America and the great war

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Information about America and the great war

Published on March 4, 2014

Author: arleneinbaytown


America and the Great War • The “War to End all Wars”, the “Great War” was, for America, a rather brief yet decisive experience. Unlike the major players in Europe, for America, the human cost was relatively low-about 112,000. • Economically: a boom • Politically: propelled US into the International forefront • Politically: The end of Progressive ideals

WWI Woodrow Wilson was the President He stated to “strike a new note in international affairs and to see that sheer honesty and even unselfishness should prevail over nationalistic selfseeking”. He strongly opposed imperialism

What was happening in Europe? • Despite more than 40 years of general peace, tensions among some European nations—England, France and Germany—were building in 1914. Throughout the late 1880’s and early 1900’s, a number of factors created problems among the powers of Europe and set the stage for a monumental war.

The MAIN reasons for war

Militarism • Building up arms • When Germany stated to modernize its army and navy, England felt it had to do the same . Other major powers followed their lead. •

Alliances • Agreements or promises to defend and help another country. • A series of interlocking allies • When the conflict started, these ties led to the division of Europe into 2 camps •

Imperialism Trying to build up an empire. By the 1800’s, Britain and France had colonies in Africa and Asia that provided raw materials and markets for their products. Germany wanted its own colonies and trade

Nationalism • Having pride in your country, willing to defend it. As well as self-determination-the ability to chose own government

Nationalism • Having pride in your country, willing to defend it. As well as self-determination-the ability to chose own government

The Balkan Crisis

• Historically, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire had ruled the Balkans. But as nationalism became a powerful force in the 1800’s, the different national groups—the Serbs, Bosnians, Croats and Slovens-- within these empires began to press for independence. • The first to gain independence were the Serbs—they formed Serbia.

Russia supported Serbia, BUT AustriaHungary did not and annexed Bosnia

The Serbs were furious-it demonstrated to them that AustriaHungary had no intention of letting the Slavic people become independent. • So then the archduke of Austria-Hungary Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnia capital of Sarajevo and was assassinated by a Serbian.

The War Begins

The War Begins • The Austria-Hungary government blamed Serbia so they were going to attack Serbia. • AuHu asked Germany for support • AuHu declared on Serbia • Germany declared war on Russia and France • After Germany crossed through Belgium to France, Britain declared war on German

The Sides Triple Entente-Allied Powers --Great Britain --France --Russia (United States) Triple Alliance—Central Powers --Germany --Austria-Hungary --Italy

Relations • Queen Victoria had just died. Her son King George V was king. • The Kaiser of Germany was her grandson • The Czar of Russia was her grandson

American Neutrality • When the fighting began, President Wilson declared the US to be neutral. However, that was difficult to do. • Why????

• We were a country of immigrants—different opinions. • There were over 8 million Germans living here and over 4.5 million Irish. • Most Americans did side with the Allied Powers. • Economically hard—neutral country • Propaganda played a very important role. Both sides used propaganda to influence the US to enter on either side.

Preparedness v. Pacifism • Should the US begin making preparations for war? If we do, what will that make the Germans think? What will the reactions of people at home be? • Against desires of the pacifists, he begins to build up the nation’s armed forces

Although most supported the Allies and hoped for their victory, a series of events gradually eroded American neutrality and drew the nation in to the war firmly on the side of the Allies.

Unrestricted Submarine Warfare • Shortly after the war began, the British deployed their navy to blockade Germany and keep it from obtaining supplies, as well as plant mines in the North Sea.

• Germany countered that action by deploying its newest vehicle in their navy—the U Boats-short for Unterseeboot—meaning “underwater boat”. They announced that they would attempt to sink without warning any ship they found in the water around Britain.

Lusitania • On May 7, 1915, despite warnings from Germany, the British passenger liner Lusitania entered the war zone. A submerged German submarine fired on the ship, killing nearly 1,200 passengers including 128 Americans. Americans were outraged.

Lusitania •

• President Wilson remained neutral. He sent a diplomatic team to Germany to negotiate terms of unrestricted submarine warfare. The next year Wilson’s policy was tested when another u boat torpedoed the French passenger ship the Sussex . Americans were injured on board. He sent another team of diplomats to Germany and stated that if Germany does not stop sinking passenger ships, the US would enter the war. Germany agreed to stop.

Four years come and four years go—another election. “He kept us out of war” Wilson is re-elected

Zimmerman Letter • British intelligence intercepted a telegram from a German official to the German ambassador in Mexico. In it Zimmerman urges Mexico to declare war on the US and Germany will help it regain lost territory in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Americans were furious with Germany. Then in 1917, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, sinking 6 American merchant ships without warning. • In 1917 Wilson asks Congress to declare war.

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