The US in WWI


The US in WWI

Impossible Neutrality

The US declared neutrality in 1914.

WW re-elected in 1916- “he kept us out of war”

Close ties to the Allies, but we also had a large

German-American population.

Plus…most Americans favored isolationism

May 1915- a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the

Lusitania – a British passenger ship.

It was also carrying 173 tons of ammunition

Traveling from NY to London

Over 1,000 were killed, including 128 Americans

1. Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

Americans were outraged, but German leaders avoided war with the US by promising to issue warnings before sinking any future ships.

By late 1916-early 1917, all countries were low on supplies and running out of steam.

Feb. 1917- Germany resumed policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

Believed they could force Britain to surrender before the US could enter the war.

2.) Cultural Ties

-Allied nations were democratic like the U.S.

-Common language, history

3.) Democracy in Russia

-Czar Nicholas II stepped down in 1917

-Made WW more willing to join the Allies.

4.) Zimmermann Telegram

-British intelligence intercepted a note from the

German foreign minister, Arthur Zimmermann, to his ambassador in Mexico.

-Suggested that Mexico attack the U.S.; in exchange

Germany would help them regain TX, NM, and AZ.


The US Turns the Tide

Russia – withdraws in 1917 – Germans can move all troops to Western Front

March 1918- launch a massive attack on the British –

Second Battle of the Somme

2 months of heavy fighting, both sides lost about

500,000 men; German army gets within artillery range of Paris!

About 300,000 new US troops arrive each month

American forces save the Allies and push Germans back beyond their own border.

 Between Sept and Nov 1918:

Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire, and Austria-Hungary surrender

German military starts to mutiny once they know they can’t win; revolts throughout German cities

Nov 9: Kaiser abdicates and flees to the Netherlands

New leaders take over and declare Germany a republic

Armistice signed on Nov. 11 at 11 am

The Great War comes to an end!