The Great War Essay Research Paper As

The Great War Essay, Research Paper

As war consumed Europe, Americans hoped that the Atlantic

ocean was enough to seperate them from it and keep them out of the war.

President Wilson said that the US would stay out of it saying it was ?a

war in which we had nothing to do?.

But America could not help but take sides. As immigrants from

Europe gave roots to many Americans, it was hard for them not to be

opinionated about which side to take. The herirage shared by most

Americans and Britain put American public opinion on the sides of the

Allies. Trade between the US and the Central Powers also shrank giving

another reason it was hard to remain neutral. Adding to that was the fact

that exports to the Allies nearly quadrupled and ties between them

became closer.

In 1915 the British passenger liner, the Lusitania was sunk

supposedly by German U-Boats, pissing many people off. Most

Americans considered this grounds for war. Wilson, however, refused to

take extreme measures against Germany but instead sent them several

messages insisting that it?s government safegaurd the lives of

noncombatants in the warzone. When the Sussex was torpedoed by a

German torpedo Wilson demanded that they give up submarine warfare

or risk war with the US. The Sussex pledge was made out of that where

Germans said they wouldn?t sink any more merchant ships without


Wilson was re-ellected in 1916 and focused on finding a peaceful

solution to the war. He knew the only way to keep America out of this

war was to end it altogether.

Germany announecd on January 31st, 1917, that any vessels in the

waters near G.B., France, and Italy would be sunk without warning. This

was a violation of the Sussex Pledge and caused the US to break off

diplomatic ties with Germany.

America Finally entered the war due to the fact that Germany and

Mexico were going to attack the US. On April 2nd, 1917, Wilson asked

the members of congress to declare war on Germany. He did state in his

address to congress that the war was only with the military masters of


The US was only able to raise a small army. By the spring of 1917

American forces numbered only 200,000 troops, 1,500 machine guns, 55

old planes, and no heavy artilery. Despite this, they mobilized quickly

and in May of 1917 congress passed the selective service act which

required all men ages 21-30 to register for military service. That June

nearly 10 million men signed up. The draft was eventually extended to

all men between the ages of 18 and 45, which brought another 2.8

million men into the armed forces. On top of that, another 2 million men

and women volunteered for service.

Among the drafted, were 370,000 African Americans, and of

those, 200,000 were sent overseas. They encountered alot of

discrimination, weren?t allowed in the marines, and were even restricted

to lower ranks in the navy. That didn?t stop the 369th from winning the

French decoration, the Croix de Guerre.

In the spring of 1918, Germany made a last effort to win the war

and almost did. In March and June, they almost penetrated British and

Paris lines. America helped to stop their advancement in a town less than

fifty miles from Paris called Chateau-thierry.

By November, the Allied forces were ready to advance onto

German soil. Germany knew they had lost so they signed an armistace,

putting a temporary stop to the fighting on November 11th, 1918.

America wasn?t all that well equiped for war when they first

entered it. The biggest concern was keeping our armies supplied. The

government needed to raise money to pay for the war and needed to gear

the industry towards it as well. To do this, the government placed most

industries under control of federal agencies. The biggest of these

agencies was the War Industries Board. They handled purchases for the

Allies and the US under the leadership of Bernard Baruch, who was a

Wall Street stockbroker. His board tried to run the whole US as a single

factory controlled by one management. Using the best businessmen in

the the country to direct the effort, the government was able to get the

cooperation of most businesses to convert their factories to war

production. Federal Officials decided how raw materials would be

priced and allocated.

Women also played a big role in the war. Millions of jobs givin? up

by men going to war had to be filled and women did just that. It was a

first for them because they had never been welcome in the workforce

and they were an essential part of the war effort and the economy.

Women were confused though, they wondered how the government

could rely on them so strongly and yet still deny them the right to vote.

Activists for womens sufferage continued during the war.

The war ended in an Allied victory. The US?s contribution was an

important factor in the Allied forces being the victor.

by Dustin Fast


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