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The USA and the “War to End All Wars”. American Reactions to the Outbreak. “Again and ever, I thank Heaven for the Atlantic Ocean” – US Ambassador to Britain, Walter Hines Page, July 29, 1914 describing “The Great Smash”. American outrage at atrocities Who is to blame?

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The USA and the “War to End All Wars”

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The USA and

the “War to End All Wars”

american reactions to the outbreak
American Reactions to the Outbreak
  • “Again and ever, I thank Heaven for the Atlantic Ocean” – US Ambassador to Britain, Walter Hines Page, July 29, 1914 describing “The Great Smash”

American outrage at atrocities

  • Who is to blame?
  • How should the US react?
  • What did the term mean?
  • Equal impact on all sides?
  • No impact on the war at all?
  • Total US freedom of action?

The Germans are killing people. The British are merely inconveniencing them – Wilson on the two blockade strategies.

the rivals
The Rivals

Woodrow Wilson

Theodore Roosevelt

Born 1858

Governor (NY): 1899-1901

President: 1901-1909

Died: 1919

  • Born 1856
  • Governor (NJ): 1911-1913
  • President: 1913-1921
  • Died: 1921 (stroke in 1919)
roosevelt s critiques
Roosevelt’s Critiques
  • Neutrality is “utter folly” akin to disarming the NYPD to fight crime in Central Park
  • US policy should be “righteousness backed by force.”
  • Wilson’s policy is “object cowardice and weakness.”

Plattsburg Camps

germany and usw
Germany and USW
  • Wilson supported a “peace without victory”
  • “A War to End All Wars”
  • “Make the World Safe for Democracy”
  • Use the American Army to solve Europe’s problems through reason and morality
  • Roosevelt sought to use US military might to punish Germany
  • Use the war to make America a world power
  • Roosevelt wanted to lead a division personally
  • All of his sons fought, one was killed
the american army
The American Army?
  • Smaller than Romania’s
  • Equipment, doctrine, knowledge of European war all badly out of date
  • “I watched them leave and wondered how they could possibly do any good” – Elizabeth Coles Marshall.
the american army1
The American Army?
  • Volunteers, National Guard, or Draftees?
  • Combination of systems
  • An army drafted from a nation that had volunteered en masse
  • “Channeled manpower”


Second Marne

St. Mihiel

Argonne Forest

meuse argonne
  • Then the largest battle ever fought by American forces
  • 27,000 Americans killed and 95,000 wounded, plus thousands of “stragglers”
  • Views on an armistice and Pershing’s plans for 1919
wilson and the usa
Wilson and the USA
  • Elections of 1918
    • Irreconcilables
    • Sen. Lodge
  • 14 Points
    • Should they guide the conference? Can they?
    • Contradictions?
  • “God Himself only gave mankind ten, and we soon learned how to break those” – Georges Clemenceau
fourteen points abridged
Fourteen Points (abridged)
  • I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at.
  • II. Absolute freedom of navigation
  • III. The removal of all economic barriers
  • IV. national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
  • V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims,
  • VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory.
  • VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored.
  • VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, should be righted.
IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
  • X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development.
  • XI. The relations of the several Balkan states to one another [should be] determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality.
  • XII. The nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships.
  • XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea.
  • XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
  • Isolationism vs. internationalism
  • Home front impacts
    • Great migration
    • 100% Americanism
    • Growth of government influence
  • Birth of modern American foreign policy