The War and the USA: ● The war was known as the European Civil War – a term coined by then-President Woodrow Wilson. ● The war brought an economic boom to the US. Unrestricted Submarine Warfare: ● The US were under attack despite its neutrality: ○ Originally they believed that their neutrality would guard against attack. ○ Unrestricted Submarine Warfare sunk the RMS Lusitania which had 128 US passengers aboard on the 7th May, 1915. ■ After this the Germans ceased employing USW as per the demands of the USA: ■ They wanted to preserve American neutrality. ■ They decided that the cost of discontinuing USW was too great and restarted it in February 1917. ○ March 1917, 3 US ships were sunk with 36 deaths. ○ Seven US merchant boats were sunk by the Germans just before they went to war. ● Because of USW, US ships refused to sail to Britain: ○ Thus piles of goods began to grow at many US docks. ○ President Wilson broke off relations with Germany because of this. Zimmermann Telegram: ● This was intercepted and decoded by the British: ○ It was sent from Germany to Mexico. ○ It said that if Mexico joined the Germans they would receive financial aid and the territories of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico following a German victory: ■ These territories were originally theirs prior to their war with the Americans 70years earlier. ● This ploy to ally with Mexico was put into action at the same time as a similar ploy to ally with Japan: ○ They hoped to divert the attention of the USA from Europe by doing these things. ○ Both attempts at an alliance were rejected. ● This Telegram made American citizens see the Germans, with some help from propaganda, as foul tricksters. ○ It was great for propaganda and was used to generate anti-German sentiments. Democracy: ● Because the world must be made “safe for democracy”: ○ March 1917, the Tsarist government of Russia was overthrown. ■ As Russia was no longer autocratic the Americans became more willing to join the Allies because they could now put forth the idea of “fighting for democracy”. ■ President Wilson said that the USA was trying to rid the world of the tyranny of autocratic governments like Germany and Austria-Hungary. Other Reasons: ● Because “right is more important than peace.” ○ Peace can therefore be upset for the right reason. ○ Thus said Woodrow Wilson when he went to congress asking for a declaration of war against the Germans on 2nd April, 1917. ● Because the USA would face economic collapse if the loans American bankers made to the Allies could not be repaid. ● Because it was good for business: ○ Wall Street wanted war. ○ Participation in the war was the most tremendous and profitable coup in the history ofAmerican finance. ○ 21 000 new American millionaires were made during the war period because of munitions manufacture and other such things.
○ 69 000 men were able to make more than three billion dollars over and above their normal income. ● Because the USA had cultural, historical, and economic ties to Great Britain. ● Because of anti-German sentiment influenced by historic ties to England, German policies and American and British propaganda. ● Because the US’s armed forces and their weaponry had been expanded and developed: ○ “You cannot build up a standing army and then throw it back into a box like tin soldiers,” said Emma Goldman. ● They used propaganda to bring the war to the USA. ○ They used it to justify the war. ● Some Americans, like General Pershing, believed: ○ America should fight as America in the war and not as the backup force for the Allies. ● The Americans declared war on Germany on the 6th April, 1917. ○ They were very rich and powerful. US Involvement: ● This was minimal: ○ More people died from disease than from fighting. ○ This is speculation.