No country enters a war without a reason. United States in not an exception. It entered the World War Two after a tragic Pearl Harbor. It was necessary to stand up and answer to Japanese at that moment. What were United States reasons for entering the World War I? Is there a connection between Russian February Revolution and President Woodrow Wilson decision to enter the Great War? Of course, it could not be a soul reason for declaring a war to Germany; Zimmerman Telegram and German Warfare to Ships played their roles as well.
The trigger of the war became an assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife, Sophie on June 28, 1914. They were killed by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia. In return for this murder, Austro-Hungary proposed ultimatum to Serbia: “(1) The Serbian Government would condemn all propaganda against Austria-Hungary and suppress publications and societies that opposed Austria-Hungary. (2)
Serbia would ban from its schools books and teachers who did not favor Austria-Hungary. 3) Serbia would dismiss any officials who had promoted propaganda against Austria-Hungary. (4) Austro-Hungary judges would conduct the trial of those accused of the crime at Sarajevo. (5) Serbia had to accept all of these terms within 48 hours or Austria-Hungary would declare war. ” Serbia did not agree to some of those ultimatums, which brought to the beginning of the war. Of course, that could not be a reason of the biggest war of that time; that was just a reason. Some of the true reasons were militarism, imperialism and nationalism of that time.
Militarism is the race of the military powers of the countries. All countries wanted to have powerful army, navy, to have great ammunitions and guns. At the same time, many alliances were forming in Europe. The mistaken thought was that the alliances would keep peace in the World. That is why the war started between six countries at the same time. One of the alliance that entered the war was alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. The second alliance was Britain, France and Russia. Nationalism at that time became big deal.
Patriots of their countries were competing for the biggest force they have. Imperialism was one of the reason of the war as well. At the beginning of the twentieth century Britain, France and other countries had colonies all over the world. They were invading more and more of new African and Asian lands. Germany decided to enter a war to get those colonies. Germany supported Austria-Hungary in the war. At the same time, the Russian supported Serbia. That is how the war between Germany and Russian were declared.
France and Britain supported Russian, so the war expanded to them as well. By the beginning of the August, most of the Europe were involved in the battle. On August 4, 1914 America’s President Woodrow Wilson declaring neutrality to the war. At the time, America did not see an important reason to enter this war. Even at a neutral position, America favored Allies, by sending war supplies and lending enormous amounts of money to France and Britain. This is a good position for America and the economy is booming.
In the beginning of 1915 Germany pronounced, “all the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland, including the whole of the English Channel, be a war zone. ” First strike of war that torched United States directly was a sinking of Lusitania, a British luxury ocean liner. Germany submarine torpedoed it on May 7, 1915, killing 1198 people on board. 128 of those who died were Americans. Germany claimed that Lusitania were caring ammunition for Allies. Later Germany sunk few small passenger ships. Many warnings were sent to German government, and were accepted.
Germany were apologizing each time and making promises not to fire without warning. On March 24, 1916 Sassex, French boat were sunk by German submarine; four Americans were killed. At first, Germany did not even confess that it was a German submarine, which sunk Sassex. Germany were afraid that United States would enter the war, knowing the power and ammunition of the America. On January 31, 1917 “Germany declared the resumption of its submarine campaign. ” Why did not United States enter the war at that time, when German submarines killed so many innocent Americans?
Many historians will tell that one of the main reasons for America to enter World War I was the Zimmerman Telegram. In February 1917 President Wilson got a copy of the coded not from German Secretary of Foreign Affairs Zimmerman to German Minister in Mexico Eckardt. It stated that if America will enter a war, Mexico would enter an alliance with Germany on return to Mexico’s lost territory. The telegram was received from Britain who could capture and decode it. The telegram was published in United States and helped change the view of Americans of the World War I.
People realized that American’s entry to the war is real. Meanwhile Russia straggled not only with the war but also with the starvation and poverty. Russian entered the war on August 1, 1914 and had a good beginning. By the end of 1915, Russian lost almost all positions gained at the beginning of the war. Poland, Lithuania, Galicia, part of the Baltic States and Belarus are lost. By the end of year 1916 Russia lost more than three and a half million people in war, and about two million people were taken prisoners. Russia straggled a lot with the war.
The whole country were working for the army. People were hungry and mad. The winter of 1916 -1917 were very cold and people dying from cold and starvation. On February 23, 1917 protest started. Almost 90 thousands of women left their jobs at manufactories and went on the streets to protest against hunger, poverty and autocracy. Their posters were asking for bread, change of the government and war end. Next day almost twice more people came out on the street demanding the changes. In two days whole city Petrograd was in revolutionary mood.
Soldiers opened fire and killed some of the revolutionists, but it did not stop people. Czar Nicolas II was not at Petrograd at the time of revolution and did not believe the size and seriousness of the situation. On March 15, 1917 Czar abdicated. New government Temporary Committee of the state Duma were proposing “freedom of speech, press and assembly as well as the abolition of restrictions based on class, religion, and nationality. Elections would be based on universal, equal, and direct suffrage and secret ballot.
These initiatives closely resemble many aspects of American and democratic principles. Much of their wording is almost identical to what is written in the United States Bill of Rights. ” The whole world is aware of the Russian Revolution almost immediately. America is deciding if it wants to support a new government or not. Colonel Edward House sends a letter to Wilson trying to convince him to congratulate and support new government in Russia. Wilson agrees and America is a first country that recognizes Duma. Soon, Great Britain, France and Italy join America.
Now when Russia becomes a democratic country America can enter a war and reason it as a democracy brining to Europe countries. On March 20. 1917 the cabinet meeting began. The main questions that were discussed during four days were Russian revolution and Americas entry to the war. On April 2, 1917, American President Wilson gave a speech in the Congress and ask tried to convince to declare the war to Germany. On April 6. 1917 the war between United States and Germany was declared. On April 15, 1917 President asked Americans to “do their bit for America” and participate in the war for democracy in the whole world.