As war consumed Europe, Americans hoped that the Atlanticocean was enough to seperate them from it and keep them out of the war.President Wilson said that the US would stay out of it saying it was awar in which we had nothing to do.
But America could not help but take sides. As immigrants fromEurope gave roots to many Americans, it was hard for them not to beopinionated about which side to take. The herirage shared by mostAmericans and Britain put American public opinion on the sides of theAllies. Trade between the US and the Central Powers also shrank givinganother reason it was hard to remain neutral. Adding to that was the factthat exports to the Allies nearly quadrupled and ties between thembecame closer.In 1915 the British passenger liner, the Lusitania was sunksupposedly by German U-Boats, pissing many people off. MostAmericans considered this grounds for war. Wilson, however, refused totake extreme measures against Germany but instead sent them severalmessages insisting that its government safegaurd the lives ofnoncombatants in the warzone.
When the Sussex was torpedoed by aGerman torpedo Wilson demanded that they give up submarine warfareor risk war with the US. The Sussex pledge was made out of that whereGermans said they wouldnt sink any more merchant ships withoutwarning.Wilson was re-ellected in 1916 and focused on finding a peacefulsolution to the war. He knew the only way to keep America out of thiswar was to end it altogether.Germany announecd on January 31st, 1917, that any vessels in thewaters near G.B., France, and Italy would be sunk without warning.
Thiswas a violation of the Sussex Pledge and caused the US to break offdiplomatic ties with Germany.America Finally entered the war due to the fact that Germany andMexico were going to attack the US. On April 2nd, 1917, Wilson askedthe members of congress to declare war on Germany. He did state in hisaddress to congress that the war was only with the military masters ofGermany.The US was only able to raise a small army. By the spring of 1917American forces numbered only 200,000 troops, 1,500 machine guns, 55old planes, and no heavy artilery.
Despite this, they mobilized quicklyand in May of 1917 congress passed the selective service act whichrequired all men ages 21-30 to register for military service. That Junenearly 10 million men signed up. The draft was eventually extended toall men between the ages of 18 and 45, which brought another 2.8million men into the armed forces. On top of that, another 2 million menand women volunteered for service.Among the drafted, were 370,000 African Americans, and ofthose, 200,000 were sent overseas. They encountered alot ofdiscrimination, werent allowed in the marines, and were even restrictedto lower ranks in the navy. That didnt stop the 369th from winning theFrench decoration, the Croix de Guerre.
In the spring of 1918, Germany made a last effort to win the warand almost did. In March and June, they almost penetrated British andParis lines. America helped to stop their advancement in a town less thanfifty miles from Paris called Chateau-thierry.
By November, the Allied forces were ready to advance ontoGerman soil. Germany knew they had lost so they signed an armistace,putting a temporary stop to the fighting on November 11th, 1918.America wasnt all that well equiped for war when they firstentered it. The biggest concern was keeping our armies supplied. Thegovernment needed to raise money to pay for the war and needed to gearthe industry towards it as well.
To do this, the government placed mostindustries under control of federal agencies. The biggest of theseagencies was the War Industries Board. They handled purchases for theAllies and the US under the leadership of Bernard Baruch, who was aWall Street stockbroker. His board tried to run the whole US as a singlefactory controlled by one management. Using the best businessmen inthe the country to direct the effort, the government was able to get thecooperation of most businesses to convert their factories to warproduction. Federal Officials decided how raw materials would bepriced and allocated.Women also played a big role in the war. Millions of jobs givin upby men going to war had to be filled and women did just that.
It was afirst for them because they had never been welcome in the workforceand they were an essential part of the war effort and the economy.Women were confused though, they wondered how the governmentcould rely on them so strongly and yet still deny them the right to vote.Activists for womens sufferage continued during the war.The war ended in an Allied victory. The USs contribution was animportant factor in the Allied forces being the victor.by Dustin Fast