prepare and submit a paper on was the united states genuinely neutral during the first years of world war i, Was the United s Genuinely Neutral During the first years of WWI?

Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on was the united states genuinely neutral during the first years of world war i, Was the United s Genuinely Neutral During the first years of WWI? The U.S. was officially neutralduring the first years of WWI but not genuinely. The U.S. never planned to intervene in the war in Europe and played no role during the conflict initially other than aiding natural ally England and American’s original ally, France. The U.S. worked to serve its own interests, both economic and political, prior to finally sending troops overseas. Had Germany demonstrated it was more advantageous for the U.S. to support that country, history may have been written much differently. President Woodrow Wilson was, at first, uncompromising in his determination for the U.S. to remain neutral throughout the war. At the war’s beginning (August, 19 1914), Wilson, along with congressional and public opinion was adamantly opposed to intervention by U.S. military personnel. He, as most Americans, did not want to get entangled in what seemed was a perpetual European conflict. In 1916, Wilson won re-election principally as a result of the campaign slogan ‘He kept us out of war.’ “Between 1914 and the spring of 1917, the European nations engaged in a conflict that became known as World War I. While armies moved across the face of Europe, the United States remained neutral” (Duffy 2002). Because of diplomatic, economic and cultural ties to the U.K., the U.S. began supplying the military needs of the allied forces. Public opinion had swayed toward the allies during the war as word spread of alleged horrific acts committed by German troops. U.S. exports to the U.K. and France rose quickly and sharply while U.S. shipping to Germany decreased by similar proportions during this same time. Germany viewed this action as all but an act of war though the U.S. was officially neutral and still strongly opposed to sending its troops (Duffy 2002). The U.S. delayed direct involvement in the war as there were still many issues to be considered. The economy of the U.S. was being positively affected by the still distant war and official neutrality was therefore politically advantageous. Because industry and trade were affected by the war, the U.S. was reluctant to take definitive steps that could alter a booming economy (Blum, 1973). If ships were sent to aid the allies in the conflict, they may be lost to German U-Boat attack. Yet, if the allies lost the war, then they would not be able to repay the debts owed to the U.S., about two billion dollars, while Germany had only borrowed 27 million (Whitten, 2006). The U.S. had enormous economic investments with the British and French and if allies could not repay the loans made to them by the American bankers, the U.S. economy could have collapsed. “France and England were financing their war with US loans. In addition, they were buying massive amounts of arms from the U.S. on credit. The U.S. wanted to ensure that it got paid back. Germany also purchased arms, but in a much more limited fashion” (Whitten, 2006). History views U.S. participation as a noble call to arms in an effort to protect democracy with the sacrifice of American blood. Upon closer inspection, many other motivating factors played a significant role in that decision. Was the U.S. acting upon purely unselfish motivation or was the commitment of troops and heavy equipment entirely a self-serving mission? Possibly some of both explanations would suffice but to just what extent either way is arguable. In the end, the U.S., as would any country, made decisions based upon its own interests. Remaining officially neutral was profitable which was politically advantageous as was promising to stay out of the war. It’s difficult to determine with any degree of certainty how genuine the U.S. intentions actually were but simply judging from the history books, the only genuineness stemmed from self-serving motives. Bibliography Blum, John M. Progressivism in Crisis and Triumph. (The National Experience. Third Edition). New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 1973, p. 555. Duffy, Michael. Feature Articles: The Planning of the War. August 11, 2002. (First World War. March 4, 2011 Whitten, Chris. Why the United States Entered World War I. (FAQ Farm.


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