Powerful Americans During WWI

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The United States was a neutral nation when World War I started in 1914. According to American tradition, it was none of the United States' business to be involved with wars of other nations. But the mood soon changed when the United States felt that Germany was violating international law with unrestricted submarine warfare. Within the United States, acts of German sabotage and the use of poison gas in warfare helped change American opinions of Germany. Americans now feared that if Germany were to win the war, democracy would no longer be safe. President Woodrow Wilson's biggest desire was of course for peace during the war to end wars. He was inaugurated for his second term on April 2, 1917, and just a few days later he discussed with congress the fact that the war had already begun by the acts of Germany. Keeping his idea of peace, he stated that the United States' reason for entering the war was to make a "world safe for democracy".

Congress then declared war on April 6, 1917.

Even though it was a rather startling decision for the United States to go to war, we were not completely unprepared. Just a year before, congress passed the National Defense Act, which enlarged the army. The navy had also been enlarged. That same year, Wilson created the Council of National Defense. This council consisted of six Cabinet members and a 7-member advisory commission, who altogether coordinated the manufacturing of munitions and war materials. It also created the War Industries Board in July of 1917, which was directed by Bernard M. Baruch. This board oversaw all aspects of industrial production and distribution, established priorities for national industrial production and distribution and provided incentives for manufacturers to retool for war-related production. Its leader, Baruch, had...