• amanda0195

World War I - United States


CAUSES OF WORLD WAR I

Long term causes (M.A.I.N.)

  • Militarism

  • New weapons: Maxim Gun, U-Boat, naval war (between Germany and Britain)

  • Alliances

  • Triple Alliance (1882-1915) (G + A + I)

  • Secret agreement between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy

  • Italy switched sides in May 1915

  • Became Central Powers

  • Triple Entente (1907) (R + B + F)

  • Agreement between Russian, Britain and France

  • Became Allied Powers

  • Imperialism

  • Europeans competed over colonies

  • Colonists joined war on sides of the colonizing country

  • Nationalism

  • Serbians wanted to enlarge Serbia


Short term causes


  • Austria-Hungary took over Bosnia 1908

  • Serbians angry because they wanted to expand Serbia

  • June 28, 1914

  • A Serbian nationalist killed Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne

  • Assassin, Gavrilo Princip

  • Member of Black Hand

  • A Serbian terrorist organization

  • One month later, Austria gave Serbia an ultimatum

  • Serbia had to let Austria conduct its own investigation in Serbia

  • Serbia had to suppress all anti-Austrian propaganda

  • Serbia had to eliminate all terrorist organizations

  • Or Austria would declare war.

  • Austria asked Germany for aid in the event of a war with Serbia and its ally, Russia

  • On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia

  • Russia deployed troops

  • Germany employed the Schlieffen Plan

  • Hoping to quickly defeat Russia's ally France by going through Belgium

  • Britain, France's ally, entered the war on Aug. 4th after Germany attacked neutral Belgium


NEUTRALITY

  • Wilson declared U.S. neutrality.

  • Reasons for neutrality

  • U.S. businesses wanted to trade with all Europeans (grew rich from selling war supplies)

  • By 1914, more than 30% of Americans were immigrants

  • Including Germans, Italians, Irish, French, British etc.

  • Many Americans still had ties with Britain

  • American Pacifists objected to war (see below)

  • Challenges to neutrality

  • British propaganda

  • Britain controlled war news that was cabled daily to U.S. newspapers

  • British gave American press stories of German atrocities in Belgium and France

  • Economic links

  • ​Wealthy Americans (like J.P. Morgan) had loaned money to Britain and France and wanted to protect their investments by helping Allies against Germans

  • Belligerent powers tried to stop aid from reaching the enemy.

  • ​Britain stopped supplies from reaching Germany through a naval blockade

  • Germany stopped supply ships by firing torpedoes from U-boats (submarines)

  • American War Hawks wanted war (see below)

SUBMARINE WARFARE


  • Lusitania, May 7, 1915

  • First challenge to U.S. neutrality

  • Germany torpedoed a British passenger ship, the Lusitania

  • Which secretly also carried weapons

  • 1,198 civilian passengers were killed, including 128 Americans

  • Wilson sent strong letter warning Germany not to sink unarmed ships

  • Theodore Roosevelt called German attack "piracy"

  • But Sec. of State William J. Bryan feared feared letter conflicted with commitment to neutrality - Bryan resigned as a result

  • Arabic

  • August 1915 another U-boat attack killed 2 Americans

  • Sussex Pledge

  • March 1916 U-boat torpedoes unarmed merchant ship, the Sussex

  • Injured several American passengers

  • Wilson threatened to cut off U.S. diplomatic relations with Germany

  • Germany backed own and pledged not to sink merchant or passenger ships without giving a warning.

AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS OF WAR

Americans in favor of war

  • Irish wanted war with Britain (supported 1916 Irish Easter Rebellion against Britain)

  • Some Republicans (including former president Theodore Roosevelt) wanted war

  • Some big corporations (like Bethlehem Steel which made armor and DuPont that made gunpowder) saw war as a way to make money as profiteers.

Americans against war

  • Socialists and IWW (Industrial Workers of the World)

  • Believed war was fought between capitalists who used proletarians (workers) as soldiers

  • Karl Marx had called on "workers of the world" to unite against their oppressors.

  • William Jennings Bryan

  • Wilson's secretary of state

  • Resigned after Wilson's note of protest after sinking of Lusitania

  • Because he believed the president was laying the foundation for military intervention.

  • Jews didn't want U.S. to help the Russian Czar (who had been responsible for pogroms)

  • Women's groups (including Jane Addams) were pacifists

  • Industrialist Henry Ford personally paid to send a peace ship to Europe to get European powers to negotiate (it didn't work)

  • Most Democrats were against the war

  • Congressional Democrats voted to cut the military budget in 1915.

Preparedness

  • After sinking of Lusitania, Republicans in eastern cities started "preparedness" movement arguing the US needed to build strong navy and land forces for defensive purposes.

  • Supported by people like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Stimson and many prominent bankers and industrialists.

  • They called for "universal military service" (mandatory six month training)

  • By end of 1915, Wilson "prepared" by expanding U.S. navy and army.

Election 1916


  • Woodrow Wilson (D)

  • Ran for reelection on slogan "He kept us out of war"

  • And "America First"

  • Charles Evans Hughes (R)

  • Republican party reunited after 1912 split

  • Charles Evans Hughes was endorsed by Taft and Roosevelt

  • Hughes also campaigned for neutrality but Democrats claimed he would lead the U.S. into war

  • Election was close (on 23 electoral votes)

  • Wilson won 10 of the 12 states that had adopted women's suffrage.

  • If Hughes had won, the U.S. would have had a lame duck president (Wilson) in time of war.

  • To avoid this, Wilson decided that if Hughes won, Wilson would make him Sec. of State

  • Then Wilson and the VP would resign making Hughes president by succession.


ROAD TO WAR


  • Submarine warfare

  • After election Germany announced it would resume unrestricted submarine warfare against ships sailing to and from British Islands

  • Several American merchant ships were sunk

  • Zimmerman Telegram

  • Intercepted March 1917 by British spies and made public

  • German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman

  • Called on Mexico to join war on U.S.

  • In exchange

  • German would help Mexico recovering territory lost in Mexican-American War (1846-48)

  • Wilson asked for declaration of war against Germany

  • To make the world "safe for democracy"

  • War resolution passed Senate 82 to 6 and House 373-50

  • Jeanette Rankin - 1st woman elected to Congress, voted against war

  • Russia's February Revolution (February 1917)

  • Tsar of Russia was overthrown by Bolsheviks led by Lenin

  • Made it easier to join the war without having to ally with an absolutist monarch.

WILSON'S FOURTEEN POINTS

A selection (see document)

  • List of reasons why U.S. was fighting:

  • No secret treaties - instead, "open covenants of peace"

  • Freedom of navigation on the seas/Removal of economic barriers to trade.

  • Reduction in national arms to lowest point possible

  • Self-Determination

  • German evacuation of Russian territories, Belgium, French territories, Italy, Rumania, Serbia, Montenegro.

  • An independent Polish state should be recreated

  • A "general association of nations must be formed"

  • Future League of Nations

WARTIME AGENCIES

  • Progressive Agencies

  • 100s of temporary wartime agencies and commissions created

  • Staffed by experts

  • War Industries Board

  • Headed by Bernard Baruch

  • Presided over all elements of war production

  • Distribution of raw materials to the price of manufactured goods.

  • Established standardized specifications for everything from car tires to shoe colors (black, brown, white only)

  • Food Administration

  • Headed by Herbert Hoover

  • Encouraged U.S. households to eat less meat and bread so that food could be shipped abroad.

  • In two years, US overseas shipment of food tripled.

  • Fuel Administration

  • Headed by Harry Garfield

  • Directed efforts to save coal

  • Nonessential factories closed

  • Daylight savings time into effect for first time.

  • Railroad Administration

  • Headed by Treaty Secretary William McAdoo

  • Took public control of the railroads to coordinate traffic and promote standardized railroad equipment

  • War Labor Board

  • Headed by former president William Howard Taft

  • Including representatives of government, industry and American Federation of Labor

  • Pressed for establishment of minimum wage, 8 -hour workday, right to form unions

  • During war, wages rose substantially

  • Working conditions improved

  • Union membership doubled.

FINANCING THE WAR


  • Federal Reserve Board 1914

  • Founded the same year as the beginning of WWI

  • William McAdoo, Sec. of the Treasury

  • Determined there were three ways to pay for the war

  • Printed money (rejected because it would cause inflation like Greenbacks during Civil War)

  • Raise taxes (used for 1/3 of the money)

  • Borrow money (2/3 of funding came from bonds)

  • $33 billion was raised in two years through combination of loans and taxes

  • Tax

  • Corporate and individual income taxes rose enormously.

  • By 1918, the wealthiest Americans paying up to 77% of their income over $1 million.

  • ​Poor didn't pay taxes.

  • Also enacted an excise tax on luxury goods

  • "Liberty Bonds"

  • Four massive drives conducted

  • To convince Americans to put savings into federal government Liberty Bonds.

  • And create a sense of nationalism

  • Americans were "investing" in the war together.

  • Rates of interest on the bonds from 3.5-4.2%

  • Lower than interest that could be gained from banks.

  • Bonds were sold by armies of volunteers

  • Bonds were sold for $50 and above.

  • But people could buy a "subscription" paying for the bonds in 25 cent installments

  • Stamps were affixed to "War Savings Certificates."

  • Tens of millions of Americans bought Liberty bonds.


PUBLIC INFORMATION


  • Up until 1917, Americans wanted to stay out of war.

  • After Zimmerman Telegram

  • The government had to change the minds of constituents.

  • Committee on Public Information

  • Headed by investigative journalist, George Creel

  • Enlisted artists, writers, vaudeville performers, movie stars

  • To depict heroism of U.S. soldiers

  • And villainy of the German kaiser (king)

  • And convince Americans to be patriotic and buy bonds.

  • Created posters, pamphlets, films, volunteer speakers

  • Americans told to watch out for German spies and "do your bit"for the war.

NATIVISM

  • American Protective League

  • Mounted "Hate the Hun" campaign

  • Attacked all things German

  • Forbade people from performing Beethoven

  • Sauerkraut = "liberty cabbage"

  • Frankfurters (hot dogs) = "liberty sausages"

  • Manufactures of war materials could refuse to hire German-Americans

ESPIONAGE AND SEDITION

  • Espionage Act 1917

  • Imprisoned anyone who tried to incite rebellion in the armed forces or obstructed the draft.

  • Sedition Act 1918

  • Prohibited anyone from making "disloyal" or "abusive" remarks about the U.S. government

  • About 2,000 people prosecuted under these laws

  • 1/2 were convicted or jailed.

  • Including Socialist leader Eugene V. Debs (10 years in prison)

  • Schenck v. United States 1919

  • Supreme Court (Oliver Wendell Holmes) upheld constitutionality of Espionage Act

  • Schenck was imprisoned for distributing pamphlets against the draft

  • Holmes said free speech could be limited when it represented a "clear and present danger" to public safety

ARMED SERVICES


  • Selective Service Act May 1917

  • Secretary of War, Newton Baker devised "selective service" system to draft (conscript) men into military

  • Required all men between 21 and 30 (later 18 to 45) to register for possible draft.

  • 24 million men required to register with the draft.

  • 2.8 million men called by lottery

  • In addition to 2 million who volunteered to serve.

  • 1/2 on Western Front

  • African-Americans

  • Racial segregation applied to the army

  • Almost 400,000 African Americans served in WWI in segregated units.

  • Only a few were permitted to be officers

  • All were barred from Marine Corps

  • W.E.B. Du Bois believed this would earn blacks equal rights at home when the war ended.

LABOR AT HOME

  • Women

  • Took vacated jobs

  • Convinced Wilson and Congress to support 19th Amendment (women's suffrage)

  • Migrations

  • Mexicans

  • Thousands of Mexicans went across border to U.S to work in agriculture and mining

  • African-Americans

  • Great migration of African-Americans to war jobs in the north


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