entered the war on April 6 th, 1917, with an 82-6 vote in the Senate.

30 The American entry into WWI was late and the size of the American force was relatively small. The Allies won the war which ended on November 11 th, 1918. Still, fresh troops and artillery helped to revitalize the war effort. American Contribution to the War

31 At the end of the war, President Wilson wished to create a peace that would last in Europe. He felt that excessive punishments would only lead to more fighting. In 1918, Wilson made an important speech in which he outlined his “Fourteen Points”. Wilson Wants Lasting Peace

32 The most important parts of Wilson’s Fourteen Points were… Free trade agreements throughout Europe Democracy and self-determination Redrawing of boundaries along ethnic lines The creation of the League of Nations

33 Wilson’s idea to have borders drawn to encompass people by ethnicity was ignored, especially in the case of Yugoslavia where several ethnicities were forced together. In some other cases borders changed when nations like the Ottoman Empire and Austria- Hungary ceased to exist, and new nations were born. Some of these changes were ok, but in many cases Europe was simply set up for future conflicts. The Changing Map of Europe


35 Although the League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations) was created, most of President Wilson’s ideas were ignored by Europe in favor of punishing the Central Powers, especially Germany.

36 The Treaty of Versailles Although the allies signed peace treaties with each of the Central powers separately, the most significant was this treaty with Germany. The European allies wished to punish Germany as a wartime aggressor, and to hinder their military and economic advancement as a rival.

37 Germany was forced to… Accept guilt for causing all of the damage during the war Completely disarm Concede significant amounts of territory Pay war reparations (over $31B in 1920 dollars)

38 In the United States, Congress was split into many factions and was unable to get the 2/3rds majority necessary to pass the Treaty of Versailles. The United States ultimately negotiated separate peace agreements with each of the Central Powers in 1921.

39 Changes at Home: The War Industries Board The War Industries Board was created in July of 1917. The WIB greatly increased the size and roll of the U.S. government. The WIB had several functions. Promoted mass production techniques Promoted efficiency and standardization Set up quotas and allocated materials

40 Changes at Home: Women Go to work As men volunteered or were conscripted into the military, women began taking on jobs traditionally held by men. Although these jobs were returned to men after the war, women gained momentum in the quest for suffrage. They did so in 1920 with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

41 Changes at Home: After the War During and after WWI, Americans became increasingly concerned about the influence of “hyphenated- Americans”. The loyalty of immigrants was questioned. Also, the growth of Russia had many people, and the government, concerned about socialists and anarchists in the United States

42 In April and June of 1919, a series of bombs were sent to government officials through the mail. This was the work of an Italian anarchist, Luigi Galleani, and his followers.

43 Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer conducted two sets of raids in November of 1919 and January of 1920. Leftist leaders and others who were considered to be anti-American or anti- government were the targets. Over 500 people were deported.

44 While many Americans supported these efforts, the U.S. Department of Labor (responsible for deportation) slowed the efforts of Palmer because civil liberties were being abused.

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