The US and WWI

The US
and WWI
ACOA Chapter
Part I- The War Begins
Europe on the Eve of World War I, 1914
The Causes
• Competing Alliances
– Europe Tension- most Euro-nations were hooked
up in an alliance of some sort
• Nationalism
– Your nation must compete/keep up or be better
than the other nations caused competition and
Triple Alliance v. Triple Entente
The Causes
• Imperialism
– Competition for more territory, resources, markets
adds to the tension between nations
• Militarism
– Military Spending increased 300% from 1870 -1914
Machine Guns
applied to killing
One way to deal
with the trenches
…well sort of
Big Guns can only mean one thing...
Big Holes
Ahh... technology
Warfare’s a gas
Solve for X: Science +Technology + Military= X?
20 Million+ will
die in WWI
The Match Up
• Allied Powers
• Central Powers
Great Britain
Ottoman Turks
•What about the United States?
Part IIThe
US Gets
Early American Reaction
Stay out it’s a European Affair, however...
1 out 7 Americans are European immigrants
2 out 5 Americans have family in Europe
Americans were related to and also doing
business with both sides in the conflict
American Factories
Provide the munitions
US Attitude-Neutrality (sort of…)
• America tries to stay neutral
• Europeans conflict damaged US business and
• President Wilson tried to keep US out
What if…
• If European markets go down than so will US
• Wilson allows US banks to loan money to
European nations
• US business manufactures munitions
• US Banks and Wall Street loan Billions to Allies
and only millions to Central Powers
British Naval Superiority
American Involvement: U-boats
German U-boats- attack US ships
Lusitania- carried war supplies May 1915
Sussex Pledge- Germany will try to stop
Germany resumes U-boat attacks
German U-boats: Used to prevent Allies from getting supplies
A bit suspicious
Was it real or not?
American Involvement:
Zimmerman Telegram
• Asked Mexico to join Germany and Central
powers, if the US gets involved in WWI
• Germany and Mexico would split up US after
• Was it real?
– Germany denied it.
– Mexico said they never got it.
– It was discovered by a British Spy, hmmm?
take over
Russia end
pull out of
American Involvement:
Russian Revolution 1917
• Russian monarchy this was against (US) ideals of
• Bolsheviks take over and pull out of the war
• Now the US has no issues joining the Allies
American Involvement:
The Financial Issue
• US banks and business have loaned billions to
the Allied Nations
• US banks and business have loaned millions to
the Central Power Nations
• Do the Math
– Do you want to lose Millions…
– Or Billions?
US Enters the War
• Wilson declares war on Germany in April 1917
• “The United States would fight to make the
world safe for democracy.”
• Many American business see it as an opportunity
• Some say that that the war is going on at the
command of Gold.’
• Anti war attitudes are quickly silenced
Woodrow Wilson shown with a young FDR
But in the US…
not everyone had a
voice in their
even in America
US and WWI : The War
The US enters in1917
First action not until April 1918
War ends Nov. 11, 1918 (11/11 @ 11:00 AM)
US Casualties = 116,516
WWI Casualties
• US - 116,516
• GB- 908,000;
• France- 1,375,000
• Germany-1,800,000
• Austria-Hungary 1,200,000
• Russia- 1,700,000
Impact of WWI- Military
• Selective Service Act- the Draft, army wanted 3
million men
• Segregated Army still the case- Harlem Hell
Fighters; most AA did grunt work
• Volunteers Women- nurses, drivers, etc.
Impact of WWI- $$$
• Billions $$ raised to support war
• Most came in bonds, Liberty Bonds
• Mass movement to sell bonds- Boy Scouts,
celebrities, etc pushed them.
Impact of WWI- $$$
• War Industries Board- oversaw production; told
companies what to make and also said who
could have what resources
• “Metal for bullets not refrigerators”
Impact of WWI- $$$
• National Labor Relations Board- settled disputes
between business and workers (unions)
• Most strikes occurred during this time- gave
unions power
• Women and AA entered work force
• IWW & other socialists were persecuted- seen as
Impact of WWI- $$$
• Food Administration
• Issued price controls and rationing
• Made sure army had supplies
• Propaganda to increase production and
Impact of WWI- $$$
• Committee of Public Information
• Issued propaganda in support of the war
• Films, songs, campaigns, etc.
• Promoted fear of foreigners- sedition and
• Anti-war = Anti-American?
Anti-War = Anti- America
• Violence against anti-war people
• Union (IWW) members arrested beaten
• Vigilantes & Lynching- Robert Prager
– German Measles = Liberty measles
– Hamburger = Liberty sandwich
– French Fries = Freedom fries?
• No Mozart or German Music
• Literacy test for immigrants
The End of the War
This will come into play again and
again and again
Wilson’s 14 Points
• Presidents Wilson’s idea to end the war, bring
peace for the long term
• Based on self-determination and little retribution
• England & France- more interested in revenge
• Most of 14 points thrown out, except League of
• Wilson leaves peace talks before Treaty signed
Treaty of Versailles 1919
Ends war
England and France make Germany pay
Germany must:
Pay reparations $33 Billion
Give Up Colonies
Give Up Military
Gove up land between Germany & France
Must take the blame for starting the war
US Isolationism
Europe was constantly fighting
US lost soldiers
Leads to no involvement w/Europe
US denies League of Nations
Wilson dies
America stays our of European affairs
US Isolationism  $$
• Europe messed up after the war
• US farms & industries take advantage
• US becomes economic powerhouse
– Europe owes US mass $$ (+$11.5
• US established as a world power
End of the War at Home
• Soldiers return home need jobs
• Causes unrest- women and minorities were
pushed out of jobs
• Europeans were messed up and buying less
• US industries sell less and less, workers
start to get fired, the cycle…