The industrial era had many effects,
not the least of which was plunging the world into world war. One
must consider the relationship between eras and events as a student
of history. The industrial era created a perceived need in America
for raw materials and markets for goods. The United States was not
alone in this desire for expansion. All the industrial nations were
in open competition to develop vast empires that would provide them
with the fuel to run the factories of industrialism. This
imperialist competition led to tension and the creation
of vast armies. The willingness to use these armies was known as
militarism. In order to feel safe (there was a pretty
fair degree of paranoia as you can imagine) nations began to sign
secret treaties forming alliances and Europe was divided into an armed camp.
Tension was high, the subjugation (talking over) of other nations led
to feelings of nationalism that would eventually light the spark that
would explode Europe into the flames of conflict.
The causes of World War One:
A- Alliance: European nations signed secret
treaties that created a system of alliances pitting nation versus
N - Nationalism: There were intense feelings of
nationalism on the part of subjugated nationalities. These feelings
would eventually lead to rash acts.
I - Imperialism: Competition to develop vast
empires caused tension and conflict.
M - Militarism: Nations built huge armies to
defend themselves and help to gain these empires. It was a natural
feeling for them to want to use these militaries.
A - Anarchy: There was no international
organization to help them deal with their problems.
L - Leadership: It was poor. Just look at the
system they set up...quite poor indeed.
What were the five reasons the United
States entered World War I?
1. Unrestricted submarine warfare.
- sinking of the Lusitania (1915)
- The "Sussex" pledge (1916)
- Germany renews unrestricted U Boat attacks (1917)
2. American Propaganda
- Stressed German barbarism.
- Posters depicting the Kaiser as some sort of madman.
- Urged American to support allies throughout neutrality.
3. German Dictatorship - "Make the World safe for Democracy." -
4. U.S. Business Interests - US trade w/ the allies increased
from 825 million in 1914 to 3.2 billion in 1916.
5. Zimmerman Note - Germany asked Mexico to enter the war
against the US. We intercepted the note.
What were "Wilson's 14 Points?" - These were his goals for the
war. When the war ended he wanted these included in the treaty of
Versailles. In short, he wanted to :make the world safe for
democracy." Some of the 14 points were:
- Self Determination - nationalities should be able to have
their own countries.
- Disarmament - we should take away many of the worlds weapons.
- Freedom of the Seas - to be able to sail and trade anywhere.
- No blame or punishment - just start over. Blame would create
- League of Nations - He wanted an international organization to
make sure there wasn't another war.
What was actually in the Treaty of Versailles?
- Germany was blamed and made to pay reparations.
- A League of Nations was created.
- No real self determination existed. Nations kept colonies and
made new nations without regard the wishes of the peoples who
How did Congress react to the Treaty and the concept of the League
- Turned Isolationist - wanted no further war or outside
- The Treaty as you can imagine received enormous opposition.
Henry Cabot Lodge and Alfred Beveridge strongly denounced the
treaty, especially Article Ten which called upon the US to support
League actions. Wilson campaigned vigorously and gave 37 speeches
in 29 cities in a span of only three weeks. He declared that US
soldiers should not have died in vain. After a dramatic speech in
Colorado Wilson collapsed. His health had been poor for sic months
and the strain of the trip was too much. He was rushed back to
Washington and a few days later had a massive stroke. For the next
year and a half he was incapable of running the government but was
protected by his wife and closest advisors.
- In March 1920 the US Senate finally killed the treaty. The
United States did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles and we did
not join the League of Nations. Wilson considered this a great
failure and it plagued him until his death.
How did America respond to WWI?
- Essentially it made us turn to isolationism. We wanted
nothing to do with Europe. It was as if we had fought in the war
for no reason.
- Many Americans saw US involvement in WWI as a waste of time.
From the very beginning it was not particularly popular. When the
war ended many Americans saw a Europe that had changed little. Men
had died, sacrifices made...and for what. America had walked into
the ring of international diplomacy and affairs and received a
bloody nose for our efforts. The result was a disillusionment with
world affairs. The result of this disillusionment was a
fundamental shift in American policy from internationalism to
- Everywhere one found a strong impulse to return to old
isolationist ways. Wilson's inspiring leadership had keyed the
American people to a spirit of self sacrifice that had even
resulted in the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. But this was
all changing. Victory had brought an emotional letdown - "the
slump of idealism." It had also brought a profound disillusionment
with the imperialistic and bickering Allies. The war to make the
world safe for democracy [also known as the war to end all wars]
had not made the world safe for democracy, nor had it ended wars.
Some twenty conflicts of varying dimensions were being waged in
various parts of the world. About all that America had seemingly
derived (gotten) from the war was debt, inflation, prohibition,
influenza, and ingratitude from Allies whom she had strained
herself to help
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