Chapter 22 From Neutrality to War Was it in the national interest of the United States to stay neutral or declare war in 1917?
Introduction • European countries had strained relationships • Jun 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand was visiting Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary. • Terrorist bombed their car • Franz and wife Sophie unharmed • Later on the route another terrorist shot & killed the couple
Archduke Ferdinand Began War? • Murders set off a chain reaction • Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia • Terrorists were Serbian • Bosnia had been taken over by Austria-Hungary years earlier • Russia sided w/ Serbia & declared war on Austria-Hungary • Germany declared war on Russia & France • Britain came to France’s defense & declared war on Germany
United States Tries to Stay Neutral • Conflict seemed distant to Americans • Nationalism important in Europe • Nationalism is a strong feeling of pride in and loyalty to nation or ethnic group. • Militarism • Policy of glorifying military power and values. • System of Alliances required member nations to come to one another’s aid in case of attack
Ideological Causes of War • Nationalism • Nationalism is a strong feeling of pride in and loyalty to nation or ethnic group. • EXAMPLE: Germany grew rapidly and Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to be a world leader. • Militarism • Policy of glorifying military power and values. • EXAMPLE: When Germany modernized its army and navy, Britain felt it had to as well.
Central vs. Allied Powers • CENTRAL POWERS • Austria-Hungary • Germany • Ottoman Empire • ALLIED POWERS • France • Britain • Russia
Wilson Adopts Policy of Neutrality • U.S. would not takes sides in conflict • It would offer loans and sell weapons and supplies to both sides What problems do you foresee w/ neutrality?
Neutrality Cont’d • Many Americans happy w/ neutrality • Even George Washington had warned of the evils of “entangling alliances” • BUT… • In 1914 1/3 of United States population were either foreign-born or the children of foreign-born • Many of these people had emotional ties to countries at war
War on Two Fronts in Europe • Eastern Front • Russia advanced into Germany & Austria-Hungary • Western Front • German troops marched into Belgium and France • By end of 1914, war on the western front had turned into a stalemate • Famous book All Quiet on the Western Front
Challenges to U.S. Policy of Neutrality • Britain blockaded ships headed to Germany • Turned back any ships w/ weapons, food & supplies (even those from U.S.) • Wilson complained but did not take action
U-Boat Attacks Increase Tension • In February 1915 Germany found a way to challenge British blockade via submarine attacks • Called U-boats for unterseeboot (“undersea boat”) • International law allowed warships that ability to stop and search merchant ships. • Could sink ship if passengers and crew were removed first • U-boats did not have the capacity to warn merchant ships w/o losing element of surprise
Wilson & “Strict Accountability • Protested sinking of merchant ships w/o protecting lives of passengers • Said that U.S. would hold Germany to “strict accountability” for any American casualties in such attacks. • Lusitania was sunk on May 7, 1915 w/o warning. • 128 Americans killed
Sussex Pledge • After a couple of more smaller-scale merchant ship attacks, Germany promised to spare all lives in any future U-boat attacks AS LONG AS the U.S. forced Britain to end its illegal blockade • Wilson accepted pledge but not condition
Preparedness Movement • Teddy Roosevelt pointed out that U.S. was ill-prepared for war should it need to fight. • He did not approve of neutrality (although he didn’t advocate for one side initially) • Wilson heeded and began to advocate building up the navy
Propaganda • Propaganda: Info or rumor spread by a group or a gov’t to garner support for their side. • Both Allies & Central powers launched propaganda campaigns • Allies most successful • Alleged atrocities of German soldiers advertised
United States Declares a “War to End All Wars” • Zimmermann Note Stirs up Anti-German sentiment • German foreign minister to Mexico Arthur Zimmermann wrote that if the U.S. should join the war, Mexico and Germany should become allies and Germany would help Mexico regain “Lost territory in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.”
Czar Nicholas II in Russia • March 1917 Czar Nicholass II was killed • Democrats took over • At beginning of war, Wilson hadn’t wanted to side w/ a dictator. • Now Russia was a “fit” partner
U.S. Enters War • April 2, 1917 • Wilson told Congress that neutrality was no longer feasible • On April 4, 1917: • Senate voted 82 to 6 • House voted 373 to 50 THE UNITED STATES WAS GOING TO WAR.