A growing role for America abroad: WWI Chapter 16
World War I and the US • WWI began in Europe 1914 • Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria • Allied Powers: Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Italy (and others) • US remained Neutral • Wilson’s neutrality proclamation 1914-”Neutral in thought as well as deed” • Which side would the US join, if it did end up at war? • Pro Allies: economic, linguistic, and cultural ties to Britain—economic ties to the rest of Western Europe—most of the allies were democracies (except Russia) whereas the Central Powers were all autocracies • Pro Central Powers: tens of millions of Americans were either immigrants from the Central Powers or had at least one parent from a Central Powers country, Irish immigrants hated Britain, US antagonism towards the British (Revolution, War of 1812)
Path to War: 1914-1917 • Increased business activity with warring nations • US began to trade with both Allies and Central Powers • British naval blockade cut off trade with the Central Powers • US trade with the Allies increased almost 300% between 1914 and 1916, while it practically halted completely with Germany during that same time • US banks loaned billions of dollars to the Allies • This business activity and those loans would be in jeopardy if the Allies lost • German submarine warfare • German’s began sinking allied and (inadvertently) neutral ships without warning with submarines to prevent supplies from getting to England and France • Election of 1916: Wilson vs. Charles Evans Hughes—Wilson wins
US Declares War: 1917 • Germans declare unrestricted submarine warfare on both allied and neutral shipping, 1917 • Wilson responds by ordering the arming of US merchant ships • Zimmerman Telegram 1917 • German diplomat Arthur Zimmerman tried to make a secret deal with Mexico to declare war on the US with German aid, in exchange Germany would help Mexico retake the American Southwest, which the US had taken in 1848 • Submarine warfare + Zimmerman telegram=Declaration of War-1917 • First time ever the US got involved in a European war, seemed to go against the Monroe Doctrine, went against Washington’s farewell address, went against 150 years of US isolationism • Good or bad for the US to get involved in world affairs like WWI?
WWI Abroad • War declared spring of 1917 • Took the US a while to get the military organized and transported to Europe—no large numbers of US soldiers until 1918 • US had to battle German submarines in the Atlantic before it could battle Germans in Europe—convoy system • US helped turn the tide of WWI, but military contributions were minor compared to those of Britain and France • US involved in fighting for less than 12 months and suffered 50,000 deaths—Britain and France were involved in fighting for over 50 months and suffered almost 2.5 million deaths • November 11, 1918 Germans signed an armistice, war over
WWI at Home: Progressivism in Charge • Many progressives welcomed the war, saw it as a way to rally the American public and push through more major progressive reforms • Progressivism in WWI • Government control of the economy, experts in charge • Bernard Baruch and the War Industries Board • Herbert Hoover and the Food Administration • Government (temporary) takeover of the railroads • Government control of the coal and fuel markets • Women’s rights and women’s suffrage make’s strides • Women entered new industries during the war • Tens of thousands of women volunteered as wartime nurses • Women’s suffrage was officially endorsed by Wilson and the government as a “necessary war measure” • 19th amendment (1920) granted women’s suffrage
Progressivism during WWI: Too Much Government Control? • George Creel and the Committee on Public Information • Sell the war to the American people, forge a common American identity among all the different US immigrant groups • Achieve these goals through modern scientific approaches and advertising • 4 minute men, movies, posters • Creel was successful—whipped up massive anti-German and pro-war sentiment • Germans attacked by mobs, German music and language banned in schools, German books taken out of libraries, German foods and place names renamed • Anything wrong with the government getting involved in the media/influencing public opinion?
Progressivism During WWI: Too Much Government Control? (cont.) • Suppression of Dissent: The Espionage (1917) Sedition (1918) Acts • Made it illegal to criticize the war effort or the draft • Many people arrested and imprisoned—including Eugene V. Debs—leader of the anti-war American Socialist Party, and Bill Haywood the leader of the socialist/communist Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) • Schenckv. United States 1919—upheld these convictions • What do you think of these laws/the Supreme Court’s decision in these cases? • Does being in a war require the loss of certain civil liberties?
Homefront: Advances for Minorities and Labor • WWI and African Americans • African Americans participated in the armed forces during WWI (although forced into segregated units) • The Great Migration: Millions of African Americans left the south east and moved to northern industrial cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit) to work in war time industries—major demographic change • Great migration led to improved economic standing for many African Americans, but also led to competition for jobs and housing in the North which led to racial tensions/discrimination/violence(Chicago Race Riot 1919) • WWI and Labor • WWI good for workers, why? • Wartime demand plus a lack of workers (due to the draft) led to increased wages for workers • AFL (biggest labor union) refused to aggressively strike during the war, gained legitimacy in the eyes of many—membership increased to over 3 million by war’s end
End of the War: The 14 Points and the Versailles Treaty • November 1918—Germans signed an armistice (cease fire) fighting over but a permanent treaty needed to be drafted and signed • Paris Peace Conference 1918 • Allied powers met to negotiate a permanent peace treaty, each major power wanted something different • Big 4: • Georges Clemenceau—France: Punish Germany, prevent another war • David Lloyd George—Britain: Punish Germany a little but not too much • Vittorio Orlando—Italy: unite the Italian nation, gain territory from Austria-Hungary • Woodrow Wilson—USA: adhere to the 14 points, especially point 14 • Wilson’s 14 Points • 14 point proposal for peace, issued by Wilson as a framework for ending the war as a part of his declaration of war speech in 1917
The 14 Points and the Versailles Treaty • Major ideas in the 14 points • Freedom of the seas • No secret treaties • Arms limitations • National self-determination • League of Nations • Versailles Treaty (between the allies and Germany) • Wilson left the USA to travel to Europe (first ever for a sitting President) • France got major reparations from Germany, slight reduction in German territory, major reduction of the German military, and the demilitarization of the French-German border • Britain got reparations from Germany, and territorial reductions from Germany (but not very large reductions), Germany still intact to trade with Britain and to hold off the spread of Communism from Russia • USA got the League of Nations, calls for arms control in the future, limmitted self determination for people in Europe
Ratification Debate • President can negotiate treaties but the Senate has to ratify them • Republicans in the Senate opposed the last article—the article about the League of Nations • Feared a loss of US sovereignty • Feared US would be obligated to go to war due to the League • Senate broke into 3 groups • Wilsonians—supported treaty as it was • Reservationists—supported the treaty but wanted minor changes • Irreconcilables—opposed the treaty in all its forms (smallest group) • Wilson refuses to compromise, tours the nation to build support for ratification, has a stroke and is incapacitated for the rest of his term • Voting • Unaltered treaty: Wilsonians yes, reservationists and irreconcilables no: treaty fails • Altered treaty: Reservationists yes, Wilsonians and irreconcilables no: treaty fails • US never ratified the Versailles Treaty
Aftermath of WWI • US now a major world power • US returns to isolationism—a lot of disillusionment with the war • US never joined League of Nations • Progressive movement exhausted—the Progressives took advantage of the war to implement their reforms, went too far, people had grown tired of government involvement/control of the economy and society • Progressive ideas still present but not as influential—would reappear in the 1930’s • More rights for women, African Americans, and labor • Anti-foreign, anti-immigrant, anti-communist sentiment (more on that later) • American public tired with moralistic crusades (at home and abroad) wanted a “return to normalcy”
America After WWI: 1919-1920 • Economic Problems 1919 • Transition from war economy to peace economy led to severe economic problems, examples? • Strikes: dockworkers in Seattle, police in Boston, steel workers all over • Inflation • Recession • Racial Conflict • Tensions between returning white soldiers and African Americans in northern cities led to race riots in several cities/states • Texas, DC, Chicago
America after WWI (cont.) • The Red Scare • Fear of communist revolution in the US, why? • Bombs and terrorist attacks all over the northeastern US • Led to intense ant-immigrant and anti-foreigner sentiment • Led to the Palmer Raids • Palmer Raids • US government cracked down on suspected terrorists • Searched homes without warrants • Detained people without charging them with a crime • Prevented accused terrorists from talking with attorneys • Deported foreigners suspected of belonging to the communist party • Abuses of civil liberties led to the creation of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)