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  • Created by: Lily
  • Created on: 08-05-13 15:53

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
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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.

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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
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Impact of the US on the war

1917 Situation

  • 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.
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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
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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
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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
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