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The Road to War

The Road to War

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The Road to War

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  1. The Road to War • The European nations by 1914 had created an unusually precarious international system the careened into war very quickly on a the basis of what was a minor series of provocations

  2. The Road to War • Triple Entente – Britain, France and Russia, Triple Alliance – Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Italy, but the chief rivalry was between Germany and Great Britain and was the most important reason underlying the source of tensions that led to WWI

  3. The Road to War • June 28,1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, assassinated in Sarajevo Hungary by a Serbian nationalist

  4. The Road to War • Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire launched an assault on Serbia, Serbians called on Russia for help, the Russians mobilized their army, Germany responded by declaring war on both Russia and France and invading Belgium.

  5. The Road to War • Great Britain declared war on Germany in order to stop the advance of its rival, Italy remained neutral at first, then entered war on the side of Great Britain and France, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and other small nations joined the fighting later in 1914 or 1915

  6. The Road to War • Wilson's called on US citizens to remain impartial, however German Americans and Irish Americans sympathized with Germany, but many more Americans sympathized with the British

  7. The Road to War • Wilson admired the British traditions, its culture, its political system, and attributed moral qualities to the Allies (Britain, France, Italy and Russia) that most Americans denied to the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire)

  8. The Road to War • Lurid reports of German atrocities in Belgium and France, skillfully exaggerated by British propagandists, strengthened the hostility of many Americans toward Germany

  9. The Road to War • The British imposed a naval blockade on Germany to prevent munitions and supplies from reaching the enemy, as a neutral the US had the right to trade with Germany, a truly neutral US response would have been to stop trade with both countries

  10. The Road to War • The US response was to ignore the blockade of Germany and continue to trade with Britain for economic reasons, the war orders from Britain and France after 1914 created one of our greatest economic booms, the US gradually transformed itself from a neutral power into the arsenal of the Allies

  11. The Road to War • Early in 1915 Germany began to use submarines to try to stem the flow of supplies to Britain, Germany announced that enemy vessels would be sunk on sight

  12. The Road to War • On May 7, 1915 a German submarine sunk the British passenger ship Lusitania without warning, 1,198 on board died and 128 were Americans, the ship was also carrying munitions, most Americans considered it “an act of piracy”

  13. The Road to War • Wilson demanded that Germany promise not repeat such outrages and that the Central Powers affirm their commitment to neutral rights, tensions between the US and Germany continued to grow throughout 1915

  14. The Road to War • Early in 1916 the Allies announced that they were now arming merchant ships to sink submarines, Germany responded by announcing that it would fire on such vessels without warning

  15. The Road to War • Sussex – Germans attacked the unarmed French steamer, Wilson demanded the Germany abandon it's "unlawful" tactics, Germany did not have sufficient naval power to enforce an effective blockade against Britain, the Germans decided that the marginal advantages of unrestricted submarine warfare did not yet justify the possibility of drawing America into the war

  16. The Road to War • Wilson faced a difficult re-election battle in 1916 and had to contend with domestic politics first, Roosevelt insisted that nation defend its "honor" and economic interests, William Jennings Bryan and Senator La Follette denounced any action that seemed to increase the chance of war

  17. The Road to War • In the fall of 1915 Wilson agreed to a large and rapid increase in the nation's armed forces, Wilson had to work hard to get the measure passed through Congress, but by midsummer 1916 armament for a possible war was under way

  18. The Road to War • Election of 1916 – Democrats created the slogan "he kept us out of war" for Wilson, the Republican candidate was the progressive NY governor Charles Evans Hughes who was supported by Roosevelt, most people felt that Hughes would be more likely to get the US into the European war, Wilson said that the nation was “too proud to fight”

  19. The Road to War • Wilson won reelection by fewer than 600,000 popular votes and only 23 electoral college votes, one of the smallest margins for an incumbent in American history

  20. The Road to War • Wilson's rationale for going to war was that the US was committed to using the war as a vehicle for constructing a new world order, a post war order in which the US would maintain peace through a permanent league of nations, a peace that would ensure self-determination for all nations, a “peace without victory”, these were progressive goals that were worth fighting for if there was sufficient provocation.

  21. The Road to War • New German Policy – launch a series of major assaults on the enemy's lines in France, begin unrestricted submarine warfare to cut Britain off from vital supplies, then on February 25 1917 the British gave Wilson a telegram they had intercepted from the German foreign minister (Arthur Zimmerman) to the government of Mexico

  22. The Road to War • The Zimmerman Telegram proposed that in the event of a war between Germany and the United States, the Mexicans should join with Germany against the Americans, in return they would regain their “lost provinces” of Texas and the rest of the American Southwest when the war was over, the Zimmerman Telegram was widely publicized in the US and Britain, inflamed public opinion and helped build popular sentiment for war

  23. The Road to War • In March of 1917 revolution spread throughout Russia toppling the czarist regime and replacing it with a new, republican government, now the US would not have to ally itself with a despotic monarchy, the war for a progressive world order could proceed untainted

  24. The Road to War • On April 2, 1917, two weeks after German submarines had torpedoed three American ships, Wilson appeared before a joint session of Congress and asked for a declaration of war:

  25. The Road to War • “It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than the peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest to our hearts – for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own Governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free”

  26. The Road to War • Opposition to war remained, for 4 days pacifists rallied in Congress against the war, in the end 50 representatives and 6 senators voted against it

  27. "War without Stint" • Wilson called on the nation to wage war "without stint or limit”, America’s most immediate effect on the war was felt at sea, 1 of every 4 ships setting sail from British ports never returned, United States began to alter the balance of power in the Atlantic, a fleet of destroyers aided the British navy in its assault on the U-boats, other ships escorted merchant vessels across the Atlantic, US ships helped sow antisubmarine mines in the North Sea

  28. "War without Stint" • 900,000 tons of Allied ships sunk during April 1917, by December 1917 350,000 tons were sunk, by October 1918 112,000 tons were sunk, no American troop ship was lost at sea during WWI, many Americans thought that providing naval assistance alone would be enough to win the war

  29. "War without Stint" • By 1918 Russia had withdrawn from the war altogether, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin negotiated a hasty and costly peace treaty with the Central Powers freeing up additional German troops to fight on the Western Front, this precipitated a major commitment of American ground forces in order to shore up the tottering Allies

  30. "War without Stint" • United States did not have enough men in the standing army, 120,000 soldiers in the regular army and 80,000 in the National Guard, very few men (including officers) had any combat experience, some urged voluntary recruitment.

  31. “War without Stint” • Roosevelt offered to raise a regiment and fight in Europe, Wilson decided that only a draft could provide the needed men, won passage of the Selective Service Act (May 1917) which brought nearly 3 million men into the army, 2 million joined various branches voluntarily (A.E.F.)

  32. "War without Stint" • For the first time in American history a large number of soldiers and sailors fought overseas for an extended time, for the first time women were permitted to enlist in the military, served crucial auxiliary roles in hospitals and offices.

  33. "War without Stint" • Nearly 400,000 African American soldiers served in segregated, all-black units, under white commanders, most assigned to non-combat duties, served only in the army and navy because the marines would not accept them, August 1917 race riot in Houston – 17 whites killed, 13 blacks lynched, 40 blacks sentenced to life terms in military jails

  34. "War without Stint" • The American Psychological Association studied the national army, gave thousands of soldiers IQ tests, really measuring education, half the whites and vast majority of African Americans scored at the level of “morons”, working-class and racially mixed groups of soldiers without much access to education

  35. "War without Stint" • Under the command of General Pershing, the AEF joined the existing allied forces in the spring of 1918, 8 months later the war was over, the soldiers spent most of their times in the trenches, the two sides relied on heavy shelling of each other's trenches.

  36. “War without Stint” • The trenches were terrible, muddy, wet, cold, swarming with lice and rats, place of extraordinary physical stress and discomfort

  37. "War without Stint" • Chateau Thierry (June 1918) – American forces assisted the French in repelling a bitter German offensive that brought German forces to within 50 miles of Paris, six weeks later 1,000,000 American troops were in France and turned away another German assault at Rhiems

  38. "War without Stint" • Meuse-Argonne Offensive (September 1918) – American fighting forces advanced against the Germans in the Argonne Forest, by the end of October they had helped push the Germans back toward their own border and cut the enemy's major supply lines to the front.

  39. “War without Stint” • the American forces used more ammunition during this 7 week offensive than they had used in the entire four years of the Civil War, faced with an invasion of their own country, German military leaders began to seek an armistice which was signed 11/11/1918

  40. "War without Stint" • New Weapons – trenches, tanks, flame-throwers, poisonous mustard gas

  41. “War without Stint • Logistical difficulties of supplying so many supplies became a major factor in planning tactics and strategy, faster machine guns required more ammunition, motorized vehicles required fuels, spare parts, mechanics to repair them.

  42. "War without Stint" • Planes played an important role as relatively simple, bombers, fighters and reconnaissance aircraft • Most modern part of the military was the Navy, the British Dreadnought used new technology such as turbine propulsion, hydraulic gun controls, electric light and power, wireless telegraphy, advanced navigational aids

  43. "War without Stint" • Appalling level of casualties, 1 million dead - British Empire; 1.7 million - France; Germany - 2 million; former Austro-Hungarian Empire - 1.5 million; Italy - 460,000; Russia - 1.7 million; United States – 112,000 (influenza)

  44. The War and American Society • US government appropriated $32 billion for expenses directly related to the conflict, raised money in two ways – solicited loans from the American people by selling "Liberty Bonds" ($23 billion).

  45. The War and American Society • New taxes on “excess profits” of corporations and a steeply graduated income tax that rose as high as 70% in some brackets ($10 billion), the entire federal budget before 1915 had rarely exceeded $1 billion

  46. The War and American Society • Council of National Defense established by Wilson, composed of members of his Cabinet and a Civilian Advisory Commission, which set up local defense councils in every state and locality, economic mobilization was to rest on a large-scale dispersal of power to local communities, proved completely unworkable

  47. The War and American Society • Followers of Veblen (social engineering) and Taylor (scientific management) proposed dividing up the economy by organizing a series of planning bodies, each to supervise a specific sector of the economy, one for transportation, another for agriculture, another for manufacturing

  48. The War and American Society • War Boards were created, one to oversee the railroads (William McAdoo), one to supervise fuel supplies (mostly coal), handle food (Herbert Hoover), these War Boards generally succeeded in meeting essential war needs without paralyzing the domestic economy

  49. The War and American Society • War Industries Board was created in 1917 to coordinate government purchases of military supplies, in March 1918 Wilson placed it under the control of Bernard Baruch (Wall Street financier), wielded greater powers than any other government agency – decided which factories would convert to the production of which war materials and set prices for goods they produced

  50. The War and American Society • When goods were scarce Baruch decided to whom they should go, when corporations were competing for government contracts Baruch decided who got the contract, resulted in centralized regulation of the economy