The War Up to and Around 1917 • Russia dropped out of the war in 1917 because it had its own problems to deal with and a change of leadership– Bolshevik Revolution • The war had been a stalemate for 3 years; no one was a big loser or winner and there was no end in sight • This was a war of “attrition” • The idea is that you “bleed” your enemy to death by just outlasting them rather than defeating them soundly in battle • The US was still officially neutral • Some in what was called the Preparedness Movement said that the US should be getting ready for war JUST in case… preparing an army, stocking weapons, etc. • “Unarmed neutrality” • Teddy Roosevelt, never a fan of Woodrow Wilson, helped lead this
Isolationism • Many in America wished to stay officially neutral in the war and chose an “isolationist” approach to international relations • The US is a land of immigrants from all over the world • At that time, many recent immigrants had come from the countries now at war • It would be hard for them if the US went to war against their people! • Plus, which side to choose? The US has no clear enemy or ally here (though many leaned toward helping out Great Britain)…or major reason to join
World War One and Woodrow Wilson • Take THAT, Elmer Fudd ^ • Wilson was president during the war and was in favor of neutrality • He said the US • "must be neutral in fact as well as in name" and • "impartial in thought as well as in action“ • He continued to trade with both sides during the war and encouraged Congress and Americans to stay neutral as well • Let’s read his speech!
Things Get Crazy when You Blow Up Our Ships #1 rule if you don’t want America to go to war with you: Don’t mess with our boats (or let us mess with yours, in the case of Boston) • German u-boats (early, janky submarines) made the waters around Britain and France unsafe. • Warnings were posted about when and where it would be unsafe to sail • The US can’t be deterred by paper…. Even if that paper says the war zone is exactly where a ship carrying US passengers will be heading… can you guess what happened next?
Lusitania Aftermath • 128 Americans were onboard the British ship The Lusitania when it was torpedoed and sank by a German u-boat • Wilson demanded the Germans stop firing at ships carrying passengers…they didn’t really listen, there were some more incidents, and the US gradually was pulled closer to war • The mystery? • Was it really a passenger ship? • Was it carrying weapons or ammo? • Why was there a second explosion?
The Zimmerman Telegram • A German official, Arthur Zimmerman, sent a telegram (basically, a letter) to Mexico that offered them Germany’s (eventual)help if Mexico would attack (currently neutral) America. • American then intercepted and read the telegram • Here’s the cleaned-up Cracked version of that: Germany: Mexico, this will totally work. You attack America, hold them off, then we'll help you beat them when we win over here. Afterwards you can have America! Mexico: What are you, an idiot? We're Mexico for heaven’s sake. They're America. No. United States: What are you, an idiot? We're America for heaven's sake. We know how to intercept telegrams. It's really not difficult. • Result: A not-happy America that was more convinced that Germany should be the enemy
1917 • Unrestricted Submarine Warfare: Germany announced it would attack any ships that it wanted to in in waters, including American ships… • and it did. • Germany figured it would be able to win the war before America was able to mobilize • Wilson had a strong desire to bring peace and democracy throughout the world • He thought that he could do this if he entered the war, won it, and helped shape the post-war world • On April 2, Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany • On April 6, Congress declared war