United States and the Great War

Essay by KVossUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, July 2005

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There are several reasons for the United States entering The Great War. However, most Americans preferred to stay out of the conflict. President Wilson publicly and formally stated that the United States would adhere to a policy of neutrality., However, in three short years, the United States would find itself involved in the conflict which would later became known as the first World War.

As war raged in Europe, America sympathies undoubtedly sided with the Allies. American propaganda encouraged citizens to buy war bonds and support the Allies. The Kaiser and Germans were portrayed as the aggressors in the war. Americans began to see Germany as brutal and murderous. When the war started, England enforced a naval blockade of Germany in order to cut off supplies. Germany responded by unleashing the U Boats. U Boats were submarines capable of staying submerged for long periods of time. They would sneak up upon their victims, often at night, and torpedo them.

The Germans did not limit their attacks to military vessels. Any ship sailing in the war zone was considered an enemy. This became known as unrestricted submarine warfare. On May 7th 1915, the British cruise ship Lusitania was sunk off the coast of England. Over 1,198 passengers, including 128 Americans, were killed. This brutality infuriated Americans, and Wilson demanded a cease to these attacks. Germany agreed to his demands. However, in 1916, in a response to an announcement that the Allies were now arming merchant ships to sink submarines, Germany proclaimed that it would fire on such vessels without warning. A few weeks later, it attacked the unarmed the French Steamer Sussex, injuring several American passengers. Wilson demanded again that Germany abandon it's "unlawful" tactics; again, Germany agreed to end unrestricted submarine warfare in the "Sussex pledge."

Woodrow Wilson began to...