The war was between the Triple Entente-?? Great Britain, Russia, and France-??and the Central Powers, which was comprised of Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. The vast majority of Americans strongly designated themselves a neutral nation. They believed themselves morally superior to war and viewed it to be an unnecessary, primitive solution. Even President Woodrow Wilson immediately announced America’s neutrality, after recently winning the presidential election in 1916 for his second consecutive term, bearing the campaign slogan “He kept us out of war. However, despite Minimal disapproval of World War l. Many controversial events and certain predictions caused the united States to teeter between the line of isolation and intervention. It was President Willow’s strong guidance and insightful evaluations of foreign actions and domestic reactions that led to America’s involvement in the Great War on April 6, 1917. Right from the start, both Germany and Britain quickly began spreading propaganda, attempting to promote their own country motives and Justify their grounds for being in the war.
Propaganda Is defined as information, Ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, Institution, or nation. Both nations were affecting public opinion, but in the summer of 1915, German doctor Heimlich Albert mistakenly put a halt to Germany’s influence. Albert was a preventative of the German Information Service, an agency that was responsible for dispersing rumors in the United States. As he quickly rushed to board his train, he unknowingly left his briefcase, containing German propaganda.
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After It was recovered by an American secret service agent, the documents and their purpose were quickly known throughout the nation, giving citizens a negative perception of Germany. British propaganda was also in circulation, and although this possibility was known by the American population, it was never proved, making it difficult to decipher reliable information from exaggerated. Generally these ideas proposed hat it was German aggression that was responsible for the provocation of the war In Europe, and the Allies-??the Triple Entente-??were simply fighting In defense of collocation gallant tenet Darrell opposition.
Germany was salsa to nave uses “ruthless, militaristic war tactics” and to have an autocratic society, which contested America’s democratic society. In an effort to coax American entry, Britain asserted that the war was unfolding in their favor, and the outcome seemed promising. However, they were actually in financial straits and struggling to survive, but they did not want America to think the war was a lost cause. Ironically, this assurance had an opposite effect on America’s willingness to assist them.
The public proclaimed that if the Triple Entente expected victory, then American intervention would be a pointless waste of money, resources, and lives. Germany’s war tactics and disregard toward the rules of engagement of war also negatively impacted America’s Judgment of them. Early in the war Germany invaded Belgium, a country that pronounced its neutrality as America did, and fought on the soil of an unwilling nation. While occupying Belgium for more than four years, the Germans shot thousands of civilians, dotted and burned towns, and deported civilians, forcing them to assemble weapons and build defenses.
The German chancellor referred too peace treaty written in agreement between the two nations as a “scrap of paper. ” This disrespect to the wishes of Belgium was later called “The Rape of Belgium” and portrayed English- speaking countries as defenders of freedom. To add to Germany’s misconduct, the tactics that they used during the war appalled the American nation. They deployed “dirigible” bombardments on cities, which was combat through a blimp-like airship. This aerial attack would stream poisonous gas over enemy areas, impartially taking he lives of both innocent civilians and soldiers.
An inhumane and deadly technique such as this had previously been unknown to the world. Similarly, the engagement of submarine warfare, with their newly developed U-boats, hurt Germany’s cause in the battle for American support. Germany utilized their new technology of U-boats to destroy both enemy warships and merchant vessels of nonbelligerent nations, some of which contained American citizens, enraging the United States. U-boats were small, slow-moving, and vulnerable, but they were the first submarines the world had ever seen, so defending them was difficult, even for the world-renowned British navy.
The Germans used this stealthy weapon to overcome the blockade that was implemented by the British fleet. The impenetrable fleet effectively prevented all trade ships containing weapons or food from reaching countries occupied by the Central Power, as well as neighboring neutral countries. They also cut all undersea communication cables. The German sinking of American ships the Louisiana and Sussex had the most significant response from the United States. It was after this complete disregard for U. S. Requests that Wilson concluded he could no longer imply ignore Germany’s constant, rebellious insubordination.
He began to realize that war was imminent. In 1915, U-boats sank the American merchant vessel the Louisiana, killing 128 American citizens. Still wanting to maintain neutrality, President Wilson reacted by merely demanding that Germany abide by protocol of restricted warfare, in addition to arming merchant vessels for defense. Germany agreed but then later declared unlimited warfare on all ships, openly admitting that “mistakes will be made. ” In 1917, the U-boats sank another American vessel, the Sussex, killing another 25 Americans.
Although Germany argued that it was difficult to identify the ship, Americans were clearly frustrated with their lack of discretion. Despite this Loosely AT Electroscope, American colleens exclusively continual to remain neutral. I nee reasoned that the few Americans taken by German U-boats were not worth risking the lives of the 100 million Americans that were left. Instead, they criticized Wilson for the tragedy. They claimed that he provoked the attack by being a “silent member” of the Allies through one-sided trade and allowing the expansion of their blockade without a diplomatic challenge.
However, Woodrow Wilson maintained that he was imply learning from the mistakes that led to the War of 1812 and was motivated by neutrality by “trying to avoid unnecessary trouble. ” In fact, when the United States learned of what later became known as the infamous Zimmerman Telegram, it was determined that the attack was offensive and would have occurred even if Wilson had contested the blockade. In January of 1917, British intelligence intercepted and deciphered a telegram sent from the German foreign minister, Arthur Zimmerman, to the German minister of Mexico, von Gerhardt.
This occurred shortly after Germany sunk the Sussex, and it revealed Germany’s true intentions toward the U. S. The telegram offered American territory to Mexico that America won during the Mexican- American War in the late sass’s. In return, Germany requested that Mexico attack the United States if they should enter the Great War on the side of the Triple Entente, and to also request the aid of Japan. This clearly demonstrated that the sinking of the Sussex was an attack intended to lure America into the war, and Mexico, as well, to fight alongside Germany.
Before this document was found, Wilson still chose neutrality in the face of American casualties, saying, “There is such a thing as a man Ewing too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation being so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right. ” The telegram, along with encounters with Germany before the Great War, caused Wilson to contemplate intervention. During the Spanish-American War, in 1898, many perceived Germany to be a potential threat to America’s interests and security because of the similarities between the two nations.
Both were Just beginning to establish themselves as great world powers that were rapidly industrialized and seeking overseas markets, naturally creating a rivalry. German interest in the Philippine Islands, West Indies, Galapagos Islands, and Haiti was also unsettling because it posed a threat to the completion of the Panama Canal, which was finished in August of 1914. Germany’s desire to expand to the Western Hemisphere worried President Wilson, and the main deterrent of this expansion, until this point, had been from Britain’s control over the Atlantic.
Wilson, along with many others, feared that if the Central Powers overcame the Triple Entente, Germany would become the new naval supremacy, over Great Britain. This conclusion became known as the “realist appraisal. The realist appraisal proclaimed that British victory was essential to American security, because they were needed by the United States to provide a balance of powers. It was widely agreed that America and Great Britain had paralleled interests. Without this balance of power, Germany would see no resistance if they decided to attack America.
This claim was consistent in many people, including James W. Gerard, the American Ambassador to Germany, who said, “We are next on [Germany’s] list,” if they won the war. With this risk in mind, the Monroe Doctrine quickly became Jeopardized. The Monroe Doctrine was institutionalized by President James Monroe in 1823 and was composed of three main concepts. The first stated that the Western Hemisphere of ten world would a De Innocence Day America, Ana ten Eastern Hemisphere Day Europe. The second and third concepts opposed colonization and intervention.
With these concepts in mind, it is evident that the doctrine is likely to be violated by Germany upon the victory of the Central Powers, because they would intervene in America’s hemisphere. In order to preserve the proclamation, America’s intervention was deed. The night before the United States announced its entrance into the war, the newly appointed secretary of state, Robert Lansing, wrote, The Allies must not be beaten. It would mean the triumph of autocracy over democracy; the shattering of all our moral standards; and real, although it may seem remote, peril to our independence and institutions.
President Wilson desperately struggled to keep peace with Germany in order to save American lives, but his attempts were hopeless. He was aware that an Allied victory was more favorable to American interests, but he also believed that the war would leave Germany weak and unable to pose an immediate threat to America. In the years that Germany needed to recuperate its army and replenish resources, Wilson planned to strengthen the Ana and prepare for a possible war.
However, upon Germany’s denial of Willow’s two peace proposals and the renewal of submarine warfare, which Germany had consistently added to over the last few years, the president’s plan seemed too far away. Germany’s lack of effort to come to peace with America predicted their intention on making America the next target sooner than expected. In addition to the influences by Lansing and future president Theodore Roosevelt, President Wilson realized that an intervention was more necessary than previously assumed, and he knew that he would need the support of his country if he was going to succeed in involving the nation.
Primarily through propaganda, the U. S. Government caused the change in public opinion from isolation to intervention. Most of the nation continuously adhered to an isolationist prospective, but those who held the view of the realist appraisal also happened to be those in Eastern America who had a strong influence on public opinion. On April 13, the Committee on Public Information (ICP) was assembled by President Wilson to conduct American propaganda in the United States and overseas.
George Creel, the selected manager of the committee, called it the “world’s greatest adventure in advertising,” because it essentially “advertised” the war to the American people. The three main themes that were portrayed were unity, the image of a despicable enemy, and the idea of a crusade for peace and freedom. They overwhelmed the press with so much information that it was practically impossible to determine what was exaggerated from what was not. Slowly, intervention began to gain nationwide support. Once Congress accepted a declaration for war from President Wilson, America would officially be in the war.
Wilson addressed Congress for a declaration of war on April 2, 1917, through what has been claimed to “rank among the three or four greatest presidential speeches in American history. ” He argued that in reality, America had been in the war ever since their vessels were sunk by German U-boats. Because of this, it was only logical to officially announce involvement in order to gain any advantages that it might bring. Wilson also emphasized that America was not at war with Germany but at war with the autocratic government instead. The world must be safe for democracy’ was the point that he conveyed, and if the Central Powers won the war, democracy would, in fact, be in peril. Both George Washington Ana I mommas Jefferson warned against “entangling alliances” Ana promoted Isolation to avoid foreign wars. This attitude was maintained and universally accepted since the War of 1812, but this principle was no longer sufficient. Since the war in Europe began in 1914, countless events occurred that warranted U. S. Entry into the war, but they were all rationalized to maintain isolation.
President Woodrow Wilson thoroughly examined what had happened up to that point and carefully calculated the events that would ensue, and he wisely decided to Join Great Britain on the side of the Triple Entente. He unified the nation and created universal support, which led to the Allied victory on November 1 1, 1918, preserving democracy for the world, along with the bright future of the United States. The end of the war marked a new era in history, one that held the United States at the pinnacle of the world’s great powers. Endnotes