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VIEWS ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS Progressives had always been divided over America’s role in international affairs –Theodore Roosevelt wing believed U.S. should.

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Presentation on theme: "VIEWS ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS Progressives had always been divided over America’s role in international affairs –Theodore Roosevelt wing believed U.S. should."— Presentation transcript:

1 VIEWS ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS Progressives had always been divided over America’s role in international affairs –Theodore Roosevelt wing believed U.S. should serve as an advocate for international order and morality and play an aggressive role in international affairs –Robert LaFollette wing argued that if the U.S. became too involved in world affairs, domestic reform programs would become sidetracked Woodrow Wilson tried to walk the tightrope between these two views –Tried to maintain a compromise between Roosevelt’s devotion to international morality and LaFollette’s “stick to our own business” attitude –It was a difficult, and probably an impossible, position to maintain for long Only served in the long run to make Wilson appear inconsistent and even hypocritical

2 TROUBLE WITH MEXICO Victoriano Huerta overthrew and murdered Mexican president Francisco Madero in 1913 –Wilson wanted to diplomatically isolate him for this action –Led to an American invasion of Mexico in 1914, the takeover of the city of Veracruz, and near war between Mexico and the U.S. War only averted by mediation of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile in May 1914

3 PANCHO VILLA In 1916, Mexican rebel leader Francisco “Pancho” Villa raided several American settlements in South Texas and New Mexico –Wanted to provoke U.S. into an act of aggression that would united Mexican people behind him In response, Wilson ordered General John J. Pershing to enter Mexico with 6000 men to find and destroy Villa –Was never able to do this but the presence of American troops in Mexico frightened the Mexican government and almost led to war again Conflict only avoided when Wilson ordered Pershing back to Texas in late 1916

4 BAD IMAGE Wilson had been motivated mainly by idealism in his dealings with Mexico –Wanted to punish a dictator who had seized power through murder and by a desire for revenge against Villa’s raids on innocent American citizens But he had acted in a heavy-handed and crude manner which gave the appearance that the U.S. was picking on its weaker neighbor –Made Wilson look like an opportunistic bully

5 WORLD WAR I World War I began in Europe in August 1914 –Result of long escalating commercial, military, and colonial tensions between the major powers Central Powers included Germany, Austrian Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria Allies included Great Britain, France, Russia, and Italy Wilson announced U.S. would be neutral –Most saw it as a purely European affair and saw no reason why we should be directly involved –Most sympathized with Allies though many Irish and German- Americans sympathized with Central Powers

6 PROPAGANDA WAR Allies tried to exploit sympathy and get us into war Germany used propaganda to keep us neutral –Result was a fierce propaganda war for the hearts and minds of American people Where truth often took a back seat

7 GERMAN PROPAGANDA Germany suffered from a serious handicap in this propaganda war due to its own clumsy incompetence German propaganda emphasized hate and destruction –Aroused more revulsion than sympathy in U.S. German actions also hurt their cause –Began campaign on Western Front by invading neutral Belgium And executing 5000 Belgian civilians when then tried to defend their country

8 BRITISH PROPAGANDA British were geniuses at arousing American opinion against Germany –By blowing stories of alleged German atrocities to enormous proportions Many were gross exaggerations and others were pure fabrication Nonetheless effective in convincing many Americans that Germans were “Huns” who deserved condemnation of civilized world

9 WILSON Wilson was strongest supporter of Allies in the U.S. –Could not help but see Allies as symbols of the same principles that he and his fellow Progressives advocated and Germany as a savage nation that represented the economic exploiters he hated at home –Even told British ambassador in late 1914 that everything he loved in the world depended on an Allied victory SUMMARY: even though U.S. was formally neutral at the start of the war, pro-Allied sympathy by the government and most citizens would influence U.S. policy during the war’s duration

10 NEUTRAL RIGHTS At the start of the war, Wilson expected both sides to allow neutral ships to carry any product except contraband and to trade freely with all belligerent nations –Both England and Germany disregarded this right England defined contraband to be anything Germany needed –Also routinely stopped U.S. ships and searched for and confiscated “contraband,” planted mines in the North Sea which endangered all neutral ships, and drew up “blacklists” of U.S. companies that traded with Germany and threatened to cut off their British business U.S never retaliated against the British for these violations

11 U-BOATS Germany’s surface navy remained bottled up by the British and could not patrol the seas and stop and search ships –Instead, it relied on the U-Boat Submarine armed with torpedoes and small deck gun U-Boats were very vulnerable when they surfaced so they simply sunk ships with torpedoes without prior warning Announced that they would attack all ships without warning if they were found in a zone surrounding the British Isles U.S. protested this but German government refused to give in

12 LUSITANIA U-boat sunk the British luxury liner Lusitania in May 1915 off the coast of Ireland –Sailing from New York to England –1198 people killed, including 128 Americans This attack profoundly shocked Americans and many demanded we go to war against Germany

13 SUSSEX PLEDGE War was averted over Lusitania incident because: –Most Americans still not ready for war –Germany apologized for attack and offered to pay compensation to victims’ families –Germany also agreed to Sussex Pledge Promised to give up “shoot on sight” policy and instead surface and warn ships before attacking them

14 GERMANY GAMBLES In 1917, Germany was bleeding to death and desperate –Caused it to inform U.S. that it would repudiate Sussex Pledge on 1/31/1917 and resumed “shoot on sight” policy Germany knew this might provoke U.S. into declaring war –But determined it was worth the risk to cut off American supplies to Allies –Also hoped that even if U.S. joined the war, it would be able to train, equip, and send enough troops in time to make a difference That Germany would win before U.S. could effectively mobilize its armed forces

15 U.S. STILL HESITATES Wilson responded by cutting off diplomatic relations with Germany –But still hesitated to declare war because Americans were still divided on the question and he did not want to lead a divided nation into war

16 ZIMMERMAN TELEGRAM Alfred Zimmerman, German foreign minister, sent message to Mexican government proposing that if the U.S. went to war against Germany, Mexico should join Germany –If Germany then won, Mexico would be rewarded with its “lost provinces” of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas Note was intercepted by the British who passed it on to U.S. government and leaked it to American press Resulting public outrage finally pushed Wilson over the line

17 WAR Wilson asked Congress to declare war on April 12, 1917 –Reasons were self-defense and a number of moral considerations U.S. would fight for “vindication of human rights against dictatorial governments backed by organized force Would fight for “democracy, for the rights and liberties of small nations” Wilson portrayed war as a moral crusade in which we would represent and defend all that was good about human beings against the evil of the Central Powers Senate passed war declaration of April 16 and the House passed it on April 17

18 THE AEF 4 million men were drafted into the armed services and eventually 2 million of them served in Europe –Called the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) –Commanded by General John J. Pershing

19 LIFE AT THE FRONT Faced horrible hardships –Mud, rain, cold, rats, surprise attacks, and constant fear of death –Huddled in trenches during fierce bombardments that lasted for days at a time and then went “over the top” in savage frontal assaults against German positions 50,000 American soldiers were killed in combat and another 50,000 died from disease

20 HOME FRONT Military effort only possible by the mobilization of economic and emotional resources at home –War cost $24 billion and we loaned Allies $9 billion 25% of amount came from taxes and the rest was obtained through loans from banks and from sale of war bonds New agencies created to manage war effort –War Industries Board (managed industrial output), Railroad Commission (controlled distribution and transportation) and Committee of Public Information (whipped up public enthusiasm for the war)

21 WAR HYSTERIA War fever whipped up by Committee of Public Information unleashed wave of intolerance against people who did not seem patriotic enough or who held pacifist or socialist beliefs Congress passed Espionage Act of 1917, Sabotage Act of 1918, and Sedition Act of 1918 –Post Office banned all publications that opposed the war; all foreign language newspapers were censored; socialist leaders were imprisoned; local vigilantes attacked alleged “subversives” People of German ancestry were attacked and many high schools and colleges banned the teaching of German

22 RACIAL VIOLENCE African-Americans attacked –Southern blacks moved North to work in northern defense industries –Caused escalating racial tensions and violence in northern cities Revealed northern racial hypocrisy Worst example was bloody race riot in East St. Louis, IL in mid-1917 –40 African-Americans were either clubbed, stabbed, or hung to death

23 FOURTEEN POINTS Germany on brink of collapse by summer of 1918 and began to talk of peace –Partly in response to President Wilson’s Fourteen Points Contained his principles for constructing a just peace and new world system after the war Wanted end to secret treaties; freedom of the seas; general disarmament; end to trade barriers between nations; and creation of a League of Nations

24 ARMISTICE DAY Fourteen Points, plus Wilson’s urging of “peace without victory” encouraged German people in the belief that they would get a fair deal from the Allies if they agreed to quit fighting In November, Germans forced their emperor William II to abdicate and flee the country –Set up new government that immediately asked for peace War ended at 10:00 am on November 11, 1918

25 VERSAILLES PEACE CONFERENCE Victorious Allied leaders met at Versailles to draw up official peace treaty –January 18, 1919 Wilson attended the conference in person –First president to ever travel to Europe while in office Treated like a savior by enormous crowds wherever he went –Honored him as well as the idealism he represented in his Fourteen Points

26 OTHER LEADERS Wilson’s fellow Allied leaders remained skeptical of his idealism –Thought his Fourteen Points had been useful in shoring up faltering Allied morale at the end of the war and weakening Germany’s will to fight But they did not think it was a practical basis for an acceptable peace treaty

27 ALLIED AGENDA Wanted Germany to accept complete responsibility for all the damage and loss of life that had occurred during war Wanted Germany to be completely disarmed and to pay the complete cost of rebuilding the shattered economies of England and France Refused to give up territorial gains they had made during the war In short, they had not intention of creating a better world; they simply wanted to punish Germany for losing the war and force her to bear the entire financial burden of rebuilding the war-shattered continent –Also wanted to make sure Germany would never again be strong enough to fight them

28 FINAL PRODUCT Wilson could not convince fellow leaders to incorporate Fourteen Points into final treaty –They instead produced a treaty that incorporated their desire to punish and cripple Germany –They only concession to Wilson was that they agreed to create a League of Nations This gave Wilson hope that it would eventually correct the injustices in the treaty

29 HIGH HOPES Wilson wasn’t thrilled with the treaty but he still felt the U.S should accept it because it did provide for the League of Nations which he believed would make the world a better place in the long run –Returned to U.S. in June 1919 and presented treaty to Senate for ratification –But he was in for one more disappointment

30 FAILURE Republicans now controlled the Senate and did not like treaty –Especially the provision creating the League of Nations which they believed would entangle the U.S. in international affairs and lead to more foreign wars Henry Cabot Lodge led fight against the treaty –Wilson had a stroke in middle of ratification struggle and could not overcome Republican opposition Senate did not ratify treaty and U.S. never joined the League of Nations


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