The war to end war
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The War to End War. 1917-1918. Wilson and Neutrality. January 1917: Germany announces unrestricted submarine warfare This proclamation voided the earlier agreement between Wilson and Germany Germany hoped that the US would remain neutral and stop supplying Britain before entering war

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The War to End War

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The war to end war

The War to End War


Wilson and neutrality

Wilson and Neutrality

  • January 1917: Germany announces unrestricted submarine warfare

  • This proclamation voided the earlier agreement between Wilson and Germany

  • Germany hoped that the US would remain neutral and stop supplying Britain before entering war

  • Wilson broke diplomatic relations with Germany

War by act of germany

War by Act of Germany

  • Wilson asked congress for authority to arm US merchant ships

  • Senators filibuster

  • Zimmerman Telegram: Germany asks Mexico to invade US, promising AZ, NM and TX

  • German submarines sank 4 US merchant ships in early March 1917

  • Revolution in Russia

  • April 1917, Declaration of war

Wilson idealism enthroned

Wilson Idealism Enthroned

  • Many still not convinced that war was necessary

  • Decision not unanimous in Congress

  • “America could be isolationists or crusaders, but nothing in between”

  • Twin goals of war:

    • “War to End War”

    • “To make the world safe for democracy”

Wilson s 14 points

Wilson’s 14 Points

  • Wilson became known as the moral leader of allied cause

  • 14 points given in January 1918: hoped to keep Russia in war (didn’t work)

    • 1. Proposal to abolish secret treaties

    • 2. Freedom of the seas

    • 3. Removal of economic barriers among nations

    • 4. Reduction of armament burdens

    • 5. Adjustment of colonial claims in the interest of the colonizers and native people

    • 6. League of Nations- collective security

Committee of public information

Committee of Public Information

  • Headed by George Creel, journalist

  • 75,000 propaganda speakers

  • Posters

  • Leaflets and pamphlets

  • Movies

  • Relied on aroused passion and voluntary compliance



  • Everything blamed on Germans

    • Sauerkraut= liberty cabbage

    • Hamburger= liberty steak

  • Espionage Act (1917)

  • Sedition Act (1918)

  • Targeted anti-war activists

  • Eugene Debs arrested in 1918

  • Schenck v. US- Supreme Court ruled that 1st amendment could be revoked when it posed a danger to the nation

Wartime workforce

Wartime Workforce

  • “work or fight”: unemployed males would be drafted

  • National Labor Board: chaired by William Taft, pushed for high wages and 8 hour work days, but not the right to unionize

  • American Federation of Labor supported war efforts, did not threaten to strike

  • Industrial Workers of the World did protest during war, and were beaten and arrested

Wartime workforce1

Wartime workforce

  • Coal mining, manufacturing and transportation saw wage increases after war

  • Steel Strike of 1919:

    • Industry leaders refused to recognize union

    • brought in African American workers

    • bloody protests left many dead

    • Strike collapsed, setback to unions

African americans in the workplace

African Americans in the Workplace

  • Many southern AA moved north during war looking for jobs

  • Sometimes met with racist violence

  • 1917 riot in in Missouri left 49 dead

  • Violence in Chicago (1919)

Women during war

Women during War

  • Some suffragist were pacifists, demonstrated against war

  • Many women supported war

  • Wilson supported suffrage

  • 19th amendment (1920)

  • Women went to work in many war industries

  • Many women gave up jobs once men came home

Wartime economy

Wartime Economy

  • Herbert Hoover selected to lead Food Administration (had led relief effort of Belgium)

  • Hoover used propaganda to encourage voluntarily saving food for exports

  • Victory gardens, sheep on White House lawn

  • War helped prohibition: 18th amendment (1919)

  • Farm production increased as did food exports

Wartime economy1

Wartime Economy

  • Americans encouraged to conserve fuel

  • Treasury Dept. raised $21 billion in bonds

  • Many were pressured into bonds to prove their patriotism

  • Federal gov. took control of railroads

  • Seized enemy merchant ships

The war to end war


  • Conscription

  • No exemptions, except in crucial industries

  • Army grew from 100,000 pre-war soldiers to over 4 million

  • Women allowed in military for 1st time

  • AA served in segregated battalions

Fighting in europe

Fighting in Europe

  • Russia withdraws troops in 1918

  • Germany now could concentrate on fighting in western Europe

  • US troops begin to arrive in France a year after war declared

  • US soldiers also fight in Belgium, Italy, Russia

  • US invaded Russia to protect munitions

  • Expedition into Siberia to rescue Czech troops



  • Germany pressing west toward Paris

  • Americans key in second Battle of the Marne (July 1918)

  • General John Pershing led 1.2 million US soldiers in the Meuse-Argonne campaign featured heavy fighting with high casualties near the Argonne Forest

  • Alvin York (from an antiwar family) killed 20 Germans and captured 132 single-handedly

Final days

Final Days

  • German allies were deserting them

  • British blockade creating food shortages

  • Propaganda leaflets were spreading across the German front



  • Germany turned to Wilson and his 14 points

  • Wilson required that the Kaiser be removed before peace could be obtained

  • Kaiser fled to the Netherlands

  • 11,11,11

  • Main US contributions had been food, supplies, money and oil

Wilson a hero abroad

Wilson a Hero Abroad

  • Wilson a hero throughout Europe for ending war

  • Wilson sat at the head of the mightiest nation on earth

Peace at home

Peace at Home

  • Republicans gain a majority in Congress in 1918

  • No president had ever traveled to Europe, but Wilson went after war

  • Refused to bring any Republican Senators

Idealism vs imperialism

Idealism vs. Imperialism

  • Crowds welcomed Wilson, but leaders worried

  • Paris Conference featured “Big 4” (US, GB, Italy and France)

  • Europe worried about communist spillover from Russia

  • Territories of conquered would be overseen by League of Nations

The treaty of versailles

The Treaty of Versailles

  • Republican opposition at home empowered European leaders against Wilson

  • France demanded part of Germany (administered by League for 15 years)

  • GB and US agree to aid France in future

  • Italy demanded part of Yugoslavia

  • Japan demanded German islands in Pacific

  • Japan also demanded part of China, which was to be returned at a later date

The treaty leads to trouble

The Treaty Leads to Trouble

  • Germany forced to accept treaty void of 14 points

  • Wilson had to compromise

  • Isolationists in US despised Treaty

  • Some felt that it wasn’t harsh enough on Germany

  • Others felt it went to far

American deadlock

American Deadlock

  • Republicans sought to change treaty

  • Wilson undertook a nationwide tour to gain support for the treaty

  • Wilson had a long history of illness, and in Sep. 1919 he collapsed in Colorado

  • A stroke partially paralyzed Wilson back in DC

  • Wilson did not meet with his cabinet for 7 months

American deadlock1

American Deadlock

  • Congress upset over the requirement that US would come to the aid of other attacked nations

  • Amended “republican" treaty rejected, twice

  • Treaty never approved by Congress

Election of 1920

Election of 1920

  • Republicans nominate Warren Harding

  • Harding makes mixed statements about Treaty

  • Newly enfranchised women help Harding carry the victory

  • Without US support the treaty was doomed to fail in Europe

  • US goes back to isolationism

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