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America & Germany Essay

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America never wanted to participate in World War 1, in fact in August 1914 when the war broke out in Europe; President Woodrow Wilson issued a declaration of neutrality. Preferring to remain isolated from the war, America tried to broker peace between the allies and the axis, the war was in Europe; America did not need to get involved.

On May 7th 1915, German U-boats, patrolling in the Atlantic Ocean, fired torpedos at the British passenger ship Lusitania sinking her in 20 minutes. 128 Americans were killed.

Woodrow Wilson, demanded that Germany stop attacking passenger ships, and declared that America was too proud to fight. Wilson also tried to mediate a compromise settlement but failed. He also repeatedly warned that America would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, as it was in violation to American ideas of human rights. Wilson was under great pressure from former president Theodore Roosevelt, who denounced German “piracy” and Wilson’s cowardice.

In January 1917, Germany announced it would destroy all ships heading to Britain.

Although Wilson broke off diplomatic ties with Germany, he still hoped to avert war by arming merchant vessels as a deterrent. Nevertheless, Germany began sinking American ships immediately.

On February 1917, British intelligence gave the United States government a decoded telegram from Germany’s foreign minister, Arthur Zimmerman that had been intercepted en route to his ambassador to Mexico. The Zimmerman Telegram authorized the ambassador to offer Mexico the portions of the Southwest it had lost to the United States in the 1840s if it joined the Central Powers. However, because Wilson had run for re-election in 1916 on a very popular promise to keep the United States out of the European war, he had to handle the telegram very carefully. Wilson did not publicize it at first, only releasing the message to the press in March after weeks of German attacks on American ships had turned public sentiment toward joining the Allies.

Later, on 2 April 1917, Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war and four days later all but six senators and fifty representatives voted for a war resolution. The Selective Service Act that was passed the following month, along with an extraordinary number of volunteers, built up the army from less than 250,000 to four million over the course of the conflict. General John Pershing was appointed head of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and led the first troops to France

Then, on April 6th 1917, America declared war on Germany.

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