Why did the United States enter WWI

Why did the United States enter WWI?
Guiding Questions
Introduction – America and World War I
1. How did Americans initially respond to WWI? What did President Wilson say Americans should do?
2. Who did America trade with during this time? Do you think the U.S. was really neutral?
3. How much did America loan to the Allies? How much did they loan to the Germans? Which side did they
clearly favor?
4. What happened in the sinking of the Lusitania and why did it anger Americans?
5. Why was Germany’s announcement that it would use unrestricted submarine warfare significant?
6. What was the Zimmerman note and what did it lead America to do?
7. In one short paragraph, summarize the main events that led America into WWI.
President Wilson’s Speech
1. Read the speech. Does Wilson think the United States should enter WWI? Why or why not?
2. Contextualization: Use the 1917 speech to “imagine the setting.” (a) What does Wilson accuse Germany of
doing? (b) Do you think this is a good reason to go to war? (c) What additional information would you need to
have before making a decision?
3. Close reading: Re-read the last two paragraphs of the 1917 speech. Why do you think Wilson added these
paragraphs? How do you think these words made Americans feel?
Why did the United States enter WWI?
Guiding Questions for Howard Zinn:
1. Sourcing: Before reading the document, read the italicized portion at the end. Who is Howard Zinn? What do
you think his perspective will be?
2. Close reading; Why does Zinn claim that Wilson made a “flimsy argument?”
3. Close reading: What does Zinn suggest are the real reasons the United States entered the war?
4. Close reading: What evidence does Zinn provide to support his claims that the United States was motivated by
other reasons (besides German attacks on U.S. ships)?
5. Final Question: Answer in one detailed paragraph.Why do you think the U.S. really entered WWI? Support your
answer with evidence from the documents.