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America and the Great War. Chapter 23: Pages 604-625. Origins of Conflict. European powers were also acting in imperialistic ways Became a rivalry They also were competing for economic growth and military expansion. Alliances Form. Europe basically is divided between two sides

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America and the great war

America and the Great War

Chapter 23: Pages 604-625

Origins of conflict
Origins of Conflict

  • European powers were also acting in imperialistic ways

  • Became a rivalry

  • They also were competing for economic growth and military expansion

Alliances form
Alliances Form

  • Europe basically is divided between two sides

  • Germany forms an alliance with the Austro-Hungarian Empire

  • Great Britain and France formed an alliance with Tsarist Russia

Archduke franz ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand

  • Heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne

June 28 1914
June 28, 1914

  • Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated by a Serbian terrorist

  • This causes a chain reaction of events

  • Austria declares war on Serbia; Russia declares war on Austria

More declarations
More Declarations

  • Germany declares war on Russia and France

  • Germany moved quickly and attacked France through Belgium, which was neutral

  • In response, Britain declares war on Germany

Allies vs central powers
Allies vs. Central Powers

  • Allies Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and Russia

  • Central Powers Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria

  • The war was a global conflict, fought not just in Europe, but also in Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia

American attitudes
American Attitudes

  • Most felt the U.S. had no interests or reasons to get involved

  • Adopted policy of Neutrality

Wilson s proclamation
Wilson’s Proclamation

  • “Americans are to be neutral in thought as well as in action”

  • Neither the American people or the President were able to remain completely neutral

American ties
American Ties

  • Ethnic, cultural, and economic ties bound most Americans to favor the British and French

  • Most Americans also felt more of a connection to the democratic Western Allies

  • Relationship with Britain was now strong, Germany was viewed as a rival

Wilson s leanings
Wilson’s Leanings

  • Admired British culture and government

  • Did not trust Germany, feared a victory would threaten our economic, political, and strategic interests

  • “England is fighting our fight”

View of germany
View of Germany

  • British writers and artists went out of their way to depict Germany as barbarians

  • Talked of them mutilating nuns and babies

The economy of war
The Economy of War

  • According to international law, neutral countries could sell war supplies to other nations

  • Americans were hoping this conflict would kick start the American economy


  • “War, for Europe, means devastation and death; for America a bumper crop of new millionaires”

  • British Navy prevented trade with the Central Powers so only the Allies could buy American goods

Effects on neutrality
Effects on Neutrality

  • Strengthened USA’s ties with the Allies and made Germans angry

  • Allied countries also borrowed money from the USA, over 2 billion

  • All of these things linked us to the Allies and convinced Germany that American neutrality was only a formality

Fake neutrality
Fake Neutrality

  • We allowed Britain to break certain international neutrality laws, but would not do the same for Germany

  • Boston globe said, “the British are a gang of thieves, and the Germans are a gang of murderers. On the whole, we prefer the thieves, but only as the lesser of two evils.”

Declaration of london
Declaration of London

  • clarified international law and specified the rights of neutral nations

  • Germany agreed to follow new laws

  • Britain tried to get around the rules

British tricks
British Tricks

  • British set up a blockade of Germany and forced neutral ships into British ports to search their cargoes for material deemed useful to the German war effort

  • British ships were intentionally flying the flag of neutral countries in order to get past the Germans

America and the great war

  • What did Wilson (ole’ Woodrow) know?

  • He knew what was going on and chose to ignore it

  • Saw any advantage to the Allies as a positive for American interests

Germany s threat
Germany’s Threat

  • In response to Britain's rule breaking and Wilson’s lack of response, the Germans authorized the sinking of neutral ships

Wilson s response
Wilson’s Response

  • Wilson said he would hold Germany responsible for any loss of American lives or property

May 1915
May 1915

  • German submarine sank the Lusitania

  • Killed 1198 people; 128 were Americans

Why did germany sink it
Why did Germany sink it?

  • German embassy had warned Americans against travelling on the ship

  • Germany suspected that it had been carrying weapons for Britain

  • Was it?

Does u s a enter war now
Does U.S.A enter war now?

  • Wilson said he must “carry out the double wish of our people, to maintain a firm front in respect of what we demand of Germany and yet do nothing that might by any possibility involve us in the war”

Wilson s demands of germany
Wilson’s Demands of Germany

  • Wilson demanded that Germany abandon its submarine campaign

  • William Jennings Bryan resigned because of this, he thought requiring more of Germany than Britain violated neutrality and threatened to draw the nation into war

Germany keeps it up
Germany Keeps it Up

  • The Germans would sink another ship, The Sussex, and Wilson threatened to end diplomatic relations with Germany

  • Sussex Pledge Germany promised not to sink merchant ships without warning but only if the United States required Britain to adhere to international law


  • Program to expand the armed forces and establish universal military training


  • Many Americans opposed expensive military preparations because they were certain the United States would not get involved

  • Wilson opposed it initially but reversed his position when the German submarine crisis intensified

Peace without victory
“Peace Without Victory”

  • Wilson’s ultimate plan

  • Strictly an American vision, neither the Allies or Central powers were interested

  • What did it call for?

Details of plan
Details of Plan

  • The new world order should be based on national equality and self-determination

  • arms reductions and freedom of the seas

  • and an international organization to ensure peace

Germany s plan to win
Germany’s Plan to Win

  • Resumed submarine warfare

  • Germany thought it could end the war by cutting the Allies off from US supplies before the US could send an army to Europe

  • Wilson was now committed to a war that the people didn’t want

Armed neutrality
“Armed Neutrality”

  • Wilson ordered armed merchant ships and ordered naval gun crews to shoot submarines on sight

  • Called his policy “armed neutrality”

Zimmermann note
Zimmermann Note

  • Wilson released an intercepted message from the German foreign minister, Arthur Zimmermann, to the German minister in Mexico

Wanted to make a deal
Wanted to Make a Deal

  • It proposed that in the event of war between the United States and Germany, Mexico should ally itself with Germany

  • In exchange, Mexico would recover its “lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.”

Note was intercepted
Note Was Intercepted

  • This produced a wave of hostility toward Germany and increased support for invention in the war

One other event
One other Event

  • Another separate even made entry to war more realistic

  • There was a revolution in Russia that overthrew the tsarist regime and established a provisional government. Russia was now a “fit partner” for the United States

April 2 1917
April 2, 1917

  • Wilson declared that neutrality was no longer possible given Germany’s submarine warfare against mankind

Declaration passes
Declaration Passes

  • Senate passed the war resolution 82 to 6 and the House 373 to 50 and on April 6, 1917, the US officially entered the Great War