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The Big Picture: The United States
tried to stay neutral when war swept
Europe. Once the United States
joined the Allies in 1917, however,
the nation quickly mobilized for war.
Main Idea: Rivalries among
European nations led to the
outbreak of war in 1914.
M.A.I.N. Causes of World War I
• Militarism: the policy of military
preparedness and building up of
• Led many countries to have a large
standing army and navy, this was not the
policy before.
• Also stockpiled weapons in case of war.
• Alliances: were formed in case of
• Triple Alliance: Italy, Germany, and
• Triple Entente: Britain, France, and
• Alliances would cause European nations
to snowball into war. One nation could
not go without their alliance.
• Imperialism: in which countries
colonized another country to
provide markets for goods and
natural resources.
• Nationalism: extreme pride or
devotion that people feel for their
• Led to the formation of new nations in
Europe in the 1870s and competition
for power.
• Competition for power in the Balkans
was the greatest, large number of
ethnic groups fighting for power.
War Breaks Out
• Archduke of Austria-Hungry Franz Ferdinand is assassinated while
on honeymoon in Serbia.
• Serbia had supplied the assassins with bombs and weapons.
• Austria-Hungry declares war on Serbia, allies on both sides declare war on
each other.
• Schlieffen Plan: Germany’s plan for a two-front war against France
and Russia at the same time.
• Called for a surprise invasion of France by passing through Belgium while at
the same time attacking Russia.
• Germany makes the first move following this plan.
• Germany marches through Belgium to France in brutal fashion
killing anyone who got in their way.
First Battle of the Marne
• After only one month of fighting German forces were only 25 miles
outside of Paris, French were desperate to push them back.
• French launched counterattack along the Marne River.
• 2 million men fought along a 125 mile long battle front.
• Able to push back German forces 40 miles.
• Gave Russia time to mobilize for war, Germany had to pull troops out of
France to fight in Russia.
New Kind of Warfare
• Uniforms
• Old - French wore the same uniforms
they wore in 1800s – bright red with
heavy helmets.
• New - Germans wore gray uniforms
that helped them to blend in with
their environment, camouflage.
• Formations
• Old – French marched in rows with
their bayonets at their sides, prepared
for close combat.
• New – Germans had machine guns for
long range fighting.
• As a way to protect themselves
from oncoming machine gun fire
the troops built trenches or deep
and long holes where soldiers
could move from place to place.
• Any time a helmet or any object would
rise above the enemy trench line they
would be fired upon.
• Created a stalemate in which no side
could make any major advances
against the other.
• New kind of warfare led to new
kind of devastation.
Trench Warfare
New Kind of Warfare
• Poisonous Gas was introduced as a
new weapon by Germany.
• Dangerous because they did not know
how much gas would be enough and gas
could be blown back if the wind changed.
• Great Britain and France developed their own poisonous gas to fight back
against German gas methods.
• Gas masks were developed to protect soldiers against poisonous gas.
• Did not have major impact on the outcome of the war.
• British developed tanks that would be able to maneuver through “no
mans land.”
• Limited success, most tanks got stuck in the mud.
• Airplanes were the most effective new weapon during WWI.
• Allowed troops to map enemy positions and trenches. Also allowed them to
attack from above.
• Planes also fought each other in the air in dogfights
Main Idea: The United States helped
turn the tide for an Allied Victory
United States Stays Neutral
• After war was announced President Woodrow Wilson declared that
the United States would remain neutral.
• Reflected a long standing policy of isolationism or a policy of not being
involved with the affairs of other nations.
• America had more economic ties to France and Great Britain than
• Britain was purchasing $75 million worth of war goods from American
businesses every week.
• Germany used U-Boats to blockade
Great Britain from receiving goods.
• Germany used unrestricted submarine
warfare in order to effectively block all trade and ships from entering
British ports, no ship even neutral was safe.
Heading Toward War
• In 1915 the ship Lusitania was sunk off the British shore by German
U Boats.
• 1,200 passengers, 128 of which were Americans, were killed.
• American public was outraged by the sinking. Wilson called for an end to
unrestricted submarine warfare  Germany agrees to only attack supply
• Less than a year later French passenger ship Sussex is attacked.
• Wilson threatened to end diplomatic ties with Germany unless it stopped
attacking ships.
• Sussex Pledge was made by Germany stating that it would not attack
merchant vessels without warning and without saving lives.
• Wilson after his re-election began working toward a peace
agreement between the European nations.
• Wanted them to accept “Peace without victory” but Allied Powers felt the
Central Powers had started the war and they needed to pay for the
• German foreign secretary Arthur Zimmerman sent a telegram called
the Zimmerman Note to Mexico proposing an alliance between
Germany and Mexico in exchange for returning the territory lost in
the Mexican American war to Mexico.
• British intercepted the note and decoded it. Americans began printing
excerpts in the newspapers.
• Americans began calling for war against Germany, Wilson refused hoping
for peace.
America Declares War
• During the war there was a Russian uprising and the Russian people
set up a government based upon republican ideals.
• Many believed American role in world politics should be to promote
• To be supportive of democracy America should be supportive of the Allied
• In 1917, two years after Europe had gone to war, America declares
war so that the world could be made safe for democracy.
• America joins the war on the side of the Allied Powers.
American Soldiers
• America needed to prepare for war.
• Selective Service Act: Required men between the ages of 21 and 30
to be registered to be drafted into the armed forces.
• Most willingly participated, some registered as conscientious objectors
which meant that their religious beliefs prevented them from fighting in a
war, often their applications were not accepted.
• African Americans and Hispanics were discriminated against in the
US military
• They were segregated into separate divisions and training in separate
• Feared that if African Americans were trained with weapons that they
would become violent after the war.
• Latino’s were assigned menial tasks or sent to camps to improve their
Arriving in Europe
• American’s who went overseas formed the AEF American
Expeditionary Forces led by John Pershing.
• Included the Army, National Guard, and new volunteers and draftees.
• European forces expected American troops to immediately join
European forces already fighting. Pershing wanted his men to fight
in American units and receive more training.
• Bolsheviks took over Russian government, they were communists
or a government that seeks equal distribution of wealth and the
end of all private property.
• Signed a peace agreement with Germany and pulled out of the war.
American Military Women
• While women did not serve in combat positions they did play a role
in the war effort:
• French speaking women were recruited to work switchboards and help
keep communication open between the front line and the AEF
• 20,000 women were recruited as nurses and served in the US Army in that
• Women also served in the navy and marines as bookkeepers and typists.
The War Ends
• July 15, 1918 Germans launched their last effort at the Second Battle
of the Marne.
• US troops blew up every bridge that the Germans had built over the
• Allies are able to launch a counterattack in September 1918 and push until
they were able to push back the Germans all the way into Germany.
• By 1918 the war was having a devastating impact on the Germany
economy and civilians.
Food riots and strikes were erupting in Germany.
German soldiers were losing morale.
Central powers began to surrender and sign peace treaties.
November 11, 1918 the armistice went into effect and the war was over.
• The consequences of the war were devastating in numbers killed
and the destruction done to the European landscape.
Main Idea: The United States
mobilized a variety of resources to
wage World War I.
Mobilizing the Economy
• Going to war was extremely expensive.
• In order to help pay for the war Congress passed the War Revenue
Act of 1917 that raised taxes and taxes the wealthiest Americans as
much as 77% of their annual income.
• The government also borrowed
money to help pay for the war
and the national debt grew from
$1.2 billion to $25.5 billion.
• Many American’s bought Liberty
bonds or loans to the government
to help pay for the war.
Regulating Industry
Regulating Food
• In order to make sure the
soldiers had the supplies they
needed for War the
government prepared the
nation’s industries for war.
• War Industrial Board (WIB):
Had the authority to regulate all
materials needed in the war
• The government also regulated
food to ensure the soldiers would
have enough to eat.
• No steel, copper, cement, rubber,
or other basic materials could be
used without their permission.
• Once the military’s needs were
met the remaining goods could
be used by civilians.
• Lever Food and Fuel Control Act:
Gave the government control to set
prices and establish production
controls for food and for the fuels
needed to run military machines.
• Food Administration established to
manage and increase food
• Led by Herbert Hoover
• Americans began participating in
“meatless Monday” and creating
victory gardens.
• Also limited the amount of alcohol,
eventually led to prohibition.
Regulating Fuel
Supplying US and Allied Forces
• Government established the
Fuel Administration that set
production goals and prices for
• The US, in addition to supplying
needed supplies for American
troops, also supplied for the
Allied Powers.
• Introduced Daylight Savings time
in order to extend daylight hours
for those who worked long shifts
in the factories.
• “Gasless Sundays” and “Heatless
Mobilizing Workers
• War increased the profits of US corporations because the US
government was buying their products.
• Wages for factory workers increased, but so did the price of living.
• Workers began working long hours and increased pace of production.
• Union membership rose 60% during World War I.
• National War Labor Board: Judged disputes between labor and
management to help prevent strikes and protests, set policies to that
sought to improve working conditions.
• Established the 8 hour workday and promoted equal pay for women.
• As men left for war women moved into the jobs that men left behind.
Approximately 1 million women moved into the workforce.
• Some women volunteered to help raise money for War bonds, some
worked in traditional jobs such as teachers and nurses.
• Women were pushed out of the jobs that they took from men when men
returned from war.
Influenza epidemic on the home front
• There was a serious epidemic of the flu that spread from the war
front in Europe to the home front in the United States.
• Approximately ½ of the American soldiers who died in World War I died
from the flu.
• Unusually deadly case of the flu. 675,000 people died from the flu.
Influencing Public Opinion
• Committee on Public Information helped increase support for the
war through propaganda or materials designed to influence
people’s opinions.
• People became more patriotic, blamed the Germans for the war and tried
to get rid of their influence.
Limiting Antiwar Speech
• Americans spoke out against the War and President Wilson tried to
limit the public opposition to the war.
• Espionage Act was passed in 1917 that punished people for aiding
the enemy or refusing military duty.
• The Sedition Act was also passed that made it illegal for Americans
to “utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal or abusive language”
criticizing the government, the flag, or the military.
• Many believed these acts violated the first amendment rights, others
thought they were necessary for national security.
• Schenck v. United States stated that some limits can be places on
freedom of speech during wartime when it endangers the safety of
the nation or when it endangers others safety.
Main Idea: The Allies determined
the terms for peace in the post war
Fourteen Points
• President Wilson wanted to ensure lasting peace so that a war like
the Great War would not happen again.
• Wilson created a plan called Fourteen Points.
• First four points called for open diplomacy, freedom of the seas, removal
of trade barricades, and reduction of military arms.
• 5th point proposed a system to resolve disputes over colonies.
• Points 6-13 dealt with self determination or the right of people to decide
their own political status.
• 14th point called for the establishment of a League of Nation that would
work together to solve disputes, protect democracy, and prevent future
• The nations involved with WWI met in Paris to negotiate a peace
Paris Peace Conference
• Conference was led by the Big Four: United States, Great Britain, France,
and Italy.
• Germany and the Central powers were not invited to participate.
• Every nation came to the conference with different needs and expectations.
• The nations drew up the Treaty of Versailles
• Military changes:
• Forced Germany to disarm their military, limited size of the army, and banned them
from having an air force.
• Territory changes:
• Required Germany to give land to France and other nations, must give up control of
colonies to League of Nations.
• War-Guilt Provisions:
• Germany is solely responsible for all damage to Allie nations during the war, and
Germany must pay reparations to Allie nations.
• Established the League of Nations
Fight over the Treaty
• Wilson brought the treaty back to Congress for ratification.
• Severe divisions amongst Congress about passing the treaty.
• Mainly republican congress was not supportive of the League of Nations.
• Wilson campaigned directly to the American people to pressure
their senators to sign the Treaty of Versailles with the addition of
the League of Nations.
• Collapsed while on tour and spent the rest of his term recovering with only
his wife and closest aides in the White House.
• Wilson left office in 1921, United States DID NOT sign the Treaty of
Versailles, instead drew up their own treaties with Germany,
Austria, and Hungary.
• United States did not join the League of Nations.
Impact of World War I
• Political:
• Overthrow of monarchies in various
European countries.
• Rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia.
• Economic:
• WWI devastated European
economies  United States
emerges as the World’s leading
economic power.
• In the United States the demand for
consumer goods increased which
led to inflation and Americans
struggled to buy day-to-day goods.
• Demand for food decreased since
we were no longer supplying to
European markets, this hurt
• Social:
• Women’s contributions to the war
effort attributed to the passing of
the 19th Amendment.
• Many African Americans moved
North to search for factory work.
• Impact in Europe:
• European nations lost almost an
entire generation of men.
• France was in ruins.
• Great Britain was deeply in debt to
the United States.
• The proposed reparations by the
Treaty of Versailles would cripple