America and World War One

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  • World War One
    • American attitudes to the War
      • Pro-war
        • Many Americans had British families/ancestry
        • Americans more in common with British than Germans
          • Similar legal system and same language
        • Many Americans angry at the Belgium invasion (1914)
        • Wilson wanted to influence the peace at the end of the War to ensure his ideas, such as democracy and self determination, were implemented
          • US would have little influence if they didn't fight
        • Fight in the war to extend America's power
      • Anti-war
        • Wilson's declaration of neutrality
          • The War was a European affair and America shouldn't be concerned
        • US public didn't want a war
          • Wilson won re-election in 1916 mainly because "he kept us out of war"
        • US didn't have a large enough army
        • Anti-imperialist arguments
        • Large immigrant communities could be further divided by war
    • Why did the US enter the War?
      • Long term causes
        • Cultural similarities with Britain
        • Many Americans had British families/ancestry
        • US saw it as a fight for democracy
      • Immediate causes
        • 1917 - the Zimmerman Telegram
          • Suggested an alliance between Mexico and Germany
          • Germany suggested Mexico attack America while they were busy fighting in Europe
          • When Germany won, Mexico would regain Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico  (which they lost to the USA in the 1840s)
          • Violated the Monroe Doctrine and was the first direct threat to America at home
        • January 1917 - Germans use unrestricted U-boat warfare again
          • Germans suffering from British blockade and close to starvation
          • Germany needed to break the blockade and stop supplies going to the UK
      • Short term causes
        • 1915 - Germans declared unrestricted U-boat warfare around British Isles
          • Germans sank British liner the 'Lusitania' in May
            • 128 American lives lost
            • At first, thought it was a peaceful passenger liner but actually carried arms
            • Increase in support and sympathy for the Allies
          • Two more passenger ships sunk
            • The 'Arabic' (1915) and the 'Sussex' (1916)
        • 1914 - Belgium invasion
        • Economic factors
          • US kept selling munitions and food to Britain otherwise jobs in industry and agriculture would be lost
          • By 1917 US banks had lent $2.3 bn to the Allies
          • Vested interest for Britain to win so that debt could be paid back to them
    • The USA in World War One
      • Americans boosted morale of the Allies after they were exhausted from fighting in Europe
      • America contributed supplies and manpower
      • Conscription introduced in May 1917 and 5 million Americans served in the War
      • More women entered workforce and power of Federal Government increased
        • Espionage (1917) and Sedition (1918) Acts passed allowing fines and imprisonment for 'aiding the enemy' or 'disloyal acts'
          • Government arrested over 1,500
  • The War was a European affair and America shouldn't be concerned
  • Short term causes
    • 1915 - Germans declared unrestricted U-boat warfare around British Isles
      • Germans sank British liner the 'Lusitania' in May
        • 128 American lives lost
        • At first, thought it was a peaceful passenger liner but actually carried arms
        • Increase in support and sympathy for the Allies
      • Two more passenger ships sunk
        • The 'Arabic' (1915) and the 'Sussex' (1916)
    • 1914 - Belgium invasion
    • Economic factors
      • US kept selling munitions and food to Britain otherwise jobs in industry and agriculture would be lost
      • By 1917 US banks had lent $2.3 bn to the Allies
      • Vested interest for Britain to win so that debt could be paid back to them

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