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The American People, 6

I. The Early War Years
Causes of the War
Improved technology and industrialization also
fostered a new sense of nationalism among the
countries of the world
A growing rivalry over European trade, colonies,
and spheres of influence in Africa and Asia
The large European powers began an industrial
arms race followed by an intricate system of
national treaties and alliances that would compel
most of the world to declare war at the slightest
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of
Austria-Hungary delivered such an incident
New Military Technology
The new industrialism meant new
advances in the science of warfare
Rapid-firing rifles, improved explosives,
motorized Gatlin guns, and enormous
artillery pieces
Airplanes, poison gas and trench warfare
Despite President Wilsons call for
American neutrality, nationalism inherent
in the numbers of American immigrants
tipped the balance in the Allies favor
Ultimately, most Americans believed that
France and England were fighting to
preserve human culture against
barbarians; remaining neutral would not
II. The United States
Enters the War
Deciding for War
Wilsons reelection in 1916 seemed to be a
national mandate for further attempts at
American neutrality
Wilson outlined a plan for peace without
The German leaders thought they could win a
world war and rejected Wilsons attempt at
Interception of the Zimmerman telegram
virtually guaranteed the entry of America into
the war
A Patriotic Crusade
For most Americans, the war was a remote ideal
George Creel headed a Committee of Public
Information designed to flood American with
nationalistic propaganda about the seriousness
of the situation in an anti-German context
The Espionage, Sedition, and Trading With the
Enemy Acts limited the freedoms of Americans
Prompted the early Civil Liberties Bureau
III. The Military
Over There
The United States entered the World War
in the spring of 1917 after three years of
European fighting
General Black Jack Pershing insisted
that American troops be segregated from
French and British divisions
The U.S. entered the war late and had
lost little compared to Britain and France
A Global Pandemic
In the fall of 1919 brought the end of the
Great War and the beginning of the
Spanish Flu epidemic that claimed the
lives of over 43,000 American
servicemen, 675,000 Americans overall,
and 40 million people worldwide in the
space of little more than two years
IV. Domestic Impact
of the War
Finances and the Federal
World War I cost the United States over $33
billion in 1918 dollars
Americans were disgruntled to learn that their
liberty bonds had lost 20 percent of their face
value; a War Revenue Act of 1917 had boosted
the tax rate
The Federal government was organized to
combat food shortages, promote scientific
advancement, and take over operation of the
Suffrage for Women
In the fall of 1918, Woodrow Wilson asked
Congress for support in the quest for
womens right to vote
While many still opposed women suffrage,
careful organization and planning by
womens clubs produced demonstrations
and arguments that the government could
no longer ignore
The Nineteenth Amendment, securing a
womans right to vote, was ratified in 1920