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President Wilson’s Foreign Policy
• President Wilson was opposed to
imperialism. He wanted a world free
from revolution and war.
• In 1911 a revolution in Mexico forced
its leader, Porfirio Diaz, to flee the
country. The new leader, Fransico
Madero, was a poor administrator.
General Victoriano Huerta took over
Mexico and had presumably had
Madero murdered.
• Wilson refused to recognize the new
government and prevented weapons
from reaching Huerta.
President Wilson’s Foreign Policy
• In 1914 Wilson sent marines to seize the
Mexican port of Veracruz to overthrow
• Anti-American riots broke out in Mexico.
• Mexican forces would lead raids into the
United States hoping that President Wilson
would intervene.
• Pancho Villa led a group of guerillas, an
armed group that carries out surprise
attacks, into New Mexico, and a number of
Americans were killed.
• Wilson sent General John J. Pershing and
his troops into Mexico to capture Villa.
Pershing was unsuccessful.
• Wilson’s Mexican policy damaged U.S.
foreign relations.
Outbreak of World War I
• The roots of WW I can be traced
back to the 1860s, when Prussia
began a new series of wars in order
to unite German states. By 1871
Germany was united.
• The new German nation changed
European politics. France and
Germany were enemies.
• Germany formed the Triple Alliance
with Austria-Hungary and Italy.
Outbreak of World War I
• The Triple
Alliance was
formed by the
• Germany
• Austria-Hungary
• Italy
• The Triple
Entente was
formed in
• France
• Russia
• Great Britain
Outbreak of World War I
• Nationalism, intense pride for one’s
homeland, was a powerful idea in
Europe in the late 1800s.
• Self-determination motivated many
of the people. This is the idea that
people should have their own
country and government.
• This led to a crisis in the Balkans
where different national groups
within the Ottoman and AustroHungarian Empires began to seek
• Nationalism was
important to the
many people of
• This was the
major factor in
starting the
alliances that
would lead to
the war.
Outbreak of World War I
• On June 28, 1914, the heir to the
Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke
Franz Ferdinand, was killed by a
Bosnian revolutionary.
• This act set off a chain of events
that led to World War I.
• On July 28, Austria declared war on
• On August 1, Germany declared war
on Russia. Two days later Germany
declared war on France.
Outbreak of World War I
• The Allies: fought
for the Triple
• France
• Russia
• Great Britain
• And later Italy
Central Powers
Ottoman Empire
The Central
Powers had greater
success on the
Eastern Front,
capturing hundreds
of miles of
American Neutrality
• Wilson declared the United States to
be neutral. He did not want his
country pulled into a foreign war.
• Many Americans began showing
their support for one side or the
other with many immigrants
supporting their homelands. Most
favored the Allied cause.
• Companies in the United States had
strong ties to the Allied countries.
Many American banks gave loans to
the Allies. As a result American
prosperity was tied to the war.
Moving Toward War
• The British blockaded Germany to keep it
from getting supplies.
• The British redefined contraband, or
prohibited materials, to stop neutral
parties from shipping food to Germany.
• Germany deployed U-boats or submarines
to get around the blockade.
• Germany threatened to sink any ship that
entered the waters around Britain.
• Attacking civilians ships without warning
was a violation of an international treaty
and outraged the United States.
• The Lusitania, a British passenger ship,
was hit by a torpedo killing almost 1,200
passengers, including 128 Americans.
Moving Toward War
• Americans instructed Germany
to stop U-boat strikes.
• Germany did not want the U.S.
to join the war and strengthen
the Allies.
• The Sussex Pledge, a promise
by Germany to stop sinking
merchant ships, kept the U.S.
out of the war for a bit longer.
Moving Toward War
• The Zimmerman telegram promoted
the cause for the U.S. to enter the
• It was intercepted by British intelligence and
leaked to U.S. newspapers.
• German official, Arthur Zimmerman, cabled the
German ambassador in Mexico, proposing that
Mexico ally itself with Germany.
• Germany went back to unrestricted
submarine warfare in February 1917,
and soon after, sank six American
merchant ships. On April 6, 1917,
the United States declared war on
Military Buildup
• More soldiers were needed
• Conscription was forced military
service that was debated upon
• Selective service would be used
instead, this was a new system of
conscription, resulting in 2.8 million
soldiers being drafted
• African American soldiers faced
discrimination in the military, where
they served in segregated units.
• WW I was the first time women
would officially serve.
Organizing Industry
• President Wilson and Congress agreed that
the government should not control the
• They wanted a cooperative relationship
between big business and government.
• In 1917 the WIB was created in order to
help coordinate the production of war
• The Food Administration was also added.
It was added to increase food production
while reducing consumption.
• Daylight Savings Time was added to
conserve coal and oil.
• Liberty Bonds and Victory Bonds were sold
to pay for the war.
Ensuring Public Support
• The Committee on Public Information was
formed to “sell” the idea of war to the
American people.
• Espionage, or spying to acquire secret
government information, was addressed in
the Espionage Act of 1917.
• The Alien and Sedition Act made it illegal
to criticize the President or the
• In Schenck v. the United States, the
Supreme Court ruling limited an
individual’s freedom of speech if the words
spoken presented a “clear and present
• By 1917 the war had claimed millions of lives.
• Soldiers used trench warfare due to new
• No man’s land – was the area between the
• New technology was used
• Poison gas
• Tanks
• planes
• Machine gun
• Submarine (u-boat)
• “Doughboys” was a nickname for American
• American Admiral William S. Sims proposed the use
of a convoy to get troops and supplies across the
• Russians supported the war effort.
• In 1917 V.I. Lenin, leader of the
Bolshevik Party, overthrew the
government and replaced it with a
Communist one.
• Lenin pulled out of the war and
signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk,
removing German armies from
Russian lands in exchange for
• This act allowed Germany to launch
a major assault on the Western
A Flawed Peace
• General John J. Pershing put
together the most massive attack in
American history.
• On November 11, 1918, Germany
finally signed an armistice, or ceasefire, that ended the war.
• In January 1919, leaders of the
victorious Allied nations met to
resolve the issues caused by the
A Flawed Peace
• Wilson’s plan was called the Fourteen
• Eliminating the causes of the war through
trade and disarmament
• Open diplomacy instead of secret
• The right of self-determination
• The points required the evacuation of the
Central Powers from all countries invaded
during the war.
• The fourteenth point, known as the League
of Nations, called for member nations to
help preserve peace and prevent future
• The economy after the war saw
a period of rapid inflation.
• Government agencies removed
their controls from the economy
• This increased the cost of living
– the cost of food, clothing,
shelter, and other essential
• General strikes took place
Racial Unrest
• In the summer of 1919, race riots
took place in many Northern cities.
• They were caused by the thousands
of soldiers returning home that
needed jobs.
• African Americans, who moved North
to work, were now competing for the
same jobs as the soldiers.
• The worst violence took place in
The Red Scare
• Some Americans, associated with
Communism, began to show
disloyalty and unpatriotic behavior.
• The numerous strikes in the U.S. in
1919 made Americans fear that
Communist or “reds” might take
• This led to a nationwide panic
known as the Red Scare.
• This led to the creation of the
General Intelligence Division,
headed by J. Edgar Hoover. (FBI)
The Soviet Union
• Switching from
a tsarist Russia
to a Communist