Neutrality - why???
- Traditional approach to foreign policy "avoid entangling alliances"
- Many people were still anti-imperialist
- The Army was incredibly weak
- Pre-occupied with Mexican war
- Who to support? - America full of immigrants!
- Strong peace movement
- Resentment of the British blockade
Preparation for War
1915 - "Preparedeness Programme" led to the establishment of a regular army of 250,000 men with enough officers to command an army of 1.5 million. A massive naval building was also being prepared
1916 - Council of National Defence was set up which was a body to advise the president on how to prepare for a potential war.
The Declaration of War
- 2nd of April 1917 - Wilson adressed Congress on why they could no longer stay neutral
- He did not wish to declare war on the German people but rather the wrongs of their Government
- 6th of April 1917 - Congress voted in favour of going to war
- Entered the war as an "Associate Power" rather than an Ally
- Unleashed propaganda to gain the support of the Public
Impact of the US on the war
- Allied forces were exhausted, 340,000 British soliders had been killed/wounded
- Allied economies were in collapse
- The Bolsheviks were in peace-talks with Germany
- 2million were posted to France but only 84,000 arrived
- Had to wear British helmets as they did not produce any
- Relied on British/French weapons
- 1,200,000 recruits were sent in August/Septemeber 1918 and breathed fresh life
- Expeditionary Forced helped resist a strong offensive at the Maine in 1918
- Produced a 2/3 reduction in shipping losses.
Impact of the War on the USA - POSITIVES
- Approved budgets for the rapid mobilisation and equipping of over 3 million men
- Contribution by women was recognised, by 1920 they were given the vote
- Industry was in tight control of the Government - War Industries Board 1917 established priorities for war production and allocated raw materials
- Experienced no damage
- 1917 Espionage Act - illegal to obstruct military recruitment/encourage disloyalty
- Railways under Federal control
- Demand for war production boosted the economy (unemplyment disappeared & increase in wages)
- Loaned huge amounts, NYC became financial capital of the world
- Liberty Bonds 1917 - people could support the war effort and then redeem them later with interest
Impact of the war on the USA - NEGATIVES
- Sedition Act 1918 - illegal to discourage people from buying war bonds/verbally attacking the Constitution & war effort. e.g Eugene Debs given 10 years - LOSS OF FREE SPEECH??
- Income tax rates doubled to raise funds
- Racism and tension towards German immigrants
- Spent $31.2 billion on the cause
- Prohibition Act 1918 - stopped the sale/manufacture of alcoholic drinks during the war - loss of industry?
- Rapid demobilisation & cancellation of wartime contracts led to a slowdown in the economy
- 112,432 died in the war
- Selective Service Act - required 30 million young Americans to register
- National debt increased by 658%
- More people were expected to contribute in some way
The Russian Civil War - American Involvement
- September 1918 - 5,000 US Troops landed as part of the Allied intervention
- Remained in Russia untill July 1919
- "Polar Bear Expedition"
- Sent in to reclaim supplies sent to an Ally that had now pulled out
- Wilson wanted to show support and also prevent the Japanse gaining territory
- Hundreds of American casualities
- Gained almsot nothing