US HISTORY – WWI, America’s involvement

U-BOAT WARFARE

-        U-boats (UNTERSEEBOOT) used to break GB naval blockade

-        US felt this was uncivilized, while the blockade was reasonable

-        GB cut transatlantic cable connecting Germany to US, GB controlled information – allowing the English to shape public opinion in favor of punishing Germany for its uncivilized use of the U-Boats

-        Lusitania, GB passenger liner, with 1200 passengers (128 Americans) sunk by U-boat – May 1915

-        Lusitaniawas carrying weapons, so the U-Boat fired

-        US Press portrayed this as barbaric (boat did have munitions on it)

-        Wilson sent several notes to Germany protesting, Germany promised to stop (at least giving warning or allowing search) – the sinking of French & GB liners continued

-        After a French passenger steamship was sunk the USA threatened to cut diplomatic ties – Sussex Pledge = Germans once again promised to warn ships before attacking

-        Wilson could not threaten force w/o entering the war, authorized US Bankers to loan $$ to allies

-        1916 Wilson re-elected (HE KEPT US OUT OF THE WAR)

-        Germans violate Sussex Pledge by resuming unrestricted submarine warfare (they felt they could defeat the British before the Americans could enter – maybe they would not)

-        Wilson wanted to arm merchant ships, but a group of anti-war senators delayed the request with a Filibuster (take the floor & begin talking and refuse to stop, preventing a vote)

-        At this time, GB intercepted a telegram (Zimmerman Note) offering Mexico alliance – they could get Texas, Arizona, New Mexico back – Wilson did not take this seriously, but the press did – GB scores another propaganda victory

 

US GOES TO WAR -- Why?

-        Germany sinks 3 US ships between March 16 & 18 (1917)

-    money and munitions being sold to the allies (GB & FRANCE &    RUSSIA)

-        anti-German feelings as a result of GB

-        world made safe for democracy

-        US on the brink of greatness

 

IN THE WAR

-        first 3 billion in loans, no troops, allies pressured for troops

-        General Pershing & 14,000 troops sent, no war plan & not enough troops

-        May 1917, Selective Service Act (draft) – no riots like in Civil War...this is a war to end wars

-        24 million men registered

-        infantry men called “dough boys” (2 million men eventually served over seas)

-         segregation...most African – Americans never saw battle (Harlem Hell Fighters convinced officers to loan them to the French)

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