Lecture Honors U.S. History Mr.

Irwin Week 21

Name: Period

CHAPTER 12 Part 2 – THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD WAR I Chapter 12-1, 12-2, 12-3, 12-4, & 12-5 Wilson Proclaims Neutrality: In 1912, Woodrow Wilson was elected as President. He was only the second Democrat to be elected President since the Civil War. By the time of the election of 1916, his party, the Democratic Party, used the campaign slogan, “’He Kept Us Out of War,” in order to get him reelected. Ironically, after Wilson’s reelected, he led America to war in Europe (he did, however, keep us out of the fight for the first three years of the war). Early on, the U.S. claimed neutrality. The U.S. economy, however, was tied closely to Europe. Initially, Britain effectively cut off America’s shipping trade with the Central Powers. Economically, while the trade dollars with the Central Powers fell to practically zero, U.S. trade with the Allies rose to approximately $3.2 billion between about 1914 – 1916. On August 4, 1914, President Wilson proclaimed neutrality. In action, however, our country began providing indirect support to the Triple Entente, mainly supplies. American Sentiment Shifts Towards War: Factors that inflamed American opinion against Germany: • • The Germans began the use of submarines in 1915. They announce an Atlantic blockade and eventually began attacking passenger ships. On January 31, Germany announced its policy of unlimited submarine warfare. The U.S. responded by warning Germany that it would be held “strictly accountable” for its actions. The sinking of the British luxury liner, Lusitania. The Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine. Most passengers drowned, including 128 Americans. The sinking of American ships in the Atlantic. The discovery and publication of the Zimmerman Note (telegram). The Germans had made a secret offer to Mexico that proposed if Mexico www.mirwin.weebly.com page 1 of 5

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would ally itself with Germany, then Germany would work to help Mexico recover its lost territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona from the U.S. The telegram was intercepted by Great Britain and forwarded along to the U.S. When the contents of this telegram were made public, America was outraged. On land, the European nations had fought to a standstill. The border between France and Germany eventually became a string of mile upon mile of trenches. There was a feeling that by entering the war, the U.S. could tip the balance in favor of the Allies and help them win the war. America Mobilizes: At home, the US. was faced with the task of needing to expand its military from about 500,000 to 4 million, quickly. The Selective Service Act was passed in 1917, which created a “draft.” Some women served as clerks in the Navy or in the Signal Corps of the Army. Originally, nurses from the Red Cross provided medical services. Later, the Army established its own Nursing Corp. The War Industries Board: Associated with this “mobilization” of men, was the re-tooling of factories in order to produce war materials. The War Industries Board was established in 1917 for the purpose of “mobilizing” the American economy. The board took the needs of the American and Allied governments, prioritized them, and planned production. The board allocated materials, told manufacturers what to produce, and sometimes, fixed prices. Examples: Automobile manufacturers converted to the manufacture of ambulances. Icebox manufactures converted to the production of shell casings and canon barrels. The entry of the United States into the conflict broke the deadlock and forced the Germans to withdraw from the trenches (and to eventually surrender). President Woodrow Wilson referred to the fighting as “making the world safe for democracy.” Espionage, Aliens & Sedition: Even though it might have seemed like practically the whole country was behind the war effort, the U.S. was concerned about spying, or the disruption of the mobilization effort. As a response to these concerns, the Espionage Act, the Aliens Act, and the Seditions Act were all issued by Congress between 1917 and 1918. www.mirwin.weebly.com page 2 of 5

• 1917 - The Espionage Act: Established fines and prison terms for anyone convicted of obstructing the war effort. • The Aliens Act: Originally written in 1798, this act was reinstituted. Under the Aliens Act, the government claimed the power to detain or deport enemy aliens. • 1918 - The Seditions Act: Anyone who tried to incite a rebellion in the armed forces or who tried to obstruct the draft, was subject to punishment of up to 20 years in prison. The Seditions Act went so far as to prohibit anyone from making disloyal or abusive remarks about the United States government, the American flag or the Constitution. Chemical Warfare: The Great War was the first war in which chemical warfare was used (poisonous gasses). • chlorine gas • • nerve gas mustard gas

Birth of the Convoy System: One strategy that the Germans used was the destruction of supplies. In 1917, German submarines sank 6.5 million tons of Allied and American shipping. The American navy furnished destroyers to fight the submarines. In July of 1917, the U.S. also came up with the idea of the convoy system. Although it did not completely eliminate shipping loss, the convoy system cut the losses by about 50%. The American Navy transported over 900,000 American soldiers to France. The U.S. experienced the loss of only two troop transport ships during the war. By the end of the war, the U.S. had over 2,000 ships and over 500,000 soldiers. The AEF, American Ground Troops: Regarding ground troops, the military commander in charge of our forces was General John J. Pershing. His unit was called the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). By the time the war was over, the AEF had amassed a force of over 2 million. Initially, the Allies wanted the American troops to be integrated into their existing units and to work under the command of the Allied leaders. General Pershing resisted this idea and refused to allow his men to work that way. Instead, he insisted that the different units of the AEF fight as stand alone units. www.mirwin.weebly.com page 3 of 5

In the spring of 1918, the Germans mounted a major drive towards Paris. American AEF troops engaged and fought the Germans for the first time. In June of 1918, American forces prevented the Germans from crossing the Marne at Chateau-Thierry. In September of 1918, over a half-million troops under General Pershing began a major offensive at St. Mihiel, on the southern part of the front. After successfully beating the Germans, General Pershing began a drive against German defensive positions between Verdun and Sedan, in an action called the MeuseArgonne offensive. They reached Sedan on November 7, 1918. The Germans Surrender: Around the same time, British and French troops broke through German lines. Realizing that they were beaten, the Germans accepted defeat and signed an armistice on November 11, 1918. When the war was over, American soldiers came back, including the wounded. Even though the U.S. had sustained far fewer casualties than the other Allied nations, the return of the U.S. troops caused a sense of reality to set into the hearts and minds of America regarding the sacrifices that were made in fighting the war. According to one source, American casualties in World War I were approximately 112,000 dead (about half of whom died of diseases), with an estimated 230,000 wounded. The European nations (combined) who did the majority of the fighting, did not fare nearly as well. Historical sources that I have used, estimate the total death toll of World War I to be 18 million! The Treaty of Versailles: June 28, 1919 – The Treaty of Versailles. The signing of this treaty officially ended the Great War. With the exception of the U.S., members of the Allied Powers wanted to punish Germany. The European Allies wanted revenge and compensation for the damage, destruction, loss of life, and injuries that Germany had caused. As the Result of the Treaty: • Germany was ordered to pay reparations to Great Britain and France, later fixed by an international commission at $33 billion. • • Germany was stripped of all of its colonies. Germany’s colonies were placed under the protection and receivership of the Allied nations until such time as these former colonies could become independent function on their own. www.mirwin.weebly.com page 4 of 5

Parts of Germany to were given to Belgium, Denmark, and Poland. The size of Germany’s armed forces was greatly restricted. • A 30-mile wide demilitarized zone was established between France’s eastern border and the Rhine River. • Provinces that Germany had taken from France in the late 1800s were restored to the French.

In the Aftermath of the War: • Poland was recognized as an independent state, and two new nations were created, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The League of Nations: In hopes of preventing future major conflicts, President Wilson proposed the League of Nations, which was his vision of a multinational organization that would mediate any disagreements between countries, so that a world war would never happen again. He went to Versailles to sign the armistice that officially ended World War I. In Versailles, he proposed his League of Nations to the other leaders of the Big Four (Great Britain, France & Italy). Congress Breaks With Wilson: At home, the U.S. Senate would not approve the Treaty of Versailles, or the League of Nations. The disappointed Wilson then embarked upon a nationwide tour of the U.S., to present and promote his plan for a League of Nations directly to the America public. During this time, his health declined and he died before completing his second presidential term. Even though the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, eventually, the U.S. signed its own treaty directly with Germany. During the period directly after the war, the United States adopted a foreign policy of relative isolationism, and focused primarily on its own domestic matters. - End of Lecture -

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