Title: World War I & Its Aftermath

Title: World War I & Its Aftermath
Revisit the Monroe Doctrine
• Asserted US right to
intervene in Western
Hemisphere when
national security was at
• US wants no part of
Europe’s internal
• With Europe leading
toward WWI, it was
difficult for US to follow
Monroe Doctrine
Isolation & neutrality
• US initially tried to stay out of
events going on in Europe
• Woodrow Wilson won presidential
election of 1912: vowed to keep
America in isolation
• When WWI broke out in August
1912, Wilson declared neutrality.
– America would treat all countries fairly
and without favoritism
• Neutrality was difficult to follow
because the US & Britain were
close allies
Germany had submarines, or Uboats
• International law: Attacker must
warn civilian ships before attacking
• Germany announced that their
submarines would not do this
– Usually attacked US ships that were
carrying military supplies
• Germans sank the passenger ship
Lusitania in 1915
– 1,200 passengers killed
– It was carrying tons of ammunition to
Zimmerman Telegram
• Telegram from Germany
to Mexico
• Proposed that if
Mexico/Japan declared
war on US, Germany
would help
• Intercepted and
published in newspapers
• Helped shift US desire to
enter WWI
I) Civil Liberties Violated
• Espionage Act (1917) = illegal to try to
convince someone to dodge the military draft
• Sedition Act (1918) = illegal to try to prevent
the sale of war bonds or to speak negatively of
the government, the flag, the military, or the
Increased paranoia due to Russian
• In 1917, Russia’s tsar was overthrown and
the country became Communist
• Americans began to fear a Communist
– Radical labor unions were disbanded,
leaders jailed
– Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
was created and headed by J. Edgar
• Business took advantage of this by using
strikebreakers against unions
• Government raided union halls, pool halls, social
clubs, and 4,000 homes of suspected radicals
• 600 were deported (most had expressed sympathy for
the Communist movement)
• Many acts of violence against German immigrants and
Americans of German descent
Committee on Pubic
Information (CPI)
• Government wartime propaganda
• Sensational messages
• Created images of the Germans
as cold-blooded, baby-killing
power hungry people.
• Encouraged Americans to reject
all German things:
– Sauerkraut = liberty cabbage
II) Women
• Number of women
in workforce did
not increase
greatly during
• Employment
changed: Quit
domestic work &
started working in
– 20% of factory
manufacturing jobs
• Ended when
males returned
III) African Americans
• Many joined the army
• W.E.B. Du Bois encouraged them to enlist, hoping it would provide an inroad
to social inequality
• Army segregated them and assigned them menial labor
• Fearful of integration, the US army assigned black combat unit to French
• 500,000 moved from South to North
– In search of jobs
IV) Aftermath of WWI
• American participation tipped the balance in
the Allies’ favor, who won the war
• The Versailles Treaty was to be written in
• President Woodrow Wilson attended
because he wanted them to implement his
Fourteen Point Plan:
– Free trade through lower tariffs and freedom of
the seas
– Reduction of arms supplies on all sides
– Promotion of self-determination (both in Europe
and overseas)
– Creation of the League of Nations (organization
that functions like the United Nations)
Results of the Versailles Treaty
• Punished Germany through disarmaments, reparation
of payments, admittance of Germany’s fault for
starting the war
• Many historians agree that by leaving Germany
humiliated & in economic ruin, the Treaty set the stage
for WWII
• Wilson’s 14 Point Plan was mostly discarded, except
for the League of Nations
In the end, the United States rejected the treaty and
American participation in the League of Nations
• America wanted to return
to a period of isolationism
• Wanted less interaction
with Europe, not more
• Wilson tried to campaign
for popular support of the
treaty but he suffered a
stroke and could not
complete it.