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World War I: The
Great War
PowerPoint Presentation by
Mr. Hataway
La Vega High School
Created 11/11/04
Revised 10/11/11
U.S. Enters the War
American Neutrality
 Wilson’s Proclamation of
Neutrality in 1914.
– American tradition stay out
of European affairs
– maintain economic ties with
both sides
Reasons for U.S. Entry to WWI
 German Proclamation (1915)
– Said waters around British Isles were
considered an official war zone.
– Germany attempted to sink any ship that
entered this area.
– Unrestricted submarine warfare
Reasons for U.S. Entry to WWI
 Unrestricted Submarine
– German submarine torpedoed
British ocean liner Lusitania
off southern coast of Ireland,
resulting in death of 128
Americans in May 1915.
– Sink the Sussex in March
German U-Boats
 German U-Boats, or submarines
 (German = Unterseeboot)
Reasons for U.S. Entry to WWI
 Sussex Pledge (1916)
– Germany makes a pledge
not to sink merchant ships
without warning (did not
uphold their pledge)
Reasons for U.S. Entry to WWI
 Jan. 1917
– Germany resumes U-Boat attacks on U.S.
– Diplomacy failed to call off unrestricted
submarine warfare.
Reasons for U.S. Entry to WWI
 Historic Ties to Great Britain
– The U.S. conducted a significant amount of
trade with Great Britain which would be
affected if Germany won the war.
Reasons for U.S. Entry to WWI
 Zimmerman Telegram
– British intelligence
intercepted the
Zimmerman telegram
which revealed Germany’s
plan to approach the
Mexican government for a
military alliance.
U.S. Declares War
 Wilson’s 2nd term
– began in March 1917
 April 2, 1917
– Wilson asks Congress to
declare war “to make the
world safe for democracy”
Moving Toward War (cont.)
What events led to the United States
declaring war against Germany?
Moving Toward War (cont.)
The British navy blockaded Germany to keep it from
getting supplies. To get around the blockade, Germany
deployed U-boats. The Lusitania, a British passenger
liner, was hit by the Germans, killing almost 1,200
passengers including 128 Americans. A German official,
Arthur Zimmermann, cabled the German ambassador in
Mexico, proposing that Mexico ally itself with Germany. In
return, Mexico would regain territory it had earlier lost to
the United States. The Zimmermann telegram was
intercepted by British intelligence and leaked to American
newspapers. In February 1917, Germany went back to
unrestricted submarine warfare and, soon after, sank six
American merchant ships. On April 6, 1917, the
United States declared war against Germany.
Mobilizing America’s
Home Front
Essential Question:
 How did Americans help with the
war effort (mobilize) at home?
Home Front
 The Draft
– Passage of the Selective Service Act
(May 1917)
• Men age 21 to 30 (later 18 to 45)
• Put 3 million men into uniform
Home Front
 The Draft
– Women not drafted.
• Women served in “noncombat” positions
• Nurses, secretaries, and
telephone operators.
Home Front
 Selling the War
Increased the income tax
“Liberty Bonds” and “Victory Bonds”
loan to the government
government used famous artists to make posters,
and used movie stars to host bond rallies.
Al Jolson, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and
Charlie Chaplin were among the celebrities.
Home Front
Home Front
 Economic Effects
– WWI led to great levels of industrialization in
the U.S.
– Increase exports
– Increased agricultural production
Home Front
 Constitutional Issues
– Soon after declaring war in 1917, Congress
ruled that the U.S. mail could not be used for
sending any material urging “treason,
insurrection or forcible resistance to any law.”
– Punished offenders with a fine of up to $5,000
and a five-year prison term.
Home Front
 Constitutional Issues:
Schenk v. the United States
– Supreme Court ruling limiting
individual’s freedom of speech
if words spoken constitute a
“clear and present danger.”
– Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes
The American
Expeditionary Force in
Contributions of the A.E.F
 American Expeditionary Forces
– U.S. military sent to the Western Front (France
– Fought alongside British and French allied forces
the last year of World War I.
– Nicknamed the “Doughboys”
Contributions of the A.E.F
 General John J. Pershing
– Commander of the
American Expeditionary
– Nickname “Black Jack”
– Insisted on an American
Army, not divisions
fighting for British and
French militaries.
Battle of Argonne Forest
 September 26 November 11, 1918
 a.k.a. the MeuseArgonne Offensive.
 Part of the final Allied
offensive of World
War I that stretched
along the entire
western front.
Battle of Argonne Forest
 Objective was the
capture of an important
railroad/train station
which would break the
rail network supporting
the Germany Army in
 Allied victory in the
battle is credited for
leading to the
Sergeant York
 Alvin York
– Most decorated
American soldier in
World War I
– Awarded the Medal of
Honor for leading an
attack on a German
machine gun nest.
Sergeant York
 Alvin York
– Took out 32 machine
guns, killed 28 German
soldiers, and captured
132 others.
– Event occurred during
the U.S.-led portion of
the Meuse-Argonne
Offensive in France.
War’s End
 Ottoman Empire (Turkey) surrendered
Oct. 31
 Austria-Hungary granted cease-fire on
Nov. 4
War’s End
 Armistice Day
– 11/11/1918 at 11:00 a.m.
– cessation of hostilities on the
Western Front between
Germany and the Allied
– German Kaiser, Wilhelm II
abdicated thrown Nov. 9
Weapons of World War I
New Weapons of War
 The Tank
 First introduced by
the British
New Weapons of War
 Big Bertha
– Long range cannon
– Could fire a shell up to
9 miles
Impact of Significant Technological
Innovations in WWI
 Machine Guns
– Relatively new technology at
the beginning of the war.
– Many difficulties with keep
machine cool.
– Made it nearly impossible to
cross defended ground.
– Late in war used on tanks and
British gun crew firing a Lewis
machine gun during WW1, circa 1918
German infantrymen operating a Maxim
machine gun during World War I
New Weapons of War
 Machine guns
– The 1914 machine gun, usually positioned on a flat
tripod, would require a gun crew of four to six
– 90% of deaths in WWI caused by machine guns
New Weapons of War
 Flame Thrower
– Could be used against
Impact of Significant Technological
Innovations in WWI
 Airplanes
– Early in the war used as spotters.
– Planes were unarmed but pilots would carry
handheld weapons.
– Later larger plan4es crated and able to bomb
the enemy.
New Weapons of War
 Airplanes
– Observation and
“dog fights”
Impact of Significant Technological
Innovations in WWI
 Poison gas
– Chlorine gas and Mustard gas
– Sometimes used to create a smoke screen
to hide attacking soldiers.
– Used to force evacuation of enemy
New Weapons of War
 Poison Gas (and the gas mask)
 First use of poison gas
(chlorine gas) introduced by the
Germans on 22 April 1915, at
the start of the Second Battle of
 Over 100,000 deaths and
millions of casualties.
German Gas Canisters
New Weapons of War
 Submarines
– Called U-boats by the Germans
Impact of Significant Technological
Innovations in WWI
 Trench Warfare
– Resulted in stalemate on the Western Front
– Form of warfare in which combatants occupy
fighting lines, comprised of trenches.
– Area between opposing trench lines was
known as “no man’s land.
Trench Warfare
New Weapons of War
 Trench Warfare
Rat infestation
Lice and trench fever
Patrols in no man’s land
Smells and poison gas
Some information and pictures obtained from
Major Issues of WWI
Major Issues of WWI
 World War I
– Isolationism v. Internationalism
– Self-determination of all peoples
Major Issues of WWI
 Fourteen Points Plan
– League of Nations and its defeat in U.S.
– How its defeat defined our international
Major Issues of WWI
 Treaty of Versailles
– Unjust treatment of Germans in Treaty of
Versailles, including the reparations payments
– Established new political boundaries in