• Most European nations had divided themselves into alliances that led to war when a Bosnian nationalist shot & killed the heir to the Austrian throne
– Central Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary,
Italy, and Bulgaria
– Triple Entente/Allied Powers: France,
Russia, Great Britain
• The US was NOT a member of an alliance & DID NOT have to join the war
• Read Woodrow Wilson’s Speech from 1914
(Document A) & then d iscuss with your table partner & record your answer:
1. Why did Wilson think the US should NOT enter
WWI? Provide evidence from the document to support your answer.
• Read “Wilson and Mexico” on pp.774-775 in your textbook
2. Why was Wilson so reticent to enter WWI when recent American foreign policy (Manifest Destiny,
War with Spain, etc.) had been so imperialistic?
• It wasn’t our business
Europeans would the US support?
– The US should push for peace
• Problems with neutrality (a la GW)
– Trade & connection to the British
– Freedom of the Seas
• Lusitania, 1915
• Arabic & Sussex pledges
• US Prepares…for war or peace?
– Army & Naval buildup
• Read Woodrow Wilson’s Speech from 1917
• Discuss with your table partner & record your answers. Be sure to provide evidence to support your answers:
3. By 1917, why did Wilson think the US should enter WWI? Provide evidence from the document to support your answer.
4. What did Wilson accuse Germany of doing?
5. Do you
think this is a good reason to go to war?
6. Re-read the last two paragraphs of the speech.
Why do you think Wilson added these paragraphs?
How do you think these words made Americans feel?
• US Declaration of War…
– Make the world safe for democracy
– For the rights & liberties of small nations
– A war to end all wars
– Strengthen GB’s navy (a la Monroe
• Turning the Tide
– War declared April 1917
– AEF arrives summer 1917
(American Expeditionary Force)
• Americans were VERY ready by 1917 to go “Over There”
• In 1917, George M. Cohen, wrote the song,
. The 1942 movie
used the song to help tell its story
(Document C) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5oWH6JWBJY
– 7. How is the song useful as evidence of
American life and attitudes during WWI? Explain.
– 8. How is this movie clip useful as evidence of
American life and attitudes during WWII? Explain.
– 9. Which is more useful, the song for to explain attitudes during WWI or the video clip to explain
American attitudes during during WWII? Explain
• Why else did the US go to war?
– Zimmerman Note
– Return to Unrestricted
– GB broke
– Chaos in Russia
• Discuss with your table partner:
10. What do you think are the
TWO biggest reasons why the
US entered the war?
11. Based on the reasons in
Wilson’s 1917 speech and those given above, do you think the US had good reasons for entering the war?
Why or why not?
• Howard Zinn was a historian and activist who was best known for his 1980 book,
. His book tells American history from the perspective of minorities, women and poor people. He was very critical of the United
• Read the excerpt from Zinn’s book, A
People’s History (Document D)
• Discuss with your table partner
12. Why did Zinn claim that Wilson made a
13. What did Zinn suggest were the the US entered the war?
14. What evidence did Zinn provide to support his claims that the US was motivated by other reasons (besides German attacks of US ships)?
15. Do you find Zinn’s argument convincing?
Why or why not?
(Documents E- N)
• You will be given a set of primary documents to analyze that relates to the US home front during WWI: Set 1 (E & F), Set 2
(G & H), Set 3 (I), Set 4 (J), Set 5 (K & L), Set 6 (M & N).
– 16a. Audience/Purpose: Why and for whom was the document produced, and how might this affect the reliability of the document?
– 16b. Main Idea: What was the document’s main idea or point that the author was trying to make?
– 17. What does this document teach us about the US home front during WWI?
– 18. In addition to analyzing your assigned documents, please do some additional research on the document’s main topic (listed after the document’s “letter”).
P lease take notes regarding the other documents.
• Wilson’s Preparedness Program
– “Mobilization of men, money, machines & minds”
• Men (Docs E & F)
– Selective Service Act, 1917
• Money (Docs G & H)
– Liberty Bonds & Victory Loans
– Ships, Guns, Jeeps…
• Minds (Doc I)
– Opposition to the war
– Committee on Public Information
WWI US Propaganda Poster
• Conversion to Full Wartime
– War Industries Board (Doc J)
– Council of Defense
• Food Administration (Doc K)
• Fuel Administration (Doc L)
– The Labor Force
• National War Labor Board
• Attack on Civil Liberties
• Espionage Act, 1917
• Trading with the Enemies Act,
• Sedition Act , 1918 (Docs M & N)
• Wilson’s Plan for World Peace (Doc O)
• 9 Points – Self Determination
– 19. What was said about the right of people to govern themselves?
What people? How would territorial disputes be settled?
• 4 Points – Causes of War
– 20. What restrictions were put in place to make sure that war was avoided in the future?
• 1 Point – League of Nations
– 21. What was the purpose of this
League? How would it “work”?
• German generals decide to surrender
– Can’t win with US entry into the war
– Hope the treaty will be based on the 14
– Kaiser abdicates
• The cease fire goes into place at 11 AM on 11/11/1918 (Armistice Day)
– Peace Conference set for January 1919 in
• Wilson leads US delegation
– Wants to “end all wars”
• Treaty provisions
– 22. What did members of the League of Nations commit themselves to?
– 23. What kind of punishments did Germany receive?
The “Big Four” (L to R)
David Lloyd George – GB
Couldn’t be trusted
Georges Clemenceau – France
Vittorio Orlando – Italy
Demanded new ports
Woodrow Wilson – U.S.
• Wilson returns to US
(Docs Q & R)
– 24. Why was Wilson so adamant that the Treaty be approved?
• Senate has to approve treaty
(Docs S & T)
– 25. What was Lodge’s reason for rejecting the treaty?
– 26. Do you agree or disagree with Lodge’s reservations?
• No compromise: Wilson vs. Congress
• League – set up in Geneva, Switzerland without the U.S.
• 27. What do you think was the biggest reason why Europe erupted into war?
• 28. What provisions would you have put in the treaty of Versailles? What would you have excluded?
• 29. What are two things that were new, interesting, or you know that you will (or should) remember a month from now?