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Theme 1 President Wilson sought to keep the United States neutral during the Great War but violations of U.S. neutrality on the high seas eventually led.

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Presentation on theme: "Theme 1 President Wilson sought to keep the United States neutral during the Great War but violations of U.S. neutrality on the high seas eventually led."— Presentation transcript:


2 Theme 1 President Wilson sought to keep the United States neutral during the Great War but violations of U.S. neutrality on the high seas eventually led to America’s declaration of war against Germany

3 I. The Great War in Europe A. Beginning of World War I 1. Austrian heir assassinated by a Serbian nationalist fanatic in June, 1914 Gavrilo Princip Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sofie, just moments before the assassination.


5 2. Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia was backed by Germany 3. Germany declared war on Russia and France 4. Germany invaded France through neutral Belgium a. In response, Britain declared war on Germany b. A year later, Italy joined the Allies c. Four years of bloody trench warfare ensued The bodies of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sofie, lie in state in Sarajevo.

6 5. Central Powers (Triple Alliance): Germany, Austria, (and later) the Ottoman Empire 6. Allies (Triple Entente): France, Britain and Russia (later, Japan, Italy and the U.S.)

7 World War I Combatants

8 B. U.S. policy of neutrality was tested 1. Wilson called upon Americans for neutrality in thought and deed 2. Both sides in Europe tried to gain U.S. support a. British ties with U.S. were strong b. Central Powers had ties to German and Austrian immigrants in the U.S. c. Many Irish-Americans, German- Americans and Jews favored the Central Powers d.Strong anti-German sentiment in U.S. existed although Americans sought to avoid war

9 C. U.S. money flows to Europe 1. Initially, the war had a disastrous effect on the U.S. economy 2. U.S. recession was boosted by French and British war orders 3. Britain forced U.S. ships into British ports a. Germany announced submarine warfare b. Wilson warned Germany to respect neutral ships

10 German U-boats awaiting their missions

11 D. Submarine warfare 1. German U-boats sunk 90 ships in the war zone in early 1915 The dark blue shading represents Germany's declared exclusion zone of February 1915.

12 2. Sinking of the Lusitania, May 1915 a. About 1,200 dead, including 128 Americans b. Lusitania was carrying munitions 3. Wilson warned Germany in a measured approach a. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned (pacifist views) b. Wilson: “There is such a thing as a man being too proud to fight.”


14 “Here Lie the Facts” W.A. Rogers, 1915

15 “Booty” John Scott Clubb May 11, 1915 Lusitania

16 British propaganda poster illustrating the sinking of the 'Lusitania' by the Germans in 1915.

17 3. SS Arabic sunk in August, 1915 -- Germany bowed to U.S. pressure and agreed not to sink unarmed ships

18 E. Sussex Ultimatum and Pledge 1. March, 1916, Germany torpedoed a French steamer, the Sussex 2. Wilson threatened to suspend diplomatic relations with Germany 3. Germany pledged to stop sinking merchant and passenger ships so long as the U.S. convinced Britain to suspend her blockade

19 F. Election of 1916 1. Republicans nominated Charles Evans Hughes a. Republicans and Bull Moose Progressives met in Chicago b. Theodore Roosevelt bowed out to avoid splitting in party (as in 1912) c. Republican “Old Guard” nominated Hughes, Supreme Court justice and ex-progressive reformer d. Platform: higher tariffs, anti- regulation, opposed to Wilson’s handling of Mexican invasion and the German threat during WWI

20 2. Wilson re-nominated by Democrats -- Slogan: “He kept us out of war” 3. Wilson defeated Hughes 277-254

21 G. “Peace without victory” speech, January 1917 -- He declared that only a negotiated peace would prove durable

22 II. U.S. entry into the Great War A. Unrestricted submarine warfare announced by Germany in January 1917 1. All ships would now be sunk, including American ships 2. Used failed Sussex pledge as justification 3. Germany believed U.S. would enter the war too late B. Wilson broke diplomatic relations with Germany -- U.S. began arming merchant ships


24 C. Zimmerman Note (Published March 1, 1917) a. Secret telegram was intercepted by Britain b. Proposed German- Mexican alliance c. Most Americans were outraged D. 4 U.S. merchant vessels were sunk in the first two weeks of March

25 E. Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany on April 2, 1917 1. U.S. declared war on April 6, 1917 2. Reasons for declaring war: a. Unrestricted submarine warfare (most important) b. Zimmerman Telegram c. Russian Revolution led to a more liberal gov’t allied with U.S. d. U.S. thought it could end the war quickly e. Germans were seen as immoral for mass killing of civilians

26 Wilson asks Congress for a declaration of war, April 2, 1917

27 Theme 2 President Wilson led the U.S. in its progressive crusade to “make the world safe for democracy.”

28 III. Wilsonian Idealism A. U.S. abandoned traditional isolationism B. Wilson sought to inspire idealism so Americans would support the war 1. Twin goals: a. “Make the world safe for democracy” b. “A war to end war” 2. Contrasted U.S. altruism with European selfishness 3. Persuaded traditionally isolationist U.S. to fight for moral purposes

29 C. Fourteen Points (delivered to Congress January 8, 1918) 1. Impact a. Made Wilson moral leader of the Allied cause b. Eventually convinced Germany to end the war 2. Provisions: a. Abolish secret treaties b. Freedom of the seas c. Remove economic barriers d. Reduce the arms race e. Reform colonialist policies

30 f. “self-determination” to oppressed minority groups -- Later resulted in the creation of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lithuania g. 14 th Point: Creation of an international organization to supply collective security and preserve peace -- Later became the League of Nations

31 Theme 3 During the Great War, Americans at home experienced a transformation economically, socially, and demographically.

32 IV. Mobilizing for war A. Creel Committee 1. Committee on Public Information created to sell America on the war a. Headed by George Creel b. Voluntary censorship of the press 2. Established volunteer Liberty Leagues in every community (urged members to spy on neighbors) George Creel

33 3. Aroused passion & voluntary compliance 4. Ultimately raised expectations to a level unattainable with the peace Four-Minute Men Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks whip up support for the war.


35 B. Restrictions on civil liberties 1. Most serious infringement since the Civil War 2. Anti-German hysteria (fueled largely by Creel Committee) 3. Espionage Act of 1917 a. Fines and imprisonment for: making false statements aiding the enemy inciting rebellion in the military obstructing draft recruitment b. Wilson sought broad censorship powers but Congress refused him

36 4. Sedition Act of 1918 a. Forbade any criticism of the gov’t, flag, or uniform b. Expanded mail exclusion c. Socialists and IWW were targeted Eugene Debs convicted under the Espionage Act About 100 IWW members convicted

37 Rogers, W.A. "The Strangest of Infatuations," 1918 During World War I, newspaper cartoons like this one made fun of pacifists like Jane Addams.

38 5. Schenck v. U.S. (1919) a. Upheld the Espionage Act b. Defined freedom of speech 6. Mild censorship or denial of mail privileges were continued 7. WWI constituted an ugly chapter in the history of U.S. civil liberties

39 C. Mobilizing factories 1. The U.S. economy was not yet geared for war 2. Bernard Baruch: leader of War Industries Board a. Response to the lack of centralized gov’t control of the economy b. Sought to control raw materials, production, prices and labor relations c. WIB never had much power and was dismantled soon after the war ended d. Set a precedent for future gov’t- industry cooperation in the 1920s and New Deal agencies of the 1930s

40 3. The gov’t encouraged workers to help the war effort a. “Labor will win the war” b. Women were encouraged to enter industry and agriculture  Women’s contributions prompted Wilson to endorse female suffrage  Over 1 million women shifted from the home to the factory  After the war, fewer women worked in 1920 than in 1910  19 th Amendment (1920)

41 c. The “Great Migration”  Thousands of African Americans migrated to the North to work in war-related factories (far more southern whites migrated northward)  Race riots occurred in 26 cities d. Mexican workers also replaced Americans workers who were now on the front lines

42 Lynchings and racially motivated murders in each decade from 1865 to 1965

43 e. “Work or fight” rule

44 4. Grievances of Labor a. Inflation during WWI eroded wages b. 6,000 strikes occurred during the war (many by the IWW (“Wobblies”) c. Taft’s National War Labor Board was created to oversee labor disputes  Prohibited strikes but encouraged progressive reforms  Gov’t formally recognized workers’ right to unionize

45 d. Left-wing International Workers of the World (IWW) used labor sabotage to undermine the war effort -- Many were arrested, beaten up, or run out of town

46 V. The War Economy A. Herbert Hoover and the Food Administration 1. Hero who helped feed the starving people of Belgium 2. Voluntary compliance a. Rejected rationing b. Used propaganda to gain support c. “Meatless Tuesdays,” “Wheatless Wednesdays”





51 3. Congress severely restricted use of foodstuffs for alcohol a. Spirit of self-denial lead to prohibition sentiment b. 18 th Amendment ratified in 1919 4. Results a. Farm production up 25% b. Food exports to Allies tripled c. Hoover’s methods imitated by other agencies

52 B. Bond drives, Liberty Bonds 1. Parades and slogans were used to promote four great Liberty Loan drives and one Victory Loan campaign -- Each drive was oversubscribed resulting in inflation due to the increased money supply 2. Coercion was used on German- Americans




56 C. Combined efforts netted about 2/3 war cost -- Remaining revenue was raised by income taxes (made legal by the 16 th Amendment in 1913) D. Gov’t enforcement 1. Took over the nation’s railroads after traffic problems in late-1917 2. Seized enemy merchant vessels in U.S. harbors 3. Major U.S. contribution to war effort: food, money, and men

57 VI. Mobilizing the army A. April and May, 1917: European Allies claimed they were running out of soldiers and that the Western Front would collapse B. Selective Service Act, 1917 1. Required men ages 18 to 45 to register 2. No exemptions or substitutes (except in key industries)





62 C. Mobilization proved effective 1. Army increased from 200,000 to over 4 million 2. Women admitted for the first time (including 11,000 in the navy) 3. Yet, 337,000 “slackers” avoided the draft; 4,000 were excused -- 10,000 were prosecuted before the end of the war

63 VII. “Doughboys” fight in the Great War A. 1917, Germany sank 6.5 million tons of Allied shipping B. Communist Russia’s withdrawal eased Germany’s eastern front 1. German divisions were redeployed to the Western Front 2. German calculations of U.S. late entry into the war were inaccurate

64 British soldiers with machine gun & gas masks

65 C. U.S. in Russia 1. Late-1917, Wilson secretly sent aid to White Russians fighting the communist Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War 2. Summer of 1918: Wilson ordered a blockade of Russia 3. 1918, Archangel expedition: U.S. contributed 5,000 troops to an Allied invasion of northern Russia hoping to keep supplies from falling into German hands -- Later, aided Whites until 1919

66 4. Wilson sent 10,000 U.S. troops to Siberia as part of an Allied expedition 5. U.S. involvement helped prolong the Russian Civil War 6. The Soviet Union long resented these “capitalistic” interventions 7. Wilson saw communism as the biggest threat to peace

67 D. Western Front, 1918 1. German offensive in the spring threatened to overrun the Allies 2. American Expeditionary Force (AEF) a. Composed of U.S. soldiers in France under General John J. Pershing b. Initially, used as replacements in British and French divisions

68 3. Late 1918, Germany came within 40 miles of Paris a. U.S. troops participated in pushing the Germans back b. Sept. 9, U.S. divisions joined French divisions in pushing Germans from St. Mihiel Modern day remnants of trenches at St. Mihiel

69 4. General John J. (“Black Jack”) Pershing a. American dissatisfaction with bolstering Britain and France b. Pershing commanded a separate U.S. army on an 85-mile front c. Meuse-Argonne offensive: Sept-Nov -- German forces driven back -- Hitherto, largest battle in U.S. history

70 U.S. Soldiers during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, 1918

71 E. End of the War 1. Germany suffered from desertion of its allies, food shortages, and Allied assaults 2. Germany’s surrender was spurred by Wilson’s Fourteen Points a. Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate b. Nov. 11, 1918, Germany laid down her arms

72 “Now then, all together”

73 F. Segregation in the U.S. Army 1. African-Americans were initially divided on whether to support the war -- W. E. B. Du Bois urged blacks to support the war effort 2. Most black soldiers did labor duty 3. 400,000 black troops excluded from the Paris victory parade in 1919 4. Black troops were treated better in Europe than back home in the U.S.

74 G. Casualties 1. Americans lost 112,000 soldiers: 48,000 battle deaths; 62,000 by disease; 230,000 wounded 2. 10 million soldiers died on all sides 3. 20 million civilian casualties (mostly in Russia)



77 Theme 4 After America’s critical contribution to the Allied victory, a triumphant Wilson attempted to construct a peace based on his idealistic Fourteen Points. But European and senatorial opposition, and especially his own political errors, doomed American ratification of the Versailles Treaty and participation in the League of Nations.

78 VIII. President Wilson loses Congress A. His post-war popularity in the world was unprecedented B. Republican victory in the Congressional election of 1918 stung Wilson 1. Wilson broke the bi-partisan truce to campaign for Democrats 2. Wilson returned to Europe a diminished leader C. Wilson infuriated Republicans by going to the Paris Peace Conference in December, 1918 -- Republican senators were excluded from the peace delegation

79 IX. Versailles Peace Conference A. Big Four: Lloyd George, Orlando, Clemenceau & Wilson -- Did not endorse the Fourteen Points

80 B. Wilson’s goal: League of Nations 1. Wilson was forced to compromise on colonial territories belonging to the Central Powers 2. League Covenant established the League of Nations a. Chief aim: collective security b. Article X of the Versailles Treaty created the League

81 C. Versailles Treaty 1. Article 231 (“war-guilt” clause) a. Placed sole blame of war on Germany b. Germany was ordered to pay reparations to Allies c. Germany forced to accept severe military restrictions and loss of territory

82 2. “self-determination” granted to new nations of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

83 Weimar Germany Ceded to Poland Ceded to Czechoslovakia Alsace and Lorraine ceded to France Saar region Administered by League of Nations Danzig became an international city East Prussia (Weimar Germany) Ceded to Belgium Ceded to Lithuania Ceded to Denmark Polish Corridor Germany forbidden from uniting with Austria

84 3. The Versailles Treaty faced significant opposition in the U.S. a. Republicans led by Henry Cabot Lodge threatened to kill the treaty if Wilson did not include provisions for protecting the Monroe Doctrine and U.S. withdrawal from the League if desired b. “Irreconcilables”: Republicans who opposed the League in any form

85 X. Defeat of the Versailles Treaty in the U.S. A. A majority of Americans favored the treaty B. Republicans continued to oppose the treaty a. Henry Cabot Lodge hoped to amend the treaty but had no real hope of defeating it b. The treaty got bogged down in the Senate

86 C. Wilson goes over Congress’ head on a national speech tour 1. Wilson feared any modifications to the Treaty would result in its ultimate demise 2. Wilson decided to appeal directly to the people by going on a grueling national speaking tour -- Wilson collapsed in Pueblo, Colorado and suffered a stroke two days later -- He would not meet his cabinet for eight months

87 “Going to Talk to the Boss”, Chicago News, 1919

88 D. Lodge Reservations 1. 14 formal reservations were attached to the League of Nations treaty a. Reserved rights of Monroe Doctrine and the Constitution b. Focused on Article X as it morally bound the U.S. to aid any member country that was attacked -- Congress sought to reserve war- declaring power for itself



91 “Pilgrim Landing in America, 1919, Brooklyn Eagle, 1919

92 E. Wilson rejected the Lodge Reservations 1. Ordered Democrats to vote against the treaty with the Lodge Reservations attached 2. Treaty rejected by Senate in Nov, 1919 -- Ironically, 80% of senators favored the treaty in some form 3. Treaty again rejected in March, 1920 4. Wilson sought a “solemn referendum” on the Treaty in the 1920 presidential election but the Democrats lost decisively in November

93 XI. International consequences of WWI A. U.S. became the world’s economic and political leader (isolationism notwithstanding) B. The Russian Revolution created the world’s first communist society C. Britain, France, Austria and Turkey went into various states of decline D. Germany was devastated by the Versailles Treaty -- Led to the eventual rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II

94 XII. Political aftermath of WWI in the U.S. A. Represented the end of progressivism -- The War Industries Board was dismantled killing progressive hopes of more regulation of big business B. Gov’t returned the railroads to their owners in 1920 (Esch-Cummings Transportation Act) C. Race riots (“Red Summer”) 1. Spurred by black migration to the north during the war 2. Chicago race riot, 1919 3. Other riots in Knoxville, Omaha, Washington, D.C. and other cities

95 XIII. Election of 1920 A. Republicans nominated Warren G. Harding 1. Platform was ambiguous on the League of Nations 2. “Normalcy”

96 B. Democrats nominated James M. Cox 1. Strong pro-League stance 2. His running mate was Franklin D. Roosevelt

97 C. Results: 1. Harding defeated Cox 404-127 2. First time all women were eligible to voted in a national election 3. Represented end of progressivism 4. Isolationists had mandate to kill League of Nations

98 5. Two main causes for failure of peace a. The Great Depression b. “War psychosis” of Europeans Hitler's anti-Versailles poster design: a chained Germania beneath the slogan "Only National Socialism will free Germany from the lie of sole guilt!"

99 XIII.How did WWI impact American society? A. Increased role of women -- 19 th Amendment, 1920 B. Prohibition of alcohol, 18 th Amendment C. African American migration northward -- Race riots

100 D. Nativism E. Infringement on civil liberties F. Red Scare, 1919 G. Millions men in uniform: 112,000 dead H. Volunteerism and patriotism I. Return to isolationism after the war J. Economic growth (especially farming) K. End to Democratic party rule and the progressive era

101 Memory Device: Impact of WWI on Society R Revolted Red Scare Republicans Return to isolationism V Voted Volunteerism N No Nativism M Making Migration of blacks W Wilson’s Women’s roles E European Economic growth P Peace Prohibition of Alcohol C Crumble Civil liberties violated M Miserably Millions fought in WWI

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