Events to US Entry

World War I
Outcome: Events Prior to U.S. Entry
Events Prior to U.s. entry
1. U.S. Position: Neutrality
a. President Wilson encouraged neutrality in “thought & action”
b. Neutrality Problems
i. U.S. traded w/both sides, but ties w/Great Britain were strongest
1. Common language, customs, and government
2. By 1917, U.S. loans to the Allies reached $2.3 billion
Events Prior to U.s. entry
Great Britain spread anti-German propaganda to the U.S.
iii. G. Britain blockaded Europe, stopping our trade w/Germany (famine)
iii. Germany began submarine warfare (violated “freedom of seas”)
1. Attacked ships in Allied ports
2. Declared a “war zone” around the British Isles
German u-boat
Anti German
The Lusitania
Events Prior to U.s. entry
v. Sinking of the Lusitania (May 7, 1915)
1. U.S.-German relations worsen
2. Germany questioned U.S. neutrality & the ship’s cargo
3. Ship was loaded with contraband purchased from the U.S.
4. Wilson demanded in a letter of protest that Germany end sub
warfare, & apologize and pay reparations to the families
Events Prior to U.s. entry
vi. March 1916: The French ship Sussex was sunk w/Americans on board.
Germany agreed to the “Sussex Pledge,” a promise to warn ships before
sinking them.
Events Prior to U.s. entry
2. Election of 1916
a. (D) Wilson: “Dove” and (R) Charles E. Hughes: “Hawk”
i. Both hand campaigned for peace & neutrality
ii. TR may have hurt (R) chances for victory with pro-war speeches
iii. Cliff-hanger: Wilson won by 20 electoral votes (CA decided the outcome)
iv. Message: Did the citizens of the US want to go to war despite Wilson??
Events Prior to U.s. entry
3. Events to US Entry
a. By 1916, the War in Europe became stalemated on both fronts
Western Front = 500 miles of trenches extending from the English
Channel to the Adriatic Sea (Defended by France and Great Britain)
ii. Eastern Front = line defended by Russia
iii. Little progress & high casualties led to frustration on both sides
Events Prior to U.s. entry
b. Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare to break the deadlock
i. Stopped issuing warnings; 3 U.S. ships were sunk in one day
ii. The Kaiser felt confident the U.S. would not enter the war
iii. U.S. responded by ending diplomatic relations w/Germany
Events Prior to U.s. entry
Zimmerman Note (“Last Straw”) published on March 1, 1917)
Letter from Germany to Mexico asking for an alliance against the U.S.
Intercepted and decoded by Great Britain
Pro-war fever intensified in the U.S.; TR demanded we enter in the name of
self-defense. Soon after, 4 more unarmed U.S. ships were sunk.
d. March 1917, Russia surrendered to Germany
Events Prior to U.s. entry
e. Wilson asked Congress for a Declaration of War on April 2, 1917
i. Enemy: German government, not the German people
ii. Wilson: “America must go to war to make the world safe for democracy”
iii. Congress declared war on April 6, 1917
Events Prior to U.s. entry
4. The War in Europe
a. The Allies were weakened in 1917
In March, 1917 a Russian peoples’ revolt overthrew Czar Nicholas II
and a provisional government was set up
ii. In November 1917, this weak gov’t was overthrown by the Bolsheviks
led by Nikolai Lenin, eventually resulting in a communist government
iii. In December, 1917 Russia agreed to an armistice on the Eastern
Front and withdrew, leaving Germany to fight a 1 front war (All German
forces could now be sent to the Western Front in concentration)
Events Prior to U.s. entry
b. June, 1917: 1st U.S. troops arrive in Europe
i. A.E.F. = American Expeditionary Forces were led by
General John Pershing
ii. By 1918, 2 million U.S. “Doughboys” were in France
iii. Wilson began plans for permanent peace based on his 14 Points
Events Prior to U.s. entry

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