Chapter 33: “The War to End War”
~ 1917 – 1918 ~
I. War by Act of Germany
1. On January 22, 1917, Woodrow Wilson made one final, futile attempt to avert war, delivering a moving address that declared that only “peace without victory” would be lasting.
i. Germany responded by shocking the world, announcing that it would not be engaging in unrestricted warfare, which meant that its U-boats would now be firing on armed and unarmed ships in the war zone.
2. Wilson asked Congress for the authority to arm merchant ships, but a band of Midwestern senators tried to block this measure.
3. Then, the Zimmerman note was intercepted and published on March 1, 1917.
i. Written by German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman, it secretly proposed an alliance between Germany and Mexico, and if the Central Powers won, Mexico could recover Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona from the U.S.
4. The Germans also began to make good on their threats, sinking numerous ships, while in Russia, a revolution toppled the tsarist regime.
5. On April 2, 1917, President Wilson asked for Congress to declare war, which it did four days later; Wilson had lost his gamble.
II. Wilsonian Idealism Enthroned
1. Many people still didn’t want to enter into war, for America had prided itself in isolationism for decades, and now, Wilson was entangling America in a distant war.
i. Six senators and 50 representatives, including the first Congresswoman, Jeanette Ranking, voted against war.
2. To gain enthusiasm for the war, Wilson came up with the idea of America entering the war to “make the world safe for democracy.”
i. This idealistic motto worked brilliantly, but with the new American zeal came the loss of Wilson’s earlier motto, “peace without victory.”
III. Fourteen Potent Wilsonian Points
1. On January 8, 1917, Wilson delivered his Fourteen... [continues]
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