World War I, also known as the First World War, was a global war centred in Europe. The war drew in all the world’s economic great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. America insisted on staying neutral and had the Atlantic Ocean to act as a barrier to not get involved with this war. But it was almost inevitable that America would eventually get involved and America did. America entering the war was a ticking time bomb and when the Archduke was murdered, it blew up and America was ready to fight. The United States abandoned its neutrality, choosing the enter World War I on the side of the Allies because wealthy Americans wanted war to happen, it was economically beneficial to America, and also the Zimmerman Note.
Men signed up in the early days of the war with the promise that with such ‘advanced, civilised’ nations, all it would take is one large, nobly-fought battle, and in the aftermath some agreement would be signed ushering in an era of peace.This wasn’t pie-in-the-sky, this is exactly how the treaties after the Napoleonic Wars and the Franco-Prussian War were treated. They’d have one massive battle and a conference and a treaty was why untold men signed up – not for war, but to ensure peace. However, the average man that went to war wasn’t even considered to be the same race as the ruling class that sent them. They were ‘degenerates’. So when hundreds of thousands died or were wounded in the first battle, they thought nothing of throwing more men, and more men, and more men. “The American multimillionaires…have profited more than all the rest…”(Doc 3). Corruption from upper class Americans lead innocent men to war because of their own personal interests. With going to war it kept the wealth wealthier and the poor dead and forgotten.
Not only did the rich benefit but a country as a whole benefited economically from being in the war. America would always be neutral except if it had a great benefit to the country as a whole like to make money. So when America got the chance to make money they did but it would mean they’d have to abandon neutrality. If America gave a loan out to any country immediately they would be picking sides. This is because “…Money is the worst of all contraband because it commands everything else…”(Doc 1). As well as loans trading had a big effect when all ties were off with Germany. Germany export decreased while Britain and France eport increased. The increase in US exports made America an economic powerhouse which is why they went to war (Doc 2). America knew that the benefits would outweigh the consequences.
The Zimmermann Telegram was a 1917 diplomatic proposal from the German Empire for Mexico to join the Central Powers, in the event of the United States entering World War I on the side of the Entente Powers. Revelation of the contents outraged American public opinion and helped generate support for the United States declaration of war on Germany. Although this note may have been fake it still made people think of what could happen. It put in their heads that “we make Mexico a proposal of alliance on the following basis: make war together, make peace together, generous financial support and an understanding on our part that Mexico is to reconquer the lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona” (Doc 4). It exploited the idea of putting Mexico in their territory and Americans were not okay with this. It convinced America that was could not be avoided and they finally had to enter the war.
World War l was avoided by the United States because they did not want to pick sides and spend money but when benefits were being shown and encouragement was given it was unavoidable. America’s late entry caused them to have no destruction to their country but instead prosper. But America was one of the only countries like this that entered the war. The other countries were demolished and had damage that would take forever to rebuild. Americas entry into war helped the Allies win but also came with great economic benefits to the United States.
Courtney from Study Moose