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“Impartial in thought as well as action”
–Woodrow Wilson
At the Beginning of the War,
the United States considered
war Europe’s problem and
did not want to deal with it
There was private support for
both sides in the War (although greater
support for the Allies)
Wilson took the official stance of Neutrality
(“Impartial in thought as well as action”) …He
picked no side;
Instead, an Internationalist, Wilson tried to
use US influence to end the War and bring
British Blockade
The British blockaded German ports, seized ships trying to run the
blockade, and confiscated any contraband materials that could help
the German war effort.
Despite the naval arms race before the war, the Germans did not have
a large enough surface fleet to break through this blockade.
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
Instead, the Germans created
their own blockade around Great
Britain, using submarines (Uboats)
They (mostly) sank ships that
carried Allied supplies,
Many such supplies came from
the United States…The US traded
far more with the Allies than with
Axis powers, and provided the
Allies with almost $3 billion in
loans (so not quite neutral).
A passenger ship, which German
officials (probably correctly) claimed
was also carrying ammunition and
other war materials.
Sunk by the German U-boat
torpedoes on May 7,1915.
Killed 1198, including 128
We warned Germany to stop sinking
unarmed passenger ships…
• Germany temporarily pledged to stop
sinking passenger ships
Called the Sussex Pledge
 However, as 1917 rolled around,
the Germans changed tactics and began
unrestricted submarine warfare again,
hoping to cut off Allied supplies and win
the war before the US entered…
Zimmermann Note
Meanwhile, The German Foreign Minister,
Arthur Zimmermann, sent Mexico a
telegram stating that if Mexico declared
war on the US that Germany would help
Mexico take back Texas, New Mexico, and
German U-boats and telegrams pushed US
public opinion against the Germans, as had
German brutality in their march through
Belgium toward France (Schlieffen Plan)
poster using
the "Rape of
Belgium" to
raise money
for War
Bonds, 1918
April 2,1917 - Wilson called for war to
“make the world safe for democracy.” He
cited Germany’s submarine policy as
“warfare on mankind” and asked
Congress to recognize that a state of
war existed between the
US and Germany.
April 6, 1917 – US
Congress declared war.
ENTRY # 38
Why did the US enter
WWI? Please explain in a
full paragraph. There are
multiple reasons…what do
you believe to be the main