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Reasons the United States Entered the First World War

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What was the main cause of the United States joining World War 1 because of the Germans resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare

Research Question: To what extent did the U.S. enter World War 1 because of unrestricted submarine warfare used by the Germans.

Question: This essay will be investigated in this research paper is; To what extent did the U.S. enter World War 1 because of unrestricted submarine warfare used by the Germans. The purpose of the essay is to find out whether the U.S. joined World War 1 just because of the use of unrestricted submarine warfare.

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The historical significance of this research question is because on February 1917, Germany, determined to win its war of attrition against the Allies, resumed its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in war-zone waters. A few days later, America declared war on Germany and broke off any diplomatic relations with the Germans because an American liner was sunk by a German U-boat. The significance from is that if it wasn't for the U.S. entering World War 1 we wouldn't be here, and the people I cared about as well.

The main reason why World War One was mainly because of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo. Historians believe that there were a number of different factors that contributed to the Great Powers that made the war broke out on such a large scale. On January 9th, 1917 the Germans announced that they would resume their use of unrestricted submarine warfare. Therefore it played a major role in World War One as well as being one of the main reason the Americans joined the allies.

When Bethmann Hollweg the German Chancellor announced that her country intention to resume the use of unrestricted submarine warfare, his biggest fear was that it would instigate the United States entering - and later on he found out he was correct. Some people might ask themselves why did the Germans have tiresome a tactic that would provoke the United States, a powerful country with enough troops to eliminate them. Close to the beginning of 1917, the Germans were struggling on the western front.

When the use of unrestricted submarine warfare was used the Germans thought that it might be enough to keep the United States out of the war, it was mainly an act of cowardliness because the Germans were very desperate (" WW1 US Involvement "). When the German Navy could not defeat the Royal Navy during the Battle of Jutland they realized they were very weak. The U-boats impact was overestimated, at the start of the war they were successful with this tactic on British naval targets but later on, success was uncommon.

One of the first commercial targets attacked by U-boats was in February of 1915 because it was a piecemeal campaign. At the end of January of 1917 when Chancellor Hollweg, was convinced by officers in the German Imperial Navy and then ordered the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare. The one reason that made Hollweg doubt herself was the sinking of neutral ships. This was major because the United States was neutral and this would be a major turning point of the war leading to the defeat of the Germans.

During this time the United States sailed very frequently across the Atlantic with supplies for the Allies. By February 18th of 1915 Germany had announced that it would begin a war against the nation's trading with the British. Among those nations was the United States and the Americans replied with a letter to Berlin stating that it would be responsible for any sunken ships. The Germans knew if the United States joined the war they would be defeated, therefore Chancellor Hollweg convinced the naval officers to exclude neutral ships especially ones from America.

Near the end of February of 1915, the U-boat commerce had begun. In March 1915, about 5000 ships sailed and departed from British ports an only 21 were attacked. As a result, neutral shipping was thought to be safe from the neutral nations. On May 7th, 1915, the Germans made a big mistake by sinking the 'Lusitania' a British liner. 128 American citizens were on the liner and died which caused an outrage in America, but that was not enough to convince President Woodrow Wilson to declared war on Germany. on July 23rd,1915, another note was written by Wilson stating that the Germans changed their ways of attacking by a submarine.

The method to sink the Lusitania' was for a U-boat to come up to the surface and use newly equipped deck guns to destroy ships. Any neutral ship not carrying contraband was allowed to pass and enter the port it was sailing to. Any neutral ship that had contraband was sunk – but after the crew had got into the lifeboats. This seemed enough for Wilson to remain neutral in 1915. When President Wilson broke off ties with Germany trying to bring them to their senses.

When Wilson realized that the Germans would not come to their senses the United States relationship with Germany became very tense. Wilson was trying to avoid war as long as he could but once the British intercepted a message from the Germans to the Mexicans offering support to take back California this is known as the Zimmerman Telegram. Seven American ships holding goods to trade were sunk by the Germans by March 21st, Wilson then called upon Congress on April 6th, 1917, and America entered World War One.

Economic: Some historians believe that the main reason for the United States to join World War One might be for economic purposes. Most Americans who were wealthy businessmen wanted the Allies to win because the helped fund the French as well the British which would make them about three billion in loans and bond purchases. But if the Allies had been defeated the countries could not repay their debts, therefore, they supported 'Preparedness Movement' which was used for campaigning on joining the allied forces in the war.

Conclusion: The conclusion that I reached was to a significant extent that the United States joined World War One because of the use of unrestricted submarine warfare used by the Germans because of desperation. Even though there were many other reasons as well.

The sources used in the essay are from scholarly articles in different databases. Some are general accounts of the different battles that occurred during WWI.

Historical Significance: This research question is significant to me because I have always had a passion for learning about the significance of World War I. I've watched a lot of documentaries on WWI and the use of unrestricted submarine warfare that's on youtube. While learning about the war, the most interesting part to me was the battle of Jutland because it was the only major battle fought on the sea. Also, I visited the Century Tower which is 157 feet tall and its beautiful memorial.


This essay will be covering significant of World War One from 1914-1918. The thesis statement is, to what extent did the United States enter World War One because of the use of unrestricted submarine warfare used by the Germans? The reason I am investigating this is that I am trying to find the main why the United States joined World War 1. The structure used to develop the argument is to talk about some of the important battles leading up to the structure used to develop the argument is to talk about some of the important battles leading up to the United States joining World War One, then I will analyze the effects of the United States had on the war.


Treaty of Versailles:

Their seven different terms Germany had to abide by the first term was to hand over all overseas, term two was that Germany could only have an army of 100,000 men maximum, term three was that Germany's navy could only have six battleships with zero submarines, term four they were not allowed to have or use an air force, term five the west side of Germany would be demilitarized, term six Austria and Germany could not reunite, and term seven Germany had to take the blame and accept the 'War Guilt Cause' and pay back war reparations.


''Note by President Woodrow Wilson about the Armistice, November 11, 1918''
"In the October 2017 issue of Social Education, the journal of the National Council for the Social Studies, our "Sources and Strategies" article features two manuscript documents from individuals with very different responses to the armistice that ended the major fighting of World War I. One was a letter by President Woodrow Wilson who jotted down a few sentences to notify the people of the United States that the war was at its end. This letter is part of the Woodrow Wilson Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, which includes more than 200,000 items related to Wilson's life and presidential administration ("Today in History - April 14"). The letter also appears in the Library's exhibition "Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I."

''Page from the diary of Private Harry Frieman, November 11, 1918''

"The other document is diary entry by Private Harry Frieman, a U.S. infantryman fighting in France. Frieman's diary is held by the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, along with firsthand accounts from thousands of veterans of World War I and all U.S. conflicts since. A sidebar describes the Library's current efforts to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States' participation in the war, including a new World War One Topic Page that brings together resources from across the Library."

These two documents were written at about the same time, but they represent complete opposite perspectives on World War One and the ending. President Woodrow Wilson letter, written on the White House stationery, had an international point of view armistice, he spent most of the time writing about the role the United States would be taking in assisting the former combatants and initiating "just democracy throughout the world."

Private Harry Frieman's diary, although jotted down a personal letter about the end of the war. He explains that his squad was going to advance on enemy troops in foggy weather, but in the nick of time, the commanding officer told his troops to cease fire around 11 am. The shooting stopped at around 11 am and the fog had lifted, Frieman's squad realized that they had been surrounded by German soldiers. "If the war would have kept up a few hours longer there wouldn't be many of us left to tell about it."

World War One Stats

World War One is also known as the "Great War" was an international war, most of the battles were fought in narrow trenches and most soldiers were equipped with machine guns. The battles that were fought on the ocean and the coast we bombed by warships provided by the Germans. The planes were rarely used for fighting, they were mostly for scouting out the enemies. However when the battles were fought in the air as well as air raid s the Germans used zeppelins.

While the soldiers were off at war the civilians worked in factories and produce weapons, equipment, supplies for troops, and gun ammunition. The doctors and nurses on and off the battlefield cared for hundreds of thousands of wounded and sick soldiers. The allied countries involved in WWI were Great Britain, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, France, Greece, India, Italy, Serbia, and South Africa. Their casualties in total were approximately 9.37 million; 60% were from the military and the remaining 40% were civilians while approximately 12.8 million were wounded from the military.

The central powers countries involved in WWI were Germany, Bulgaria, Austria-Hungary, and Ottoman (Turkey) Empire. Their casualties in total were approximately 9.22 million; 43.6% were from the military and the remaining 56.4% were civilians while approximately 8.42 million were wounded from the military. Battles were on the Western Front in Europe plus in Italy, Gallipoli, Greece, the Balkan Peninsula, Africa, the Middle East, and the Falkland Islands, to name only a few. Globally, WWI losses consisted of 9,720,450 casualties from the military and 8,865,650 civilians while 19,769,102 were wounded from the military.

In WWI, many weapons and technologies were used for the first time including Trench Warfare, Airships ; Planes, Tanks, Trucks ; Submarines, Wireless Communication (Telegraph), Machine Guns ; Long Range Artillery, Chemical Warfare (poisonous gas), and Flame Throwers. The estimated cost of WWI fro the major countries involved was $186,333,637,000; the allied powers endured 67.45% of it while the central powers endured the remaining 32.55%.

The total troops deployed were 65,038,810; 13.13% were killed and 32.63% were wounded. 64.87% of the troops were deployed by the allied powers while the central powers deployed the remaining 35.13%. The total number of the allied powers troops that were killed was 5,152,115 while 3,386,200 troops were killed from the central powers side. The total number of the allied powers troops that were wounded was 12,831,000 while 8,388,448 troops were wounded from the central powers side.

Germany endured most of the cost and it was about 20.3%, 18.96% by Great Britain, 13.02% by France, 12.14% by the United States, 11.96% by Russia, 0.009% by Canada, and 0.0062% by Belgium. Russia deployed 12 million troops; 1.7 million were killed and 4.295 million were wounded, Germany deployed 11 million troops; 1.77 million were killed and 4.2 million were wounded, Great Britain deployed 8.9 million troops;

908,371 were killed and 2.09 million were wounded, the United States deployed 4.335 million troops; 126,000 were killed and 264,000 were wounded, France deployed 8.41 million troops; 1.358 million were killed and 4.266 were wounded, Belgium deployed 267,000 troops; 13,716 were killed and 44,686 were wounded, and Canada deployed 619,500 troops; 66,655 were killed and 172,950 were wounded.

League of Nations

The League of Nations was founded as a result of the Treaty of Versailles which was the meeting of the victorious Allied Powers following the end of World War I to set goals such as disarmament the defeated Central Powers, preventing war through collective security, improving global welfare, and settling disputes between countries through negotiation diplomacy. Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States controlled the talks in Paris.

The U.S. proposed the idea of peace without victory and wanted to make sure that Germany was not treated too harshly but France and Britain saw that punishing Germany was the only way to justify the costs of the war. In the end, The U.S. compromised on the treatment of Germany to ensure its weakness to push through its idea; a peacekeeping organization called the League of Nations which was founded on 10 January 1920.

In 1920 the League created its Mandates Commission to protect minorities and look after the former colonies of Germany and Turkey. The League had 42 founding members although the U.S., USSR and Germany were not members. It began organizational work in the fall of 1919  with a headquarters in London before moving to Geneva. The League lasted for 26 years then it was replaced by the United Nations (UN) after the WWII and took control of several agencies and organizations founded by the League. In 1944, the United Nations held its first planning conference in San Francisco, ending any need for the League of Nations. The League of Nations was  officially dissolved in 1946

Reasons the United States Entered the First World War essay

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