American involvement in World War I

Essay by sk_infernoHigh School, 11th gradeA+, September 2004

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American involvement in World War I was not primarily the result of American bankers protecting their wartime loans and profits, but rather the need to safeguard democracy after the major events in Europe, the United States' failure to remain a neutral country and the conflicting problems between the United States and numerous European countries leading up to the war.

There were many causes of World War I. The first cause was the Alliance System. Europe was divided into two armed camps. In 1870, France went to war with the Prussians (Germans), but Napoleon II lost. As part of their treaty the Germans would receive Alsace and Lorraine. The French, upset about the loss of the war, were determined to recapture their lost territory. From 1870 on, France and Germany began an arms race and gradually formed their own alliances for the next war. The Triple Entente consisted of Britain, France and Russia.

The Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Italy, and Austria. As a result, these two alliances set up a European-wide war. The second cause was the Balkan conflict. The Ottoman Empire had controlled the Balkan region but since the empire was declining, there was a power vacuum in the Balkans, where it opens up for ambitious powers to replace the Ottoman Empire. Competition increases as conquering the Balkans were between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, which was a much smaller country than Austria-Hungary. However, Serbia did have a strong ally: the Russians. The third cause was Pan-Slavism. The notion was that all Slavs should be united into one single state. The principle opponent was Serbia, but it was a mortal threat to Austria because Austria-Hungary was a multi-national country. If the notion is that all people should have their own country, the Austria would be divided, ceasing to exist. The last...