History:America and the Great War
History:America and the Great War
TheWorld War I is among the conflicts that resulted in the largestnumber of casualties and the destruction of property in the world’shistory. The war started in the year 1914 and ended in 1918 followingthe intervention of the U.S (History List Organization, 2016).Although the conflict that resulted in the World War I was brought bydisagreements between Germany and other European countries (includingBritain and France), a series of events (such as atrocities conductedby Germany) forced the U.S. to get involved. This paper will focus onthe U.S. engagement in the World War I, events that forced the U.S.to break its policy of neutrality, and its contribution towards theend of the war.
Eventsthat resulted in the World War I
TheWorld War I was caused by a combination of factors, including theforces of nationalism, militarization, and imperialism. The idea ofPan-Slavism, which is a political ideology that sought to enhanceunity and integrity of the Slavic people, started in the mid-19thcentury (Bischof & Williamson, 2014). The Slavic people living inHerzeovina and Bosnia desired to be part of Serbia instead ofAustria. The Russian Empire considered the Pan-Slavism as anaggressive movement. A number of Slavic soldiers were captured by theRoman Empire and forced to fight against the Austrian Empire, whichintensified the conflicts between the two empires. The aspect ofnationalism and desire to establish ethnic-based integrity could notbe achieved without conflicts and war, and it culminated in the onsetof the World War I.
Militarismbegan in early 20thcentury, when the countries involved in the World War I startedstrengthening their military units. For example, Germany hadincreased its military buildup by the year 2014, while Britishfocused on strengthening its navy (History List Organization, 2016).In Russia and Germany, the idea of establishing strong militaryforces had started influencing the national policy.
Theincrease in the military strength and the ability of states to takeover additional territories introduced the force of imperialism. Thedesire of the states involved in the World War I to access rawmaterials in Africa countries and parts of Asia intensifiedconfrontation among themselves, which culminated in a serious war(Perenti, 2016).
TheU.S. neutrality and involvement in the World War I
TheU.S. chose to remain neutral with regard to a series of conflictsthat culminated in the World War I because of its isolation fromEurope. This was a geographical factor that made the people of theU.S. feel that they were not part of Europe, which eliminated theneed to get involved in issues affecting the European countries(Keene, 2014). In addition, the ethnic diversity of the U.S.contributed to its neutrality in that there was a large percentage ofa citizen with the German origin and others from Britain (Keene,2014). This created a fear that the U.S. decision to support eitherof the warring sides could result in civil war within the U.S.
Thedecision of the United States to take part in the World War I wasdriven by many factors, but two of them were the most important. First, the atrocities (such as the killing of unarmed civilians)committed by Germany in the state of Belgium changed the U.S. policyand public opinion in favor of participation in the World War I(History List Organization, 2016). Secondly, the sinking of theBritish passenger ship by the German U-boat in 1915, which resultedin the killing of about 1,000n passengers, was a heinous crime thatmotivated the U.S. to support the allied forces (History ListOrganization, 2016). The sinking of the ship, which resulted in thedeath of 128 Americans, intensified anti-German sentiments in theU.S.
TheU.S. contributed towards the end of the World War I by supplying alarge number of military personnel and weapons to allied forces. TheGermans could no longer withstand the strength and the speed withwhich the allied forces were advancing towards the German territorieswith the help the U.S. troops (Keene, 2014). This forced the newlyappointed chancellor, who was named Max Baden, to request thepresident the U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, for a peace talk.
TheWorld War I ended in 1918 and the Treaty of Versailles formulated toguide the process of maintaining a peaceful coexistence in Europe.However, the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty in 1920, whichhalted Woodrow’s efforts to establish the League of Nations (Keene,2014). Although President Woodrow was willing to continue with theprocess of bringing peace in Europe, the legislators chose to preventthe U.S. further engagement in the foreign conflicts.
TheU.S. had decided to remain neutral with regard to conflicts thatculminated in the World War I due to its geographical isolation andethnic diversity. However, an increase in German’s engagement incrimes (such as the killing of civilians) forced the government ofthe U.S. to get involved with the objective of controlling theviolation of human rights by Germany. The U.S. contributed towardsthe end of the war by supplying weapons and the military officers.However, the U.S. legislators were not willing to see their countryinvolved in foreign conflicts, which doomed the president’s idea ofestablishing a League of Nations.
Bischof,G. & Williamson, R. (2014). 1914:Austria-Hungary, the origins, and the First year of World War I.New Orleans: University of New Orleans Press.
HistoryList Organization (2016). Five reasons for the U.S. entry into WorldWar I. HistoryList Organization.Retrieved June 17, 2016, fromhttp://historylists.org/events/5-reasons-for-the-us-entry-into-world-war-i.html
Keene,J. (2014). Americans respond: Perspectives on the global war,1914-1917. Geschichteand Gesellschaft,40, 266-286.
Perenti,M. (2016). Imperialism. PoliticalArchive.Retrieved June 17, 2016, fromhttp://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html