Concept of Neutrality from 1914-1917
At the turn of the 19th century, America was growing at a fast pace and was mostly concerned with domestic rather than international issues. The largest concern was lowering unemployment, regulating large corporations, and promoting human rights. This would soon change, as the United States increasingly found them self involved with issues surrounding the Caribbean and the Philippines. The Philippines was an important navy stronghold and trading post in the Far East, which caused conflict with Japan and its desire to expand as well. As our powers expanded, so did our interest in foreign affairs, which made it almost impossible not to get involved in international affairs. As tensions increased in Europe and nations formed alliances, the United States found itself right in the middle of the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey) and allied powers (England, France, Russia). The United States from the onset of World War I issued a policy of neutrality. This policy stated the United States would remain a neutral party. The problem that presented itself was the demands of trade with Germany and England. The British were seizing ships coming from America, which the United States stated violated international law. The British argued that the ships were supplying armor to the Germans, which went against the United States policy. On the other side, the Germans had declared British water as a war zone and any ships would be dealt with accordingly. After the sinking of the Lusitania and Arabic cruise liners, the United States sent a warning to Germany that any other similar actions would be viewed as “deliberately unfriendly”. Such a statement left the United States with no other options other than war, if violated by the Germans. It was later discovered, that the Lusitania had indeed been carrying armor to be delivered to England. This raises the question was the United States truly “neutral”? I don’t believe they...
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