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Beginning my time now, I’d like to thank everybody in this room if we’re making this panel discussion possible. Good afternoon everyone. The United States played a crucial role in World War 1. They tried to remain neutral, however, some dispute had led the Americans to join the war. By 1917, Woodrow Wilson’s policy and public opinion changed in favor of the US entry of WW1. This is cause by the major influence of German atrocities in Belgium, Economic Interest, sinking of the Lusitania, Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the Zimmermann Telegram. One of the causes of U.S Entry into World War 1 is the German Atrocities in Belgium.
When Belgium was invaded on August 4 1914, the story of German’s monstrosity in the country shocked and outrages the Americans. The Belgian civilian population stories of unarmed civilians being killed, raped and small towns being destroyed, extensively pillage and looting (Robbery or ransack during a war or a riot), circulated throughout the press. The actions of the German’s army during their offensive through Belgium and the months immediately had become known as ‘The Rape of Belgium’. These had touch Americans heart and had left a strong anti-German sentiment among Americans, although some of the stories were British propaganda.
Other than that, the American business is also one of the factors that cause the US entering the World War 1. The Americans were very interested in the Allied victory that helped fund the British and French approximately $3 billion in loans and bond purchases. Many businessmen try to support the organization called the ‘Preparedness Movement’ and campaigned for the US intervention in war with the side of Allied Forces. Almost immediately after the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, a small number of Americans, former president Theodore Roosevelt, was being among the most prominent sought to persuade the administration of Pres. Woodrow Wilson and the population must prepare itself for war. The fate of occupied Belgium served as an example of what could happen to an unprepared country for invasion. Organizations such as the National Security League, American Defense Society and American Rights Committee had sponsored preparedness parades to pressure Wilson into strengthening the national defenses. However, Wilson was unmoved by the prepared ness advocates. Not until the German Submarine attacks and especially on the sinking of Lusitania did the administration to begin to favor an increase in the armaments.
Since we talk about Lusitania, Americans were very outrage by this sinking. On May 7 1915, the German U-boat sunk a British passenger of Lusitania off coast of Ireland. Over 1,000 were killed including 128 Americans. This is because German had suspected the US had supplied weapons exclusively to Allies during the war, to the tune of billion of dollar’s worth of these weapons. The Germans sinking Lusitania was largely due to German spies that had reported that there are arm shipments were on board, which lead to Lusitania being sink. Additionally, the Americans were infuriated because the people on board weren’t warned before the sinking and this add straining of the diplomatic relations between US and Germany, which increases the tension between both of them.
In the insistence of the United Stares on her trading rights was also important. After the war began with British, France and their allies had set up naval blockades of Germany and Austria. In response to Britain’s blockade, Germany turned into unrestricted submarine warfare to keep goods from reaching Britain. After sinking of Lusitania, they had promised to stop unrestricted submarine warfare but Germany had torpedoes another passenger ship, across the English Channel ferry Sussex. The Germans temporarily halted such actions but in 1917 resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. At the same time, the British intercepted a message called the Zimmermann’s Note asking the government of Mexico to declare war of US as the note also promised to help Mexico to regain their loss territory, such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, if they declare war on United States. Although Mexico had no real intention of declaring war on US, the publication of the letter further mobilized the Americans to have a final push to turn public sentiment towards war.
I had mention that the cause of American’s leading to the involvement of World War 1 is Sinking of Lusitania and the Zimmermann Telegram. This is also known as one of the events or the development of this cause. But before that, there is one of the main events that had confliction with the war, which is the Declaration of Neutrality. Woodrow Wilson declared that on August 19 1914 is the neutrality of the United States. When World War 1 began, Wilson is not keen to join and there are demands that Americans should be involved. Wilson believes that the best way to handle conflict is to not be involved and be isolated. But this event contributed to the US final decision to enter to war because even though they did not want to get involved, in later dates, Wilson felt, as if they had no choice but to join the war.
With the Sinking of Lusitania, even though US had declared neutrality, one of the reasons why US later felt inclined to join the war is because Germany had attack their ship that had 128 Americans even though they had declared the strict accountability in 1915. Strict accountability is where Wilson warns the Germans for property damage or lives of the lost as their responsibility. Not to mention the Zimmermann’s Note that contributes US finals decision to go to war is because this announcement helped hurry American’s entry into the conflict. Wilson declares war so that he could help design a peace settlement. He viewed that it is an opportunity to destroy the German’s militarism.
In conclusion, United States had played a crucial role in World War 1 in 1917 until 1918. But this all began because of the German atrocities in Belgium, Economic Interest, Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and events like Sinking of Lusitania, the Zimmermann telegram and the declaration of neutrality.
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