For most of the United State's life, it has attempted to go by the words in President Washington's farewell address. These words were interpreted to mean, "Do not form permanent alliances" ("Washington's Farewell Address"). America's role in World War I and World War II tested these words of former President Washington.
Continuing with this policy, when World War I began in 1914, the US tried to remain neutral, and see to it that its rights as a neutral power were not violated. Their shipping rights as a neutral company, however, were violated. The violation of American shipping rights by the change in German naval policy in 1917 in addition to America's economic interests and allied propaganda brought the US into war in 1917 against Germany (Buchanan 10).
Public opinion was crucial to getting the support that either side needed. The British had many advantages over the Germans in propaganda.
Nothing sparks American public sympathy more than other American lives being lost (Young 138). When the Germans tried to launch a counter propaganda attack, it ended up blowing up in their faces. Not only did German sound militaristic when translated, but Fests like the "Oktober Fest" made some Americans believe that Germany was trying to bring about an uprising in German-American communities. These factors helped way the public opinion on the side of the British (Buchanan 82).
The U.S. also had economic interests in the Allies winning the war. The U.S. had loaned the Allies billions of dollars in credit and weapons. Shipping to Britain was much easier than attempting to run the British blockade of Germany. It is hard for American shipping companies to get money when their ships are constantly being captured and taken to port, but it is even harder to maintain shipping when a...