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Unit Four: World Leadership and Domestic Challenges. 1914-present. Big Picture. World Wars : Breaks European dominance of world affairs. US and USSR become superpowers

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big picture
Big Picture
  • World Wars: Breaks European dominance of world affairs. US and USSR become superpowers
  • Isolation-> Superpower: Reversal of traditional policy, prompting involvement in politics, economic, social and environmental issues around the globe. But there are many Americans who resent resources used overseas
  • Social Movements: post industrial consciousness, greater value on equality and quality of life. But there are questions about value of “progress”
  • Demographic Shifts: More people in urban areas, changes to social patterns, new gender roles. Mass culture, ethnic mixtures
  • New Challenges: In recent years American hegemony has been challenged by new powers
the united states and wwi

The United States and WWI

Chapter 16


the war before american entry
The War Before American Entry
  • The “Great War” (War to End All War) was the largest conflict the world had ever seen- the 1st Total War.
  • Turning point in European history- this is the beginning of the end for them (at least in terms of where they had been since age of discovery)
causes of the war
Causes of the War
  • Every country went into this conflict

willingly- with their eyes wide shut…. Every

nation had issues with each other- and was

certain this was the way to get what they

wanted. Main Factors

  • Nationalism: Eng v. Ger, Fr wants back in, Russia wants respect, Austria want to survive
  • Colonial Issues: Ger wants an empire- everyone is jealous of Eng
  • Self Determination: Eastern Europe v. the Austrian and Russian Empires
  • Entangling Alliances: Washington said to avoid them for a reason…..
the course of the war
The Course of the War
  • France/Russia/Britain v. Germany/Austria/Italy
  • Stalemate on Western Front (failure of Schlieffen Plan) with Trench warfare
  • Eastern front bigger (in area and casualties), Russia getting pounded, leads to their revolution in 1917
the difficulties of remaining neutral
The Difficulties of Remaining Neutral
  • We never “really” were- after all, our heritage was in Europe, and 1 in 3 Americans was 1st or 2nd generation immigrant.
  • While there were large numbers of Americans with German heritage- we always leaned more towards England- not just b/c of heritage, but trade
effects of propaganda
Effects of Propaganda
  • Both sides used it at home and abroad,

but British held the telegraph cables, so

they controlled much of the news we

got. Full of German “atrocities” committed in Belgium

  • Germans used unrestricted submarine warfare to stop trade- sinking passenger ships like the Lusitania that were suspected of carrying arms (which it was) US demanded an end, or threatened war- Germans backed off for awhile
the road to war wilson s plan
The Road To War- Wilson’s Plan
  • Wilson wanted to start peace talks between the 2 sides as early as 1915, with no success.
  • He did begin a policy of “preparedness” increasing military spending, building up the army and navy (National Defense Act and Navy Act)
  • 1916 re-election campaign focused on need to promote “Peace Without Victory”- calling for a new world order and a league of nations
unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
  • But the Germans had already decided that we gave too much help to Allies with our “neutral” shipping, they needed to cut supplies.
  • Went back to firing on passenger ships- knowing it would probably bring us into war, but figuring they could defeat allies (who would be w/o supplies) before we could mobilize
zimmerman note
Zimmerman Note
  • German Ambassador says that if Mexico will declare war on US ( to distract us and keep us out of Europe) that once European war is done Germany will help Mexico get territory lost in 1840s (the Southwest) back.
  • Leads to declaration of war to “Make the World Safe for Democracy” – spread Progressive ideals around the globe
mobilizing the nation
Mobilizing the Nation
  • In addition to building up existing forces, Congress created the Selective Service Act- which requires all men from 21-30 (now 18-40) to be registered for the draft.
  • 4.7 million (out of approx 92 million) Americans served in the war, including 400,000 African Amercians and 50,000 women (primarily nurses and clerical positions)
  • All this is expensive, and while taxes did go up, a lot of $$ was raised through “Liberty Bond Drives” which touted supporting the war as a patriotic duty.
the propaganda war
The Propaganda War
  • George Creel (Muckraker) convinced Wilson that the best plan was promotion of the war, not censorship
  • Committee on Public Information: created war propaganda- posters, pamphlets, newspaper stories, movie shorts, speeches (at movies)
anti german feeling
Anti German Feeling
  • All this propaganda stirred up

resentments- which could get ugly. German Americans were sometimes victims of discrimination

  • My favorite is changing things with German names to sound more “American”; Hot dogs, Liberty pups, Liberty measles and Liberty Cabbage (tasty)
  • Espionage Act 1917: cannot aid enemies of the US or interfere with the war effort
  • Sedition Act 1918: broadened “don’ts” to curtailing negative speech about the war or government (like pacifist demonstrations, or women’s suffrage protestors) 1500 Americans jailed
economic planning
Economic Planning
  • Gov’t/business worked together closely- executives helped plan economic activities- efficiency and production stressed- and 25% of econ production will be diverted to war effort.
  • Food Administration (Herbert Hoover): regulated distribution of food. Encouraged conservation actions like “Victory Gardens”, “Meatless Mondays” and “Wheatless Wednesdays” to make more food available to send overseas.
  • Fuel Administration: rationed coal and gasoline consumption.
  • War Industries Board: (Bernard Baruch) coordinated industrial efforts. Encouraged mechanization in factories, and hiring women, so more workers would be available to serve in military.
women and war
Women and War
  • War created significant increase in women’s employment- especially of middle class women. Filled men’s jobs, ran husband’s businesses, even made munitions. (though that will mostly be wwii)
  • Their success helped lead to the 19th amendment being passed in 1920- but once the war was over traditional roles returned, for the most part…. (the “liberation” of work helps lead to the idea of the flapper)
opportunities for black americans
Opportunities for Black Americans
  • Continued trend of migrating north for industrial jobs (rather than agriculture in the south), cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia all saw significant population increases.
  • Unfortunately- this did not lead to social, econ (nor true political)equality. NAACP (led by WEB Dubois) fought discrimination- without as much success as they might have liked.
winning the war
Winning the War
  • US fought on the Western front to break the stalemate (eastern front gone after Brest Litovsk) beginning in June of 1917, but really got involved in early 1918 when the Germans launched a major offensive (their last ditch effort- but we don’t know that)
  • Chateau Thierry and the Meuse Argonne offensive are major US battles- and our fresh “doughboys” helped turn the tide.
  • US fought in war for 18 months- losing 115,000 men (compared to the 10 million Europeans) spent $21 billion, including loans of over $10 billion to the allies
14 points
14 points
  • President Wilson’s Peace Plan- his justification for being involved in the war.
  • 1st five are about diplomacy (no secret treaties, freedom of the seas etc…)
  • Next 8 are about redrawing Europe- self determination, redistributing territory, ending some parts of colonial domination
  • But the big one for Wilson is the League- a “gentlemen’s club” where wiser heads will prevail to avert any further chaos.
post war diplomacy
Post War Diplomacy
  • When the allies arrive at Versailles for peace conference- it is clear there are many different agendas.
  • Britain, and esp France, want to see Germany strength diminished, and have them “punished” for the war. They demand reparations, demilitarization and the “war guilt” clause.
  • Hot mess of resentment and ridiculousness- solving NONE of the problems that started the war, and guaranteeing they will all be back for another round
versailles treaties
Versailles Treaties
  • Germany must accept “sole blame” for war- and pay $31 billion in reparations over 30 years, lose 13% of their territory (alsacelorraine most important part), accept military restrictions, and was not allowed to join the League (of course, we never did either…)
  • Austrian/Ottoman empires dismantled- and eastern Europe carved into a variety of new nations based on ethnicity and self determination. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia all new nations. – border issues….(don’t worry, they won’t last long)
mandate system
Mandate System
  • Non European territories of the

Ottoman Empire were judged

overall to be “unready for

independence” and were therefore “assigned” to a European power for protection.

  • Violated promised made to Arabs by Britain during war (they had rebelled against Ottomans in return for support of independence) Syria/Lebanon assigned to France, Palestine/Iraq to England.
  • Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt managed to achieve independence during 1920s- but more borders troubles, and a real resentment of European interference
treaty debate in us
Treaty Debate in US
  • Wilson had gone to Versailles alone- forgetting all treaties have to be ratified by the Senate- which was NOT a fan of the many aspects, especially the League of Nations. Many were looking for a return to isolationist policy- and “collective security” was not their game
  • Henry Cabot Lodge- made it him mission to defeat treaty (not that hard a sell, Wilson wasn’t popular in DC) Wilson goes on tour to promote the need to ratify the treaty (hopes public opinion will sway) has a stroke- and was incapacitated for the rest of his term.
  • The US never ratified Versailles- or joined the League of Nations. Our “Return to Normalcy” will create problems as Europe struggles through the 20s and 30s.