War & the American State
After you have read this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions: I. How & why did World War I begin?
II. Evaluate & discuss President Wilson’s decision to enter the war in 1917. III. Why was World War I considered a “total war”?
IV. How did the war affect economic affairs & social relationships in America? V. How & why did President Wilson attempt to shape the Treaty of Versailles? VI. Assess & discuss the failure of the Settlement of 1919–1920 to achieve a lasting peace in America & in Europe.
Chapter Annotated Outline
I. The Great War, 1914–1918
A. War in Europe
1. When war erupted
a. Most Americans saw no reason to involve themselves in the struggle among Europe’s imperialist powers b. United States had a good relationship with both sides. 2. Many Americans believed in “U.S. exceptionalism,” a. = the feeling that democratic values & institutions made their country immune from the corruption & chaos of other nations. 3. Preparations for war began almost from the moment the Triple Entente was formed in 1907 to counter the Triple Alliance. 4. Austria’s seizure of Bosnia & Herzegovina (1908) enraged Russia & Serbia a. Serbian terrorists recruited Bosnians to agitate against Austrian rule. 5. On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian, assassinated Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, & his wife in the town of Sarajevo. 6. After the assassination, the complex European alliance system drew all the major powers into war within a few days. 7. The two rival blocs faced off:
a. Great Britain, France, Japan, Russia, & Italy = Allied Powers b. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, & Bulgaria = Central Powers. 8. The worldwide scope of the conflict came to be known as “the Great War,” or later, World War I. 9. World War I was the first war in which extensive harm was done to civilians; a. New military technology, much of it from the U.S., made armies more deadly than before. 10. Trench warfare produced unprecedented numbers of casualties; a. Between February & December of 1916, the French suffered 550,000 casualties & the Germans 450,000. B. The Perils of Neutrality
1. After the war began in Europe
a. President Woodrow Wilson made it clear that U.S. would remain neutral b. He believed that he could arbitrate & influence a European settlement. 2. The U.S. had divided loyalties concerning the war a. Many Americans felt deep cultural ties to the Allies b. Irish & German immigrants had strong pro-German sentiments. 3. Progressive leaders opposed American participation in the European conflict: a. New pacifist groups mobilized popular opposition b. The political left condemned the war as imperialistic c. Some industrialists, like Henry Ford, bankrolled antiwar activities. 4. African American leaders saw the war as a conflict of the white race only. 5. The British imposed a naval blockade that in effect prevented neutral nations, including the U.S., from trading with Germany & its Allies. 6. This created a trade imbalance bringing the U.S. to closer economic ties with the Allies (despite America’s official posture of neutrality). 7. The German navy launched a devastating new weapon, the U-boat a. Issued a warning to civilians that all ships flying the flags of Britain or its Allies were liable to be destroyed....