When the First World War erupted in Europe on July 28, 1914; President Woodrow Wilson formally proclaimed that the United States would remain neutral on August 4, 1914. However, the United States did not stick to this proclamation, and eventually became involved in the war efforts. This investigation aims to evaluate the reasons the United States violated their neutrality in order to join the war. In inquiring into the reasons of the United States’ entry into the war, the Zimmermann telegram will be assessed. Primary sources, Message to Congress., 2d Sess., Senate Doc and War Messages, 65th Cong., 1st Sess. Senate Doc. No. 5 by Woodrow Wilson will also be assessed. Online sources, for example
The United States entered World War I because of German submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with Britain and France, which led to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in which 128 American lives were lost.  The US had also intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram which had been sent between Germany and Mexico, urging Mexico to declare war against the United States. 
America’s involvement in World War I not only impacted the war front but also the people left on the home front. When America entered World War I in 1917 the government enforced many measures on its citizens, many of which violated constitutional rights. The biggest measure inflicted on the American population was censorship. The formation of the Committee on Public Information (CPI) and the passing of the Espionage Act and Sedition Amendment stole American’s freedom of speech, created an anti-German sentiment, and led to deportation during the post-war Red Scare.
On April 2, 1917 the United States entered WWI declaring war against Germany and its allies. The deciding factor for the U.S. to enter the war is due to one document, the Zimmerman Telegram. The document was sole proof to many Americans that Germany’s intentions were not only causing harm on European soil but bringing it across the seas to American soil. It stated that Germany had no intentions on slowing down its submarine warfare to which they hoped to keep the Americans neutral, but if they failed in doing so they offered an alliance among themselves and Mexico. The understanding was that Mexico would declare war on the United States and help the Germans and in return they would receive their land they had lost to America in years past,
In the late 1910’s Congress passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 and 1918 (ESA). Historian Howard Zinn sees the ESA as a malicious attempt by the U.S. government to “imprison Americans who spoke or wrote out against the war.” Zinn’s argument dismisses the idea that the ESA was a necessary step to ensure the integrity of a nation at war, as he believes that America’s entrance into WWI was motivated by a selfish desire for monetary gain and economic expansion. Zinn asserts that the U.S. government allowed American investors to “tie American finance closely to the interest of a British victory.” While Zinn’s ideas are well-argued and supported, they tell only one side of a complicated story. James West Davidson, however, tells another. He argues that at the time of the ESA’s passing, the United States had been pushed by German action into the first global conflict in its history. He describes the German U-boat attacks that were devastating the Atlantic, and the reports of “cracking morale” that were trickling in from the front lines, and asserts that the ESA was passed by a desperate government in order to combat protestors who attempted to sway public opinion against the war. Davidson never explicitly describes the ESA as good or bad, but he provides some valuable context that Zinn ignores. The ESA was not, as Zinn alleges, a heartless assault on the American coordinated “with all the power of the federal government and the money of big business behind it,” nor was it a shining example of individual freedoms. It was a complicated document with complicated implications, and consideration of only Zinn’s or Davidson’s writings eliminates the intricacies that were inherent in the ESA, and the circumstances that lead to its
Before World War One, people were allowed to watch, write, or say anything they wanted to as long as they weren’t harming anyone. However, the Republicans and Democrats were arguing over whether or not we should have more censorship. The Democrats wanted more censorship, but Republicans didn’t want more censorship. As it was stated in document 1, they didn’t want the president to be able to block himself from getting criticism. The Espionage and Sedition Acts were put in place so that people couldn’t interfere with the success of the army, it was to help find people who were disloyal to the army.
Another factor that led to the United States’ entry into World War I, was the Zimmerman Telegram. The Zimmerman Telegram was a telegram issued from the German Foreign Office in January, 1917. It proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico in the event of the United States' entering World War I against Germany. The proposal was intercepted and decoded by British intelligence. The message was in the form of a coded telegram sent by the Foreign Secretary of the German Empire, Arthur
Late in the winter of 1917, tensions around the world grew in the midst of World War I. The U.S. remained neutral in the beginning; however, the U.S. severed diplomatic connections with Germany in early February after Germany announced their agenda (“Wilson's War Message to Congress.”). Germany had declared their intent to sink any sea vessel that sought to approach the ports of Great Britain, Ireland, or the ports of its enemies within the Mediterranean. Breaking its promise, Germany put aside all restraints of law or of humanity, sinking every vessel, along with passenger ships, with no warning. President Wilson, after witnessing a plethora of inhumane atrocities, spoke before an irritated and aggravated congress, asking them for a declaration of war. The congress, who had voted to abstain from entering the war, reversed their decision and overwhelmingly voted to enter World War I (“Wilson's War Message to Congress.”). President Wilson expertly used a variety of appeals and rhetorical devices to sway the congress in his favor.
Chapter 25 discusses the United States and the Second World War from 1939-1945. The United States wanted to stay out of international affairs but the newly elected Roosevelt advocated for an active role in it. Though he wanted a role in this, his priority was to attack the domestic causes of the depression which appealed to many poor Americans who were suffering from the Great Depression and had just lost everything. During this time, fascist governments threatened military aggression and the rise of Hitler created a controversial and war-like atmosphere. Hitler had a goal to avenge the defeat of WW1 which lead to the accusations of Jews, and the eventual full-blown Holocaust. Neutrality acts were put into place during this time to prohibit the exchange of arms to nations during the war.
World War I began in 1914 but America remained neutral until its entrance into the war in 1917. The U-boats sinking of the British liner Lusitania in 1915, the sinking of five American ships in 1917, and the “Zimmerman telegram” sent from Germany to Mexico led up to America’s declaration of war. America’s involvement in World War I not only impacted the war front but also the home front.
For instance, in both the Spanish- American War and World War 1, it's evident that the use yellow journalism has been a major cause for war. This can be seen in the Spanish America War where newspaper reporters would 'coat the truth in yellow'. In other words, they would usually exaggerate or bend the truth in order to attract the attention of the public and sell more newspapers (basically for their own self-interest). According to the political cartoon in Document 2, one can see how the Spanish are depicted as some kind of wild brute that had just murdered a group of American sailors from the U.S.S Maine. Furthermore, this kind of reports inflamed the war effort by greatly infuriating the American public. This same concept can be seen in World War 1, where Anti-German propaganda was being used in order to turn the United States against Germany, as the propaganda greatly criticized German militarism and unprovoked invasion in Belgium. To add on, another similarity between the two wars being discussed in here was the sinking of some maritime vessel. For example, the sinking of the Lusitania as a result of Germany's illicit practice of unrestricted submarine warfare was a major factor for the United Sates entry into World War 1. According to Document 3 it states "The waters surrounding Great Britain and Iceland, including the English channel, are hereby declared to be within the war zone, and all enemy merchant vessels found in those waters after the eighteen of February, 1915 will be destroyed.'' This demonstrates how maritime vessels traveling along the English Isles were susceptible to attacks by German submarines, and unfortunately, this was the case for the merchant ship, the Lusitania (where 128 American passengers were killed, thus causing major disruptions among the American people). Moreover, this was the same for the U.S.S Maine during the
Schenck vs. United States is a Supreme Court Case from 1919, in which Charles T. Schenck was charged and convicted of being in violation of the Espionage Act. The Espionage Act, passed in 1917, was the effort of Congress and President Woodrow Wilson, to protect national security during World War I. At the start of the war, there was a strong sense of national pride to fight, however, groups who opposed the war still remained. According to (Belknap, Schenck vs. US), the Espionage Act addressed the issue of national security through the press. It became illegal to falsify reports to aid an enemy, rebel within the armed forces, and obstruct military recruitment. The following year the Sedition Acts of 1918 were passed, which made it illegal during wartime to speak of, print, or write in the context of disloyal or abusive language to the United States (Sedition Act was repealed in 1921). When these laws were passed, the media was filled with rumors of spies in the United States, which took the attention off any
out (there were more than 30 different pamphlets) to the public. These pamphlets came in many varieties of languages and explained America’s involvement with the war. As time went out, the Committee of Public Information began to push the war stronger and stronger through propaganda. This was not the approach that Creel preferred. Creel preferred the softer approach of persuasion by letting the statistics do the persuading. Soon the Committee of Public Information began to lose touch with its original goal. The Committee became submerged with patriotism with the population in its sight. As more time went on, their goal became less about persuading America and more about purifying America by any means. For many people, the war was not only over seas. Our own people were now bringing the war onto home soil. In June of 1917, the Espionage Act of June 1917 was passed. This act permitted Postmaster-General Burleson to censor United States mail at his
Primary objectives of entering the U.S. into the war were not primarily to seek revenge on Germany. Wilson&#8217;s more important goal was to preserve democracy within the U.S. and restore manifest destiny to a war-torn world. Furthermore, the U.S. foreign policy of economic expansion contributed to the U.S.&#8217; involvement in WWI due to the fact that tensions were built around both global trade and trade routes used prior to the war. The British propaganda papers played a part in American humanitarianism as the U.S. received word of inhumane treatment by German soldiers of many European civilians. Although the papers were propaganda, the U.S. felt a moral obligation to help those in need.