Neutrality and World War I- America's Involvement


Start of war

June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo
July 23 Austria issues ultimatum to Serbia

July 25 Serbia responds to ultimatum; Austrian ambassador to Serbia immediately leaves Belgrade France promises support to Russia in the event of war

July 28 Austria declares war on Serbia

July 30 Russia orders general mobilization of troops

August 1 Germany declares war on Russia France and Germany order general mobilization

August 3 Germany declares war on France

August 4 Britain declares war on Germany

Allied Powers vs. Central Powers
- Allies: Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan
- Central: Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey


Wilson tried to keep the US neutral during the initial years of the war. America’s policy of neutral trading ultimately collapsed as Britain’s blockade of Germany forced the US to trade mainly with the Allies.

Problems with Neutrality

Problems with Neutrality
A. Submarines – British navy blockades German ports, u-boats only way to fight back
1. Lusitanialusitania3.jpg
a. May 7, 1915- Germans sank British passenger ship

          1. 128 Americans died
    1. Economic ties (America was in a recession – JP Morgan and bankers were loan money)
      1. Trade with France and Britain
    2. The Zimmerman Telegram
      1. British disclosed the contents of an intercepted German telegram promising to expand Mexican territory if Mexico invaded the US. This outraged Americans and put more pressure on Wilson to declare war on Germany.

Wilson Declares war in April 1917 and joined Allies

US at Home during War

  1. Mobilization
    1. Wilson administration immediately took several steps necessary to fight
    2. Liberty Bonds
      1. Bonds that were sold by the U.S. government during World War I to help raise funds for the war. 0000-6349-4~WWI-Fight-Or-Buy-Liberty-Bonds-Posters.jpg
    3. Collection billions of dollars in new taxes
    4. War Boards
    5. In 1916 the Army Appropriation Act established the Council of National Defense
      1. To oversee production of food, fuel and railroads during war
        1. The War Industries Board
          1. Organized and coordinated military purchases beginning in 1917
        2. The National War Labor Board
          1. Settled disputes between labor and industry starting in 1918
    6. Committee on Public Information
      1. George Creel produced propaganda in favor of the war effort.
    7. Espionage and Sedition Acts
      1. Banned public criticism of governmental policy during the war. More than 1,000 people received convictions under these acts/
    8. Anything against America can be jailed
      1. Targeted anti-war socialists and union leaders
    9. Domestic Labor
      1. War brought changes in work force.
      2. Millions of working men flowed into the armed forces and a reduction in immigration resulted in LABOR SHORTAGES.
        1. However, white women, African Americans and workers of other races and ethnicities took jobs formerly held by white men
          1. Women in Labor Force
            1. Women took jobs previously held by men (only held during war)
              1. Loading docks, operating heavy machinery and working on the railroads
              2. Joined labor unions even though the AFL opposed the entry of women into workplace

US fighting in World War I

  1. US in World War I
    1. Effect of U.S. Forces
      1. General John J Pershing commanded the American Expeditionary Force sent to assist the British and French in Europe in 1917.
        1. Did not participate in fighting until 1918 when they helped achieve an Allied victory at the Second Battle of Marne
    2. Wilson's Fourteen Points
      1. League_of_Nations_cartoon_from_Punch_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_16619.pngJanuary 8, 1918, Wilson delivered a speech to Congress
        1. “make the world safe for democracy” – goal to prevent war
          1. Open diplomacy
          2. Freedom of seas
          3. Reduce military
          4. Free Trade
        2. League of Nations
          1. “To mediate future disputes and protect countries”
          2. “Political independence and territorial integrity”
        3. The Paris Peace Conference
          1. December 1918- Paris Peace Conference
            1. US, France, Britain and Italy (Big Four)
          2. June 1919- Treaty of Versailles
            1. Required Germany to:
              1. Accept full responsibility for the war
              2. Pay $33 billion in reparations for the entire cost of the war
              3. Accept a foreign troop presence for fifteen years
              4. Cede some of its territoryRS014.JPG
              5. Abandon its colonies overseas
            2. Divided the former Ottoman Empire in the Near and Middle East between Britain and France and established Wilson’s League of Nations
        4. iii. Controversy
          1. Wilson presented the Treaty to Senate in 1919 but encountered much opposition.
            1. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and allies denounced treaty because he disliked League of Nations
            2. “Irreconcilables” objected to any American participation in the League

U.S. Involvement Chart!