Was it in the national interest of the United States to stay neutral or declare war in 1917?

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1 Chapter 22 Essential Question Was it in the national interest of the United States to stay neutral or declare war in 1917? 22.1 In the spring of 1914, President Wilson sent a trusted advisor to Europe. The advisor's task was to learn more about the growing strains among the European powers. Upon his return to the U.S. the advisor meet with President Wilson. o "Everybody's nerves are tense." o "It needs only a spark to set the whole thing off." On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie made an official visit to Sarajevo, the capital of Austria-Hungary province of Bosnia. As the royal couple rode through the city in an open car, terrorist Gavrilo Princip fired several shots into the car, killing the royal couple Europe: A Powder Keg Waiting to Ignite As World War I began, a system of alliances divided Europe into two camps. Other nations joined the Allies or the Central powers as the war expanded to engulf most of Europe. Allies France Great Britain Russia Italy Greece Serbia Romania Africa Central Powers Austria-Hungary Germany Ottoman Empire Neutral Countries Norway Sweden Denmark Switzerland Luxemburg Spain Albania

2 The interaction of many factors led to war. o One cause was the system of alliances that linked the European nations to each other. o Nationalism also created tensions. Nationalism is a strong feeling of pride in and loyalty to a nation or ethnic group. Nationalism led some European powers to put national interests first, regardless of the consequences for other countries. o Another key factor was militarism, a policy of glorifying military power and values. o Imperialism added more fuel to the fire. Competition for trade and colonies further strained relations. Wilson Adopts a Policy of Neutrality Soon after the war began, Woodrow Wilson adopted a policy of neutrality. o The U.S. would not take sides. o The U.S. would offer loans and sell weapons and supplies to both sides million Americans (one-third of the population) were either foreign born or the children of foreign-born parents. o Many Americans found it hard to remain neutral. o Germans and Austrian Americans were sympathetic to the Central powers. o Irish-Americans sided with the Central powers out of their long-standing hatred of the British. o Majority of Americans favored the Allies. By late November 1914, the war reached a stalemate. The lines of battle stretched across Belgium and northeastern France to the border of Switzerland. Month by month, casualties mounted in what, to many Americans, looked like senseless slaughter.

3 Eastern front o Russia advances into Germany and Austria-Hungary o The Germans counter attack stops the Russian advance. Western front o German troops rolled across Belgium and into France. o Belgium, British, and French armies stopped the German advance Challenges to the U.S. Policy of Neutrality Although the U.S. may have declared itself neutral, American businesses and banks were anything but. Between 1914 and 1916, the value of American trade with the Allies soared from $800 million to $3 billion. U.S. banks loaned the Allies $2 billion to pay for these purchases. Britain Stops U.S. Ships Heading for Germany British turned back any vessels carrying weapons, food, and other vital supplies to the Central powers. British also turned back ships from neutral nations. U-boat Attacks Increase Tensions with Germany In February 1915, the Germans created the U-boat to challenge the British blockade. o Germany declared the waters around Britain a war zone. o Germans adopt a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. o On May 7, 1915, a U-boat sank the British liner Lusitania without warning. The Lusitania, a British passenger ship, sank near Ireland after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. Of the 1,198 people who died, 128 were Americans. The American public was outraged, and the incident helped strengthen American support for the Allies.

4 Four months later, in August 1915, Germany sank a second British ship, the Arabic, killing two Americans. Germany officials promised that Germany would sink no more passenger ships without warning. o In March 1916, they broke that promise by sinking the French liner Sussex, an attack that left several Americans injured. In an agreement called the Sussex pledge, Germany promised to spare all lives in any future U-boat attacks on merchant ships. But it attached a condition: The U.S. must force Britain to end its illegal blockage. Preparedness, Promises, and Propaganda In 1916, Woodrow Wilson ran for reelection against the Republican presidential candidate, Charles Evans Hughes. The Democrats did their best to portray Hughes as eager to go to war. Full-page ads in newspapers read, "If you want war, vote for Hughes! If you want peace, vote for Wilson." Concern over President Wilson's handling of the war fueled a growing preparedness movement. o This movement was led by former president Theodore Roosevelt, who pointed out that the U.S. was illprepared for war should it need to fight. o In 1915, the army had only 80,000 men and lacked equipment. For a time, Wilson resisted calls to strengthen the military, but the submarine menace persuaded him that he had to increase the nation's readiness for war. Both the Allies and the Central powers used propaganda posters to drum up support for the war at home The U.S. States Declares a "War to End All Wars" In a speech to the Senate on January 22, 1917, Wilson declared that he wanted to find a way to end the stalemated

5 war in Europe. In 1917, President Wilson asked Congress to declare war, "It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars." he said. "Civilization itself seems to be hanging in the balance." o He called on the warring powers to accept a "peace without victory." o He also spoke of forming a "league of honor" to help nations settle conflicts peacefully. The Zimmermann Note Stirs Up Anti-German Feelings. Written in code, the Zimmermann note was deciphered by British cryptographers. The British waited to release the telegram to American newspapers until relations between the United States and Germany were at an all-time low. The threat in the telegram to help Mexico regain territory lost to the United States further inflamed public opinion against Germany. The United States Enters the War On April 2, 1917, the Senate voted 82 to 6 to declare war on Germany. The House followed on April 6 y a vote of 373 to 50.

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