Why the Us Entered World War 1

{text:bookmark-start} Why the United States Entered World War I {text:bookmark-end} The US entered the war for a variety of reasons. Here are some summaries of explanations. There were unauthorized German submarines along the US East coast. Germany’s resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare in the spring of 1917 provided the final straw for US politicians, and America declared war. The first and foremost answer would be the sinking of the Lusitania, an British cruise/transport ship, bound for Britain from New York.

The German U-boat ring sought to sink all supply ships headed for Britain in order to starve the island. It sank the Lusitania as part of its efforts. 1195 people died, including 128 Americans. The Lusitania’s sinking was the biggest influence on the American decision to enter the war. German submarine warfare (the Lusitania is included in this) sunk many ships over several years. Did Wilson really wanted to enter the war all along??? Had it not been for the Lusitania, the US would have stayed out of the War. Some say the “bankers” were involved. The U. S. ad huge economic investments with the British and French. If they were to lose, then they would not be able to pay the U. S. debt back (amounting to about two billion dollars while Germany only borrowed a mere 27 million). If Allies could not pay back all the loans made to them by the American bankers, the US’s economy could collapse. France and England were financing their war with US loans. In addition, they were buying massive amounts of arms from the US on credit. The US wanted to make sure that it got paid back. Germany also purchased arms, but in a much more limited fashion.

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Propaganda from both sides influenced the American decision. Woodrow Wilson did not want to go to war but when Teddy Roosevelt decided to run for another term, Wilson felt threatened and announced that there would be a preparedness program and possibly that the country would go to war. By entering the war, the US got to flex its muscles on the world stage and establish itself as a world power. After both sides of the Mexican civil war demanded that our troops leave and public opinion badly swayed against US intervention in Mexico, Wilson had no choice but to withdraw.

By having the threat of Germany helping Mexico fight back against him, Wilson knew he had to take action. He couldn’t go back into Mexico because the American people would not allow it. He really had no beef with Germany, he just wanted to save face before Mexico could fight back. President Wilson wanted to make the world safe for democracy (“Wilson’s War Address to Congress”). It was partly for idealistic reasons (propaganda was not seen as an evil until after the Great War). The occupation of Belgium and the sinking of the Lusitania changed a lot people’s minds in the US about Germany.

There was more to it than just the submarine warfare and the sinking of the Lusitania although those were the formal and legalistic reasons for declaring war. I think that over time a moral sense had developed that Britain and France were fighting the good fight for freedom against a genuine evil. If that sense had not existed I think the US would have let the Lusitania pass. As it was, it was nearly two years after she was sunk that we finally did declare war. Other points influenced entrance to the war, but the Zimmerman Telegram (sometimes called the “Zimmerman note” or “Zimmerman telegraph”) finally pushed the US to war.

The Zimmerman Telegram was sent from the German foreign secretary to the German Ambassador to Mexico. It stated the following: On the first of February, 1917, submarine warfare will be reinstated unrestrictively. The US has to stay neutral. Germany proposes an alliance with Mexico on the following basis: If the US goes to war, Mexico must fight on the home front in an financially supported alliance with Germany; If Mexico agrees to fight, they will reconquer New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.

The telegraph was intercepted by British Intelligence and transmitted to the American government by the Brits. This infuriated Americans. It was the same sort of alliance that plunged Europe into war. Other WikiAnswers Contributors agree: The clincher was “discovery” of the Zimmerman Telegram (it was de-coded by the British and forwarded to US diplomats; with obvious self-interest on the part of the Brits). {text:bookmark-start} Answer {text:bookmark-end} Entry of the United States

America’s policy of insisting on neutral rights while also trying to broker a peace resulted in tensions with both Berlin and London. US president Woodrow Wilson repeatedly warned that he would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, and the Germans repeatedly promised to stop. In January 1917 the German military decided that unrestricted submarine warfare was the best gamble to choke British supplies before the American troops could arrive in large numbers. A proposal to Mexico to join the war was exposed in February, bringing war closer. See Zimmerman telegram). After further U-boat attacks on American merchant ships, Wilson requested that Congress declare war on Germany, which it did on April 6, 1917 (see: Woodrow Wilson declares war on Germany on Wikisource). The House approved the war resolution 373-50, the Senate 82-6, with opposition coming mostly from German American districts. Wilson hoped war could be avoided with Austria-Hungary; however, when it kept its loyalty to Germany, the US declared war on Austria-Hungary in December 1917.

Although the American contribution to the war was important, particularly in terms of the threat posed by an increasing US infantry presence in Europe, the United States was never formally a member of the Allies, but an “Associated Power. ” Significant numbers of fresh American troops only arrived in Europe in the summer of 1918, when they started arriving at 10,000 a day. Germany miscalculated that it would be many more months before large numbers of American troops could be sent to Europe, and that, in any event, the U-boat offensive would prevent their arrival.

The United States Navy sent a battleship group to Scapa Flow to join with the British Grand Fleet, a number of destroyers to Queenstown, Ireland and several submarines to the Azores and to Bantry Bay, Ireland to help guard convoys. Several regiments of U. S. Marines were also dispatched to France. However, it would be some time before the United States would be able to contribute significant manpower to the Western and Italian fronts. The British and French wanted the United States to send its infantry to reinforce their troops already on the battlelines, and not use scarce shipping to bring over supplies.

Thus the Americans primarily used British and French artillery, airplanes and tanks. However, General John J. Pershing, American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commander, refused to break up American units to be used as reinforcements for British Empire and French units (though he did allow African American combat units to be used by the French). Pershing ordered the use of frontal assaults, which had been discarded by that time by British Empire and French commanders as too costly in lives of their troops.

To the astonishment of the Allies, the dispirited Germans broke and ran when the Americans came running, and the AEF suffered the lowest casualty rate of any army on the Western Front. (Most of its deaths were due to disease. ) The U. S. had a large economic interest vested in certain countries that were in the war. The U. S had loaned millions and millions of dollars to Britain as well as billions to another country, thus it was in their interest to assure that the Allies won – even if that meant entering the war themselves. {text:bookmark-start} Answer {text:bookmark-end} In summary:

The renewal by Germany of her submarine warfare. Imperial Germany was running amuck as an international desperado Prussian Militancy and autocracy let loose in the world disturbed the balance of power and threatened to destroy the international equilibrium. The conflict [had gradually shaped] into a war between the democratic nations on one hand and autocratic on the other. [America’s] tradition of isolation had grown out warn and could no longer be maintained in the age of growing interdependency. Because of the menace to the Monroe Doctrine and to [America’s] independence.

Aftermath In the United States, disilusioned by the failure of the war to achieve the high ideals promised by President Woodrow Wilson, the American people chose isolationism and, after an initial recession enjoyed several years of unbalanced prosperity until the 1929 stock market crash. However, American commercial interests did finance Germany’s rebuilding and reparations efforts, at least until the onset of the Great Depression. The close relationships between American and German businesses became an embarrassment following the Nazi rise to power in Germany in the early 1930s

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