World War I


The name commonly given to the war of 1914-1918, which began in Europe and was
fought principally on that continent but eventually involved all the continents
of the world. While the wars between Great Britain and France from 1689 to 1815
had been extended to North America, Africa, and Asia, they remained wars between

European governments. The term "world war" is properly applied to the
conflict of 1914-1918 because the various parts of the British Empire in all
continents as well as many countries in Asia and North and South America
participated in it. For the first time, all the great powers of the world were
engaged: Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia in

Europe; Japan in Asia; and the United States in North America. It is estimated
that by the end of the war about 93 percent of the population of the world was
in greater or less degree involved. The two opposing sides in the war were; The

Allies Or Entente Powers Britain, France, Russia (left December 1917), Italy
(entered May 1915), Serbia, Belgium, Romania (entered August 1916), USA (entered

April 1917) The Central Powers Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey (entered

November 1914), Bulgaria (entered 1915) THE ENTERY OF THE USA TO THE WORLD WAR I

The United States was never neutral throughout The Great War, despite the

President Woodrow Wilson's declaration of neutrality, and a direct declaration
of war against the Central Powers was an inescapable occurrence. When war was
come into existence in Europe in 1914, it was impossible for the United States,
an emerging world power, to avoid conflict despite its efforts to. President

Wilson immediately issued a declaration of neutrality because entering into a
war would be against the prevalent progressive spirit of the time and America
had a tradition of avoiding European conflicts whenever possible. Nevertheless,

The United States remained completely neutral from 1914-1917. " Continued
interruption of trade and travel on the seas by both the allies and central
powers, especially attacks by German submarines, which was the main reason for
the United States to enter the war in 1917." Great Britain's powerful navy
quickly took control of the Atlantic and set up a blockade, cutting off American
trade with Germany. Germany, on the other hand, attacked British supply lines
with their new invention, the U-boat. The United States accepted Great Britain's
blockade and stopped trade with Germany, although a demand by the United States
that free trade allowed surely have been agreed to. On the other hand, instead
of accepting Germany's attempt to stop American shipping to the Allies, Wilson
demanded that Germany stop all attacks on American ships, but accepted nearly
the same thing when perpetrated by the British. The population of America,
although against involvement in the war, supported the Allied cause. This was
due to both the cultural similarities and roots shared between the United States
and Great Britain and the large scale British propaganda campaign in America, in
an attempt to get the United States involved in the war. The propaganda along
with German practices of sinking ships without giving passengers a chance to
escape and attacking the neutral country of Belgium (both of which violated
international law) led to an intense Anti-German sentiment throughout the
population. America was clearly not a neutral country, but Americans did not
wish to become directly involved in the war. German U-boats had taken many

American lives with their attacks on merchant ships, including the Lusitania
where 128 Americans were killed, which lead to America demanding an end to the

U-boat attacks. The Germans responded by temporally ceasing submarine warfare in

1916 under the Sussex Pledge until 1917 when Germany announced the continuation
of submarine warfare and ended diplomatic relations with the United States. In
an attempt to eliminate the threat of American involvement in Europe, Foreign

Minister Alfred Zimmerman of Germany attempted to provoke Mexico into attacking
the United States with the promising her Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in
return. The British decoded a message containing Zimmerman's intent and sent to
the US, further swaying Americans to action. Berlin, January 19, 1917 "On
the first of February we intend to begin submarine warfare unrestricted. In
spite of this, it is our intention to endeavor to keep neutral the United States
of America. If this attempt is not successful, we propose an alliance on the
following basis with Mexico: That we shall make war together and together make
peace. We shall give general financial support, and it is understood that Mexico
is to reconquer the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The
details are left to you for settlement.... You are instructed to inform the

President of Mexico of the above in the greatest confidence as soon as it is
certain that there will be an outbreak of war with the United States and suggest
that the President of Mexico, on his own initiative, should communicate with

Japan suggesting adherence at once to this plan; at the same time, offer to
mediate between Germany and Japan. Please call to the attention of the President
of Mexico that the employment of ruthless submarine warfare now promises to
compel England to make peace in a few months. Zimmerman (Secretary of State)

These actions by Germany left America with little recourse other then to declare
war. Furthermore, On April second, 1917, President Wilson asked for a
declaration of war against Germany. " The world must be safe for
democracy," he said, as he insisted the Americans to fight for peace and
safety to make the world truly free. The Americans had hesitated about siding
with the autocratic Russian government, but the overthrow of the tsar in the

March revolution removed this obstacle and on April 6, 1917, the United States
declared war on Germany and began mobilisation and they were now fighting for

France, Great Britain, and Russia, resulting in an Allied victory by November

1918. CONCLUSION The U.S.A involvement in the war helped turn the tide and
played a major role in the eventual defeat of Germany. The U.S made an important
contribution to the Allied victory, supplying Britain and France food, merchant
ships and credit, though actual military help came slowly. Most important was
the psychological boost which the American potential in resources of men and
materials gave the Allies and corresponding blow it gave to Germany morale. it
came down to us standing up to Germany, and showing the world that the U.S. is a
new world power, and major player in world affairs. That is what we did by
joining the war and setting the stage, for future global power structures.

Despite the fact the war was fought in Europe and U.S. casualties and property
loss were far less than that of the allies, the war had a significant impact
economically, politically, and socially on the United States. While the
mobilisation effort brought great economic prosperity to the country from the
production of wartime goods, postwar demobilisation ought about widespread
unemployment, increased labour problem, racial hatred, and poverty. Propaganda
campaigns, designed to create support for the war effort,resulted in strong
anti-foreign and anti-Communist feelings, which led to violence and the
violation of civil rights for many Americans.